Even though I am not particularly fond of motorcycles, I’ve been toying with the idea of owning one for a number of years. In their favor: thanks to the wonders of lane splitting, I wouldn’t have to spend hours of my life crawling through traffic. On the other hand, every single rider I’ve ever talked with tells me, “You’re going to fall off at least once.”
But come to think of it, isn’t that the same problem with cars?
One of the recommendations I’ve most often heard about cars is that you should buy a cheap and disposable one to learn (to drive) as it will get scuffed and dented and generally FUBAR’d by the combination of youthful antics and inexperience. Every one of us has had at least one close call with our cars, be it our fault or someone else’s. Every time we go out on the roads, we’re trusting that every single other pedestrian, cyclist, biker or driver knows what they’re doing and will not screw up massively. Most of the time it works. Other times, it doesn’t.
Latin America has always had a proud reputation of taking cars that have been totaled in the U.S and repairing them using ingenuity, cheap labor and a complete disregard for safety. On the upside, you can have a reasonably recent car with all the accouterments at a fraction of what the dealers would want for one. On the downside, like a relative of mine, you can drive around your pride and joy only to have it suffer a complete suspension failure a day down the line. No consumer protection to make whomever sold it to you take it back, either. I’m of the mind that a totaled car can be repaired and made to function as well as when it comes down the line, but you have to be prepared to shell out some serious money and bring someone along to make sure you’re not getting ripped off, Mr. Wormwood style.
So, fair people of the CC Commentariat, would you play with fate and drive around in something that has been crashed before? Or would you just rather wait until depreciation comes along?