Buying a car without earning a single paisa was never my intention, but as my fate had in store for me, I had to lighten the burden of my parents’ pockets, and be the proud owner of my first car, thanks to certain developments that took place in past few months.
I was unfortunate enough to break my leg in the month of August and even two months after removal of plaster I had not regained my original walking capability. To make already bad things worse, my college is situated in the outskirts of the city and requires at least 1 km walk to reach the bus stop. After quite a few woeful incidents of being chiselled by auto drivers and misguided by bus conductors, I decided that it is high time I get a vehicle for myself. Problems encountered
Being a complete novice in matters of vehicles, it was not easy for me to decide upon a car to buy. First of all, I had no idea what so ever about cars. Secondly, even if I buy one, its maintenance as well as the cost for the same would create a problem. Lastly, and most important of all, I don’t know how to drive. Search starts
But my desire to be independent of the public transport system drove me towards driving. So finally, in the month of November I decided that I would get a basic, small car which would serve my purpose without being too heavy on my pocket. The first question was whether to buy used vehicle or a new one. After reading a few reviews and essays on this subject (a detailed comparison is available in this site itself), I decided to opt for used car. The second question was which car to buy. The obvious choice was Maruti 800. I had a few other cars also to choose from, like Tata Nano, Maruti Alto Lx or LXi and Reva. In fact, Reva was my first choice because my requirement is very limited and restricted within the city limits. Also, the running cost is almost nothing when compared to the sky-rocketing petrol price. Further, it requires very little driving skills.
But, along with pros, the cons were also glaring. First of all, getting a second hand Reva is not very easy. Though lately the city of Bangalore is witnessing quite a few Revas, there aren’t too many for sale in the used category. A Reva would also be more expensive, compared to 800 or Nano. Most important of all, I won’t be able to learn much of driving if I use a Reva. Therefore, it was soon out of my list.
Second option was Nano, which was also eliminated at the first instance. If asked for reason, I won’t be able to provide much, except for the fact that I don’t like its looks. So, in spite of its fuel efficiency and low cost, I decided to go for Maruti 800, the trusted and faithful companion of average Indian consumers.
Here I admit that Maruti Alto gave a tough competition. It possesses all the qualifications of 800 and some more. But I had to keep in mind my budget and the fact that I will use the car to learn driving, so finally I decided that Maruti 800 is the car for me. (This site and the comments posted by everybody has helped me a lot to decide). Experience of checking up cars
It is never easy for a first time individual newbie to buy a car. In reply to my advertisement “I want to buy a car” in various websites I started getting calls from all sorts of people at all hours owning cars of multifarious specifications. So irksome was the experience that I wanted to throw away my phone and post another advertisement – “I DON’T WANT to buy a car.” This is the time when I got an advice that it is better to buy a car from reliable dealers like Maruti True Value. Thus started the second phase of my car search. Finally…..
Now that I had streamlined my choice, it was comparatively easy. I contacted the True Value dealers in Bangalore, went to check up in two or three showrooms, distributed my phone number among all like free candy and then waited breathlessly for a call to come from any of the dealers.
Though it took me only a few minutes to type, in reality two months had elapsed before that eagerly-waited-for call came. In the meanwhile, I joined a driving school to learn the basics. (that is another story in itself. May be I can post it if readers are interested.)
Just last week, a salesperson from a True Value Dealer called me up to inform that they have a car which meets my demands, and asked me to take a look at it. Here came the most difficult part – to inspect a car without knowing anything about vehicles. Though I had religiously gone through the exhaustive guide posted in this site on examination of used car, when I was actually faced with the situation, I felt like a blind man in bamboo forest. Delivery
One example – Me: the tread is supposed to be 8mm, isn’t it? Can I get a scale?
Salesman: Madam, take this Re. 1 coin. It will serve the purpose better.
Well, without displaying my ignorance further, I would simply state that I may not have been able to decide upon buying it if a car expert and experienced driver had not come to help me that day.
It seemed the battery required replacement and the tyres (tread, huh!) would not last more than 10,000 km. the dealer agreed to fix up the abovementioned problems.
After some deliberation, I decided that I would be adopting the car as my first ever vehicle. I booked the car by paying Rs. 5,000 and waited eagerly for it to get fixed for delivery. There was a little hassle as to the delivery date, but finally I took possession of my car on 8th March, 2012. Incidentally, it also happened to be Holi. I have named her “Margarita”, in short “Meg”. Experience
Since I haven't learnt enough to drive the car on my own, I can’t write anything about that now. I am taking lessons from friends and hope to learn to drive independently soon. The seat adjustment is a little problematic and the gear is a bit hard, but the rest is ok. May be in future I can write about my experience with it. Advice to first time car buyers, especially girls
From my meagre experience that I have gathered in past few months I am suggesting the following guidelines to those who are completely novice in matters of vehicles:
Please do not go just by appearance, colours or ‘it looks chooo cute’ factor, especially when you are buying used car.
Decide upon your budget, requirement and other features (A/C, PS, navigator, or if you are willing to invest a good amount, then automatic transmission)
Check whether you will be able to maintain it or not in future, which includes both financial as well as maintenance knowhow.
Preferably know at least the basics of driving before buying a car
Sit in the driver’s seat and check whether you are comfortable with seating position. That’s the problem which I am facing currently.
Take someone along with you who is not only good at driving but also does not flinch at the prospect of peeping under the bonnet because no matter how much theoretical knowledge you may have, ultimately it is practical experience that will be required here.
If you want to be a good driver, then please take some interest in technical aspects of automobiles and do not leave the responsibility entirely on the male members of the family.