Buying a used car is a smart decision. You can get cars that are no longer produced, a generation you really like, or even just get a good deal on a car that wasn’t driven very far and was taken care of. However, being the very first owner of your car is still an unrivaled experience. But, there is a dark side to it...
When you buy a used car, any existing problem and sometimes future problems can easily be blamed on the car’s not always known past. However, when your arse is the only arse that’s been behind the wheel, there isn’t much you can say.
Enter my smart.
I got my little smart fortwo passion coupe back in 2012. It had a massive 10.7 miles on its odometer. I would become the first owner of this car. Nearly four years later, my little Tucker is crossing 99,000 miles, and will most likely hit 100,000 before February is out.
The miles haven’t been the most kind to my car. From the moment I took delivery, the car had some problems. The first was a steering wheel that was off-centre. To this day, it’s not centred, the genius techs at Mercedes-Benz figured out how to permanently make my wheel off centre.
Not soon later, my first two panels fell off. I lost a side skirt in a car wash, and an interior panel also popped off without reason.
At 15k-20k, the transmission developed a horrible clanking noise whenever I engaged my Reverse gear. This was a result of me backing down this hill, right after taking this picture:
Today, sometimes my car refuses to engage a gear, and sometimes, the clutch decides that it wants to take the day off.
At around 22k, the engine started shuddering and struggling to retain running temperature in cold weather. Again, an issue the dealerships refused to even look at. Today? The engine will misfire like crazy if the outside temps drop below 0 Fahrenheit.
On the 4th of July in 2013, someone decided to put a bullet into my baby.
2014 saw me finishing most of my modding projects, including my rage face speedometer and vortex generators to help with crosswinds. At the same time, I started trying my hardest to get Mercedes-Benz to repair the transmission and diagnose the engine. I was under warranty, but nope, they refused to touch the car unless I had a check engine light on at the very moment the car was in the service bay.
2015 saw the car falling apart at an accelerated rate. My exhaust rusted off, various bolts got seized (including the bolts for the third brake light, which simply broke off because so much rust), bulbs started blowing, my speakers started going out, and my belts began protesting with those annoying arse squeals.
I’ve not been able to repair my car at all in 2015 thanks to my abusive parents stealing my monies...But I was able to get a start at it in 2016. The first thing I fixed was the rotted exhaust.
And as a thank you from the car, my right front wheel bearing decided to call it quits. Now it’s moaning like a whining child.
Then there are other little things. My lovely TSWs need repainting due to brake dust and a car wash track that scratched up the lips. One of the interior door cards have a tear...and I’m not exactly sure why...then I had to rip off half the window tint because local law enforcement gave me a nice ticket.
And that brings me to today. I love my little car. It’s never backed down from any challenge, and it was the inanimate object that proved to me that dreams do come true. But, somehow over these past four years, I’ve let my new car become a project car. It hurts. I have nobody else to blame but myself. Granted, I didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter...but I could have done better. And so, I’m fantasizing. And I’m giving myself a number of choices:
A) Repair my baby one part at a time: This makes the initial upfront costs cheaper. However, with my car being pretty much a lemon, I don’t think I’ll ever finish repairing the car.
B) Trade for another smart of the same generation: This also has potentially low upfront costs. Trade in my car for a smart of the same generation. These cars are normally super reliable, so chances that I’ll end up with another lemon is pretty low. That, and I can go for the convertible, which is what I’ve always wanted in the first place. They depreciate like crazy, so I can get one for dirt cheap.
C) Get the new smart: Mmmmmm...3 pedals, turbo...Only thing holding me back from this is how much Mercedes-Benz is willing to help me out. If they require a huge down payment, I’ll have to wait, or go with another choice.
D) Satisfy my itch for other cars. I’d love to give a 3 Series or a C-Class a try. I could even get an Audi TT for an awesome price! I love German designs from the early/mid 2000s. Classy and conservative.
EDIT: I just checked local stock at CarMax. These cars depreciate so rapidly (partly due to the newly released model) that I can get a low mileage example that’s more loaded than my car, but for not a whole lot of monies.
Oh my oh my the choices are amazing!
But of course, I still have to get moved into my new apartment with a new job first, but it’s still fun to think about.
And let this be a PSA for you, don’t let your new car become a project car!