What does it mean to have an emotional attachment to a car? Is it even possible to have this with a mechanical device?
The simple answer is yes, it is. Especially if you like cars and everything related to them.
As with all emotional attachments, these can also be hard to break or get over.
In this article, we’ll be talking about this and ways to overcome this seemingly harmless problem.
Which it in fact isn’t.
HOW DOES AN EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT TO A CAR BEGIN?
It would be good just to briefly go over some of the most common reasons why this kind of emotional attachment appears:
This is number one on the list. It may be your first car ever, you may have driven your future spouse in it, you may have driven your children in it for the first time or it may have outright saved your life.
Every one of these events starts making an invisible bond especially if you’re big on the emotional side.
Almost no one is immune to a good-looking car. A good body design is a magnet not only for buying but also for keeping the car.
This is a big factor in creating an emotional attachment hence the immense amount of effort car manufacturers invest in design.
One of the most common stories you’ll hear when someone loves a car is that it never lets him/her down.
Cars with a good reliability track tend to grow on their owners, especially on the more practical ones.
If a car is cheap to maintain, was a good purchase, has good fuel consumption and else, it will certainly be a factor for developing an emotional attachment.
It starts from practical and ends up pretty much with being emotional. Something like having a trusted friend in the household.
There are various other reasons for attaching which depend mostly on the personality.
Whatever the reason, the truth is that an emotional attachment develops over time, stronger or weaker but it is there.
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HOW TO GET OVER AN EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT TO A CAR?
Most drivers don’t really notice this attachment until they have to, for instance, sell the car or even scrap it if it’s in bad condition.
Then, all of a sudden, you get a lump in your throat, and you start feeling sad or even get some sort of minor panic attack.
To avoid or reduce this try the next simple steps:
1. CHANGE YOUR POINT OF VIEW
This one is hard or perhaps the hardest of these tips.
The root of the whole emotional attachment is your perspective on the whole thing.
You start to see the car as a sort of person, faithful companion, or buddy.
But the truth is that it is nothing more than a mechanical device that is supposed to serve its purpose and at the end of its service, should be dismantled, recycled, or whatever.
Maybe it sounds cruel if you’re emotionally attached, but those are the facts. If you embrace them properly, parting will be much easier.
2. DRIVE THE CAR LESS
If possible try driving the car less. This won’t be a problem if it’s your second car.
Simply, whenever possible drive the other car and leave the car you have an emotional attachment to in the garage or parking lot.
This, in combination with the previous tip, should very much help in breaking or loosening the emotional attachment.
You’ll sort of start forgetting about it, inevitably.
3. CHECK OUT OTHER CARS
If you’ve made up your mind for letting go of the car you love, you’re probably already thinking of buying a new one.
One of the best remedies for getting over an emotional attachment to a car is to move your emotional focus to some other car.
Be it new or used, start watching ads, and commercials, start walking around dealerships, anywhere where your future car might be.
As you’ll see, especially if you’re a car enthusiast, once you see a newer car, with its shiny modern looks, modern design, nice interior, and electronic gadgets you might easily forget your emotional attachment.
It’s just the nature of things, in most cases.
4. SELL THE CAR TO SOMEONE FAR AWAY
If you’ve decided to sell the car, try to find a buyer that lives far away (preferably in another county or even state).
I know that may be impossible since you can’t choose the buyer but if you have the chance, do it.
In that case, the car is pretty much gone forever, and the chances of you seeing it again are next to nothing.
As the old saying goes, what’s far from the eyes, is far from the heart.
Opposed to this, when sold in the near vicinity, you might face a constant reminder of where the car is and that you let it go.
It gets even worse if the car is sold to someone who neglects it and you have to frequently watch how your prized car is turning into a heap of junk.
In case you want to scrap it and drive it to the junkyard, best to let someone else do it to avoid a bad memory of your beloved car being smashed to smithereens.
5. REALIZE THE FINANCIAL ASPECT
For the last and, in my opinion, most effective tip for getting over an emotional attachment to a car.
It is the cold shower that nobody wants but it is the utter truth.
Start contemplating the financial situation around the car. In most cases, it won’t be good.
Exemptions are old timers and cars that grow in value over time but that’s another story.
The usual scenario is that once you start writing down the maintenance costs (both past and future), once you see the real market value of your car the picture will start to change.
Your beloved car might turn out to be a money pit that costs you a lot more than you can ever get back.
Added to that, if you do the math for future running costs, you may find out that the money spent on maintenance can buy other, perhaps more useful things.
Usually, very serious things like that very much needed household appliance, for setting up or reviving your home savings, going on a good vacation, or else.
On this part, some simple mathematics plus facts equal certain emotional detachment, in most cases.
All of what you read here on how to get over an emotional attachment to a car comes from experience.
In the past, I used to own an older car (for over a decade) that served me very well. It never left me on the side of the road, it was cheap to maintain, and was, at least to me a joy to ride.
To be honest, there was nothing like it even to this day. It went so far that I even shed a few tears when parting with it when it was sold.
But, to be honest, and looking at the whole subject from a distance, that wasn’t the right attitude.
The right attitude was to look at the car as a faithful servant, not as a friend and companion.
Instead, all that love should be focused primarily on yourself and your interest, your budget, and on properly maintaining the car.
This way, you’ll never have problems of this sort since it will never occur in the first place. Instead, you’ll develop a healthy view (not a relationship) on the whole subject.
When the time comes to split up, you’ll happily do it as you’ll be emotionally attached to your best interest instead of the car.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com