A Conversation for Buying a Car
Uncle Ghengis Started conversation Oct 4, 2001
There are plenty of people who 'must have' a new car - on the basis that a new car is bound to be more reliable, cheaper to run and of course have a better image than an older car and they're more environmentally friendly too.
An old car can be reliable - or at least far easier to fix if it does go wrong. (Not so many electronic gizmos)
An old car will have done a good part of it's depreciating already - a major cost in car ownership.
Many old cars have an 'image' which far exceeds the 'off-the-shelf' new car choices.
It is decidedly wasteful to build new cars and then scrap them again after a few years. It's *far* more 'green' to run an old (but well maintained) car.
What do I drive ?:
A 1970 VW Camper and a 1985 VW Golf.
Obviously these choices may require some deeper knowledge of car maintenance than many people would want to be involved with. But it doesn't cost the earth...
Abi Posted Oct 5, 2001
I drive a 1970 Morris Minor - quality motoring at its finest even if it leaves the boyfriend looking like
Here is a good tip, if you are interested in a classic car the Owners Club should give you top tips for what to look out for when going to look at a car. For example, with Moggies it is the sills... apparently!
Captain Kebab Posted Oct 6, 2001
I also drive a 1970 Morris Minor and endorse the above comments. But if you want budget motoring...
I once bought a 10 year old Lada 1500 for my wife. We were skint, she needed a car, it was all we could afford. I paid £100 for it. It looked awful - it was rusty and had a variety of dents. It had no ignition lock - you just turned the switch (which was hanging loose from its wires) by hand - and my wife only ever locked it when she left her coat in it. It was no fun at all to drive, and people would point and laugh. All our friends made fun of it.
But - it started first time. Every time. And it went. In fact it went rather well. We had that car for 15 months, during which time it required no work at all apart from routine servicing, and never let us down in any way. And then we sold it for £70. Don't let anybody tell you that Ladas are a joke.
tiggsaviates Posted Oct 7, 2001
I've had all sorts of cars from Lotus through BMW to Metros and I have also built two cars of my own One a Morgan Replica the other a Ginetta G27 (way quicker and more fun than my Lotus)
Without a doubt the best deal I've ever had on a car is a Sierra Estate I'm running now, which I bought 3 years ago for £500 to go to The Alps in to carry my Hangglider and Paragliding equipment for a 3 week holiday. It did nine hours solid driving non stop with all that equipment on top at a constant 95mph and returned 32mpg for the trip. It's now done 170,000 miles and all I've spent on it other than replacing tyres is £25 for a set of rear springs from the scrapyard.
I may not drive a car with a catalytic convertor (a positive deision I have made not to do, they are a con) but the cars I drive are the most environmentally friendly you can get short of an electric vehicle. The two I have built have been made from scraped vehicles from the 1970s and they are still running now and pulling heads. The Morgan replica never fails to get a friendly remark in a carpark and the Ginetta trounces my friends BMW M3 and sticks to the back of any V8 Esprit Turbo through the most contorted of chicanes. What's best of all though is They are both classed as historic vehicles (over25 years old) and I don't have to pay road tax on them :o)
Modern cars? The biggest waste of money you can find short of buying a lame racehorse. As for environmentally friendly well I ask you how much energy does it take to smelt that steel, mould that plastic and then strangle the fuel efficiency with a filter on the exhaust. Of course the car makers and the government don't want you to believe that as they want all that profit and taxes off you ! Ask yourself why are we not running electic vehicles and why we fight wars in the middle east.
KWDave Posted Oct 7, 2001
Touchy subject here in car-crazy America, but you can make the conscious decision to live in a place where the gas-guzzling SUV is NOT king.
I'm six foot-four, and I've consistently chosen smaller, fuel-efficient older cars (Minis, Fiats, MG's) through twenty-five years of driving history. Now that I live on a two-mile by four-mile island, mopeds and electric cars are the chosen mode of transportation, and since the top speed is 35 mph, I have to laugh at all of the MB Kompressors and BMW 500 series speedwagons that some people have to have to live from day to day.
It's all about what you have to get done in a day's work I reckon. Maybe it's time to realign the priorities first, then let the transport follow...
Felonious Monk - h2g2s very own Bogeyman Posted Oct 8, 2001
I din't learn to drive until I was thirty, and have had three cars since then. The first two were VW's, and the most recent is a 1996 Skoda Felicia Estate. And, of course, the best one has been the last: it has been incredibly reliable, exconomical, comfortable, bear the odd bit of wear and tear and, being galvanised, does not have a spot of rust on it anywhere. I get the mickey taken out of me by people who run expensive, gas-guzzling motors that seem to spend half their life being serviced, and the other half accelerating towards red traffic lights.
If you're buying on a budget, ignore the boy racers who will scoff at anything lacking twin bicarbs and all-round-independent suspicion. Money on a car is ultimately money down the drain, so buy something functional and to merry hell with the image, and keep the money for something worthwhile, like a holiday. And chances are, you won't get to work any quicker in a BMW.
Obeewan Kermode(e) Posted Oct 9, 2001
Good to see that someone else realises that crushing cars up and making new ones is not always the best use of resources. There is a point in this argument where I feel vulnerable and it starts at the 'when IS it the best thing to do then?' point.
Having done a bit of poking around, I can't find any usable information about when to bin, or when to patch up. It strikes me that there must be a number of factors to come up with the answer.
How far you drive a year multiplied by the mpg of the car = total fuel used per year.
How many mpg could you get out of a new car times distance travelled = fuel could be used per year.
Subtract one from other to get possible fuel saving. BUT how much energy does it take to make a car? If it takes more than the car will save in its life, then there is no point.
Has anybody been down this particular road before? I can't find any definitive sources on embodied energy in cars.
tiggsaviates Posted Oct 9, 2001
There have been studies and there are regulations coming in in Europe regarding the recylcing and disposal of vehicles and the responsibilities of the manufacturers in it all. BMW seem to make a big thing of letting people know it.
What you have to bear in mind though is that no company ever wants to produce a vehicle with an indefinate life, they'll only ever sell the one to each individual if they did.
Electric vehicles are a good example of what could be done today but isn't because how would you tax the fuel ? and what would we do with al the oil we've invested billions in and what would happen to the political balance in the world.
If you want to be economic and good to the environment you got to get your fingers greasy and get down to the junk yard and keep that perfectly good vehicle running with the plentifull supply of parts just laying around in piles of rusting hulks. Untill they start mass producing Fuel Cells there isn't really any environmentally good argument for buying a new car
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