Sunday, 1 November 2009

A2OC: The value of having an Owners Club

It's not geeky to be a member of a Car Owners' Club. Well maybe if you were under 50 and a member of the MG-OC. There are a few more clubs that fall into the board borderline category but overall, no matter how other people view it, there is a value in being a part of one. I'm sure some of you reading still aren't convinced the benefits out weigh the awkward socials with people who really have nothing in common with you.
But who said they had to be awkward. Remember that a car (especially a new one) is the second most expensive purchase you will make. It's the same likelihood you will get on with your neighbours; they chose to live where you chose to live because their life choices are similar to yours. Why shouldn't that apply to vehicle choices too? Why should the people choosing the same car as you be radically different to you? You would all place the same values on the car's 'character and persona' as each other, why else did you make the same choice? Well, there are people how just don't care, granted, but they would not need the back up of an OC. As soon as the car's warranty is up or as soon as the car runs out of it's usable life, exchange or scrap is what they do next.
The people who do care however: honestly, an OC is worth it.
To take the A2OC as an example, you firstly have to look at the decision on why buy an Audi A2. As a new car, the first rung on the Audi ownership ladder turned out to be not as cheap as Audi imagined. In some cases, the A2 was more than decent but not greatly spec'd A3s. Kolo for example was just over £19,000 in 2001. That's a lot of money for a so called supermini, especially pre-BMW Mini. However many reasons why the A2 was so expensive to make and sell are great reasons why you'd look out for one used. The TDI engines are direct injection and pretty bulletproof, even the more powerful one still gets the £35 Road Fund Licence. The aluminium body is rust proof unlike anything else in your budget. What is there not to like with prices as low as £2500 for a basic spec'd petrol.
However, no matter how good a car is, it is still a car, made of thousands of parts and out of many different materials. Things do go wrong. Even new cars go wrong. But when they're older, there is no manufacturers warranty to help you out. What is needed is a cheap way of finding out what will go bad before it does and when it does, the knowledge to get passed the mechanics waffle. What is also needed is an opinion unbiased by a hidden motive. What is needed is a OC.
The A2 is a weird choice for an ordinary runabout because of it's looks. The A2 has a result is sort out: you own an A2 because you want an A2. The owners are of a type that appreciate the Luc Donkervoke lines and the strange looks they can still evoke. Owners are out and out extraverts in some cases, most are technology savvy too. Thus the A2OC. A web based forum of owners that post up issues and experiences they have with their A2s. There is a wealth of information and sources to help you avoid the pitfalls and help on improving on Audi's product.
So far, the A2OC in general and a member called Skipton01 specifically, has helped me:
*find the cause of the power loss
*fix the ashtray
*diagnose the onboard computer for faults
*choose the right sized alloys with the right amount of offset
*fit cruise control
*fix brake and ABS fault (turned out to be a brake pedal operated brake light switch)
*helped me know what a mechanic was saying was completely wrong (saving me £500)
There is more but surely the last one is reason alone.
The A2OC is not only web based, it's a social thing too. Members regularly meet up, some members are good friends with each other. Not not just the cars either.
As I stated before, if you appreciate one thing of the same reason as someone else, you will both also have very similar opinions on other things too. And isn't that why people get along? The fact that it can help you save money, improve your ownership experience and are given a clue to what mechanics say just a bonus. Join an OC, even if there is a fee, the information you gain is probably worth double the amount. Do it today. Honestly, you don't have to stick the sticker in the window if you still feel weird about it, we understand.

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