The title of this post could well refer to the current state of my self esteem, but instead I’m going to be talking about my car (quelle surprise). Seeing as though it is my day off and the weather is pretty damn pleasant I took it upon myself to give my car a wash for the first time since October-ish. I can quite proudly say that I’ve never had anyone else clean my car or even had it done my automated car wash, but at the same time I am probably not quite as thorough as I should/could be, especially considering the amount of time I put into it.
The problem is though, that whenever I wash all the grime off of my car it ends up showing all the dents, dings, scratches and scuffs that it’s collected over it’s 11 years. I’m not a clumsy driver by any means but the fact I have to leave my car in the car park of a large retail park most days means that the doors of my car are covered in small marks from people opening their doors.
I actually bought a colour restorer in the hopes of getting rid of these lighter marks but my sole attempt to use it so far did not quite have the results I’d hoped for. However these smaller marks only really show when the car is sparkling-ly clean and so I doubt very much that they’d take much polishing out from somebody with the right equipment.
Of more concern to me are the dents and scuffs with have accrued…a couple may just take a little bit of pulling out, but the ones on the bumpers are pretty nasty and will no doubt cause people to knock value off of my poor car when I come to sell it – pretty annoying really when you consider that the car is probably in a much better condition than similarly aged vehicles, and when you’re buying a £1k runaround you shouldn’t really be too fussed with a few signs of use.
Inside is a much better story, I mean sure the leather surround of the gear lever has come away but apart from that there is little to show that the car is 11 years old – impressive considering the seats are beige velour! That said anyone who attempts to use the radio will have a surprise if they try and change the volume on the console, it’s very temperamental so I stick to the steering wheel controls instead.
Of course as you may have guessed all this cleaning has kept my manic brain occupied with thoughts of my new car. I doubt that this will be the last time I wash the Astra but it worries me what sort of value all these dents will knock off the car however I sell it; in part exchange I am aware I won’t get as much as I feel it’s worth, but it would be a lot simpler than going through the hassle of a private sale. However I am also questioning whether I will end up buying from a dealer or not, as privately sold vehicles are so much cheaper and you have the added benefit of meeting the owner themselves. I will be buying a warranty anyway so I’m not sure that getting a car from a dealer is going to be all that beneficial – especially dealing with small time cowboys at this end of the market, but then selling privately or to a ‘webuyanycar’ type firm is likely to result in similar frustration. Both are likely to be nitpicky over the exterior details and then there is the potential minefield of the mechanicals of the car to deal with; there is still a clinking noise over rough surfaces and now a new knocking noise too! The engine makes a funny smell, it hasn’t been serviced for 2 years and the LPG system has not worked in 5!
Then there is the matter of which car to replace the Astra with; I mean I had once again resigned myself to the fact I’d be owning an X5 within a few months but then there is this amazing weather, and the idea that if I don’t take the plunge on an E46 Cabrio soon then it will end up being my sad project car when/if I reach middle age, make me consider other options. Buying privately either car could be bought for a very reasonable amount, and owning a petrol engined car is probably going to mean fewer bills in the future even if fuel bills are going to be a bit more, so the E46 has an advantage somewhat. However my car washing was followed up by a trip to the recycling centre to dispose of our old greenhouse; trips like this reinforce my belief that I need a car with some practicality so that I can take on tasks that my mum’s Jazz can’t handle. Today pushed the boundaries of a family hatch and although the Astra coped admirably it makes me think how much easier it could have been in an SUV, and how awkward/impossible it would have proved in a convertible!