Wednesday, March 24, 2010

After purchase

There is great temptation to load friends and family into a newly-acquired Beetle and set out on a long 'test' drive, but it is not the smartest way to begin your relationship with the car. It would be tragic if your car were to suffer a breakdown – or worse – a fault which leads to an accident on that first drive, and no matter how thorough your pre-purchase inspection of the car is, there is always a possibility that the car now possesses a serious fault or faults. For a start, you might have missed something so obvious that you will kick yourself when it leads to a breakdown in the future.
The vast majority of people are honest, but the vendor could turn out to have been a rogue. Perhaps Mister Vendor was less than scrupulous and forgot to mention the intermittent electrical fault which knocks the headlights out without warning or which used to occasionally blow a fuse which he up-rated so much that the fault is now fully capable of setting fire to the loom if the driver happens to switch on the wrong combination of electrical devices.
You could even discover that, during the period between your inspection and the collection of the car, the vendor has swapped some of the good components which passed your inspection standards for worn-out ones from another car – perhaps something as fundamental as brake pads or dampers. The components which might most typically attract this sharp practice are usually those which are reasonably easy to swap and fairly expensive to replace.
You could discover that the reason why the engine bay was spotless when you previously inspected it was because it had just been steam cleaned, and that plenty of fresh oil has by now found its way out of the engine during the drive home, leaving the engine oil level low.
It is better to begin your acquaintance with the new car in the workshop and give it a thorough check-over followed by a service. In addition to tools and consumables, you will need a good workshop manual.

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