In case you hadn’t noticed running a car is an expensive business. Comprehensive insurance premiums are at their highest levels for a decade, car servicing is both unsatisfactory and expensive whilst car values have fallen faster than ever in the last two years. Yet it does not have to be that way. There is another way, the way of Bangernomics.
Put simply, Bangernomics contrasts the absurd expense of buying a new car with the supreme good sense of buying well used. At a stroke depreciation no longer becomes an issue, running costs are slashed and there are no finance charges to be endured. Why buy a brand new car just to drive a few miles to the station each day? Why worry about leaving your pride and joy overnight in an urban street? Please allow me to explain.
Bangernomics means buying wisely.
There is no excuse for buying an unroadworthy heap. Used car values are on the floor and it is perfectly possible to acquire a sound vehicle with a full MOT for less than a £1000. Ideally the car should have few owners, some recent history such as service bills and not recorded as an insurance write off, or stolen (HPI 01722 422 422 or whoever you want to promote Matt). Before buying the car it should be MOT'd to guarantee roadworthiness and to discover whether anything needs fixing. If it does and the seller won't pay, walk away. Always pay cash and never borrow money to finance the car, that way you will be spending what you can actually afford.
Bangernomics means not having to drive a banger.
The ideal Bangernomics vehicle will be simple, possibly a little dull, but never down and out. Go for popular makes, Ford, Vauxhall and Rover because parts will be easy to find and cheap. Even better find an old Nissan, Toyota or Mazda that won’t ever breakdown. Four door saloons are cheaper than more practical hatchbacks. Don't be fussy about colour, white, non-metallic greens or browns are always going to be less popular and therefore cheaper. Avoid too many luxuries that could go expensively wrong such as electric windows and air conditioning. If you can afford the higher road fund tax, larger engined cars 1.6 litre and above, are less stressed.
Bangernomics means third party insurance.
The car is so cheap you won't want to bother with comprehensive cover, just third party fire and theft. The peace of mind of not worrying about a vandal's scratch or car park dent inflicted by a careless driver is very liberating.
Bangernomics cars are easier to service.
Older cars are less complex ones. If possible avoid catalytic converters which are expensive to replace. Cars built before 1992 won't have them, or if they do fail, there is no legal requirement to refit them. Servicing is relatively straightforward and for the most part only requires unbolting then bolting up again. Changing oil, plugs and filters is within all our capabilities given a Haynes manual from the Oxfam Shop. Meanwhile the MOT helps to ensure that the car is safe. Cars are so much more reliable because electronic ignitions and electronic control units fitted to many cars from the late '80s onwards rarely fail. Finding a good local mechanic rather than paying through the nose for a franchised dealer charging £50 plus an hour is the key if you don't fancy getting your hands dirty.
Bangernomics means you can move on.
There comes a point when a car is uneconomic to repair, so you simply buy another. Without worrying about outstanding finance payments or depreciation you can sell the car for spares, or drive it to a salvage yard and start again.
Bangernomics is green.
According to the Ecofascists car ownership is irresponsible because of the pollution they cause. However, a Bangernomic approach amounts to recycling. Because the natural resources and energy used in building a new car is phenomenal, prolonging the life of and disposing responsibly of a used car is very green.
Bangernomics isn't for everyone.
Anyone, who is image conscious and spends most of Sunday with a bucket, sponge and polish. Motoring snobs who must have the latest registration and model. Anyone obsessed with state of the art safety features and environmentally friendlier cars. But that costs money and also has an environmental impact.
Bangernomics is for motoring enthusiasts.
No really. Although the money you save could be spent on lots of other things, like new kitchens and holidays, you could also buy that classic you always promised yourself for some weekend fun. If you want to indulge in some automotive snobbery, '90s Mercedes, BMWs and Audis are very cheap, durable, might be a liability when they go wrong, but look very cool.
Basically bangers are a lot better than they used to be. Cars built in the last decade are tough, reliable and right now cheaper than ever. Automotive downshifting has never been less painful or more financially sensible. So what could you buy for a £1000 or less? Take a look around aroundyou. Mondeos that are nice to drive, but cheap to own and fix. Then there are Volkswagen Passats that look very classy and Toyota Corollas that don’t, but which won’t break down. Not only is Bangernomics easy, it is mostly fun. You learn some skills, waste less money and have a new topic of dinner party conversation, because Bangernomics is a way of life.
James Ruppert coined the word Bangernomics in 1990 for a magazine article turning his ideas into a book in 1993 which he still sells it online and re-written as the Bangernomics Bible.