To own a car in the UAE, examine its cost first

Do you remember the time that you settled on that four-wheeler sitting outside your house/office. Perhaps, you spent weeks or even months searching for the right car. Scouring the classifieds, spending inordinate amounts of time scanning through Dubizzle or visiting dealerships in your particular emirate. And when you finally made the decision, I’m sure that you couldn’t wait to pick it up. What a fascinating experience it can be for many of us – but did that initial burst of desire last beyond a few days or weeks? Did it go the distance? Do you still look at your car with an admiring gaze as you walk away from it, or do you sneer with rampant hatred, yearning for a time when you can finally part company?

To have a car is considered as a relationship, pure and simple, and while some are born to last forever, many are fated to fail in the worst conditions. When any relationship hits the skids and breaks down, there is a cost, whether financial or emotional. We should do everything in our control to make sure we prevent the potential downsides. But what if we feel that we were led up the garden path before making a commitment? Perhaps it’s too late to do anything about it, but at least we can be cautioned for the next time.

What I want to say?

The additional costs of owning a car that we may not have known or thought about, when buying a car. It’s a problem that came to light recently when I was talking with a friend. I mentioned that I have to take my car in for a service next week. “How often do you do that?” quizzed my accomplice. When I replied that it was every 15,000 kilometers, she told me that hers had to be done every 5,000; something I couldn’t bring myself to believe. I told her that there must be some mistake, that there’s no way a brand-new Nissan Juke would need to be seen in a dealership so frequently. So I started making a few calls.

Sure enough, when I contacted Nissan in Dubai, the PR people confirmed that all the company’s cars require 5,000km service intervals. Why, I asked them, can my Volkswagen Scirocco go three times the distance of a GT-R, Altima, Tiida or Sunny? Surely they’re tested to the same extremes during their research and development processes? “It’s what the manufacturer recommends,” was the gist of the email reply.

I thought I’d go back to my friend and ask how she ended up with such a financial shackle around her neck, especially as she is normally extremely careful in all monetary matters.

“When I bought it in 2011, I was pleased with the reasonable purchase price, but what I hadn’t bargained for was the number of times I needed to have it serviced.

“Rather than taking it in every 10,000km, I had to take it in at 1,000km, again at 5,000km and then every 5,000 after that. Because I regularly commute to Abu Dhabi [from Dubai], this meant the car was going in every three to four weeks. And, again because of the high mileage, I was advised by the Nissan service agents to have extra services to help maintain my car.

“As a result, I end up paying an average AED 1,000 every visit, which in my opinion is too much. I have asked to reduce the number of times I take it in to every 10,000km but have been told this will affect my warranty. So I am stuck in this rather expensive service cycle. Two years after buying the car, I have 100,000km on the clock and am about to book my twentieth service. Surely, that is too much.”

What do you think are other outrageous costs to think about when buying a new car? Leave your comments below.

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