Tom and Ray's equation for college student car repair.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

My daughter in college has a 1986 Volkswagen Golf with about 50,000 miles. So far this year, we have replaced the heater core, both fuel pumps, a CV joint, the radio (partly her fault), the horn, the windshield wiper motor, and the whole exhaust system. What will be next? Really! So far, the car and tuition are running neck and neck!

RAY: Well, Bob, that sounds about right to us. There's a formula we use to determine the maintenance costs for a car driven by a child at college.

TOM: The equation is M = C - ADP - (ADB X 1.5) + (GPA X 2) ∏ SAT + R/S + NFBHT.

RAY: So, to figure out what the maintenance costs (M) should be, take the cost of the car (C) minus the amount Daddy paid (ADP) minus the amount Daddy borrowed (ADB) times 1.5. Add in the kid's grade point average (GPA) times two, divided by her SAT scores. Then add the average number of relationships she has per semester (R/S) and the all-important number of friends she brings home for Thanksgiving (NFBHT).

TOM: So according to this formula, the next repair ought to cost you 217.59 dollars, and it'll probably be brakes.

RAY: Actually, Bob, just try to think of this as part of a good, liberal-arts education. Aside from learning Philosophy, History, and Anthropology, your daughter's going to graduate with a great introduction to the fascinating world of Parts and Labor.

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