What are your automotive regrets

I literally could not find a single AWD Duster to my liking for months, in about 300km radius from my place. I finally gave up and bought a Thar.

BHPian amol4184 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

We all have been there. Waiting for months if not years to buy a car or bike only to lose steam slowly (or worse, immediately!) until realizing yes, it was a mistake. Like seeing your dream die a slow death right in front of your eyes.

Thorns of reality piercing you, bringing up the ugly question how will you ever explain this debacle to your family and justify next purchase? Fret not.

We give you a shoulder to cry. Won't solve anything but crying in a group among sympathizers is better than doing it alone in your head. Bring up your bad decisions. Let us feel we are not alone in this world.

I begin. I have had enough of these.

First car:

I was in the US and looking for a reliable and cheap (read Toyota/Honda) car like a true blue Indian techie too afraid to think boldly. I had some notions about owning a car and I fell right in the trap. Everyone around me had Corollas, Civics and Sentras while ones with little flair had Accord V6s. A few even had SUVs from early 2000s look at the guts?!

I chose, for some rational reasons, the 2008 RAV4. Mind you it wasn't a bad car but nothing to be excited about. I was okay. Until the water pump broke, long out of warranty it set me back by $784. It was slightly less than 10% of my car's cost. Umm, operational costs.. I told myself.

However, only a few months and few thousand miles later damn thing broke again! Then on one fine day the car decided to throw its own Christmas party. While cruising along one of the freeways every light on the dashboard started blinking. And I mean EVERY single one. It probably also flashed headlamps and indicators but I was too busy inside trying to gather courage.

The car also started shaking as if it fell in ice cold Pacific and caught cold.

From 70 odd mph it limped to 40-45 and I panicked. This is downright dangerous. We stopped on a wide exit with 10-15 feet wide shoulder, opened up the hood and acted all pro but nope, nothing. We called Uber, sent the ladies home and I along with one of my friend, took a looooong way home through some slow country roads reaching home with car throwing a bash inside. Thanks to Google maps, I saw some incredible scenery right in my backyard that day.

The Toyota dealer was about 30 seconds away from where I lived so that was a relief. Upon checking, they confirmed two things : A spark plug had given away and... water pump - the third freaking time. While they didn't replace the pump, Christmas inside the car stopped immediately after replacing the plug. But that was it. All my trust and notion of Toyota reliability went out the window. I felt betrayed by my car expert friends. The car in the end did exactly opposite of what I had in mind - be trouble free and cheap. What did I ever do so wrong?! I wasn't even expecting it to be a hoot to drive for god's sake.

First big-ish bike:

This is going to stir some pots.

Again, being a little conservative I wanted something reliable, fast (by Indian standards - big mistake) and of course cheap to maintain. One thing led to another and I landed on a pristine Kawasaki Ninja 650R in white color. The bike was owned by a lady, ridden only 3400 miles without any crash or drops and just like new.

She was selling it because she was, and I quote "bored" with it. Hmmm. Bored? In 3400 miles? That was something I had unheard of. In India, I had ridden a battered old 2004 Activa for 40k kms.

Anyhow, your loss my gain I thought and paid cash, signed the title and took the bike home. Next few days went in ogling at it and just showing it to colleagues and friends who were surprised I was going to do daily commute to office on it. I used it to commute to office dead in the winter with piercing PNW cold before giving it a rest.

Summer came and I took the bike to twisty roads of Mt. Rainier NP. It was then when I realized this isn't a "big bike". Sure its big physically, but that's about it. The acceleration is mild, in gear rolling is average and the exhaust not just terrible. Add to that one piece of the massive fairing had a tendency to vibrate incessantly above 45 mph. Only a large serving of double-sided tape stopped it from going wild.
And then there's the inherent characteristic of the bike - just plain jane, unexciting appliance like a Whirlpool washing machine that does its duty for years without any issues, without any maintenance. I was so disheartened. It had excitement quotient of a wet sock. I swear I had more thrills on my puny Pulsar 200 back in the day.

Unlike the RAV4 though, bike had 0 issues until being sold. I was almost happy to part ways with it. A guy bought it for his young son. In fact, I was so glad I also threw in my BELL helmet as free.
It was also the day I realized why the previous owner was bored with it in 3400 miles. That milestone came to me at about 2100~ miles.

After that I bought Triumph Street Triple 675 and my mind was blown. Frantic and bonkers wild is how I can describe it, despite having engine approximately the same size as Ninja. I believe it to one of the best automotive decisions I made but of course it is a story for another thread.

Second hand regret:

In 2019 my sister out of some weird wisdom decided to sell their incredible green/brown Duster AWD and asked me if I wanted to buy it. I was in the USA and asked my dad if he wanted it. We had a Kwid back then, being used approximately 3000kms/year. Buying Duster made little sense and he said no. My BIL with his vast network managed to sell the car within 2 days at asking price, cash. It was (is) clearly a high demand car within enthusiasts but I was too dumb to realize it.

Fast forward to 2020, Covid put literal halts on all my plans and I came back home. The Kwid felt too small, too slow and too flimsy for our war torn roads. So I immediately started looking for an SUV slash crossover in used market. It was only then that I realized what a gem the Duster AWD is and that there is nothing like it in the market currently. Used markets were dry. One or two examples were from Bombay with high mileage with a lingering fear of them being flood damaged.

I literally could not find a single AWD Duster to my liking for months, in about 300km radius from my place. I finally gave up and bought a Thar. Not that I am unhappy with it but Duster AWD was still my first choice.

I have bought, and ultimately repented those purchases but this is the only one that I regret without even buying it.

So, what shattered your expectations? What mauled your joy? What left a big hole in your pocket and nothing else to remember? What do you want to forget? Let it begin.

Here's what GTO had to say on the matter:

3 automotive regrets from my side:

  • When my Jeep's original 2.1L diesel died, I got overexcited and swapped it with a 1.8 ISZ from the aftermarket. Unreliable, unsorted, horrible. Hated it. Thanks to Behram Dhabhar (God bless the good man's soul), I moved over to a brand-new 2.5L IDI diesel from Mahindra, got it fitted from a Mahindra workshop and have been happy ever since.
  • Dad selling off his W111. Loved that car. If he'd held onto it, I would have restored it to full glory and be cruising in it today.
  • Buying a Tata Indigo TDI. Amazing for 30000 km, totally fell apart post that. Rubbish quality parts. The only car we sold at 40,000 odd km.

Here's what BHPian fhdowntheline had to say on the matter:

Why did you have to open up old wounds? I was in deep discussion with the Renault dealer here in Pune, torn between 2WD RXZ110 and RXZ AWD. For some stupid reason, the difference of boot space (475 lt vs 400 lt) was on my mind. On the day I made the decision, the dealer had also propped up the AWD on a rock like incline outside the dealership to show off the car. I had also read the odd reports of transmission / rusting issues in some of the AWD cars. All these preyed heavily on my mind resulting in me going for the 2WD RXZ. The dealer principal also indicated to me with a smirk- if I were you, I'd go for the AWD without batting an eyelid. Sometimes, you are just zoned out in your decisions. And I wasn't a regular member of Team BHP then !

A second, albeit minor one, is to have sold off my Nano. Looking at some of these in my society, I realize now that if ever there is a safer "scooter on 4 wheels" it is the Nano.

Here's what BHPian TorqueMonster had to say on the matter:

I think my personal automotive regret with regard to cars is not upgrading my car 3 years ago. I personally don't believe in replacing cars once every 3 or 5 years, as I feel that we cannot fully use the car during such a short time, and secondly, I do not have the finances to do so, a car is certainly an extremely big purchase.

But my car is now more than 11 years old. The Dzire was an extremely competitive car back in the day, for 5.5 lakhs, I got AC, Power Steering, Radio, Central Locking, all features which were well specced (I'm talking for that time, these features are now basic in modern cars), and coupled with Suzuki reliability, we were able to use the car for a long time. The problem lies in the fact that my car has now aged and to get a proper upgrade, I would have to spend way more money than what my family has. For a car bought for 5.5 Lakhs, I cannot afford to spend more than double of my existing car.

If I buy a car for 10 lakhs now, my options include middle variants of C - SUV and hatchbacks, and compact sedan, a segment from which I already own a car. Except for the modern features, I am not able to jump a segment. Even if I get to 15 Lakhs, the options to get a bigger car are not enough, I can get a top of line C -SUV or base model of a bigger car.

My car does not have airbags and the overall cost of maintaining it has certainly been rising over the years. If I had upgraded 3 years ago, I may have been an owner of a decently specced crossover, or a good sedan of my choice, instead of being relegated to stick to the same segment my current car is from. For now, I have retained the Dzire, added some modern features like a touchscreen and reverse camera, and hope to use it to save money for an eventual upgrade a few years later.

Replacing an ageing car was certainly a need that I had ignored and this leads me to stick to my present car, at a time where I had expected to upgrade from my car. This may be my automotive regret, other than that I have not regretted any vehicular purchase or any other automotive-related issue.

Here's what BHPian sandeepmdas had to say on the matter:

My first car was a Tata Indica DLS V2. Bought in 2004 and within 2 months, I discovered Team BHP while searching for some answers. Therefore absolutely no regrets and the car was with me till 2010. I exchanged the Indica for my first enthusiast car: the Punto Emotion Pack.

The Fiat was a gem, but in January 2014 the AC condenser went kaput. I saw the car's interior completely dismantled, and I also saw a new red/black dual tone Punto 90BHP in the showroom. The red car was ordered by someone in December, but loan was denied. The dealer offered by a whopping discount plus reasonable exchange price. I bought the red Punto.

The next four years were like in the movie/book The Omen. The red Fiat was apparently assembled by Satan or his sidekicks. Two accidents, multiple major issues, whatever. The last nail in the coffin was a relative girl to whom I gave a lift to her first day in +2 class. She was a very studious and gold-medal winning student. But after a mere three months, she committed suicide as she somehow failed in a Math paper.

Exchanged the red devil for an Ecosport AT. Zero regrets, even after the demise of Ford.

Here's what BHPian clevermax had to say on the matter:

My automotive regret is the wrong selection of engine spec for my first car. I regret falling for the fuel efficiency paranoia which was/is so prevalent in our country.

I bought a Palio 1.2 petrol in the year 2006 when I had the option of going for a Palio 1.6 Sport. I shied away from that gem of an engine because some of my mileage conscious friends & relatives warned me about the low FE that car is going to give me, which can make me totally go bankrupt (as per them).

Here's what BHPian ramnaresh_2000 had to say on the matter:

Biggest Regret: Buying AMT from M&M. Do I need to say more? Suffered 3.5 years with breakdowns, jerks, wheel spins, body roll and incompetent MASS. Credit due where it is due, Mahindra did try their level best, but AMT in their TUV 300 was complete failure. No amount of software patches, parts replacement and diagnostics saved this vehicle.

Here's what BHPian Durango Dude had to say on the matter:

It's a collective automotive regret of my family, dad buying the Sipani D-1 diesel. If there was a 'cottage car' industry in India, I think this was it. Glad I have just fading memories of that piece of junk.

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