Break Up With Your Car

Break up With Your Car: A How-to Guide

broken heart car and owner

Break ups are hard. SHiFT is here to help.

Each year, AAA’s Foundation for Driving Safety publishes a report on the results of their American Public Driving Survey. Among the figures estimated in this report is the total amount of time the average U.S. driver spends in their vehicle daily and annually. And guess what? It’s A LOT!

The 2022 American Driving Survey indicates that drivers in the U.S. spend a daily average of 60.2 minutes in the car. Annually, this equates to an individual spending a whopping 366 hours (that’s over 9 40-hour work weeks!) in their vehicles.

It’s no surprise that many form an emotional connection with their cars and struggle to let go when their vehicle is no longer a reliable form of transport.

This piece is a step-by-step how-to on saying goodbye to a vehicle with which you have a strong emotional connection with. We hope it gives those of you holding on the nudge you might need to make that next step. If nothing else, it offers you an option for a vehicle’s dignified retirement, optimizing the re-use of parts and reduction of EOL vehicle retirement related emissions.

  1. Decide on your next steps.

    Ask yourself, where do all the good cars go to die?
  2.  Break the news.

    Cars don’t know how to read (yet) but we recommend a heartfelt letter. Here’s an example that we encourage you to edit as you see fit:

Dear [Hot Rod/Bertha/insert vehicle name], 

        It’s been a good run. But like all good things, it must come to an end. I’ve struggled to make this decision….it feels so final. But it’s been weighing on me for a while now. You’ve become less and less reliable as the years have gone on. Ultimately, I just don’t see a future for us together. 

        The world has been rapidly changing around us and I’ve held onto you for as long as I can. Maybe it was out of fear of the future, maybe it was a vague subconscious loyalty to the past. There is a future that I want to be a part of….and you are simply not compatible with this future. 

        I promise that you will go on to have many more lives, in many different forms. Though all of you won’t end up in the same place, each of your parts will become part of something new. 

        The place where you’re headed will take care of you, gently caring for your hazmat fluids and restoring your parts to like-new. None of you will be abandoned and little will go to waste.

        The expert automotive recyclers will take care of you, following all EPA guidelines to ensure you and your hazmat fluids are cared for properly.

        This is the best decision for us and the world that surrounds us. It feels like I’m giving you back to the planet, making up for the harm we inadvertently caused during our time together. That was just the nature of things back then. But that doesn’t need to be the case today and I can’t justify continuing if there’s a cleaner future possible for the air.

         I’m nervous for a future that doesn’t include us riding through it together. I’m nervous for a new routine that doesn’t include regular stops at the gas station. I don’t know how it will go but I can only hope for a better future, for the both of us. All my love,

       Your driver, 

               [insert name]

        3. Take action. 

    1. Saying you’re breaking ties is one things. Actually doing it is another…