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How Do You Balance Cars With Everything Else In Your Life?

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It should go without saying, but we at The Autopian love cars far, far more than is generally considered normal. However, when the button to publish Comment of the Day is pressed, this fantastic world of speed and sloth, fossil fuels and electricity, and tarmac and mud takes a rest, and we all go out into the real world. The part of real life that isn’t the miracle of being able to do what we love for a living. And life usually means compromise. Often times, life as an enthusiast is about trying to balance the joy of cars — finishing a job, nailing a heel-toe downshift, firing up the headlights with just the right song on the stereo — with the financial pains of cars and the other things you want to do in life.

In many parts of the world, insurance costs hundreds of dollars a month, fuel is expensive, and not all repairs are cheap. If you live in a major city, simply finding secure long-term parking can be both expensive and far from your dwelling, and then there’s the joy of registration fees and such.

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Don’t get me wrong, cars are a brilliant hobby, but most people don’t define themselves by a singular hobby. There’s music to make, food to enjoy, sports to partake in, and even landscaping to do. Admittedly, I’m fairly light on cars compared to some of my co-workers, but even though cars run a thread through much of what I do, on many evenings out, it’s tangential. Cocktails, good nachos, concert tickets, the odd house party, these things all cost real money and take real time.

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So, how do you balance cars with everything else you do? Maybe you have a housemate to give your fixed expenses some slack. Maybe you’ve put off buying that dream car because it would just be too much of a stretch. Maybe you’ve just given in and let cars be your everything. Whatever the case is, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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(Photo credits: Thomas Hundal)

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MushroomGlue
MushroomGlue
1 month ago

I don’t do a great job of it (time and space are major limitations at present) but one of the main things is (ironically) to rely primarily on public transport for commuting to work; I only really have the space/budget etc. for one car at present, so using public transport as a “primary” mode of transport frees me up run something less practical and more fun, as reliability and economy can take a bit more of a back seat. Additionally, it kind of keeps driving as a fun thing, rather than a chore.

Ron888
Ron888
1 month ago

The harsh truth is i dont!
I have 1.5 project cars that i cant touch for now because im at a critical stage of building a house.
The DD’s paint job will have to wait.Even though i told the insurance company it’s perfect.justdon’tcrash!
The actual project car is now fully on hold.It’s at least pristine inside now,so it’s not going to fill with mold.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ron888
Pointy Deity
Pointy Deity
1 month ago

Everything else in my life? What, you mean motorcycles and beer*?

*(not simultaneously, of course)

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago

“How Do You Balance Cars With Everything Else In Your Life?”
That’s easy… I own a *car*, not cars. In that, And the one car I own is a reliable car… my Honda Fit.

I don’t bother with a 2nd fun/classic car because I don’t have the time, money or garage space for it.

So since I only have to focus on one car, doing the routine maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations are no big deal in terms of time or money.

Now my house and kids on the other hand…

Last edited 1 month ago by Manwich Sandwich
Ben
Ben
1 month ago

Poorly.

The scale tends to swing wildly for or against my cars at any given time. Last summer was a not-so-good one for the cars, other than one big road trip in my Corvette. I barely got it out onto my favorite roads in the area the rest of the summer, and then driving season ended early when we got a snowstorm in October that resulted in salty roads for the rest of the year. A couple of summers ago I spent almost all my free time refurbishing my old Prius, which was probably time well spent but definitely took away from other things in my life. The first year I had the Corvette it dominated my free time too.

And I say this as a single person with no kids. I have no idea how people with families cope with time management.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben

“I have no idea how people with families cope with time management.”

I’ll tell you… you have to simplify. Once you have a house, a cottage, a boat, an airplane, a wife, a girlfriend, a concubine, 6+ kids, a lackey, a cook and a maid (along with your own friends and family), all that takes up time.

So if you’re gonna have a project car, have one that is relatively straightforward and isn’t a basket case.

Last edited 1 month ago by Manwich Sandwich
Myk El
Myk El
1 month ago

I had a project car laid up for over 20 years, moved it once in there. I never had time and money at the same time to do anything. When I was ready to move again, I decided I was giving up on it and sold it. So I got a good runner for my “fun” car. One that’s not a project, something I can just drive and enjoy. And I don’t even take it out every week.

I honestly don’t know how some of you hardcore DIY folks keep up with household chores and other demands on your time.

rctothefuture
rctothefuture
1 month ago

I find a balance in that most of my activities and sports are all car based. I enjoy wrenching as much as the next gear head, but I also love watching racing (TV or in person), being in races, and virtually racing. I have a love of computers and technology, so building a sim rig and finding ways to modify it keeps me busy as well.

Lots of my love for all kinds of music has come from driving, so I consider that to be a mutually beneficial relationship. Food is also something I love, especially cooking and finding new ways to make a meal. Not so much car related, but I’ve driven all over the country finding all sorts of new restaurants and things to eat.

Honestly though, a good drive in a car you love is better than any other hobby or activity you can do. At least in my opinion.

Jj
Jj
1 month ago

Between silly work schedules and an old home needing almost constant attention, I’m not spending the time I should with my cars. I finally have a big garage and absolutely no time to spend in it – unless I’m fixing a ringing mower, chainsaw or other outdoor equipment for maintaining the house.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
1 month ago

My wife isn’t into cars, and that tends to be plenty to keep me doing other stuff. At the very least it motivates me to keep my car somewhat comfortable, quiet and reliable so I can take her out for dates in it. But more so, we’re always doing something else together, so it’s not like I get bored when I’m not tinkering.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
1 month ago

Sometimes I buy cheese and Puffalumps, I guess. I have a boring life that’s mostly cars, I guess.

Idiotking
Idiotking
1 month ago

I’ve got two project vehicles and two reliable daily drivers with only a one-bay garage that dates back to 1925 with a dirt floor. But hell, at least it’s a dry cover over the runner. We bought 20 years ago and I wish I’d held out for a house with a better garage/driveway situation, but I’m making it work. I leaned very heavily into the car hobby last year as a form of mental health therapy (I WFH but spend way too much time behind a desk) so I’m trying to balance it out better this year.

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
1 month ago

I pay bills first (usually) then buy car parts with the rest.
When I stop being able to afford one or the other, I find a better paying job.

I’m… kind of joking. But that’s legitimately what has happened over the past two or three years.

Alex Patrevito
Alex Patrevito
1 month ago

The balance between my relationship with cars and what is going on with rest of my life has been difficult to maintain, especially in the last 8 years. The needs and wants on both sides of the car/life equation keep changing, and when one changes it impacts the other.

But the thing I keep chasing year after year is a car that meets my practical car needs while satisfying my car wants and tastes. If the car meets my wishlist wants but isn’t practical, it will eventually be sold (usually at a loss). If it meets my needs but I don’t like it, it will eventually be sold (usually at a loss). This is why I am 38 yrs old, have owned almost 20 cars but haven’t put more than 36k miles on any single car. The financial losses and frustrations compound too easy and have me at a point where getting a new car, regardless of the reason, sucks.

I really hope I have it figured out more now. I have been dailying a 2019 Volvo S60 T6 Inscription for the past 15 months or so. It is a truly exceptional drive for me. The look and style of the car is beautiful and distinctive. The twincharged 4 cyl has gobs of power and the supercharger whine is lovely when I want the power. It’s also supremely comfortable in spirited driving, daily commuting, and long highway runs. I get 27 mpg in blended driving and 35 mpg on the highway, even with AWD and soft all-climate Hankooks. It’s plenty safe for my rush hour commute and there’s no worry with baby in the back. The trunk has plenty of room, and I even have a real spare tire! And in the 10k miles I have had it (up to 60k total now) it has been flawless.

Although on paper I’d rather have the V60, the sedan gets better gas mileage and was thousands of dollars cheaper to buy since no one wants sedans, even incredible ones like the S60.

I don’t know if I answered the question “how do you balance cars and life?” very well. The honest answer is that I do not have balance between the two, at least not for long periods of time. But I am trying and will keep trying.

Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
1 month ago

I hardly balance it at all. I have room at my house to work on my cars, hang out with other car guys, am generally always wrenching on something, spend almost every dollar I make on cars, and am always consuming car content (via YouTube, reading this site, forums, Reddit, etc). I used to run a BMW repair shop which meant even less separation between cars and my life, haha.

Thankfully I have no kids (and no plans to have any) and a very supportive girlfriend that generally lets me do my thing as long as I make time for her.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
1 month ago

Sounds like you’re balancing it just fine, as you have time to enjoy with your girlfriend. Things are only out of balance when you start missing out on the rest of life.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
1 month ago

> landscaping to do

Lol nope, too busy with my cars to GAF about the yard.

Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
1 month ago

Balance? I’m obsessed with my truck. I spend every day of the week driving it all day, sleep in it, make love to it… oops, shouldn’t have said that out loud. Anywho the only reason the wife tolerates it is because it pays the bills.

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