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Buying second-hand cars

PearlyPearly *********Posts: 345 The Mix Regular
Hi all,

Just wanted to pick your brains for one part of a new selection of articles for a new project we are working on with CAB/HBOS.

One of the new fact sheets is about buying a second hand car. I was wondering if any of you had any good/interesting/bad experiences or advice for others on buying second hand cars?

Do you worry about the quality of the motor when you are buying it, or is it more along the lines of, get it for a cheap price then worry about any problems with it later?! My first car was a totally rusty Fiat Panda which was £500 but needed about £1500 spent on it before it worked properly. And putting the wrong petrol in for the first six months didn't really help :blush:

I am hoping to get a few of you to be part of a new podcast with lots of little quotes and soundbites about what happened when you bought a second hand car. Quotes may also appear in the fact sheet (names can be changed if you are shy). If you are a car expert then I'd be keen to hear from you as well.

Thanks for reading, feel free to PM or email me on: [email protected]

:thumb:

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i would advise anyone looking for a second hand car to steer clear, no matter how tempting the offer seems, of Carcraft

    quite a few of the cars they sell should not even be sold for scrap and can end up being quite dangerous

    I used to work in the Customer Service department for them and we had to deal with all the poor customers who have broken down in the middle of nowhere the week after we had supposedly repaired their car
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I can't really afford anything so just get the cheapest and try and get it running legally. Guys who do dodgy MOTs are great too.

    My advice would be to read up about the cars you're looking at, decide a price range and then get some advice from someone who knows about cars. Dads, uncles, family friends, even internet forums are goldmines of information.

    I've lost so much money simply because I didn't know enough to know what I was buying.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Also, a car with more miles on the clock might be a better buy if the many miles are due to motorway travel.

    As opposed to regular short jaunts down the road to the shop.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    MrG wrote: »
    Also, a car with more miles on the clock might be a better buy if the many miles are due to motorway travel.

    As opposed to regular short jaunts down the road to the shop.

    High mileage but regularly serviced / well looked after is almost always preferable to low mileage but no servicing. Especially with modern engines that can take much much more wear than they used to be able to so long as they have regular oil changes and all the other usual bits and bobs.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    have a bit of knowledge and common sense.
    ive bought 5 cars second-hand and theyve all been great, except for the 1 i bought from a garage. I let that fact persuade me that it must be ok. No big disaster, i just sold it when it was always costing me money.

    Japanese cars are usually very good too.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I bought a Nissan for £1000. I've replaced the battery for £50 and two tyres for £50, but other than that, not a penny spent on it, and it hasn't broken once. The best thing is I checked that Parkers guide and the model hasn't depreciated at all in that year. I'd recommend Nissan to anyone.

    As for Pearly, well you made your first mistake when you bought a Fiat. You should know what that stands for by now. ;)

    The only advice I can offer is if you leave your petrol cap on a petrol pump in a Salford service station, it's cheaper to just buy a new one.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    it's a good idea to get an hpi check before you buy used car to make sure it's legit... http://www.hpicheck.com, and get a mechanic mate to look it over before you buy, if like me you don't know much about cars.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I've had two second hand cars, both older than me, :p an old mini and an mg midget. I'd recommend mg midgets a lot as they're v.good value for money. Minis, old beetles are really cool but very overpriced, to get a good mini that won't give you major problems will cost a lot! I like old British cars a lot (MG, Austin/Rover, Triumph) and my dad has had an old Triumph... apart from minis, they're cheap and good value for money. Parts are cheap and easy to find with a bit of looking and for anyone knows what they're doing (or has a useful dad) there easy to work on... the A series engine especially is solid and reliable. Main risk, as with most old cars - is rust.

    Ford/Vauxhall are good bets for second hand; simple and easy/cheap parts.

    I don't think you can go far wrong with old VWs/BMWs either, my mate's got a second hand Golf which has 200,000+ miles and still running well. I wouldn't personally touch Japanese cars, they might be reliable - although as my brother has found out with an old Honda Civic, parts are extremely expensive.
  • Saeed MSaeed M ********* Posts: 270 Boards Initiate
    Pearly wrote: »
    My first car was a totally rusty Fiat Panda which was £500 but needed about £1500 spent on it before it worked properly.

    I had a white one of these as my first car. I bought it for £35 and then had to replace the passenger door for £15. It was actually quite a reliable car. I sold it to a fellow student six months later for £200.:)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    it's a good idea to get an hpi check before you buy used car to make sure it's legit... http://www.hpicheck.com, and get a mechanic mate to look it over before you buy, if like me you don't know much about cars.

    I'd agree with this!

    A little outlay can benefit you greatly in the future - it can ensure you don't have any problems due to it being stolen, or outstanding finance etc!

    Take a good look around the car, check for visible signs of wear - the door seals, the seats, the pedals, the gearstick - does this correspond with the mileage? I.E. the higher the mileage, the more likely these are to be worn. Lower mileage with worn seats/seals/pedals etc indicates either a careless owner, or *gulp* a car that has been possibly clocked!

    I've had my fair share of sheds: First car a 'd' reg fiesta (i'm only 23 before anyone thinks i was that generation lol), which totally packed up, a rover metro which got stolen, a crappy clio, a 206 and my current car a vauxhall astra - which i love :heart:

    anywho, get insured on the car - unless you are covered by the garage/owner's insurance - CHECK THIS - as the driver is responsible, not the owner! Take the car for a drive, covering as many roads as possible - motorway, country and normal town roads. Get someone to sit in the back to listen for any noises. Check all buttons/lights/radio etc work correctly. Make sure it accelerates and brakes smoothly, without the car 'steering to the left or right' when braking heavily.

    Check the steering wheel moves freely from centre to left lock and centre to right lock - no funny noises, no clunks etc?

    Check the owner's name and address match that of the person/address selling you the car.

    Something small, but check for previous MOT's and tax etc -this is a good indication of a careful owner - has it always been tested/serviced the same period every year?

    If it's a petrol car and has a low amount of mileage on and the journeys completed have just been short town journeys, this can spell trouble, as condesation can build up in the engine and not have time to 'burn off'. If you are going to get a car that has been treated like this - ensure you do enough miles in a trip for the engine to warm up and have it serviced frequently!

    On the other hand, if it's a diesel, especially a turbo diesel, low mileages can hammer the turbo and EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve, which can lead to expensive problems in the pipeline - particularly on a certain 'french' model (i'll leave you to google it). If it's got high mileage, but has been serviced regularly, then go for it if everything seems right. Don't let high mileage put you off.

    My astra is a turbo diesel and it is an X reg and has 70k on the clock, but it loves cruising on the motorway, it's so happy and in return, gives me 48mpg or so on a town trip and between 52 and 60 mpg on motorway journeys!

    My final piece of advice is this...change the oil and oil filter on your car every six months or 6000 miles - whichever comes first! Why - clean oil = a happy engine...would you cook your chips in the same oil for a year? :yuck: lol
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I wouldn't personally touch Japanese cars, they might be reliable - although as my brother has found out with an old Honda Civic, parts are extremely expensive.

    That's the risk you take. But I'd rather have a car that is more expensive to fix but never needs it, than one that's cheaper to fix but is breaking all the time. And at the extremely low end of the price range, this becomes quite important imo. Nissans are also much cheaper to insure that equivalent sized (and insurance group) cars from more popular manufacturers.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    drive it like ya stole it :D
  • PearlyPearly ********* Posts: 345 The Mix Regular
    well you made your first mistake when you bought a Fiat

    Yeah I learnt :-) My dad told me he was "popping out to get a newspaper" and half an hour later he came back with this rusty little thing, but bless him as it did me well as a first car to learn in (and meant I wouldn't have to use his car and scratch it!)

    Interesting to hear all your other views, thanks :-)
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