Cash. Let’s make no mistake, we don’t all mind having a bit of it! Spending it however, is a different scenario. It doesn’t matter if it is food, clothes, a pint down the pub, most people will keep an eye on expenditure.
And so I come onto part-worn tyres. On the face of it they look like a no brainer. You can get legal tyres for as little as £15 fitted for something like a generic 15” tyre. Why pay £40+ for a tyre when part worn will do the trick? Besides that, you are also helping the environment since you are helping the recycling culture. You are effectively giving the product a new lease of life!
But there is always a flipside to the coin. That is with the many people who will say anything other than a new tyre will kill nuns and kittens, and that they are a waste of money.
The truth of the matter however lies between the two arguments. Yes, part-worn tyres can be risky business, but otherwise on a car that is cheap to run they can bring monetary benefits. This guide will hopefully set you straight. Buying the right part-worns comes down to checking a few key things:
How much tread do they have? Is it more than 5mm
With the amount of tread they have are they actually worth it?
How old are they ; are they newer than 5 years old?
Have they worn correctly?
Have they been repaired? If so has it been done correctly?
Are they actually worth buying compared to a new tyre?
Are they stamped ‘PART-WORN’ if bought from a garage?
In short, if the answer to those is “Yes” you are generally OK but as always it pays to do your research. The finer points for that shall be coming around soon.
TV Shopping. No one really likes shopping but we do it anyway. Your current TV is OK but it is getting a bit long in the tooth. Or you’ve moved house and now the TV that was OK for your flat looks a little lost in your more spacious house. So begins the journey of getting a TV.
You do your research, look into what the TVs do and then you are set to go and get one. At this point you walk into an electronics shop like Currys or Richer Sounds and see what is about. After all, reviews and comments are all good and well but the reality can be different for all of us. After all, we see things in different ways and interpret comments differently too. As you stand over the TV that is in your shortlist to buy a salesman comes over. While you are committed to buying the TV you wonder if the salesman is trying to push you into wanting to buy the TV right here and right now. Suddenly you almost feel like a bit of a timewaster, and are willing to not buy the TV you wanted. Maybe it wasn’t what you expected, or another one caught your eye there. Did the reviews not pick up on a horrendously awkward menu structure on the TV? And so I come onto car adverts.
“No timewasters, canvassers or test pilots” It is a common sight on many adverts out there. Reading such adverts you would think that car buyers have nothing better to do than just aimlessy wonder over to a car and never buy it. Or do they?
Of course, such people exist but over the many cars I have sold I would beg to differ. Is it the buyers who are at fault or is it the sellers? The truth? It’s a bit of both.
Take Exhibit A. Roughly a year ago when I realised that owning two cars as near enough dailies on the go would not work I decided to buy a car which do hopefully do all that I wanted for the price point. In this case it was a BMW M3, of the E46 shape for the nerds wondering which one. This according to many sources out there should have been an absolute doddle. “Yeah, £7k will get you a good ‘un mate, innit”? Looking at a variety of adverts and their descriptions this certainly appeared to be the case.
With a list of 4 or 5 cars identified around the area I decided to go M3 hunting. That’s looking to buy, not trying to race them.
“When your 250,000 mile Mondeo V6 looks better than an Audi with a third of the mileage you know that you are looking at a pup”
In short, many of the cars were tired out wrecks. Despite all having no crash damage or finance history most looked like war victims, with rust brewing from wheelarches, brakes which would require replacement as well as patchy service history. Oh, with them dashboards that illuminated the tatty interiors like a Christmas tree. Of course, the sellers were more than happy to point out the faults once you got to the car and omit some obvious ones prior to you arrived. A good car? These were money pits that would cost thousands, not hundreds to get right!
It the same story two years ago when I was looking to buy an Audi TT. I got sick of looking at so many wrecks I eventually decided to call off the search. When your 250,000 mile Mondeo V6 looks and drives better than an Audi with a third of that mileage you know that you are looking at a pup, not a car which is in “very good condition, and taken car of”.
I did eventually find the right car, but it took almost 5 cars to get to it. Whether that made me a timewaster or not I don’t know. That is not to say that I have ever sold a perfect car either!
That said, I have been on the receiving end of it when I have sold cars.
With my Triumph Stag it had become a bit of a moneypit after being a bad purchase. And so I tentatively put it up for a price for quite a bit less than what it owed me. It was strong was the pricing, make no mistake. Suffice to say I had my share of “timewasters” too. I have glossed over a few bits because I was just getting sick of the car. Every month I was putting hundreds into fixing the car. I guess I was running out of steam with the venture. That said, the car was a massive improvement from when I bought it.
The first bloke who came to see it wasn’t too impressed. To be honest some of the offers were dreamworthy ; £3500 for a Stag with MOT and Tax from an asking price of £7000 is taking the Michael a little. Eventually a good buyer, or fool depending on your outlook, took the car off my hands. It’s fair to say it’s a better car now than it was before.
But with the above I guess I was partly to blame. If I had been a little more honest maybe the buyers would have been more forthcoming. But on the otherhand how many honestly described cars have you seen? I know for me it is not that many.
The issue for both the buyers and sellers is interpretation of things. If someone says a car has worn well for its age and mileage they are referring to if they had a car that they kept, not me. Of course that creates an issue, naturally. I will tend to change things as they wear out, not relying on an MOT to make me aware of it. Many others don’t follow that philosophy it would seem.
This naturally leaves the car buyers and sellers of the world with a final question. Throughout all of the searching are we simply human in having different expectations, or are we timewasters?
I left the last blog by leaving a few ideas in my head. A great idea was to upgrade parts of the car but to keep it looking original. While this was a project between my dad and I he had tinkered with cars previously. Forgive me if this tale sounds familiar!
Like any retro this MGB was not without its faults. The car may as well have been a boat for the video of the Hues Corperation “Rock the Boat” with the amount it swayed from side to side on the motorway. Is that the “charm” of a classic car that many talk about or just bad design? The other issue? The overdrive would not stop slipping once the clutch was disengaged. And what would a classic car be if there was no welding required on a sub £1000 purchase, even back in 2002?
Like all great intentions, thing seemed to go well. I went away and ordered the following:
-Spax Rear Damper kit
-Falcon Single Exhaust ‘Box system
-Replacement Overdrive from an Ex-Laycock fitter.
From being a foldout chair mechanic (that is part way between someone who has a vague clue of what they are doing, and someone who simply watches a car restoration show and thinks he can do it all) I went away and read some manuals on the procedure. It was clear that the exhaust would have to come out to change the overdrive. With that in mind I figured the overdrive may as well be changed as those jobs could be combined into one. So began the search for a suitable mechanic to do the job. After all, I didn’t even really have a trolley jack back then! I was silly enough to depend on car jacks. Yes, I know. Fortune favours the brave, I think
Like any wannabe mechanic I rang around for the cheapest price, considering many avenues. It’s fair to say that the prices varied. The garages quoted us around £300 back in 2002, even with specialists being around that ballpark. Out of the blue a specialist on my doorstep quoted me £200. What? Was this real? I’m biting his hand off! With that price it was not worth quibbling!
So off I went to go and took the car to him. After which I ended up fitting the damper kit!
Finally? I had a car that drove spot on and actually did what it was meant to do! Be driven! The fact that the car came with new springs also helped alot.
But as always there is always a sting in the tail. On further inspection the steering rack was found to have excessive play. Not a problem we thought. Just get another one fitted! To be fair it had a bit of play in it after fitting the rear dampers and seeing how things were! What we did not bank on was the bill. We were quoted £120. Not for long it wasn’t.
Almost every car owner comes across this. This ended up becoming £220. The issue? The bolts had become seized in the rack. Thus he ended up cutting the steering rack apart just to change it. It was either that or the crossmember according to him. He also said it was one of the worst steering racks he had ever taken off a car. It is fair to say that the conversation was not a pleasant one! But at least the car drove well once more eh?
With the car kitty looking battered and not much bodywork required it should have been rosy right? We shall see.