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Imagine being 18, about to pass your driving test, and wanting a car to drive as soon as you have.
Now imagine that 18 year old is me and the car i'm wanting to buy is a Fiat Seicento, why oh why didn't anyone stop me!
I've had my Seicento Sporting since the end of March this year. Of course I didn't just buy the first one i saw, oh no, i waited till the second one i saw and bought that instead! It was love at first sight, well as much love as one person can have for an inanimate object that causes the most deaths per year. It was girlie, small and Silver with just under 32k on the clock and a V reg so 1999 model. I wanted it, no matter that there was a big dint in the side panel and huge scratch marks on the front, in my mind it was already mine and i was going to buy it.
The mark up price was £1395 which seemed slightly overpriced, so my dad (I had taken him with me as backup, hey what do I know about cars?!) offered them £1200, which to me seemed like a steal! They umm'd and ahh'd but after i told them i had a deposit (pound signs appeared in their eyes) the car was mine for the bargain basement price of £1200, wooo!
I picked it up a week later and the deal was done! And i certainly had been. The problems started from there basically. We drove away (my mum driving because, as yet, i still haven't passed my test) but everything seemed ok, until we came to a stop and the handbrake needed to be put on. Where was the button? it cant have disappeared, but low and behold it had. As it turned out when we got it home I asked my boyfriend to take a look and the hand grip just needed pushing on but that is entirely beside the point! Everything seemed as it should now so I got stuck in to making my brand new motor a girl racers dream. Chrome windscreen wipers, new chrome exhaust part, sports seat covers, you name it i put it in, on and around my vehicle. Of course once that was done I had to get driving it, the L plates came out and either my poor mum or dad came out with me. Its not the smoothest of rides and the engine sounds like a baby moose thats lost its mother, the noisiest car I have ever been in. But did that bother me, hell no as it was all mine!
I did notice however, that when I was driving round my stunning little motor, whenever I put on the handbrake it wasn't holding the car. It was either rolling forwards or backwards, now im not a mechanic but even I know thats not supposed to happen. So I decided that after work I was going to take it into the garage and get it checked out. This was exactly 4 days since I had bought the car. I was driving to the garage Father at the side making sure I wasn't dangerous and because I just dont fancy breaking the law at 18. I was just pulling into the workshop, I had nearly made it to a parking space when 'psssshh' smoke and water was billowing out from under the bonnet. Mechanics came running over, obviously worried about my safety, and told me to srop the engine and get out of the car. The bonnet was opened and after more steam, smoke and water, one of the mechanics brought out his head and stated 'looks like your radiators gone love'.
Great! Had this car less then a week and it had already broken down, some might say it was luck that it broke down at a mechanics but I think what would have been lucky is if it hadn't have broken down at all!!!! I left it there while they tinkered around left my number and was told to expect a call later that afternoon. Just befor half 5 I received a phone call 'alright love have taken a look and your radiator is split in half' (what?!) ' your head gasket might have gone aswell but we wont know for sure until we fix the radiator'. Brilliant I had taken in my motor to replace the handbrake cable and it was going to cost me a fortune in engine repair! I asked for quotes and was told that for a handbrake cable it would be over £50 including tax and that the radiator would be £200 including tax and the head gasket would be £350 including tax.
Now I bet your wondering why a tiny car such a Seicento would cost so much. Thats because the genius' at Fiat decided that on a sporting they were going to make it near enough impossible to replace anything under the bonnet, the poor saps had to take off the front bumper which is 'modified' take out the knackered radiator fit the new radiator replace the bumper check to see if the head gaskett had gone and then replace that! Parts take forever to be shipped from the 'central office' too 4 days we were waiting for a radiator! All in all it took 2 weeks for the work to be completed, and, after being £650.00 out off pocket for all the work ( a tyre needed replacing too) the shine was starting to come off my new run around.
Now for a little bit about the interior, the reason I had no idea that my car was overheating is because there is no temp. gauge. well not a real one anyway. What happens is when the engine is getting too hot a little red light comes on, that only if you had read the owners manual cover to cover 15 times would you remember, and by the time it comes on its far too late anyway the damage is done. It has a very plasticy feel inside a bit like one of the little tykes red and yellow cars you used to ride around in when at nursery. The interior is compact, it would be impossible for someone taller then myself to feel comfortable in it (im 5'2") but I find it ok. not much boot space but it is just enough for my shopping trips! I had to get seat covers becasue the material is horrid but it looks much better now, and it has the all important CD Player!
All in all I do enjoy being able to beat bigger cars at traffic lights, and I joke that my car is a 'toy' car but in certain respects it is! Its made from plastic, cheap to buy and tiny. If anyone ever asked me if they should get one I would say no, not because its a horrible drive, uncomfortable or noisy. But because although it prides itself on being affordable (to fill up with petrol it costs £28.00 and the most you could expect to pay to buy is £1800) its the most expensive car to fix! Parts are extortionately priced and it never seems to work properly, my handbrake is still iffy and needs a second look!
So cheap in the short term but Bl**dy expensive in the long run.
I think you are totally wrong.The same thing would have happened to the car if the previous owners ran it around for another week.They had you big time.More than likely they knew about the overheating.But that is just a simple matter of fitting a new thermostat.All this is why if you are buying a private sale car, you should bring someone who REALLY knows what they are talking about.Just think, if you had bought this from a car sales garage, then it wouldve all been covered on the 3 - 6 month warranty.
1200 smackers is cheap as chips for a V reg with 32k.Ive owned 2 Seicentos now(my curent one being a yallow V reg sporting) over the last 4 years and never have I paid extortionate bills like the 650 you paid.And thats with new exhausts, tyres,suspension, radiator and thermostat.
Finally,it falls under the 'small run around' catagory.Not the 'comfy as hell, huge on the inside, smooth running merc wannabe' catagory that you obviously may have expected.To sort the noisy ride,replace the crappy, clip on tailpipe and invest in a decent exhaust, or even just the back box(about 80 to 120 quid). Then add a sports air filter(about 20 to 80 quid) and it will be music to your ears.
You got stung girl.gutted
SuperSei 22.05.2006 16:47
Boy you really have misconceptions for a cheap car. Its a great car for a first time buyer, and is not aimed at ailing parents.
clownfoot 14.05.2006 20:25
This reminds me why I'm not looking to buy a car at the moment - MOT, car tax, repairs, petrol, all builds up on the original cost of the motor. The tube and night bus are indeed great things...!! Alboy