10 Signs You're Spending Too Much Time (& Money) on Your Ride
It's fun! It's fast! It's exciting! And it gets more attention than Jennifer Lawrence at Comic Con. Your best friend has four wheels, and that's just great, right? Well, maybe not. It's easy to get so caught up in your automotive pursuits that the rest of your life suffers. Here are some tell-tale signs that it's time to get some balance back:
1. You have plenty of friends, but they all work at AutoZone.
I’m sure that Jimmy and Bob are great guys. There’s even that flirty little checkout girl. But I’ve got news for you, pal — they’re paid to be nice to you. The only way to know if you can still co-exist with friends of the flesh and blood variety is to hang with real, live people. Caution: It may even involve getting out of the car.
2. Your car looks pimp, but the last time you cut your hair was with metal shears.
It’s wonderful that you can put all of that time into making your car look flawless. But if you'd like to fill the passenger seat with something other than a helmet and a fire extinguisher, you're gonna require some maintenance. So I suggest you take yourself, and your hair, in for a tune up every 5,000 miles at least.
3. You’ve finished your project car on time, but your taxes are anybody’s guess.
In general, people who like to be covered in sand, mud or oil aren’t always fond of spreadsheets and calculators — unless, of course, they’re calculating engine torque or displacement. But since your racing team can’t put you in jail for track evasion, make sure that every 1,000 hours behind the wheel equates to at least a few hours in front of your accountant. Otherwise, Uncle Sam’s gonna be pimping your ride instead.
4. You call your mechanic more than your mother.
Maybe you stopped calling because she wanted to talk about family gossip and bird watching more than track times and timing changes. But since you parked yourself in her garage for about nine months, you at least owe her the courtesy of the occasional chat. Take it from this Mama, parenting isn't easy — especially because, unlike an automotive project, throwing in the towel isn't really an option... neither is eBay.
5. You’ve memorized your VIN # but have forgotten your Social Security #.
Auto enthusiasts sometimes lose themselves in the identity of their cars. Of course this is a large part of the appeal. But what starts as a hobby can often turn into full on identity theft. So be sure that there’s a healthy distance between your vanity plate and your true self.
6. The last time you used a toothbrush was to clean your rims.
A spotless, shiny ride can be a beautiful thing. But neglect your personal hygiene and you'll find yourself staring down the barrel of a root canal right quick. Plus, your friends at Auto Zone probably don't appreciate your unpleasant oral exhaust either.
7. Your car’s going to Pebble Beach, thanks to your retirement fund.
Bringing your car back to its former glory can be time consuming, exhausting and can clean out your wallet quicker than a trophy wife. So embrace your inner Suzie Orman, put a stash of cash in a separate account and forget the password, quick! Your car will be a lot less appealing if it's your primary residence.
8. You can eat off the floor of your garage, but your dirty laundry has given up and run away from home.
One thing you're not going to come out of the garage looking is cleaner. And since shop towels are so darn cheap and at every register, who needs clean laundry? Most grown ups that value non-flammable underpants, that's who. If it helps, remember that your dirty ass has to sit on your precious driver's seat at some point, and you wouldn't want to soil that, would you?
9. When you have bad dreams, you wake up covered in engine oil.
A connection with a car can be a spiritual thing. But if you find that your subconscious is incapable of fantasies that don't involve four wheels, you know you're in trouble. If this occurs, read a book (not a manual), watch a movie (not driving videos) and listen to something that isn't a racing podcast. You may just find that you appreciate your obsession even more after a little break.
10. The only action you’re getting is on gearhead message boards.
It goes without saying that love of the romantic variety is actually more valuable than love of the mechanic variety. Or is it? Either way, remember that the object of your affection should occasionally be able to love you back. And if your ride becomes your only, well, ride, you're gonna have problems that even horsepower can't cure. So go ahead, keep loving your ride. But make sure it's not at the expense of everything else because life can be lonely when your car is your only friend!