Seven years. Three children. That's the resume my old Graco MetroLite LE stroller boasted. If it were the back of a baseball card, I'd say it had a Hall of Fame career. After spending a couple of years in storage, the stroller was called back into action a year ago when my youngest child arrived. He'd been using it right up until this weekend. Frankly, the stroller was great. Sure, it stopped looking shiny-new many years ago, but it worked as well as ever. My wife and I figured it'd get us through child number three, after which the Graco would get its proverbial gold watch. Then, this weekend, its career was cut unexpectedly short.
While three kids (now aged seven, four and one) never managed to send my Metrolite to the big Babies "R" Us in the sky, the engineers at Graco never designed the stroller to survive being backed into and over by a Nissan Pathfinder. Turns out, a nearly 5,000-pound SUV will, in fact, convert your status from stroller owner to stroller shopper in mere seconds.
It happened innocently enough. After taking the baby for a walk around the neighborhood, the stroller was left parked behind the Pathfinder in the garage. Later, while we were pulling out to bring my daughter to ballet class, the Graco was subjected to a level of testing not even the masochists at IIHS could dream up. As my wife describes it, "Oh, you knew instantly what had happened. You heard a 'thunk-thunk' and there it was."
"It" was the stroller, out in the driveway, with its left front wheel assembly torn off. Incredibly, it would have been fixable. The assembly popped right back on and swiveled like it was supposed to. But the axle the double-wheel setup was attached to was hopelessly bent (as you can see above). The heretofore indestructable MetroLite? Hobbled like a running back with a torn Achilles.
It was a sad thing to see. Despite being a crafty veteran, the stroller continued to perform like it was in the prime of its career. We're now using a borrowed stroller while we seek a permanent replacement. Still, I'll miss that thing. It carried all my kids, saw untold food and drink spills (including ones of my own doing), and just soldiered on. I'd personally recommend it to anybody.
So, as a final sendoff, I'll compare my own experiences with the Graco MetroLite to the ConsumerSearch pros and cons we listed for it back in '08.
And with that, I bid a final farewell to my rough-and-tumble Graco MetroLite stroller (in French bear pattern). You served us admirably. We salute you.