“It’s an ’01. It only has 85,000 miles on it. It’s a good car.”
- The Ride
- The Driver: Emily
- Car in Question: 2001 Chevy Cavalier
- Spotted at: The Avenue in Hampden, Baltimore, MD 21211
- Odometer: 84,310
- Car’s Nickname: Da Hooptie
Q: Where’d you get your car?
A: I bought it from my dad for $700. He had an engine problem that he didn’t feel like dealing with, so I was like, “I’ll fix the engine and buy it off you.” And he was like, “Oh cool. I’m broke and need the money.”
Q: How old were you?
A: I was 17 when I bought it. I’m 18 now.
Q: What was wrong with the engine?
A: I don’t know. The serpentine belt was off and it got stuck in something. A chain snapped in half. They tried to change the oil. It opened up and it was splashing fuel all over the inside of the car. Now my car smells like a body shop.
Q: Do you know a lot about cars?
A: I know a lot about cars based on what I’ve had to fix in my car, which is a lot.
Q: What other stuff have you learned? What else have you had to fix?
A: I had this one ridiculous oil change. It was my first oil change of all time and my friend Gino was like, “I’ll hook you up with an oil change for free.” I thought that you had to get one quart of oil. Well, it’s five. So he goes under the car and tries to change the oil. He put it on those safe post things. They had to jack my car up on bricks. He’s trying to drain the oil. He spilled hot oil all over his shirt. The oil drained. It was just muddy slop all over the ground.
Q: Was he okay?
A: Yeah, he was fine.
Q: What’d you learn from that?
A: Change your oil every 7,000 miles.
Q: How long did you wait?
Q: What do you think Gino learned?
A: Watch out.
Q: Have you done any hands on things yourself with the car?
A: I’ve changed my spark plugs. My car had a problem and I was like, “I don’t know what to do!” I bought spark plugs and changed them. I didn’t know if I was supposed to change them or not, but whatever.
Q: Let’s switch gears. What’s your car’s main use?
A: Commuting from my apartment to work, which is in Lauraville.
Q: Do you listen to any talk radio when you’re driving in the morning?
A: No, I hate AM radio. Usually I listen to a lot of sludge, metal, indie, and folk and stuff like that, so not too much radio.
Q: If your car had a human emotion, what would it be and why?
A: Teenage angst, because it’s like a little 13-year-old girl going through puberty.
Q: What do you usually keep on the inside?
A: Let’s see. I got a corsage from dead prom with a bunch of possum bones on it. I’ve got some air fresheners that lost their scent two years ago. Cigarette butts everywhere. Trash. Fast food. There’s probably some McDonald’s fries. Change. Pictures. Oh, I’ve got a giant pole, like a giant wooden stick with a grip on the end in the back of my car. A bunch of clothes, so if I’m somewhere else, and need to get to work in five minutes, I’ve got my clothes. Toll money. And then, you know, the manual, maps, stuff like that.
Q: When your friends are riding with you, do you have any rules?
A: Don’t scream out the window at red lights. Try not to place burning cigarettes on the carpet. Lock the doors when you get out of the car. That’s one thing I cannot stress enough. I have manual locks. I need the freaking doors locked when you get out of the car.
Q: Do you feel like your friends break the rules more when you tell them not to?
A: No. In the land of crappy cars, everyone’s sympathetic to your crappy car. All my friends have crappy cars.
Q: Have you ever been broken into?
A: Yeah! My dad took my car and left my door open. The guy took my two dollars in change out of my center console and left the purse full of money on the floor.
Q: He didn’t even get the good stuff?
A: I know! He didn’t even go into it.
Photos and interview by Eldis Sula
Are you ready to Defend Your Ride? If so, email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Defend Your Ride Baltimore” in the subject line for submission details.
View previous Defend Your Ride features and other great stories for people who love cars at CBSBaltimore.com/Autos.