Is the short distance garage sale driving ruining our car?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jun 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

My wife and I have a 1992 Nissan Sentra with 84,000 miles on it. My wife is kind
of stingy with our expenses and attends a lot of garage sales on Saturday
mornings. Typically she wakes up about 6 in the morning and drives about 40
miles total, stopping at about 25 sales around town. She does find a lot of good
bargains, but I wonder if the short drives and frequent starts and stops are
wearing the car down. I really cannot ask her to stop going to these sales,
since she is addicted to them and she also met me at a garage sale. Please
advise. -- Roger

RAY: Well, let's hope she's not out shopping for her next husband at these
garage sales, Roger!

TOM: We'll assume that's not the case. I think this is one of those times when
we have to be marriage counselors instead of car advisors. The answer is, yes,
she is putting some extra wear and tear on the starter motor and the brakes by
making all of those short trips. But so what? It's only once a week. And
besides, that's what the car is for.

RAY: This is just one of those cases where you just have to say, "What's a
little wear and tear on a car in exchange for sharing my life with this
wonderful person?"

TOM: Besides, you're probably making the car-repair money back twice over with
all of those bargains she picks up at the sales. I mean, how much would you have
paid for that 1956 Flab-O-matic exerciser if you had to buy it new at full

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