My First Car Gertrude

You know those kids that get surprised by a car for graduation? The bow on the car, the brand new 6 miles on the odometer cars. My wife was one of those people, I was not.

My first car cost me $2500 in 2009 and I saved every penny I could to afford that. It was a 1993 Buick regal who my cousins gave the fair name of Gerturde, Gertie to those who knew her well.

I learned a lot from that car, for instance changing the oil is something you need to do, it is not an option. It may sound strange that someone doesn’t know that but trust me I was never told.

You Need To Change The Oil

One day the light comes on telling me to change the oil, not thinking anything of it I wait another 2 or 3 days before I finally go to a shop. After a little while of waiting the mechanic calls me out to the car and informs me they can’t change the oil because there is no oil to change.

To me it seemed simple then, just put some oil in the car and call it a day. Apparently there is a law, or policy, or whatever you want to call it, that they cannot put oil into a car that doesn’t have any oil as then if the car breaks down it’s now their fault.

So I drove the car down the road and put oil in myself, fortunately the guy was very nice and actually explained to me the importance of changing your oil ever 3 to 5 thousand miles and how to add oil on my own.

Gertie Started Giving Me Problems

Whether because of not changing the oil for almost 20,000 miles, or because of the age of the car itself but it started breaking down, a lot.

It seemed every week something had to be changed, replaced, or fixed with this car. And at the time I didn’t have much money, so friends, family, and YouTube videos became my mechanics.

At one point the master cylinder in the car went and I needed to replace it. The part itself was around $70, but the labor would have been around another $200, of which I didn’t have. With the help of a friend we were able to get it replaced though it took us close to 12 hours to do it.

A car breaking down is bad enough, however my job at the time was delivery and as such my car breaking down outside of the home of someone I just delivered to was not only unprofessional but could also have me far away from my home when the car broke down.

Gertie Left Us

Eventually Gertie’s transmission went and seeing as the cost to fix her would have been nearly $2000 (almost the price I paid for her) it made sense to get a new car.

So I got a new 2004 Toyota Corolla in 2011 that I have had ever since. Because of what I learned with my first car I make sure to take care of the basic maintenance of the car as well as get everything else checked regularly.

Especially driving for rideshare is all of that important, but fortunately for me and my passengers I’ve learned my mistakes and make sure my car is in top order whenever I drive.

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