I have an old, crappy car. A hand-me-down. Over 170,000 miles, and my 190E is still running strong, kind of. Over time, little things fall apart–the rearview mirror has cracked, the shift knob rattles, the check engine light is constantly “red”, when I press the brakes it honks, and three of the four power windows have stopped working. Okay, it’s a P.O.S. I would love to trade it in for new wheels, but, my conscience and practicality get the best of me. Do I really need a new car? Can I live with this one? After all, it does run. So, instead of heading down the new car path, I decided to try and fix it on the cheap.
Welcome to the concept of car ecology, a junkyard south of Los Angeles in Wilmington. A place where dead cars go, but, where people scavenge the yard in search for their exact model and can basically start cannibalizing. All of the hoods are popped open, the doors unlocked, wheels usually taken off and propped on blocks. As I was walking down aisle after aisle, the thrill of the hunt set in among tons and tons of metal, I was surprised to find a few 190Es exactly like my own. As I was picking through the old carcass of cars, it got me thinking of how amazing this type of recycling is. People lease or buy, upgrade and or trade in all the time, but, to extend the life of your car by finding new parts, this is real recycling. Along with a couple of power window parts and a new mirror, I found what I was looking for–a new appreciation for my old car.