As I’ve mentioned before, cars are basically a money pit down here. About two or three weeks ago (if not longer, I totally lost track of time recently) I got my mechanic to replace and fix most of the things that were either broken or on their last leg, such as my tires, windows, shocks, and door handles. I’ve mentioned before that I bought my car for $3,100 US, which is just about as cheap as you are going to find for a well-maintained vehicle. My car has had no mechanical issues since I bought it in September, which is now 6 months ago. I wore down my breaks and shocks, the passenger window wouldn’t roll down, and the list goes on. The shocks were bad when I bought it, but because of my breaks giving out on me last semester, I couldn’t afford to get anything fixed until this January.
Just so you can kind of get a feel for how much things can cost when replacing or repairing things in regards to your vehicle, I’ve included the costs of everything I had done. My budget was $2000 EC, and I literally had $20 left over.
After purchasing a car that needed minor repairs, and after having these things repaired and replaced, I’m so pleased with my car for $3,100 US. A little vacuum and polish, and Oh, Boy! My blinkers work every day, my shocks are shiny and new, my windows all roll down, we can open the doors from the interior handles… and it goes on!
If I can give you any advice, it’s PICK YOUR MECHANIC WISELY, don’t rush buying a car simply because you want to be independent, and have a mechanic look at and test drive the car before you even test drive it! There is a chance that it might not be safe to drive on the road.
The mechanic we used when purchasing our vehicle barely let me test drive any of the vehicles I looked at last semester. Because my budget was so low due to having no savings to buy a car here, I was only able to look at cars with either shitty owners or shitty problems. I would up purchasing my vehicle from another student who had already left the island and just needed cash for clinicals. Patience, praying, and Wycliff were the key.
Things to look out for: If you are talking to someone who isn’t interested in lowering their price due to repairs requested by the mechanic or is not willing to make the repairs before selling… walk away! If you are talking to someone who is talking a bunch of bologna about how other people are shitty car owners and how he or she is telling you what is wrong with the car upfront because he or she is a better car owner… walk away! E.g., I was looking at a white suzuki SUV last semester that my mechanic didn’t even let me drive. He advised against offering the owner a lower amount than what they asked for, and then a week after the owner said they would repair the things he told them needed to be fixed, I ran into her at the salon where I get my hair cut and she was talking about how her car crapped out on her and how she’s trying to sell it before it breaks down… RUN AWAY!
The student I purchased from told me about the car’s previous history and mechanical repairs, answered all the questions I had about it, and didn’t push a hidden agenda. The owner was very chill and told me that he’d make a deal with me because it had been on the market for so long and then accepted a lower offer because of the repairs my mechanic said it would wind up needing. Work with people like this! And accept the fact that your car may have problems that go undetected after you purchase. It’s a shitty card that was dealt, but pick up the card and handle the problem. I don’t think anyone has died because their car did something it wasn’t supposed to.