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The Previa has come to the end of the road, and is now officially retired.

February 9, 2006, 7:56 PM

It’s really something to see, but my old Previa is now officially a part of automotive history. The final mileage on that car was 275,275 (funny how it came out like that).

And the car was very much on its last legs, too. It failed its last inspection due to brakes, an exhaust leak, a crack in the windshield, a sticky door handle, and a few other odds and ends. Besides that, a number of other components went over time. The radio died in 1999. The sunroof, which was originally motorized, stopped working in 2001 or so. There was a strange dent near the driver’s side door that made a cracking sound when it opened. The air conditioner was on its last legs in 2002, barely cooling the air, and then was gone completely for 2003. The driver’s side window started having trouble coming back up if it was lowered all the way down starting in 2003. In 2005, something hit my windshield (probably a rock), causing a crack that proceeded to grow quite a bit. In addition, the heater stopped working in October. You may recall that I discussed having no heat here, discussed getting it fixed here, and actually got it fixed here. That was one problem I couldn’t stand and thus had to have fixed.

Then in 2006, the brake light came on and stayed on while I was trying to park at the Vienna Metro station on my January 18 trip to DC, accompanied by the brake pedal going much further down than it used to before coming to a stop. That was scary at first, but a number of test-brakings confirmed that it was still drivable, and got comfortable handling this. The interior manual lock switch on the driver’s side door also broke that day as well. I got the car inspected the next day and it failed as expected. Dad and I determined that the cost was prohibitive, and I went car shopping. Then in the last month, on my most recent DC trip (February 1), the interior power lock switch stopped working to lock the doors. It would, however, unlock. So this meant that I had to lock the door with the keys. The plus to that, though, is that it was impossible to lock my keys in the car. And lastly, as I mentioned here, the air blowers stopped working on the way home from the car’s final trip before retirement.

Needless to say, I was not too concerned about that one, since I was only 30 miles or so from home, and the car would only be making one more trip – a trip from which it would not return.

Speaking of which, that last run went quite well. I went to the bank and the credit union to get everything straightened out, and then off to Whitesell’s to finally purchase the new car. I also managed to get $150 for the Previa, where it will most likely see retirement in a junkyard or something.

And I slipped into the driver’s seat of a 2004 Mercury Sable LS station wagon, and took off. The first trip was to DMV, where I paid the sales tax on the Sable (gotta render unto Caesar what is his), and officially transferred the registration from the Previa to the Sable. My custom “Schumin Web” license plates are now on the Sable, and looking fine. I was also the last customer at the Waynesboro DMV for the day, having gotten in just before closing time. Lucky me!

And from there? Sheetz, Wal-Mart, and back home. I put the first full tank of gas in the Sable at Sheetz, and went to Wal-Mart to try to get keys made. Turns out my key has a chip in it, and so they couldn’t reproduce it because it wouldn’t work in the car if they tried.

Coming home, I took Mom and Dad out for a little ride, making them my first passengers. So I got to show off the car for them. Very nice, indeed. Both parents were very impressed with all the little niceties that are in there. That and the automatic lights and the remote and all that.

And now, it’s in its new home, in the driveway. Next trip will be to work.

And when people ask where the Previa is now, I just say, “Heaven.”

Web site: Wikipedia on the Mercury Sable

Song: Sakura Saku, my cell phone ring tone, as I got calls from both parents today about the car.

Quote: I mentioned that my friend Amanda Mone was the last passenger in the Previa, but do you know who the first was? Me, on a test drive with Mom.