COAL: 2004 Honda Element LX- We Drive Boxes

It was time for a change. I had owned my Mazda 3 sedan for three years, almost four. The latter part of it’s time, it was used as my girlfriend’s car, as I was almost always driving a classic of some description. While I jumped from Corvair, to Caprice, to my current daily driver, a 1986 Bronco II, the Mazda 3 had been her ride for months. Unfortunately, it was proving very expensive.

I had gotten the car back when I was single and had a higher paying job. Unfortunately, in that area, times had changed. Thankfully, my girlfriend was willing to make payments on it while she drove it. However, at $530 a month between the car payment and insurance, it was time to find her something else.

Talking to her, she said she wanted a car that had a radio with Bluetooth, something with decent fuel economy, and that was easy to clean. In the end, I settled on either a Pontaic Vibe or a Honda Element.

At a local lot, I found this 04 Element and knew it needed a closer look. While Bluetooth radios aren’t hard to install, it was nice this one already had one. Fuel economy would be a little worse than her Mazda, but she’d be trading it for one of the most versatile and easy to clean cars she would ever own. Plus, it had blue interior highlights I knew she’d love.

There was just one issue… Someone had stolen the catalytic converter right from under it! This issue was happening all over DFW and even the dealership had no idea. I only found out when I went to test drive it and set off every car alarm in a ten foot radius around me.

The dealership agreed to cut me a deal on the price to get it fixed and a local shop agreed to do the repair if I provided the O2 senors. While a pain in the ass, it could’ve been much worse.

My girlfriend took a look at it the next day and declared her approval. I checked fluids, belts, brakes, and suspension components. At 187K miles, it seemed the car had been taken good care of and was one of the lowest mileage Elements in our area. As an added benefit, it was an AWD model. I wanted to find her one after that horrible winter storm in February made driving a nightmare for all involved. As a professional chef at a rehab center, she was needed at work no matter what.

Ella, as the car is known, has proven a good choice. She’s got great cargo capacity for dogs, groceries, and has even acted as the rehab center’s delivery vehicle in a pinch. The Mazda was traded in, and we ditched the expensive payments in the process. The only issue we’ve run into so far is a failed window regulator, but the door panel pops right off with few screws to fiddle with.

Now our little fleet consist of a first gen Kia Soul driven by our roommate.

My Bronco, Scarlet.

And Ella the Element.

The last two years have been hard and unpredictable. If I’ve learned anything it’s that you have to roll with the punches and do the best you can. See the good in life wherever it is. Knowing my girlfriend has a car she likes and is something I found for her makes me feel like despite everything, we’re going to be okay. Drive safe, everyone.