Life Hacks: Getting A New Car

Adopting Henrietta

Recently my good friend Angelo the Hyundai could no longer fulfil his role as my primary mode of transportation so I had to go through the difficult time of buying a new car, here is my tale, hopefully it’ll help those of you in a similar situation to make the right choice in your quest for fine travel.

The decision and the budget

Angelo had been dying for a while, he’d be in the garage at least once a month, his check-engine light had been on pretty much since the first day I drove him home, so the decision to replace him was a long time coming. It just got to the point where it was a lot more expensive to fix him that to just bite the bullet and get a new car. My experience with him also taught me to be more careful in this purchase than I had been with the last. So I gave myself a budget of £1000 so obviously I was limited in what I could get, but actually not as limited as you might think.  But you need to be careful with a budget this low that you aren’t just paying £400 for a pile of metal, also every car I checked I instantly checked the insurance, this is easy enough to do on any of the price comparison sites, you can fill out the form once and then just keep going back and changing the car to get a new price. Another thing I considered in my budget was the price of parts and how likely there are to be problems, considering how much it cost to get Angelo fixed constantly, a simple search of the car will give you multiple reviews so you can check if there are any known problems with the make or model.

The Hunt

This step was simple enough; I just typed in used cars in Swansea and was presented with tons of results; most sites let you put in your budget so you can search just what you can afford. Once I found some cars I liked, I bookmarked them and sent messages to some of the sellers. (I also kept an eye out for any cars for sale at the side of the road). If you don’t get a response from the seller or they are evasive, particularly regarding service history or the cost of running, forget that car – the seller is most likely trying to scam you. I have a mechanic who, due to Angelo, knew me pretty well so I was able to ask his advice about cars. If this is possible I suggest you find someone to help you in this, you can ask sellers to take the car to the garage to have it checked, if they outright refuse then that’s another red light, clearly they are hiding something.

The purchase

Now here is where I was a bit silly, the car I found, though I found it on Gumtree was actually from a trade place, which generally it’s best to try and avoid. Side of the road cars will be cheaper and generally only sold as the seller has a new car; trade cars are sold to make money so can cost more for no good reason. There is a chance, however, that you can get a warranty with these cars so that might be worth the extra; that’s something you have to decide.  With me I just found the car I liked and went to get it. Now when you go to get it make sure you know what to ask, I read a lot of horror stories about car sales folk being evil scammers and sexist fools, so I was a little nervous, the guy I dealt with was fine though and as it turns out I was lucky with the trade and the mechanic said it was a good car so all’s well that ends well.

Making it Pretty

Now I’m the type of person who can’t possibly have anything that doesn’t shove my personality in to the faces of everyone around me. So a plain green car? That’s not going to cut it. There are a lot of easy ways to customise cars without paying very much. I found a wonderful site you can find tons of car decals for cheap, screw the boring flowers I got me some bunnies, based on Watership Down and now my car is awesome. Car decals actually look really good and they are so easy and cheap.

So I named my car Henrietta and she is very pretty. And we lived happily ever after…or at least for a few months, on only £40 a month for petrol.



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