Well, it finally happened. Ed’s Volvo is no more. At least, it is no longer Ed’s, and will likely be scrapped in the near future.
Ed and I drove the Volvo up from Florida to Pennsylvania for Christmas. Aside from all the usual problems (aesthetic, mechanical, and otherwise), this was fine. Uneventful. It rode happily enough for the next week in PA, and nothing unusual happened until we went to a LAN party and someone else drove the car to and from breakfast, mocking it the whole time. Maybe he drove it a little harder than Ed normally does. Maybe he insulted it a little too much. Maybe this would have happened anyway. But when we left their house that night, the car sounded…different.
“That’s new,” said Ed.
The sound was a deep and horrible rumble, noticeably louder than the usual noise of the car. As he drove the rumble grew, grew into a monstrous roar that deafened late-night bicyclists and Amish-driven horses alike. It was as funny as it was disconcerting.
I have not been one of the many people telling Ed that he needs a new car. I really haven’t. I admire his resourcefulness and his tenacity, and I love that he kept the Volvo as long as he possibly could. But the idea of riding back to Florida in a cloud of noise was unappealing.
When we got back to his parents’ house, he looked under the car and at least discovered that the exhaust leak was sufficiently far from the engine that it would be obnoxious, but not dangerous. Probably.
The repair quote was far more than the car was worth and Ed knew he wanted a new Mazda, so in the next couple of days he found a dealership in Maryland that was selling one for (relatively) cheap. Over this time the car got even louder, and the humor factor goes away when you’re worried about hearing damage. For the two-hour trip to the dealership we made use of some of the hearing protection Ed had brought with his guns, which made the bellowing more bearable.
The guys at the dealership had a laugh over the condition of the Volvo (without even starting it up — it’s in, um, special shape), and wound up offering $100 for the trade-in as basically a favor. Florida’s a no-inspection state, but it wouldn’t even be worth it for them to fix the Volvo to pass Maryland inspection in order to try and sell the thing.
Ed accepted their offer.
I hope they get something for the scrap.