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Persuasive arguments in favour of (or against) a life of shite ownership


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8 hours ago, Marm Toastsmith said:

It's always been my belief that running an old, undesirable car is the most cost effective approach to motoring.

I've also been inclined to feel that keeping a banger on the road is better for the environment than buying a new car.

These are two different questions, they come up fairly often.  Unfortunately for a time when people must give a strong response either for or against, the answers are “it depends”

Running a 20 year old Bentley compared to a brand new Yaris is only going to end one way, however if you choose your old car carefully, buying old can be significantly cheaper.

The question of environment is more difficult because getting the numbers is almost impossible.  Plenty of manufacturers supply data for how much pollution is made building their new cars and, surprise surprise, it’s better to buy a new car.  Step this way sir and we can put you in one today.

The thing is, I’ve seen a lot of manufacturing around the world, seen how many people work in factories, how big the supply chain is… all those people need to drive to work too.  If we shut all this down tomorrow, the world would be much cleaner by the weekend.

If we were really interested in reducing pollution we’d be all over schemes where you can convert old cars to electric, do other stuff to keep them going, encourage a motor trade that didn’t stitch customers up and so on.

For new cars we’d be making them lighter, have fewer components, reduce particulates from tyres etc.  This isn’t happening because the motor industry (like others) is only interested in taking your money for the fewest changes possible.

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9 minutes ago, Asimo said:

That car wasn't doing 40mph when it hit the lamp post. 

NCAP post crash of Astra 

 

I don’t think the council dig in the foundations of lamp posts quite that well😉

They’ve also removed the B-pillar, which I’d quite like to keep in an accident 

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14 minutes ago, Asimo said:

That car wasn't doing 40mph when it hit the lamp post. 

NCAP post crash of Astra 

 

I'll say yes it was doing 40mph.

My mate Peter scored an offset hit on a telegraph pole in his Fiat Panda (a proper biscuit tin one) G951 JLS at 40mph and the passenger compartment was still intact, bar a small north/ south kink in the roof between the windscreen pillars. The front was mullered but my other mate Graeme still got the engine and gearbox out of it for his Uno (which he subsequently rolled into a field, taking the oncoming car with it).

What worries me is the complete lack of side and rear impact protection.

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I’ve done both approaches and it is entirely a cut your cloth to match your budget and energy levels choice. I’ve had some absolutely shit cars over the years and enjoyed them almost as much as the really expensive (for me) ones. The main thing that cost me the most cash on any car was the inconvenience if it broke and I couldn’t earn. That always hurt and made you really realise how cheap that £500 knacker wasn’t.

Equally I’ve had shiny hybrid thing leave me stranded at the supermarket because it didn’t like it’s key that day. Playing parts cannon at your own expense soon gets old.

Like others have said the very simple and resilient cars are disappearing and I don’t see any new ones appearing to replace them at the moment.


Could it get any worse?

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4 hours ago, Asimo said:

That car wasn't doing 40mph when it hit the lamp post. 

NCAP post crash of Astra 

 

That’s not NCAP, it’s some copycat bullshit put together by a fire brigade to prove a point about wearing seatbelts. None of the airbags deploy which rather prove the point that it’s staged. Plus the B pillar has been cut to film the ‘bodies’ flying about. 

Lamposts are not trees, unless it’s a really old iron or concrete one they are designed to have some ‘give’ if something hits them. 

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There are many types of car buyers out there, some groups larger than others.

In a sense, buying an old car is a bit of an art, it must be done right and does involve a tad bit of luck too.

For us on Autoshite and other such types of old-car nut forums, its made easier by the knowledge accumulated and the cars made available to us. Because of the knowledge and back up we have, we have the confidence to chuck a couple of hundred on an old banger and work on it ourselves or at least understand the issue to bring it back from the brink. The desire of chasing an old unloved thing and bringing it back to rude health is a hobby and a nice challenge in itself, just as much buying something so cheap and running it for as long as you can. Image isn't a consideration, but using knowledge, skills, understanding and having some enthusiasm for it is enough to keep most of us going.

Most of the general unwashed though don't have this back up or support structure. Neither do they have the confidence,  enthusiasm or desire to buy and older vehicle.

For most of the unwashed, whether they admit or it or not, a new/newer car is;

• An extension of their perceived success. Image is everything. 

• An accessory, like jewellery or a handbag to be paraded in front of others.

• Less hassle, no worrying about break downs (even though new can often cars do) any issues, chuck it back at the dealer.

• Conforming to the image of what others believe you should be. A subconscious decision that is also a main driver behind the desire.

Basically, for the great unwashed, understanding the world of cars is a daunting, tedious and odious task. The less they care, the more they can concentrate on preening themselves to create this false image of "look at me, isn't my life great" cars, like handbags, clothes and phones just form a part of that image i.e. the newer, the better. 

The idea of image transcends the ages, were not talking just about young fashionistas, but also the older "keeping up with the Joneses" types that sadly still exist.

The above is example of the types that drive the market the car manufacturers try to tap into hence the popularity of soft-roader "SUV" type vehicles oft-seen on the road today. 

Another type is what is perceived the "normals" the greige type of people that again, are not car people but buy what they feel is the right car for them and their circumstance. Like above though, the newer the car, the more "reliable" it is perceived to be.

Image isn't a high consideration for them although many would only consider a newer car rather than an older one,  remember, these are not 'car people' so their knowledgeon cars doesn't exist. Generally as long as the car does what its supposed to do, isn't broken or too old, its fine. Cars to these types are seen as simply white goods, a means to an end.

That isn't forgetting the other groups of newer car buyers, some have families and want reliable transport, even some old car nuts still need an everyday don't-care-much-about-it type car to do all the donkey work.

However, for a large percentage of the car buying public including most or these groups, the image of an older vehicle is still the same one that they grew up with, the type of car depicted on James Ruppert's book, a multi-coloured rusty old banger pouring out smoke and breaking down every 5 minutes.

Older vehicles are not seen in their modern image, which is; just an older version of newer vehicles, reliable old transport built to last a good few hundred thousand miles with minimal outlay. People still see the used car in the image of a 1979 rusty old Vauxhall Viva with cardboard and wob for panels and an engine held together with duct tape.

We also live in a throwaway society that sees older stuff as rubbish to be thrown away, its the reason we have charity shops. We probably need charity shops for older cars now. Car too old? Can't be arsed to sell it? Drop keys and paperwork through the letter box, park outside and we'll do the rest.

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5 hours ago, Lacquer Peel said:

A lamp post is deformable. 

you clearly have never found the "wrong end" of of a Stanton 8G or such!

image.thumb.png.168df474fe82b4804c929f052f855978.png

one of these would really ruin your day if you crashed into it (if not from the impact of effectively hitting a concrete bollard, then the sudden rain of concrete and streetlights would!)

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So I've had my 1.5Dci nearly new Mégane for 3 and a bit months. Done 3,500 miles in that time. So far it costs me £200 per month in a bank loan. I fill the tank once every 3 weeks. It does 60mpg. Also half the cost to insure vs my old P11 Primera. 

So effectively, it's about £100 p/m to have a 2 year old car that I just get in and turn the key with another 3 years of manufacture Warranty left. 

 

It's amazing not to have to get underneath it to change a fucked drop link or a seized caliper, what people forget is that shit gets old, especially when it's wet and cold in January freezing your arse off fighting with rusty bolts. Honestly, fuck that when you need to get to work otherwise you loose money. 

 

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I should also explain that I've got two other old cars and they bring their own benefits and I can put them aside and enjoy working on them when the weather's nice. 

Plus all the benefits as others have mentioned.  But anyway, both have advantages. And disadvantages. But I enjoy them both. 

0fc.gif.2d066893b176c00668df57726006d4d6.gif

 

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1 hour ago, Lord Sterling said:

People still think that a used car is a 1979 rusty old Vauxhall Viva with cardboard and wob for panels and an engine held together with duct tape.

Oi! I resemble that remark!

Viva, France, July 1999 (crop).png

(The engine was actually held together with cable ties, on this occasion.)

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I clock up over 25,000 miles a year, possibly more, and genuinely can't imagine not owning old shite. Most modern car is a 2006, and it's undergoing an engine swap. Most trusty car on the fleet is an Aussie Ford and a Citroen GSA - 14,000 miles between them over the past year.

Staying on top of mechanical woes is the biggest issue, and the stress from that does get me down. But, importantly during such economic times, I can shut down expenditure to very, very little if need be, because everything is paid for. Nothing is depreciating, nothing is committing me to a monthly payment.

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13 minutes ago, dollywobbler said:

 I can shut down expenditure to very, very little if need be, because everything is paid for. Nothing is depreciating, nothing is committing me to a monthly payment.

This is exactly what I had to do when I was made redundant, which meant shedding my financed Dacia Duster. If I ever need to cut my cloth again, I'm lucky enough to have off road storage for all my cars and can just park them up in SORN at quick notice. I actually plan to do that with one of them over the winter to offset an expected rise in energy costs.

I'd also like to point out that I have now bought 4 cars that had issues which put them in danger of being scrapped and have returned them to the road for several years more use. I've had a couple more with almost terminal failures which I have again saved . Some non car people laugh at us with our 'projects' but seen through, these can reduce the purchase of a new car by one each time.

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To me shite ownership is fine if you do low miles and you aren't averse to fixing things yourself, I run a 19 year old Volvo and the wife a 13 year old 308, combined we do less than 6k a year so the sub 30mpg doesn't sting that much. 

However when we both did 20-40k a year in previous jobs it was new all the way, we needed something that would do a reliable 60mpg and a modern diesel was the only choice as we had to be able to get to work and if the car went wrong you'd throw it back in the dealers and tell them to fix it. 

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18 hours ago, RoadworkUK said:

I just can't abide the idea of losing money to depreciation every second of the day. 

That's pretty much all there is to it.

This.

Aside from mortgage, any constant monthly outgoings which can be lessened or even avoided can only be a good thing. 

A while back, prior to buying my cheap winter beater Leon (which I lost around £350 on after six months of ownership because of gearbox noises - still reasonable monthly VFM considering I bought a car with problems) I looked at a scruffy Suzuki Jimny. It was the cheapest 07 plate Jimny in existence I reckon - £700 with a short MOT. It turned out to be cheap as it was HANGING - underside was made of ginger crumbs, interior smelt like a fisherman's sleeping quarters (the owner had used the jeep to launch his fishing boat trailer on a regular basis) and it was clearly never going to pass another MOT. 

The thing which made me raise a wry smile is the old fella selling the jeep couldn't get his head around the fact why a teacher would want a scruffy old jeep. He even commented, 'you wouldn't want to roll up in the car park and park next to all the nice cars in an old banger would you?'. 

Admittedly, it was a really shite example and it was dirt cheap for a reason. I think it was more the perception that teachers always drive shiny new cars. Our family fleet current consists of a 19 year old MR2 and a 15 year old E91 BMW. Do we plan on financing ourselves up to the hilt?

Hell no!

 

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I get this quite a lot from my old man. He’ll go ‘come on by your age you really should have a new car’ almost as if I’ve let the family down. At one point I’d had some grief with one or other car and he was almost insistent that I did the sensible thing and went down and bought an approved nearly new Vauxhall Insignia with the all important warranty. Wasn’t quite sure of the financial logic of chaining myself to £300 a month to save a one off £200 bill but there we have it. 

Some months ago we had the boiler go, pretty much expected, I’d saved the dough up to replace it, got a new one fitted that should last 10 years or so. £2,700 but there we have it, was definitely worthwhile. Anyway the suggestion given to me was to not be messing about with old houses and I should by this point have aspired to a new build by this point in my life. So the suggestion at that point was to borrow another £100,000 and save myself the trouble of replacing boilers every ten years. 

So kids, pull your socks up and get a new car, new build otherwise people will talk. Or be a scruffy layabout like me. 🤣

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I was fortunate to come into a bit of money a couple of years back. After I'd cleaned it up, I used it to buy a nearly-new (well, 2 and a bit years old at the time) Fabia.

Had it 2 years now, and the only time I've had to lift the bonnet was to jump start my MX5. I don't do my own servicing on it unlike the others, I just have it done at MOT time. I'm not sure I'd want to be paying £££/month for it, but as a one-off purchase I don't regret it at all - much as I love my shite, some days I really can't be arsed with 'character' or 'foibles'. I just want to get in and go somewhere, and the Fabia is perfect for that. 

So yeah, I don't buy into the "Modern cars are shit" narrative, but I'm definitely a proponent of purchasing rather than financing, whether it's a budget banger or nearly new. Some people at work say I'm behind the times in that regard, and regularly remind me that they all get shiny new cars every 3 years. I don't really care if I'm honest, I plan to run this one until it becomes unsustainable to run an ICE car.

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3 hours ago, dollywobbler said:

Staying on top of mechanical woes is the biggest issue, and the stress from that does get me down. But, importantly during such economic times, I can shut down expenditure to very, very little if need be, because everything is paid for. Nothing is depreciating, nothing is committing me to a monthly payment.

Yep this is the primary reasoning I apply. Open the tap when times are good but retain the ability to wind it back when needs be. 

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50 minutes ago, sierraman said:

I get this quite a lot from my old man. He’ll go ‘come on by your age you really should have a new car’ almost as if I’ve let the family down.

This is quite revealing :D

Of course, there are two main approaches to a new car - buy and maintain, hoping it will last for 20 years (after all, it's usually 20 year old cars I'm driving anyway), or lease and get a new one every three years.

 

The "used" car market is so broken currently that buying nearly new or even five years old is probably the worst spot - increase the investment, increase the liability.

 

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3 hours ago, dollywobbler said:

But, importantly during such economic times, I can shut down expenditure to very, very little if need be, because everything is paid for. Nothing is depreciating, nothing is committing me to a monthly payment.

This is a really good point. We have a fairly low household income. The idea of committing to a large outlay for a period of time when you have no idea if you'll still have a job next month is a bit frightening.  If our energy costs cripple us, we can sell off a few cars and the reduction in VED alone should offset that until things calm down a bit.

I've also just read into the Scottish LEZ plans and noticed that there's an exemption for 30+ year old cars, or those no longer in production (whatever that means!). So, I could still go anywhere with the 240 or Amazon (well, once it has floors, sills and an engine).

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I’m another disciple of Bangernomics (recently acquired myself a fresh copy, just for nostalgia).

I love cheap old cars, there’s something utterly relaxing about them. They needn’t be on their last mechanical legs, plus new cars can have wear or fault related costs too. I think doing one’s own spannering is a useful skill when owning shite, it massively reduces the cost of ownership and places you much further from the uneconomical repair threshold. 

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I don't quite know

my daily driver is a 19 odd year old Citroen C5, great car, 177k on it and the thing is it's not going to last forver......i do around 25k a year in it and so far so good for the most part

my other car, "backup car" is an almost 30 year old Citroen XM, now that is not a great car, it's a tired example that's been neglected

i do completely trust the C5, and mostly trust the XM

but i know they need care, they need to be loved and parts availability for them both isn't the best

will i always own old "shite", well who knows, i'd like to try a brand new car ones day

i must admit the thought of something brand new i can maintain to my standards right from the start with a warrenty etc is a night thought

and i do like the look of the current Toyota Prius

time will tell i suppose

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man maths on my focus , bought it just under 5 years ago for 400 notes , its just had oil , filters , tyres ,brakes and a down pipe ...

its been everywhere ..

its come to the economic end of its life and the best scrap price I have just had is 300 notes ...

getting the arse end tyre and brakes  fixed could cost me circa 200 , plus windscreen , plus owt else , plus MOT !!

so come the 20th I can drive it to the scrap yard and use my bus pass to get home ...

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I’ve quite happily run old cars as daily drivers since 1993. ( Citroen 2cv, cx Pallas, cx DTR. And recently the Mercedes coupe for nearly 10 years). None have left me stuck on the side of the road. After the cx DTR rusted I part exd it for a three year old c5 in 2006. Very cheap (£4K) and low mileage (33k) but needed breakdown recovery three times. That pxed for the merc which went to @Six-cylinder because of rust. I’ve now got a brand new fiat as a daily because I needed a car quickly and the only other things I fancied were old rusty jags. 

2cv 1993- 2001

Cx Pallas 1999-2001 ( murdered by a French driver)

cx dtr 2001-2006

c5 2006-2012

mercedes 2012-2021

fiat TIPO 2021-

plus 2cv 1995- present

plus x1/9 2006 - present

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Some interesting answers and opinions. We've three cars, one bought new, though pre reg in 2015,one bought just shy of 3 years old in 2019 and a 33 year old "classic", bought last year. Plus, in the last 18 months, I've aquired and moved on, 3 rescue cars as I like to call them, strangely all 54 reg. They were all "no risk" vehicles in so far as the prices paid were below scrap value, with current Mots so I could assess their condition thoroughly before deciding what road to go down with them. I enjoy working with stuff like and hopefully improving it and giving it a chance of survival. Not sure though having run 9 cars bought new or under three years old for the past 20 years, I'd want to run purely old stuff. Perhaps a "hybrid" arrangement with a modern and a couple of oldies might work. Do wonder about prices stuff seems to be selling for though. Chatting to a chap I hadn't seen for a while. Quite financially astute,owns and runs 11 student lets. Recently replaced the 03 reg Passat estate he uses as a runaround for his business. He's got a newish S Class Merc as a main car. Paid £2K for an 06 Passat estate and then another £1K sorting it, which to me sounds crazy. 

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13 minutes ago, MikeR said:

man maths on my focus , bought it just under 5 years ago for 400 notes , its just had oil , filters , tyres ,brakes and a down pipe ...

its been everywhere ..

its come to the economic end of its life and the best scrap price I have just had is 300 notes ...

getting the arse end tyre and brakes  fixed could cost me circa 200 , plus windscreen , plus owt else , plus MOT !!

so come the 20th I can drive it to the scrap yard and use my bus pass to get home ...

I’d be keeping it going, personally.  Sounds like a decent car and buying anything in the current market is a nightmare.

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11 hours ago, MJK 24 said:

I’d be keeping it going, personally.  Sounds like a decent car and buying anything in the current market is a nightmare.

I have thought that , but we only need one car , the C1 , which does zillions to the gallon in comparison ... it coud become a gate gaurdian ..

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11 hours ago, Dobloseven said:

Paid £2K for an 06 Passat estate and then another £1K sorting it, which to me sounds crazy. 

I can see the sense in this. I mean I wouldn't pay £2k for a crusty vag, but choosing a car you like then spending the money getting it sorted, it puts you in a position where you know what you've got.  Long term, I still believe the cheapest car is the one you own, unless it's absolutely rotten.  At least it's a known quantity.

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Over 34 cars I've tried anything from £75 bangers to £35k new cars

Lowest cost of ownership - cheaper car bought outright with plenty of life left but perceived as "old" by the general public

Nicest ownership experience - new/nearly new cars, everything is new so with average mileage you won't even be replacing tyres for the first couple of years

Highest cost of ownership - the no-mans land of not yet cheap to buy but still expensive to maintain 5-8 year old (normally German) cars that throw up a few faults and you end up getting rid after spending money on them. Prime example my 7 year old BMW 325d

YMMV

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On 31/05/2022 at 08:48, Dick Longbridge said:

I think it was more the perception that teachers always drive shiny new cars. Our family fleet current consists of a 19 year old MR2 and a 15 year old E91 BMW. Do we plan on financing ourselves up to the hilt?

 

I love having the oldest car in the staff car park at our school. My 25 year old Volvo, or 30 year old Pontiac fits in well* amongst the shiny BMWs, Peugeots and even the odd Audi. But tbf everyone loves it if I bring the 2CV to school! 

Next oldest is a 20 year old MR2 run by one of the Science teachers. 

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