Many years back, I would drive around my small farm town, where I am from, with a red battered VW Beetle which to me felt like a red Lambo! Sometimes friends and family would see me stuck in the middle of the main road, bonnet up, and trying embarrassingly and desperately to re-install the fan belt.
It had this habit of falling off whenever I decided to show off and rev my engine…which was rather often… back then…Even without a driver’s licence almost all farm town kids will honestly tell you that they learned to drive at just about eleven years old. Dirt roads and farms offered the most safety, for those who wanted to learn how to drive. No traffic cops and no traffic except maybe some fat cows to watch out for.
Ah..those beautiful days make me nostalgic for sweet fifteen, and the memories fill me up with a longing for a different era, and a different me.
In South Africa women are spoilt by menfolk who mostly handle everything vehicle related. While there is a countless amount of women, who are not only experienced drivers, but also know a great deal about cars, there are enough of us out here who are not that clued up. My dad and brothers always urged me to learn and take an interest in my own vehicle and how it works.
As part of my self-improvement and development, I have started to open my eyes and get educated about cars, something that I always assumed was more a man’s forte. Since my divorce I have been forced to jump out of the fairy tale I was living in.
I have in the end, learned that if a woman can drive a car, she can wash the car and maintain the car as well. It feels rather empowering to be able to walk into a dealership, know what you want and what to look out for, without your papa by your side.
If you are anything like I used to be, then you probably kind of and sort of clueless as to what to look out for, when purchasing a vehicle. I usually drive like one would do on Grand Turismo and I love my need for speed. I must admit though, that I am limited in my knowledge about cars. I can change a tyre. I can tell you where the petrol, oil and water goes. I have attempted to jump start my car once when the battery died, some time back.
I know how many times my car needs to be fed with those delicious and golden liquids. However, that is about where it all ends. Oh yes, I do recall what is a fan belt from my teen memories. I want to say though, that it is not beneath a women to know about manly things like vehicles. In fact knowledge will give rise to your self-confidence levels and improve your self-esteem beyond words.
Time for Some Changes
So, if you are anything like me, and still sitting with the car your dad bought for you back in Uni, then it means that it’s time for some changes. Where does one start? What should you look out for when you decide to purchase a new car?
Should you opt for brand new or should you go for slightly used but with very little mileage? In my opinion, unless I am a billionaire, I will definitely not purchase a car out of the box. I honestly believe that cars are a huge waste of money because they depreciate in value. Unless you are deciding to purchase a collectors Aston Martin…I guess in that case it is a whole new story.
New or Pre-owned
Something you should know if you have not already done research is that the best place to look for a car is at an auction.
Here are some reputable websites to checkout:
You will find that perfectly suitable and almost brand new cars here. Most of the cars found at auctions are pre-owned, which were written off because of a minor accident. These cars may just have small damages such as a bump on the bumper. They can easily be fixed as long as the engine and the rest of the car is okay and road worthy.
13 Essentials To Tick Off On Your checklist :
- Ensure that your bank balance is not just enough to cover the purchase price but also the insurance as well as any repair costs should the need arise, as well as maintenance.
- Choose a car that is not only aesthetically pleasing but practical. You can’t purchase a luxury car with white leather seats and two doors if you have toddlers. You should also consider fuel costs for commuting.
- If you are afraid to go the auction route then don’t opt for a seedy seller off Gumtree who probably hotwired the car. Do note that cash is king at auctions, they do not accept other forms of payment. Look out for decent and reputable motor dealerships instead of opting for a private deal. This is your safer option.
- Check the service history of the car. Bare in mind that the car should have been serviced by a reputable mechanic.
- Also check the odometer for mileage, and let’s hope that the car is not on its last leg and been around the block a billion times
- Do some research and be open minded. You may surprise yourself when you see that the car you dreamed of may not be practical or your best option.
- Carefully inspect both the outside and inside of the vehicle. Don’t be shy to open the hood and look for rusty parts. A clean engine is a good indication of the quality of the car.
- You won’t require the services of a mechanic to perform a leak test. Stop the car on a clear driveway and stall it for 30 minutes. Then look under for any fluid that leaks.
- Check the body of the car for any paint jobs, you will easily notice this when you open the car door. It is usually the sides of the car which has telltale signs of a hidden paint job/repair.
- Do a test drive on the highway. See how the car handles bends. Ensure that the breaks are in good condition and notice squeals and squeaks. For this you should ask the dealer to stop talking in order to pay attention to important sounds and sensations. How does it feel when you change the gears and is the clutch easy to push in and release?
- Learn about the brand and make of the vehicle, ask people you know who have those cars. Also check out online reviews.
Feel like a Queen
These tips above are sure to get you your dream car. If you don’t feel like a total queen afterwards because you did it all on your own, then something is drastically wrong!
I firmly believe that women need to empower themselves with knowledge and equip themselves with the necessary skills required to survive solo. If you have an opinion and tip that you would like to add please feel free to comment.
Perhaps I have left something essential out. What do you think? Should ladies leave the car and all things car related to men?