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Car Buying

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hello all,

I will soon (as in this weekend lol) be beginning the hunt for my first ever car :-D I am very excited – particularly as the darling credit crunch means that there should be some fantastic bargains around.

Problem is, I have NO idea what I’m doing. I know what SOME of my priorities should be (low mileage, one previous owner), but aside from that I really don’t have a clue.

If anyone has any tips or suggestions, I’d be really grateful!!!

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fluffle wrote: »
    Problem is, I have NO idea what I’m doing. I know what SOME of my priorities should be (low mileage, one previous owner), but aside from that I really don’t have a clue.

    mileage is less of an indicator these days as cars will happily run on for longer, i.e a car with 90k on the clock could run alot nicer than a car with 40k but has been thrashed.

    I'd take it on a good test run, at least a few minutes and try out all the gears, make sure they all change smoothly have the windows down and listen to the engine, if you hear any knocking when accelerating/breaking that could mean problems. check the oil and ask if the owner has a full service history (which is a good indicator that the car has been looked after)

    I can usually tell fairly easily if a car is no good, i just get a feeling.. but if you're not experienced you may want to bring a friend, or propose to the seller that you could both take it to a garage for a once over (although dont suggest it if you dont intend on buying if the car checks out).

    Also try and barter for the car, you might be able to get 50 quid off the asking price to spend on car bits at halfords to make it your own :-)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Always do a background check on the car to see if its been involved in any accidents etc - there is a number you can text the registration to which they advertise on TV but i can't remember what it is.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    noog wrote: »
    mileage is less of an indicator these days as cars will happily run on for longer, i.e a car with 90k on the clock could run alot nicer than a car with 40k but has been thrashed.

    I'd take it on a good test run, at least a few minutes and try out all the gears, make sure they all change smoothly have the windows down and listen to the engine, if you hear any knocking when accelerating/breaking that could mean problems. check the oil and ask if the owner has a full service history (which is a good indicator that the car has been looked after)

    I'd agree and disagree with this...

    Mileage is defo not much of a factor nowadays - someone who has done 90k motorway miles and serviced a car every 6-12 months on the dot may sell a more reliable car than a granny who has done 20k and serviced a car every now and again - when driving longer distances, the battery charges better (usually takes 20 ish miles to fully re-charge the battery from the start, although batteries are now better than they used to be) and condensation builds up in the engine - longer runs burn this off, short runs don't give the engine enough chance to get warm enough, therefore all the condensation doesn't burn off

    However, a test drive should be more than a few minutes! I'd say at least 30 minutes, up to an hour if from a dealer, mayve 20 minutes or so private.

    Take the car over various roads - some you know are 'rough', some smooth, A roads, B Roads, roads with humps, motorways - have someone sit in the back of the car, listening for any strange noises.

    Check all switches, lights, functions etc

    Check for wear on pedals, door seals, gear stick, seats etc - these can be indicators of high mileage cars - even if the mileage indicator tells otherwise

    In the engine bay, checks for any 'broken' bits, pipes / cables / wires hanging off, fluid / oil leaks or stains - do all lights work, are there any obvious 'weld' spots - bits of the car that look to have been welded. Are any of the car panels different colours to each other?

    Tyres - check for wear on the tyres - is the wear pattern the same across the tyre - if not, this could indicate a suspension or geometry problem. Are the alloys / wheel trims scuffed - this could show the owner has not been careful when driving up curbs etc

    It's a bit cheeky, but if the owner says it's been a good car - ask why they are selling it

    You might be better off getting a car from a dealer at present, as there are some good deals to be had. However, don't underestimate the bargains from a private seller.

    If you don't mind me asking, how much you are wanting to spend? What cars do you like?

    I presume you are after something small for your first car?

    I'd suggest something like:

    Skoda Fabia
    Toyota Yaris
    VW Polo
    VW Lupo
    Mitsubishi Colt
    Honda Jazz
    The old school favourite - Fiesta
    Peugeot 106

    Going slightly bigger:

    Vauxhall Astra
    Ford Focus
    Toyota Corolla
    Honda Civic
    Peugeot 206 / 306 / 307

    Hope this helps
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks so much for all the advice :) I'll definately take it on board.

    I've managed to convince my neighbour, who is a driving instructor, to come with me so that's a start!!!

    Think I've narrowed it down to a Peugeot or a Renault... they lose their value quicker but as I'm planning on having this car for a few years and then possibly passing it down to my younger sister, it's probably not going to be sold on again anyway.

    I was thinking Peugeot 207, 307 or a Renault Megane or Clio. I have roughly £4000 to spend... I was going to go for car around £4000 then try and haggle down!!!

    Thanks again guys, you've been most helpful :heart:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fluffle wrote: »
    Hello all,

    I will soon (as in this weekend lol) be beginning the hunt for my first ever car :-D I am very excited – particularly as the darling credit crunch means that there should be some fantastic bargains around.

    Problem is, I have NO idea what I’m doing. I know what SOME of my priorities should be (low mileage, one previous owner), but aside from that I really don’t have a clue.

    If anyone has any tips or suggestions, I’d be really grateful!!!


    I would actually suggest the exact opposite - my very first car was a 6 month old ex-hire car - so had been driven by loads of people - and I kind of recommend it - if a car's got faults with it then driving it hard whilst still under the warranty is a good way to find those faults. When I got my car I think it had about 10,000 miles on the clock but only 6 months old so had 6 months of full manufacturer's warranty. Never had a problem at all with that car - think I had it over 5 years in the end.

    Having one careful owner with low mileage isn't going to test the car and find out it's weak spots.
  • JsTJsT Posts: 18,268 Skive's The Limit
    As someone who worked in hire cars for 5 years I wouldn't recommend buy ex-hire cars, they are often just treated like complete shite, and due to the hard driving they've been given major components (engines/gearboxes etc) have been overworking and may break/need replacement earlier than usual.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'd agree with JST about not getting an ex hire car - people do drive them like rally cars generally!

    If you have £4000, i'd steer well clear of Renaults - nothing but problems, and although i mentioned a few Peugeots, for that kind of money, you can afford something better.

    If it's staying in the family, then definately do it as an investment - you'd get better value for money with something like a Toyota, Fiesta or something.

    Forgot to throw one in the mix - a Seat Ibiza.

    For about £3500-£4000, you should be looking to pick up between an 02/03 - 08 Plate car

    My mate's mum just bought an 08 plate Ford Ka with delivery miles for £3700!!

    Bargain

    Seriously though, as an ex Renault and Peugeot owner - also owned a fiesta, metro and vauxhall astra - steer clear of the french crap!!

    If you need any more help, just ask.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'd suggest signing up to one of the car forums and asking them for advice, and maybe seeing if there's someone who lives close by will go see the car with you.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    May i recommend Parkers...not that i'm a member there or anything :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It might be worth getting a few insurance quotes for cars you're interested in too. You can do it quickly online. Insurance group numbers are largely bollocks. I was surprised when my Nissan (insurance group 9) came in at a much cheaper price than a Honda Civic (group 7) and VW Polo (group 6).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    JsT wrote: »
    As someone who worked in hire cars for 5 years I wouldn't recommend buy ex-hire cars, they are often just treated like complete shite, and due to the hard driving they've been given major components (engines/gearboxes etc) have been overworking and may break/need replacement earlier than usual.

    I think it may also depend on how many miles you're going to drive it per year - I do very few miles - about 2,000 or less per year as most of the time I need to take the train to get to where I want to go.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Which cars?

    Might I add as suggestion the latest Fiat Panda? It's actually quite a solid-feeling car for a little Fiat and they do surprisingly well in reliability surveys. They sell cheapish brand new so there'll be a lot of bargains out there.

    There's already been suggestions, but I'd second a Toyota Yaris or a Honda Jazz. I passed my test in the former and it's a lovely little motor really. Not cheap but that's because thye keep holding their value well and they're pretty solid.
    Much of that applies to the Jazz too actually.

    Polos are solid, but Skoda Fabias tend to offer much the same for less money. As does the Seat Ibiza. They're all based around the same oily bits and chassis so I doubt you'll go wrong with either.

    The Nissan Micra is a popular choice, but bear in mind the company is now owned by Renault and apparently the owners prefer the older version as opposed to the current frog-eye model, saying it isn't as reliable.

    I personally think the Peugeot 106 is getting on a bit now. There's worse cars but there's much better motors out there nowadays for £4k. sme for the Citroen Saxo, which is exactly the same.

    There's a lot to choose from really, but it's a good idea to reserch the cars you're interested in and try and test drive as many as you can.
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