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Dan's Theory of Cars and Matrimony

Did you guys catch Dan’s call this weekend?


Dan has a theory about marriage and cars that we’re pretty sure is going to earn him an honorary doctorate from some highly reputable institution of higher learning-- or at least get him in big trouble with his family. (Miss it? You can catch it right here.)

Here’s his idea:


Car wedding cake


Dan took a look at his family, with 5 brothers and sisters, and parents who’ve been married for more than 50 years and he drew this conclusion:

People who keep their cars longer are less likely to get divorced.


What do you think of his theory? Tom and Ray think it’s brilliant, but then again, that may be a strike against it. So we put it to you:



Is Dan’s theory brilliant or booo-ogus?



Tell us how long you’ve been married, what you’re driving, and whether you think there’s any correlation between trading-in your car and trading-in your spouse!


Car wedding cake

Married 43 years. We have had many cars starting with a 63/64 Ford Falcon that my brother and dad picked for us at an out of town auction. My brother had to weld in a trunk lid as a new floor. Most recent car a Buick Century inherited from my mother. Traded it for a brand new Honda Fit in 2009. The big car connection to the long marriage is that except for the Falcon and the Buick, the MRS has selected the car and I have always agreed.

So, if this is true, my wife and I should stay married for quite a long time past our now two years. We have a 2004 Pontiac Vibe that we bought in March 2008 with 53K; it now has 223K. We are getting ready to get rid of the 2004 Ford Ranger with only 110K (only 10k of which we put on it). So, it should follow by keeping the vehicle with the most mileage, we should last. I can’t speak to the trading of the spouse as this is the first marriage for both of us. I hope the theory is true.

OK, Dan, on the milage part, we’ve kept our used cars until they are, in my opinion, no longer cost-effectively repairable. The MRS forms her opinions on them sooner.

When I first met Triedaq, he was driving a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon with the 4-4-2 trim package. He got the car at a good price because it didn’t have a big engine. Therefore, the hot rod set didn’t want it and the adults didn’t want it because it had the big 4-4-2 numbers on the door. It was also the slant back design that went out of style in the 1940s. Thirty three years later, we still had the same car. I finally refused to ride in the car because the floor was rusted out. He finally sold the car last October.
When I met Triedaq, all his clothes were SearSucker–clothing that Sears Roebuck sold to a sucker. Triedaq has about the same taste in cars–the cheaper the better. Thus, I pick out his clothes and the cars.

Mrs. Triedaq

I think Dan is onto something, but not for the reason you think. It’s not that we are able to put up with more, but its about being satisfied with what you have and not always wanting something new. I think it goes further than vehicles and spouses too. Latest TV, computer, stereo, cell phone, etc.

Good theory.
Related in general to the person’s attention span ,satisfaction span and one’s ability to cope with life’s variables.

Me ?
Married in 1975 right after high school…still married today.
Still have our 1979 Chevy short stepside pickup.
Had 91 & 92 explorers up till we got her 06 Hybrid Escape then my 08 Expedition EL.

I just recently married and am still driving a '99 Chrysler Cirrus I’ve had for almost a decade (which was passed to me by my late grandmother).

The car is seeing an inordinate amount of the road with my commute/travel for work, and has subsequently incurred some pretty serious (and costly) repairs in the past few years. With each new trip to the shop, the calls from the women in my life (Mother, Sister, and Wife) grow ever-louder for me to sever ties with my cherished chariot.

Thus, I will be sharing Dan’s wonderfully insightful theory with all of them in the hope these women will see my deep connection with the car less as a worrisome sign of desperate delusion, and more an illustration of faultless fidelity to the things I love.

…though, despite Dan’s automotive-amore genius, probability and prior experience dictate I am far more likely to have a change of heart, before any of these women have a change of mind!

Bogus…I had a good friend who would keep his cars till they absolutely rotted. He was working on his third divorce along with the expensive property loss that went with it. I sat him down and explained to him, that cars compared to marriages are cheap. He just needed change in his life. He then decided to remarry his third wife to which they remained for the next 25 years until he passed away. During that time with both his wife and he having their own car, he traded cars very 18 months, trying out every car he ever dreamed about owning, but finding it much cheaper then divorcing wives and buying houses.

So, in my very humble opinion, people do what they can afford or get away with. My wife and I have been married for 44 years but I would trade cars every 3 to 5 years if I could afford it. Family expenses kept my average ownership to ten year mark.

I think there’s quite a lot of plausibility to this idea. Most of our decisions are informed, if not by circumstances, then ideology. I bought my 92 cherokee after more than a year of constant research - I put a LOT of effort into learning every system on board and doing my own repairs etc… car talk has been a great support tool in this regard… but I’ve invested so much in it - that I see no reason to ever get rid of it… if you maintain a vehicle decently enough - there should be no issues. As long as you’re not buying for the wrong reasons - that goes for marriages too! I’ve had mine for close to 20 years now (got it second hand) and still going strong!

I don’t see much of a connection in my life application. I tend to acquire vehicles as cheaply as possible (usually mechanical repairables, sometimes collision repairables) and keep them until they rot apart. My marriage ended at the two and a half year mark due to adultery on her part. I currently have two vehicles I consider to be quite nice, comfortable, and very easy to live with on a daily basis: a 1995 Ford Windstar minivan and a 1998 Ford F-150 extended cab. Total purchase price for both vehicles combined was $1400, naturally bought with cash. My ex wife drives a luxury SUV with a high monthly payment and very pricey insurance premiums. The child support she gets from me barely covers her car payment and insurance premiums, and she always used to complain about how poor we were. I think it’s a matter of priorities and being happy with what you have. If you are easily pleased with what you drive, it can probably take some financial stress off a marriage by not having to drive something new and luxurious to be happy. On the other hand, some people can only be happy if they have the latest and greatest things, so these traits need to be compatible.

Married 16 years, My 1999 Volvo has 244,000 miles, my '04 Chevy Silverado has 207,000 miles…good scientific study. Til death do we part…

Married 28 years.

My 1998 Volvo has 195,000 miles with 195,000 miles on the original clutch.

We can’t really test 1 option, since if someone is married only a short time it is hard to own a car for a long time. But, I have known several people who have been married a couple of times or more & they still own the 1st car that they ever owned or still have the car that they 1st bought in their 1st marriage (10+ years later).

Might be some people treat their spouse as they treat their car. A wife is one “thing” & a car is another thing, object. I won’t have a “love relationship” with a car, so I have no problem trading it in for a new car every 4-5 years. Even if that does not makes economical sense in the short- or long-run. But also figure in the cost of repairs & maintenance of a car, which are never factors you would (or should) consider with a loved spouse. If a car has human-like feelings, then that’s a different matter. Car Rights activists?

I must add, that even though a car is a “thing” or object, that does not mean that you can’t have sentimental attachments to it. Doesn’t mean you mistreat it or abuse it. You might even give your car a name. Might only want to sell your car to a buyer that will enjoy it and not abuse it. But I could trade in a car that I liked, for a newer model with more gadgets built in. One without A/C for 1 with it (although A/C is not necessary in South Texas?). For a hybrid, that they didn’t have a few years ago.

Married 33 years. We own two cars – one (purchased new) has 175,000 miles on it, the other (purchased with about 40,000 miles on it) has 145,000. We would have to agree with Dan!

While listening to the theory, I started thinking about my divorce, subsequent relationships, inability to commit long-term, etc. and my car-buying habits. Guess what?! I get a new car on average every 1.5 years! Right now I have just leased a 2012 Mini and I don’t like it. I’m trying to figure out how I can get out of the lease! Haha! Think this guy is on to something!

I totally agree with Dan. It’s all about commitment and appreciation for what you have. We just celebrated 30 years. While we don’t have hundreds of thousands of miles on them we keep our cars longer than most.

LOVE this theory!!!

Since I live in NYC (The Bronx) there’s never been much need for a car. Still, I decided 9 years ago to buy my PERFECT car: a small, easy to park, practical car that was reliable, had great gas mileage, was either turquoise or bluish and that I could pay in full on the spot to avoid car payments. Also, something that car thieves would not ogle day and night.

I ended up with a 1996 Toyota Corolla that I purchased in 2003. It was LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT! : )
I’ve driven it to Maine, Vermont (I got stuck in the snow and slept in the car! see pic) Manhattan and even on The Cross Bronx Expressway!!!

It now has 160,000 miles.

It has seen its share of trauma: scratches all over, broken into with the door lock broken and even the license plates STOLEN!!! It’s also starting show its age on the OUTSIDE, but on the INSIDE it runs beautifully and my mechanic says to KEEP IT!!! I’m thinking of fixing the the nicks but people say to TRADE IT IN for a NEW one. I hesitate because I love this little car and it can go to 250,000 miles I’m told!

As far as Marriage, I’ve NOT been married FOREVER! (Does that Count?)
But when I DO get married, I hope Dan’s theory is right and my spouse and I will be loyal to each other despite all our bumps and dents! : )

Combined mileage on our two old Fords: 384,978.
Years married: 37, and there ain’t nothin’ but big ol’ hearts dancin’ in our eyes.
Our mechanic said the '96 van is rusting off its frame but it ain’t over yet, baby. We are kinda wondering tho if maybe one of these days when we hit the brakes really hard…