a little cameo

Life in Colombia and everything that goes with it

More car woes (just not mine)

Today seemed to be the day that everyone else in my household’s cars decided to chuck spazzies.

I had a message from a friend staying with us to say her recently purchased car (as in purchased Friday three days ago) was playing up again (after already having been to visit the mechanic on day 1).

Then J called me on the way back from LAX to say that Brandon had stopped at an intersection and wouldn’t start and required a tow. She called me for my expert advice on dying cars given that Esmeralda has had two overheating issues and three tows. My advice was to call AAA (the equivalent of RACV or NRMA etc) and join up. With AAA you get four free tows of up to 7 miles each year. It’s an absolute necessity here.

So I guess if you are looking at buying a car in LA (and America) I have the following advice for you:

  • Cars are not as reliable as they are back home. The reputation cars have at home doesn’t necessarily translate to that of cars here.
  • If buying a used car, always buy a certified pre-owned car. This basically means the manufacturer has gone over it with a fine tooth comb and gives it a seal of approval.
  • Get a warranty. If something is going to go wrong, it WILL go wrong in the first month. I have at least three examples of this!
  • Find a good mechanic and check their reviews on Yelp.com. Put their contact details in your phone so you can ring them if you experience a problem and so you have their address to give if you need a tow.
  • Have a pool of contingency cash so you aren’t caught short when something does need to be fixed.
  • Don’t skimp on insurance. It is expensive, but absolutely essential.
  • Pony up to put the good gas in your car. Chevron is the most expensive, but is also the best quality. Whilst I am shopping for the cheapest gas for Esmeralda, I am putting in premium to keep her turbo engine happy.

If things go wrong, don’t despair. Everyone has a story of car woe. You arrive in LA and you have car issues. It seems to be de rigour, so don’t let it get you down, soldier on and things will get better.

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