Here it is Sunday night and I’m bored but feel like watching TV, it makes me useless and wastes time. Then again, some might view this as a waste of time but whatever. To each their own. It gets me thinking though, is tinkering with your car wasteful?
First off. Financially it doesn’t make sense what-so-ever. Its not an investment at all. Value drops immediately when the car is purchased. You can spend thousands of dollars on modifications or add-ons. As somebody who does all the work on their own car, I can’t fathom how much I could have spent if I had to pay somebody else labor for installation of parts. When I bought my 2005 Corolla XRS new, it was almost 1 month before the modifications started flowing like water. I kept tally out of interest to see how much I would spend on all the fancy stuff for it. The baffled oil pan, 3 different sets of wheels (besides the originals), carbon fiber hood and trunk, suspension, body work. Some of the things were maintenance related. At this point in time, the amount is staggering. To put it plainly, I could buy another brand new 2005 Corolla XRS at full sticker price if I had saved the money instead. I could have bought 5 houses in Detroit right now. Geeze the things I could have used the money for instead. Do I kick myself for spending that money on car modifications though? Well, No. Not really.
Over that same period of time I have had awesome experiences with the car as a result of things I had done to it. I had some awesome track days passing cars I never thought I would. The way my car looked, it won awards and praise. It was a huge boost to my confidence. “What?! That’s a Toyota Corolla?!” -Why, yes it is. Another thing that made it worth it was that I had ventured into certain modifications that before I would have never done myself. The experience of knowing I put hard work into something made it worth while at the time. To have it appreciated by other people was just a huge bonus. To me these experiences although expensive, were priceless. Obviously I have a different view of things today. What I did was a temporary very expensive hobby and while I don’t regret it, the final lesson I learned was that I’m done with it, mostly.
I still consider track days and buy nice things for it. Its a completely different perspective though. Though I act out my inner child on occasion, I’m a fully-grown adult. Do I really need the extra set of wheels? No. This may be shocking, but I just sold my beloved Gram Lights. The lip kit that was ripped off on Route 50 was never replaced other than a tasteful and more subtle front lip spoiler. The carbon fiber hood and trunk were replaced with stock parts. The coil-over suspension was replaced with fixed lowering springs and less adjustable Koni struts.
Yes. I do still love working on and driving my car. Even without all the fancy bits it once had, it still is a real blast to drive and continues to bring a smile to my face every time. It still looks better than stock and on very rare occasion will draw praise. All my experiences with the car and the fact its paid off I could never see myself parting with it. Its like a leather shoe. It has come to fit me so well over time. All that money I spent? As earlier, I don’t regret it. You only have one life to live. Do something you love. Something that makes you happy. Something “wasteful.” No. Not watch TV.