x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

The Air Bag: go the distance and keep smiling

With mileage piling up, do I trade in my car sooner than I anticipated or do I simply rack up the clicks for the next three years and then unload it for whatever the market deems it to be worth?

Like many of you, I assume, I spend an inordinate amount of my free time trawling the thousands of pages of classified adverts on Dubizzle. With eBay conspicuous by its total absence in the UAE, it's the only way for me to get an online bargain fix. I found my apartment on there, much of the furniture I kitted it out with (saving myself thousands) and I found my car using the site, too. But I can't help going back to it, just to see what else is out there and how much it's going for.

The UAE is very different to my home country on too many levels to list here but one thing remains constant, at least when it comes to buying and selling a used car: how many miles or kilometres it has clocked up in the hands of its previous owners. And this has me thinking about my own wheels, because there are two choices open to me.

When I bought my Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 in October last year, it had a verified 39,000km under its belt and, thanks to my frequent commute between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it is now showing just over 60,000. This means it's due for its second 15,000km service since I assumed ownership but, with the previous service setting me back just over Dh600, the cost is not a major concern. What concerns me is that, going by the previous six months, my trusty steed won't take long to be showing a mileage that will put pretty much anyone off buying it when it's time to sell.

So do I trade it in sooner than I anticipated or do I simply rack up the clicks for the next three years and then unload it for whatever the market deems it to be worth? Alternatively I could always run the thing into the ground and start over again when the 'Rocco breathes its last - something I find impossible to contemplate as I simply adore it. It's easily the best car I've ever possessed.

Most modern cars are designed and manufactured to standards unheard of even a decade ago, so is the accumulated distance of my VW of any relevance? They're built to last, which goes some way in making up for the fact that you can't really maintain them yourselves these days. So long as you service it at the suggested intervals, problems should be few and far between. That's the theory.

There aren't many cars you can make a profit on when it's time to sell and I'm resigned to having lost plenty of money when its time is up - it's unavoidable. But it should still have worked out cheaper than hiring a Toyota Yaris over the same period and the 'Rocco, unlike a Yaris, always puts a smile on my face. So I'm content with my choice and with the amount of exercise it gets. I'm throwing caution to the wind and plan to drive that thing until it simply won't go any more.

American Irv Gordon owns a red 1966 Volvo 1800S and he has clocked up almost 5,000,000km in it. He claims it has always been parked outside as he has no garage, and that its remarkable condition is down to him meticulously following the service and maintenance schedules recommended by its maker. Volvo even gave him a new car (twice) to celebrate the 1800's and his achievements but he still takes out the old-timer because he loves it. He has proved what's possible with a vehicle that's been built to last and there's no reason my trusty VW won't do the same.

There's a flaw in my thinking, though. As you'll read next week, I've just experienced the storming new Scirocco R. I reckon within a few months they'll start appearing on Dubizzle and then I'll really have a decision on my hands.

khackett@thenational.ae