I went against my own advice and decided to buy a new car, although I advice everyone to buy an used car. I am a hypocrite. There, I said it. Not just that, but I don’t even follow another advice I often give to everyone which is that they should go with 70:30 split for their equity and fixed income asset allocation. You already know that I don’t follow that rule. So what is my excuse to buy a new car this time? Continue reading to find out. But before we get started, I want to let you know that this is my first new car. Before this I purchased 3 cars and all of them were used cars. If you include Mrs. re-ynd, that is 5 used cards before buying a new one. So this is something really special for us.

It all started in June 2022 when I started researching electric cars. If you haven’t read, I even wrote a post on it. I was planning to buy a car. Whether it will be a new or used, electric or gasoline was not known at that time. The reason for the research was because my current car will be 15 years old by December 2022 and I had to decide whether to replace my car or renew the registration for another 5 years.

Initially I wanted to renew the registration of my car because it seemed like the easiest thing to do. I don’t have to sell my car, transfer registration, search and negotiate another used car and get the registration transferred over to my name. That felt like too much hassle for me. But on the other hand, our car has some issues that I never got around to get them repaired. I did not know whether RTO will fail the fitness test showing those as reasons. You never know. In India, people who wield power are know to abuse it to great extents as a way to get bribes. Perhaps the government salary is too low for them. I have read many stories where the vehicle inspectors have misused their power.

Take for instance the issue of rust. The rule says that a vehicle for renewal of registration should be presented in good condition, with proper paint job and without any rust. What is a proper paint job? Some inspectors levy fees if there are paint patches, and some don’t. If you don’t believe me, read this article. Of course there are agents who can get any kind of car registered, because you know – bribe.

I was wondering if the issues present in my car need repairs before going for registration. Here are some of the pending repairs as suggested my Maruti service:

  1. Silencer needs replacing since it is making noise because of a minor crack. It is not very noisy, just not as quiet as it used to be.
  2. Clutch plate needs replacement because of excessive usage of clutch. You see, one time our car got stuck in 3rd gear and the engine stalled. The gear shaft would not let us change gears. It just became limp with gear slotted in 3. Since there was a near by repair shop, we decided to rev the engine, play the clutch and drive in 3rd gear until we reached the repair shop instead of opting for a tow truck. Not a good idea. Perhaps that was the reason the service center reported clutch plate wear.
  3. The suspensions, especially the front ones became weak and those also needed replacement.
  4. There were a few other minor dents and scratches. There is little bit of rust in one of the scratched areas. So I will have to get some tinkering and painting work done.

My estimate is that all these repairs might cost about Rs. 30K. Moreover, the registration renewal cost is Rs. 5K. On top of that, I am not really sure if it will still pass the fitness test and inspection. I could of course give the car to an agent and get it renewed without all this hassle. It might cost more, but I hate to bribe. At this point, I wondered if this would be a good time to switch to electric car instead. That is how the ball started rolling.

While researching electric cars vs gasoline cars, I learned about various advancements in car technologies. It got me interested in new cars. Even low end cars now come with 2 air bags, ABS + EBD, reverse parking sensors, power steering etc as default. In the past this was not the case. Then I thought if I should sell my car and buy a used car which is some 3 to 5 years old with less than 50K on the odometer. I kept on researching and found that my favorite car is Maruti Ignis or Brezza. I also have specific color choice which is silver. I know it is a very strange choice of car, but I will explain how I arrived at it in another post. But I had some trouble with this plan.

The first problem was that I was unable to find a good used car. I was only looking for a small Maruti car. Reason for choosing Maruti is of course the engine, but even Honda and Toyota have good engines. The advantage Maruti has is that the parts are cheap and readily available. Their service centers are present even in small towns. The repairs and service costs are low. In the past I owned a Honda City and I know how expensive things were. Anyway, when I searched for used cars, the prices were pretty high and I had very very few options. For that price, I could get a new car instead. May be this is not a good time for used cars.

The second problem was selling our car. I wanted to know approximately what price I can expect, so we tried cars24 and a few other used car websites. But most of them did not even have a year 2007 to select. And the one website that accepted old cars did not even call back. May be local dealers might be interested but I am wary of their authenticity and work ethic. They will take the car and keep it with them, without transferring the car to their name. So any accidents or traffic infractions are a risk. I cannot sell the car directly without a dealer because then I need to first renew the registration in which case I might as well keep it.

So given all these problems, I decided to just go with a new car. More details in an upcoming post.