I don’t drive, but I’m fully experienced as a backseat driver and have been able to pick up a great deal of car advice (mainly by judging the driver I’m with). The key rule – keep your car in good condition if you want to avoid expensive repairs.
Now I know, this probably sounds like something anyone with even a pinch of common sense would understand, but you’d be surprised at how many drivers I know that don’t do any car upkeep at all. Needless to say, many of them are now considering filing for bankruptcy.
A friend of mine bought a second hand car that came with absolutely no service history – did he think that was strange? Nope, he just went driving around in his shiny new (second hand) car, proud of his good purchase and thought nothing of it. Then that car’s suspension suddenly went to hell, draining his car batteries and he’s looking at repairs in the region of £900. Ouch.
When he got his car towed to his mechanic he helpfully told him that if he’d had it serviced when he bought it the suspension could have been fixed months before. However, as this was the first car he ever owned and he’d had to pay out just shy of a grand in the first month, he wasn’t really in the right frame of mine to appreciate that tidbit of advice right then though.
Another friend of mine had a duff gearbox, which he had already been told about – he said ‘you just had to waggle the gear stick every now and then to get it moving because, you know, it stuck sometimes’. Then one fateful day his car got stuck in reverse and he had to face the prospect of driving backwards all the way home.
And now we come to a female friend (to show that it’s not just men who are stubborn creatures who think they know best about cars) – she spent a cringe-worthy amount of money on this gorgeous vintage car. It was in perfect condition when she got it, but after three years the driver’s side door wouldn’t open and her brakes were, as she put it, ‘not that great’; rest assured that not many people took her up on the offer of a lift after she mentioned that.
And the moral of these horror stories? Well, basically, get your car serviced regularly! It may be expensive and you might not think it’s worth it, but if you don’t want to put the fear of God into your passengers it really is. It can also help to keep an emergency tool kit in your car and the number of a repair company nearby; else you may suffer the same fate as my friends. Not that I’m a nagging back seat driver, of course!