Jan 15, 2022

Annual maintenance

In January of 2020 we bought a new car, a 2019 Volkswagen GTI. It’s become a little touchpoint on the pandemic over the years.


We bought the car because, while we had gotten by with only one car for a few years at that point, Andrea had started a new job that required one, and while I was already mostly remote, various kid related tasks were outside the range of convenience for seriously considering walking.


Volkswagen sets its service schedule as 10,000 miles or 1 year. If it had been used to commute every day, plus various side trips, it probably would have been around that mileage mark. Instead, after having it for 2 months, we found out we wouldn’t be commuting for a while, which became a long while, which by January was looking pretty much like never, ever again. It had under 3,000 miles on it. I waited at the dealership for the service because at that point it was a bit of a novelty to be out in public. It was still pre-vaccine so everyone waiting was avoiding the other people waiting, and most of the people working at the dealership were over it. They had a VW Bug by the front door. I went to Trader Joe’s on the way home, and there was a queue out front to limit the number of people in the store at any time. A cheerful Trader Joe’s employee handed you a cart when they let you in.

a sketch of the VW Bug I drew while waiting last year.


2 years, or 20,000 miles. We’re still well under 10,000 miles despite using the GTI for every “trip” we’ve taken in the last two years. They replaced the VW Bug in the lobby with a VW Bus. Everyone is, once again, wearing masks, but it doesn’t feel weird to drink coffee while waiting, or have a conversation at a reasonable, human distance. There’s a 2022 GTI in the dealership in the flat-gray color I wanted to get ours in1, but two years later I wouldn’t even think about a new gas powered car. We’ll drive the two we have until they become dinosaurs running on dinosaurs. I went to Trader Joe’s on the way home. There was no queue outside, but the store was its normal weekend levels of packed. I had to get my own cart.

What’s my best guess for January, 2023? No masks. Finally hit 10,000 miles but still well under 20,000 and impossibly far from 30,000. I’ll still go to Trader Joe’s after. I’ll be smart enough to do this on a weekday so I don’t get stuck in the weekend crowd. Things change, but things stay the same.

  1. One upside to buying a car where model year = current year -1 is that they can be cheaper, or have better financing deals. The downside is you’re usually stuck picking from black or white for colors.

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