The idea of buying your kid a car should fill any sane human with dread.
Not simply the cost, which is always going to be counted on multiple, ongoing fronts. But the actual process.
Carried out recently by us in a humidity-laden, sun-baked North Queensland locale, with a limited timeframe and no knowledge of cars. Yes people, we can confirm it’s a jungle out there.
On the flight up, we Googled “used cars, low ks, long rego” and became familiar with the lies we expected to encounter.
“Serviced regularly”, “goes well”, “does not come with a roadworthy certificate”.
We quickly arrived at the conclusion that disinformation about cars is not disinformation if the buyer/victim is informed. Somewhere after that, Fair Trading might get involved.
It pays to be paranoid. Particularly if you don’t know what’s true. Because if it is true, it ain’t paranoid.
And thus you get an insight into the mindset we brought to the table.
The car itself couldn’t be better than the one our parents didn’t buy us when we were our child’s age. And don’t think this didn’t get brought up a thousand times as we haggled over just how old a used car could be.
“Agharst” describes the look as the penny dropped the car would be at least pre-GFC in terms of engine build.
Make that pre-9/11.
Images of a commercial airliner piloted by her parents into hopes and dreams of getting a spanking new Cadillac sprang to mind. Good!
“Does it go” would be the first and possibly only question that mattered.
Particularly as all used car dealers seem to smell one thing when they see people like us walk in the door – fresh meat. But meet we did, and smile and give over psychological intel so they could work their schtick.
After backing out of several encounters because the schtick was just too ridiculous, we arrived at a random lot next to a car that looked half alright. Ie, it was red.
The dealer said, “Sure, get an independent inspection.”
The guy who independently checked it out, Barry, said it would be perfect for a kid going to uni – information we had not imparted to Barry. Curious.
The dealer, when confronted with this said, “Sure I told Barry,” slightly oblivious to the idea he wasn’t supposed to know Barry, let alone tell him. So much for the concept of “independent inspection”.
But top marks for being candid.
You get that, he said, because Townie’s a small town. Everyone knows everyone. Cue audible eye roll.
Actually Townie’s a freaking stretched out, hot and humid big town, where a car with ice-cold air con and miserly mileage comes in handy. We can independently verify that. To which our used car dealer responded that Barry was a bit OCD and that the clutch was fine.
Hopefully the rest of the car is too and we aren’t counting the cost in terms of dread further down the highway.