Second-hand car - a cautionary tale

I RECENTLY bought a car from a private seller in Luton: I saw the car, a purple Ka, advertised on Auto Trader.

I took a friend who knew about cars with me, and we felt the car was good value for money. We left a deposit and went back a few days later to buy it.

As I pulled off, I was so happy to have bought my first ever car and could not wait to pass my driving test so I could drive it all the time.

A few weeks later I passed my driving test and, when I went to move the mirrors into position, I found the passenger side would not move. I went to Ford Garage in Huntingdon on Thursday and they found it was welded into place, so I had to buy a whole new mirror.

They very kindly gave it a free health-check and found it had a completely bent shock-absorber. They arranged to get this sorted and explained the importance of this and how dangerous it was for me to drive this car.

As I pulled out of the Ford garage, I was upset and stressed and stupidly pulled out and hit a car, I very gently tapped this car, which suffered three small scratches, and my whole bumper fell off. The Ford garage, Huntingdon, very kindly helped me get the car back into the garage and helped me calm down with endless cups of hot chocolate and tea.

We then found the car had been in a previous crash, the metal bumper underneath was really bent up, and it was clear to see that the car had been very seriously botched up for a quick and easy sale.

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They called the St Neots Ford garage, which collected the car and said I would have it back by Wednesday at the latest. I needed it quickly and early afternoon on Friday I got a phone call to say the car was ready – a they had even fitted some second hand parts for free to make it cheaper for me.

A week later the clutch on my car went and I went back into Ford Huntingdon on the Saturday and the car was fixed by Monday afternoon.

That Thursday I got a flat tyre. I went into STS. They explained that there were more issues for me, not only did I need two new tyres but I needed a new wishbone and more. I was to return to collect my car a few hours later.

I got a call after two hours to tell me that I needed to return to the garage urgently. On arrival they showed me that the underside of the car had been bodged together by fibreglass, I could have gone over a pot-hole at any time and it could have killed me and others – the car was a death-trap.

At this point I was starting to loose my rag: why was I so unlucky? My grandfather felt that now was the time that I gave up on that car and started again, which was easier said than done – I had now spent nearly �3,000 on a 10-year-old car and had been driving it for only three weeks.

We went car-hunting together and I have now bought a new car, with the help of my grandparents, and I am hoping this car will last longer that two months!

I want to warn everyone who buys a car to be careful. If you can go to a reputable garage, then do so. Get someone that has a very good knowledge of cars to go with you and be careful.

Please be careful when buying a car - I learned the hard and very expensive way.


Lark Crescent