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Concerning the imminent demise of my car - Songs of innocence and of experience [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Douglas Spencer

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Concerning the imminent demise of my car [Jul. 20th, 2009|03:50 pm]
Douglas Spencer
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My car needs a new gearbox, the old gearbox has decided to chew itself up.

What with labour and all the rest of it, a replacement gearbox would cost something like £3,000 -- which I hadn't anticipated spending just at the moment.

It's done 120,000 miles, and even if I gave it a new gearbox it's not guaranteed that I'd get another 60,000 miles out of it before something else substantial needed doing.

So it looks like I'll be getting another car in the next few days.

Times are hard and budgets are tight, so it seems likely that my next car will be quite a small one. This will have implications for things like the amounts of stuff I can take to conventions, how useful I am helping people to move stuff from point A to point B, how agile you'll need to be to get into and out of the back seat, and so on.

Ah well. I'm going to go to the dealership now, and ask them how little I can pay for a car and still have a reasonable expectation that I won't be crippled after four-hour drive.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ingaborg
2009-07-20 03:27 pm (UTC)
Bah! Sorry to hear that.
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[User Picture]From: redbrown
2009-07-20 04:49 pm (UTC)
That is sad to hear for I have fond memories of stuffing every pillar box for miles with MHs with the aid of your funky red car.

On the small car front, I would volunteer the Citroen C1 is (from experience) deceptively spacious, easy and comfortable to drive and cheap. The only draw back is the boot is really a rear glove box.
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[User Picture]From: dougs
2009-07-20 07:41 pm (UTC)
The "funky red car" is a C3, and has served me very well and led me to feel good about the brand.

The C1 is likely to be my first choice, if I can persuade myself that the driving position isn't going to cripple me on long journeys. It's only very rarely now that I have more than two people in the car and so rear passenger doors shouldn't be an issue, and if there's lots of luggage I can fold the back seats down.

And they still do the C1 and C2 in red, unlike the C3.
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[User Picture]From: redbrown
2009-07-20 09:02 pm (UTC)
The driving position works well for me. I do long journeys without a problem. What I really liked was the room around the pedals which is lacking in a lot of small cars (I have big feet). Whether that suits your needs is only something a test drive will reveal.

The C1 can come with four doors (which I got and it was worth the extra pennies). There's plenty of room for two adults in the front. The boot holds a week's shopping. Four adults also fit well, just not with much luggage! The back seats go fairly flat so you can fit a lot in that way. Have had a (flat packed) dining table and four chairs in mine.

I went for the red. Partly because red cars always go better and mainly because I wasn't going to pay extra for metallic paint!

Car tax is £35 a year, insurance group 1 (the lowest possible) and I'm getting 54-57 mpg in the summer (that's even with the air con on). (Winter was slightly worse at 50-54 mpg but it was very cold this year!)

I am aware that I keep sounding like a C1 advert whenever someone says they're looking for a car. I promise I'm not paid by Citroen in any way.
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[User Picture]From: andrewwilde
2009-07-21 08:57 pm (UTC)
C1 is a good car - fairly safe and very economical. C3 is (from what I've heard) also not bad, but the C2 is a waste of space, being no better than the C1 yet more money, less efficient, lower crash protection, and less reliable (again, this is from not having driven any, but knowing someone who owned a C1 and seened to know his stuff).
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[User Picture]From: purple_peril
2009-07-20 06:01 pm (UTC)
Bah! Hope you find something suitable.
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[User Picture]From: evil_mogwai
2009-07-20 07:35 pm (UTC)
I take it its not old enough for the "green" trade in discount? (I can't remember when you bought it)

*hugs* on the death of the car. I've already had to say bye to two since I started learning and I haven't even passed my test yet.
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[User Picture]From: dougs
2009-07-20 07:41 pm (UTC)
Green trade-in is for cars over ten years old, this one is from June 2002.
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[User Picture]From: evil_mogwai
2009-07-20 07:36 pm (UTC)
Ooh... also speak to your accountant as if it could be considered a business expense you might be able to charge back the VAT?

I don't personally know the status regarding VAT on cars but its worth a try.
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[User Picture]From: dougs
2009-07-20 07:43 pm (UTC)
If I charge back the VAT, it then counts as a benefit-in-kind for that proportion of it which is used for private mileage -- which would be almost (but not quite) all of it, so tax-via-P11D/P14 is going to cost more than the VAT I save.
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[User Picture]From: evil_mogwai
2009-07-21 09:57 am (UTC)
Would have replied last night but my internet went down.

Shame about the VAT situation, at least you tried!

Personally for a small car that packs quite a bit the Chevy Kalos was good. It got us to at least one convention which we weren't packing lightly!

But I wouldn't go with the Aveo, the replacement for it in the new branding structure, and they are kinda flimsy.

(I may be biased, I do have a Chevy Lacetti which is Top Gears reasonably priced car).
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[User Picture]From: ramtops
2009-07-21 08:38 am (UTC)
I'm pretty certain you can't reclaim VAT on cars - you can on commercial vehicles and (bizarrely) motorcycles.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2009-07-20 08:28 pm (UTC)
Commiserations.
I recommend a Polo or a Golf. Don't buy a Renault Megane...
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[User Picture]From: jon_a_five
2009-07-20 09:37 pm (UTC)
I won't be cheeky and recommend public transport as usual. I too have lovely memories of your car and committee meetings.
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[User Picture]From: surliminal
2009-07-21 12:25 am (UTC)
fwiw I have been researching this like mad and the best bet I can see in small cars with loads of flexible room is the Toyota Yaris -and is yr car eligible for the scrappage scheme??
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[User Picture]From: evil_mogwai
2009-07-21 09:54 am (UTC)
we looked at the yaris before we settled on the Kalos when we bought that. It isn't actually as big as they seem to advertise it for.

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[User Picture]From: andrewwilde
2009-07-21 09:01 pm (UTC)
Just out of interest - is the £3k from the dealership?

If so, I'm not surprised: but I'd expect that a gearbox specialist would be able to knock around 60% (or more) off the cost - probably sub £1k... Might be worth considering getting another quote - main dealers are known for being hideous on labour-heavy jobs like gearboxes...
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[User Picture]From: dougs
2009-07-21 09:50 pm (UTC)
Dealership, yes, and for a new box.

It's been stupidly difficult for me to find a garage locally who is prepared to source/supply/fit a reconditioned or service-exchange gearbox.

However I've found one round the corner from my mother and brother in Devon (it's where my nephew works!) who have undertaken to try, and it'll probably be [just] sub-£1k for gearbox-and-clutch-together.
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[User Picture]From: dougs
2009-08-03 06:00 pm (UTC)
See the new post!
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[User Picture]From: beermat
2009-07-22 11:08 am (UTC)
poor little car, and after it was put back on it's springs after falling off one at Wedges, way back when. 120K eh? Mine (S reg vaxhaul astra) is coming up to that, so keen to know what's what on the economic small car front also.
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