COAL Update (Part 1): 2007 Honda Fit – Out With The Old

It has finally happened.  As long as there has been Curbside Classic, there has been one constant in the JPC driveway – the little white 2007 Honda Fit.  It has been the subject of quite a few entries here, and has photobombed many more.  However, all good things must come to an end, and just a few weeks shy of 18 years from the day we put in our special order and about 17.5 years from the day we took delivery, the Fit is not longer Go, but is instead gone.

If you had told me around 1980 or so that I would own a daily-driver car for almost 18 years, I would have shaken my head in disbelief.  But for those who read my COAL series, you saw a slow change in car-ownership attitude here.  I went from constantly seeking new experiences to forging longer and longer relationships with my cars, often keeping them longer than was prudent.  It was either an act of strength or an act of weakness (I am still working on this), but I decided to release my hold on the Fit keys while the little car still has some life left in it.

It was about 18  months ago that I told the Fit’s story in Chapter 24 of my COAL series.  During that interval I put another 10k miles on it (165k at the end).  I kept telling myself that the car should probably be replaced, but in truth, it had become the absolutely perfect 4 wheeled companion in my new life as a professional driver of big trucks.  I have a commute of about 25 miles per day to and from my company’s terminal and no longer have a care in the world about what my commuter special looks like.  I had been thinking that with two cars that were over a decade old and at or well over 100k miles, it would be wise to buy something new so that I could have it paid off by the time I decide to retire from my second career.  But lately I had been wondering if I shouldn’t just keep this Fit party going as long as the car was willing to start and get me to and from work.

I will admit that the car suffered a couple of additional problems.  The most irritating one was the failed power lock on the driver’s door.  There was a workaround – as in Hondas of yore, all I needed to do was use the key in the door, which locked or unlocked everything.  But, for some reason, using the key in the door to lock the car disabled the remote locks, so that a stop at the driver’s door was necessary, even if my destination was the hatch or a passenger door.

The more serious one was an airbag light that came on and stayed on.  I suspect that one of the neighborhood squirrels got into the wrong wire (they have also munched on a couple of windshield washer tubes).  My mechanic wouldn’t touch it and the Honda dealer was going to charge me about $600 for a new airbag wiring harness.  Many people would pay for it, but I am of an age where I remember feeling perfectly safe in cars like my 1983 Colt, which was far safer than the 1960’s cars I had driven for many years.  You can’t live forever, right?

A more immediate problem was the morning I went to drive home from work and the car would not start.  Which was odd, given how perfectly it ran on the drive in.  A tow truck and a trip to my mechanic resulted.  The problem turned out to be – a failed security chip in my key.  I decided to go cheap and had my Honda dealer order and cut a plain key without the attached locking buttons.  And it worked great – until the first time I tried to unlock my door with it.  I should have driven back to have them re-cut the key, but I was busy and just lived with it, using my old key to open the door and my new key to start the car.  I know, first world problems and all that.

But one day things started happening.  One thing led to another and I suddenly found myself with a new set of wheels – more to come on this.  The dealer was not interested in the Fit as a trade, and an online offer from CarMax was not for much money.  We offered the car to one of our offspring (with full disclosure of its issues) and the car will keep the same last name on its new title and will live just a few miles away.  The price (free) will allow the new owners to fix the airbags and anything else that they feel necessary for a car that I believe still has a lot of life left in it.  Maybe I will get occasional visitation rights, and will no longer feel the urge to do something with the dulling white paint.

In all my years with it, I never stopped enjoying the way it drove.  The steering was fast, the powertrain was as pleasant as any four cylinder/automatic car I have ever driven, and it was always fun.  As I took a few photos on its last evening in my driveway I got a little wistful.  It had well and truly become a beloved part of the family.  I am not a dog owner, but will confess to an urge to pet it and tell it that it was a good boy.  How can you not love that face.

In letting go of the Fit, I relinquish my quest for the crown for longest ownership among the cadre of CC contributors – I am thinking of a particular white Scion Xb that may be in the lead (never mind a certain yellow F-100), but I am sure there are others.  Instead of Oregon’s healing rains, we get salt baths here, so I always knew that my car would have a hard end date someday.  Which will hopefully be avoided for a few more years yet.

A few of you reading have received a sneak peak at JPC Car #31.  Stay tuned, the second part of this update is coming soon.