The cheapest way to own and run a family car - Dogfuzz

An analytical friend disclosed to me ( you know--the way they do!) that the cheapest car ownership is to buy a three/four year old car car, keep it for 8 or so years then sell it for peanuts., He says he stops servicing it after 5 years of his ownerwship, years ,( apart from MOT, annual oil change and anything essential). He then buys another three year year old car etc etc . He averages 10K a year and doesn't mind buying something hi spec with a high mileage, usually an SUV or equivilant

He claims he saves stacks in depreciation and has been lucky in always getting something reliable.

Well--is he right? it the cheapest way of doing it?

The cheapest way to own and run a family car - Manatee

Probably, if you buy right and you are lucky.

It stands to reason that people will pay more to be driving around in newer cars than older ones. The only novelty there is to stop servicing it when it becomes of little value, which is probably sensible from an economic point of view as long as he bins it when it breaks down with anything expensive.

The things to watch out for will be reliability trends with certain marques/models, and not paying too much to a dealer.

Personally, if I can afford not to be driving round in a banger, I won't, but I have become very risk averse, like a lot of old, sorry, experienced, people.

The cheapest way to own and run a family car - SLO76
With a bit of know-how it's possible to run a car on peanuts. Before arrival of my first child and a sudden need for a bit of extra safety and a reduced risk of breakdown pushed me into buying a new family SUV and a 3yr old Polo for the daily commute I've run a series of cheap older motors without any major issues and all with zero or next to no depreciation which is still the biggest cost of motoring.

Some examples are a 2003 Honda Civic 1.6 S 5dr, bought with 37,000 miles and a full history for £2,200 then ran for over 4yrs to 74k without anything other than wear and tear stuff like tyres and brakes then sold for £1,500 to a local lady who still has it nearly 3yrs later. These are great budget buys and very practical. Managed to average over 40mpg without effort too.

A Mitsubishi Carisma 1.9 Diesel I bought with 77k and again a full history for £700. It needed a CVJ and a service which cost from memory around £200 then I ran it for a year before flogging for £1,000. Averaged high 40's to the gallon despite my normal lateness requiring a heavily right foot.

A Toyota Avensis 1.8 SE bought with 62k and full history for £1,250, ran for 3yrs and only one non wear and tear repair which was an ignition switch at £50 fitted then sold to another local for £850, who's family have since bought several other older motors from me. It was another 40mpg plus family bus.

A Ford Cougar V6 bought as a punt with 2wks Mot for £300, it passed without a single advisory then run for 6mths and sold for £825. Greedy pig at 25mpg though but sounded lovely.

A 2007 Mondeo 1.8 Edge with 17,000 miles bought for £3k run for a year then flogged for £3,500
A 2008 Mazda 6 2.0 TS bought with 59,000 miles for £6k and sold after 6mths for £5,700
A 1999 Mazda MX5 1.8 bought with 59,000 miles for £1475 and sold after two years for £1,600, this did have around £300 of work done though.


None of these were auction buys or bought to flog on, they were my own motors and registered to me. The trick is to buy something that's mechanically simple but unfashionable that has been well maintained and continue to look after it properly but realistically. Dodging the dealers margin and Vat by buying privately is another saving if you know what you're doing, though there are some good small traders most are selling garbage. A good private buy from someone who's owned the car longterm is often the best route. You'll need a good local garage, I use one that doesn't do Mot's, they instead book it in over the road with a neighbouring workshop who gain nothing by failing you unnecessarily. Too many use having an Mot station as a way to drum up work, fast fit branches are notorious for this.

Edited by SLO76 on 23/05/2017 at 12:34

The cheapest way to own and run a family car - Gibbo_Wirral

Can the OP clarify a little more on what happens to the car during years 6 7 and 8 if he stops servicing it after year 5?

The cheapest way to own and run a family car - pd

Can the OP clarify a little more on what happens to the car during years 6 7 and 8 if he stops servicing it after year 5?

Probably very little if they're not doing big miles. To be perfectly honest, from the strict financial point of view there is a lot to be said for simply stopping serivcing for years 6-8. Most cars will happily do 30-40k miles without a service and won't blow up so it isn't such a gamble as many think it is. On top of that the value difference of a common 9 year old car with or without history is very little.

If you're prepared to put up with the odd thing not working quite right and just fix stuff needed for the MOT and which makes it go then you can make a good case for doing just that.

The cheapest way to own and run a family car - Dogfuzz

The MOT "advised" brake pads -which were done-and I believe my friend had the radio go on him--so he went up Halxxords and got an after market cheapie fitted. He always had his oil/filter changed every year and thoroughly washed/vaced out car once a month--oh --nearly forgot--he said he replaced windscreen rubbers( or rather a Fast Fitter did it for him)

The cheapest way to own and run a family car - RobJP

Can the OP clarify a little more on what happens to the car during years 6 7 and 8 if he stops servicing it after year 5?

He did actually say that oil changes do continue to be done

The cheapest way to own and run a family car - corax
A 2007 Mondeo 1.8 Edge with 17,000 miles bought for £3k run for a year then flogged for £3,500

17,000 miles for £3k?

What was the story on that one?

The cheapest way to own and run a family car - SLO76
"17,000 miles for £3k?

What was the story on that one?"

Old fella who was giving up driving and it was a large petrol engined and unfashionable car with little demand.

It was a great example of the perfect private sale. Lovely address, well kept home, elderly owner who'd bought it new and serviced it annually at the main dealer while the reason for sale also stacked up. He was as blind as a bat. Amazingly there's wasn't a mark on the car aside from a few minor stone chips.

I flogged it to a family friend who's had totally reliable use for over 3yrs now.

Edited by SLO76 on 23/05/2017 at 14:50

The cheapest way to own and run a family car - corax

I presume that it was a fairly basic model with few frills, perfect car for cheap, long term ownership.

You are of course in the right place to find these gems.

The cheapest way to own and run a family car - SLO76

I presume that it was a fairly basic model with few frills, perfect car for cheap, long term ownership.

You are of course in the right place to find these gems.

U

Was indeed, as I usually advocate on budget buys. Keep it simple.
The cheapest way to own and run a family car - gordonbennet

The friend is right in that its a cheaper way of motorin than buying new and changing at warranty expiry, but far from the cheapest which will always be some form of bangernomics.

A decent mechanical knowledge so you hopefully buy a decent vehicle in the first place, and the ability to do your own essential maintenance and repairs along the way are huge cost cutters whatever age of used vehicle you buy.

Luckily for us buyers of older used cars, this country has massive and rapid depreciation on cars for a variety of reasons, and long may that happy situation continue.

The cheapest way to own and run a family car - JEREMYH

One of the one or two mid 90s saab 900 hard tops on ebay at the moment it will never let you down

The cheapest way to own and run a family car - Terry W

The choices:.

1. You may be able to buy and then sell a year later for more than you paid. Possible only for those who have the time and knowledge to inspect several vehicles and negotiate a good deal.

2. Bangernomics (10+ years old, 100k or more on clock) tends only to work if you have a network of places to go to get it fixed, diy skills and luck. Not so good if you value reliability or are reliant on transoprt.

3. For a small family car (Asrtra Focus etc) - buy a one year old base model and run for the next 8-10 years. Depreciation will be about £1000pa. Minimal repairs for the first 5 years and should be lowish thereafter if it has been maintained and driven with restraint.

4. A five or six year old car for about £4000 will be worth nothing after 8-10 years assuming it does bot expire in the process. At the 5-6 year mark repairs may be £2-500 each year typically for exhausts, suspension and sterring components, battery etc etc.

So unless you have the specialist knowledge for (1) or (2) above, (3) or (4) are the options. Personally for the sake of £2-300 a year over the ownership I would go for (3), but if cost is the overriding factor then (4).

The cheapest way to own and run a family car - catsdad
As long as oil services are done is there much else in a service that affects overall longevity? There are a lot of visual service checks that are covered by the MoT. Other than that things like air filters, plugs (longlife anyway nowadays) and brake fluid being left might affect the car's efficiency but not the overall lifespan.
I suspect few cars over,say, seven years old have preventative service "extras" such as their radiators flushed, their gearbox oil changed or brakes stripped. Despite this they soldier on for another ten years or so.
Lifespan now us probably mostly governed by how long the electronics last. None if these components is part of a sevice.
Having said that I will continue to get sevices done and the book stamped as the market requires that if we sell the car on. Logically though I know I am mostly paying for a list of checks at ££££s an hour rather than making my car last longer. If the OP has no intention of selling then the minimal route makes a lot if sense.
The cheapest way to own and run a family car - SLO76
Neglecting to change brake fluid every 3-4yrs allows moisture to build up and can damage the ABS pump, it's often overlooked but yes the most important factor of any service is the oil change. Fuel filters require changing and often there are technical bulletins from manufacturers to tell main dealer workshops to watch out for particular faults and issues.

One that springs to mind is the Renault Clio Mk II bonnet catch which is known to fail if it's not lubricated periodically allowing the bonnet to fly up at speed. There's been loads of cases of this and main dealers check and lybricate the mechanism at every service while it's not part of a normal service in general. There are loads of other examples of known weaknesses, even our Mitsubishi and Proton workshops had regular notifications to watch for issues.

When a car is in for an Mot the tester is focusing on the safety aspect of the vehicle and takes no interest in the engine and transmission outside of emissions meeting required standards but while it's in for a service the technician should be looking at it with a view to spot any developing mechanical faults. Too many put misguided confidence in a vehicle because it has a valid Mot. The engine or transmission could be on its last legs and it could pass an Mot with flying colours.
 

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