Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
(Moved from Technical Matters to Discussion)

I viewed a Toyota carina e 2.0 executive (k reg) for sale today. It has 110,000 miles with a part service history. The oil is an ok colour (i.e. dark brown but not yet black).

It costs £400 and has had a new radiator, alternator and battery. However, it has no MOT or tax. When it was last mot?d before being garaged for 6 months it needed new bushes and the ABS needed attention and cost £160. It also has mot certificates for five years which is how long she owned it.

I understand that it was owned by a bloke?s daughter who moved and now has her own company car. The bloke in question is in an electric wheelchair and cannot walk hence the fact he cannot sort the car out. His wife cannot drive and daughter lives in Derbyshire now.

The only problem with the car is it has left wing damage after hitting a lamppost (and is only a slight dent). The car also rattled when I started it but then idled ok.

The father also did not clean it either, since he is in a wheelchair.

Is this car worth the risk? Apart from the startup rattle, it is ok. Also, what does the rattle suggest anyway?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - M.M
K-eg with no MOT or tax!

I would expect to be given this for the trouble of moving it.

£50 would be more than fair. That's not ripping them off...that's where the value of such a car is these days.

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - T Lucas
Depends what you want to do with it,but for a Carina of that age with a new MOT you will be surprised what you can get for it,in many parts of the country cab drivers will recognise the car for its earning potential and would easily part with at least \'a bag of sand\'.The engine rattle is nothing,what noise do you make after a good long sleep?
Don\'t confuse the values of Toyotas with all the other rubbish out there.They can earn their keep.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - ajit
[snip] note removed, since it is no longer relevant. M.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Rob the Bus {P}

[snip] I would agree with the following paragraph but have edited anyway since I don\'t need the hassle.]

I would hazard a guess that T Lucas was not being inflammatory or even racist - merely observing a simple truth.


Thoughts of a car I viewed today - ian
Agree with T Lucas and Rob the bus. A statement of fact, I sold my carina in february a 94L 110k miles insurancewrite off after being severly hit up the rear offside for £300. The engine alone is worth that to people who correctly recognise the carina is a bomb proof car.


p.s why won\'t people recognise that jap cars are the most well engineered cars (in terms of long term durability) by a country mile even today, the aforementioned car still had the original battery and would go for 2 weeks on the drive in January and still start (just)
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - eMBe {P}
[snip] removed as no longer relevant

{P} = advertising profile is ON. Backroom photos
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Dizzy {P}
Gregory, I would be very wary. If the problems are only a dented wing and an engine rattle, why hasn't the seller had the car MoT'd? And why isn't there some MoT left on it if it was last done 6 months ago - or have I misread what you were saying?

Secondhand car values have plummeted recently and there are lots of quite nice K-Reg cars with MoT available for comparatively little money. Also, although Toyotas have an excellent reputation for the build quality of their new cars, this doesn't necessarily translate into reliability in cars 10/11 years old -- and the repairs can be very expensive.

Regarding the rattle, this might be a simple thing like hydraulic valve lifters draining off overnight or perhaps it's due to a worn oil pump that can't build up pressure straight away, especially if there is excessive clearance in the engine bearings. Perhaps it is a characteristic of Toyota 2-litre engines to rattle after a fair mileage but it would worry me.

It is possibly a good buy for £400 but I think you could find that £400 is peanuts compared with what it might cost to correct the faults that appear once you own it. After all, it isn't so much what the car is like now, it's about what it will be like in the future when you are paying the bills.

Sorry to be so pessimistic. It's the result of having been caught out myself more times than I'd like to admit.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - DL
Sounds like a £100 car to me

Brown oil? That sounds bad to me - a high moisture content.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - M.M
Yep being a Toyota has nothing to do with the value of a scrapper...and that is exactly what could be the fate of this.

Come on Tony Lucas, you're in the trade and you can't tell me any of your mates would be rushing round for this...even as a gift.

When I do MOTs there is always a failure of two they will happily give you on behalf of the owner, if it is a good one you might offer the MOT "failure" fee.

And this includes every make of car, BMWs, Mercedes...yes and Japanese. In fact in some ways there is less of a following for 10yrs plus japanese cars that have failed the MOT than something like a Citroen (loyal following by those who really know) or a Ford (perceived as a cheap easy repair).

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gen
If you fancy it put it through an MOT before buy. £25 well spent. Will know how much would cost then.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - DavidHM
I reckon this is £900 - £1k worth of car with a new MoT, private or haggling from a dealer, and probably £650 at auction unless someone gets a bee in their bonnet (quite possible if a car like this is okay for minicabbing, although a lot of councils expect to see something newer now.)

I reckon £150 to get the wing sorted professionally, plus £40 for the test itself, so you're below auction prices at the moment.

It all depends on the cost of getting it through the MoT. If the car truly is ready to go, it's a good deal. If, on the other hand, it needs more than a couple of hundred quid spent on it, you'll do better in a private sale, never mind an auction.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Hugo {P}
The great thing about seeing a car like this is that you know it has probably not been valeted, cleaned etc.

Bearing in mind the chap is wheelchair bound and you would not want to be seen to ba taking advantage of their predicament, the approach I would take is this:

Try to establish what is behind the pricing of the car. Has his daughter asked him to get rid of the car or does she really want the money for it?

Does the chap think that the £400 price tag will have people queuing at his door with wads of cash and just wants rid, or is he trying to maximise what he can get for it? Remeber the chap here in the BR with the ZX volcane in his garage, who just wanted rid?

My guess is that if the daughter is not on the scene and they have not MOTed it recently, they will be very realistic about the price.

A detailed subtle conversation like "Oh yeah, what does your daughter do for a living then? etc etc. Try and get a general idea of their background. Do they live in a nice house etc, have they got money to burn, what is it that is preventing them from giving the car away and can you get around that.

If there is no mileage in that, then explore getting the car a lot cheaper. Explain that given the age of the car and your budjet, your feel that £400 is a high risk. You may suggest that they consider along with their daughter what they would be prepaired to accept. Explain that you would be happy to reconsider if they seriously reconsider the price.

Thr truth of the matter is that any car (except Mercs BMWs Audis etc) on a K plate with no MOT has got to be good for more that £100.

The range of £400 K reg 110K motors that are available is growing. Examples include some Pug 405, Xantias (even some diesels). etc. All with Long MOTs, but perhaps with some minor body damage.

Presented with this evidence, they may either say "No £400 is the price and near offers will be considered" in which case walk away, or they may say, Well we can't have it sitting here and we just want someone to take it away, I would probably take them a nice bottle of wine in that case.

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
I think that the car is sound. The daughter has moved to derbyshire where she has a lexus and a new job. She wanted £500 for the car, but the wheelchair bound father advertised it for £400. The mot expired 6 months ago and has been stored for this time in a garage.

On start up it rattled. However, I came back to their house a couple of hours later with my father and when starting it didn't rattle at all.

In my view, he is a fair man and was upset to see people offering £300 for the car. This is taking the micky in anyone's book. We talked to him for about 3 hours and his wife even offered a cup of tea. And it was not a discussion about the car! He was talking about his trip to lourdes and his wife showed some photo's. I have no doubts that they are good people, but I am more anxious about the daughter who was driving it. The couple did mention she was a fast driver (i.e. 100mph) but then they were honest enough to me.

The other good point about this car is that it does not burn oil. I looked for engine smoke revving to the limiter, and sure enough nothing. However, the radio was removed (it was an expensive cd player).

All that worries me is the mot. From the past mot's, I think it may need about £150 to pass, which still makes it a sound buy. The most expensive past mot was £160 as mentioned before;
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Armitage Shanks{P}
Why not meet their price if they get it thru an MOT at their expense? I understand that the gentleman is in a wheelchair but does Mother drive? It is legal for it go to a test station for a booked appointment without tax but it would need insurance. Are you covered to drive it with their permission? The above would get it an MOT (with or without work) at their expense and you would get a test drive too. In the end the car is worth what somebody will give for it, has there been much other interest, so far as you can tell?
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
His wife cannot drive. I suppose if I offer to take it down to the MOT station and I give him my licence, insurance etc then there should be no problem. If it fails big time, then I can give it back to him.

From what I heard, there was a lot of interest but I think most didn?t bother viewing it once they found it had no MOT, had a dent in the wing and had no radio.

I will see if he is willing to take me up on my offer of mot?ing it. If he doesn?t, then it would be obvious there is something hidden that he doesn?t want me to find out about until I hand over the money!
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - king arthur
Try buying a clean K plate Carina, with or without ticket, at any respectable auction and you won't get it for £50 or £100 or anything like!
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
King arthur: good point. Where would one get a carina e for £50 or £100 which looks ok. It would be that much with crash damage and a non-runner.

Auctions are in fact very expensive anyway taking into the risk of buying a dodgy motor. You cannot even test drive it!
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - M.M

As the buyer you should not be arguing the car up...that is the sellers protect your interests you must be pushing in the opposite way.

For goodness sake the length of time you chatted to this chap their holiday snaps and his disability have absolutely nothing to do with this car's value.

If anyone offered £300 it was so much more than fair he should have jumped at it. If he was insulted by that he doen't understand K-reg's are perceived as very old/cheap now. A couple of faults and they are scrappers unless owned by enthusiastic DIYers.

There are some great damage free L/M/N cars about with MOTs for £400-£600 if you are carrying cash and get a buyer stuck with something on his/her drive.

Trust me.... I have the trade contacts who *will* give away cars like this. I earn my living by knowing about the balance between repair costs and values, in this end of the market in particular.

Week after week I see cars of this age that would take getting on for their value to repair...that's why they get abandoned in garages.

This Toyota is a capable family hack but really no better than any other make.

Buy it if you must, good luck if you do but it is just not a good deal at £400.

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - madf
If a buyer of an old car without an MOT - for WHATEVER reason - I would budget £750 for repairs to get an MOT. I may be lucky and spend less or unlucky an spend more.

So anyone wanting £300 for such a car is valuing it with MOT at £1100 - with no tax.

110,000 miles and a dent for £1100? You gotta be joking. Who wants to spend £300 and risk bills for more than £750? The risk/reward is ALL wrong.

Lots of choice in cheap cars so why buy a potential money sink?

(even the best Japanese cars if neglected will costs a fortune).

Avoid imo.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
Many thanks for everyone?s views. It has helped me a lot and hope it helps others when buying non-mot?d cars. I will continue to look for a car but will demand a brand new mot and an immaculate car.

At least I have learned a lot about car buying now. It is a very complex game and many checks and questions need to be asked before handing over money. I have found many other candidates for £600 with FSH, new mot?s, new tyres, no body damage or rust, but I will view them and see if they are genuine good buys or skips. They may be one year older than the carina e mentioned, but at least they will see me through for more than one year without huge expenses.

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
Concluding this thread, there are some important points to note when buying a budget car

Get an MOT, as recent as possible.

Look at the tyres. Cheap brands mean the owner is tight and probably never has the car serviced as it should. Doesn't care about safety as well probably. Also, look how much fuel is left in the tank, the radio and wheather the tyres are worn out. They indicate a lot about the owner as I have found.

Service history must have a full set of reciepts.

Ensure the oil has been changed regurlarly. Don't accept any excuses for dirty oil like 'that is how it should be'

Also, have a full set of mot test sheets to see if it passed in the past 3-5 years.

Ask the owner how long ago the tyres were last changed, with miles completed. Do they lie or are they honest showing thier reciept for the tyres. Also ask how long the brake pads last and how mpg they get. It is usually obvious when they are not telling the truth in which case they are probably hiding other things.

Anything that does not add up in the sellers story probably means they are dishonest selling a heap of junk.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - DavidHM
Gregory - that's the ideal. If you find a ten year old car with that much history, don't buy it, alert the nearest museum because it's probably unique.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - king arthur
Gregory, I wouldn't have said all those points are necessarily correct. For example, four recent tyres, whether a budget brand or not, is a good sign. It's when you see four different brands, all at different states of wear, perhaps one or more borderline illegal, that you need to start to question how the car has been treated. How long ago the tyres were changed does not tell you anything, tyres should simply be changed when they are worn enough to warrant it.

Nor does looking at how much fuel is in the tank tell you much, apart from how clever the seller is at making sure they don't leave too much in there...

It's always nice to have all the old MoTs and service bills, but in the real world, as has already been said, you buy the car on its condition. Service histories can be faked, and often are.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - M.M
With respect to David and k.arthur.....

My own 10yr old car came with a good history. Fully stamped book from new, last 4 MOTs and receipts for previous three major services.

The last car I had is now 15yrs old and I still look after it. Fully stamped service book from new, 10yrs of MOTs and 6yrs worth of receipts.

SWMBO's 10yr old car came with full history and every receipt from new...even for tyres and original car purchase.

I've just helped a guy buy a 9yr old car at 132K with a fully stamped book and all receipts for past 4yrs.

I've also just moved on a 15yr old car under £400 which, as well as the service book, had all receipts for past 6yrs.

If you look they do exist.... and when issues like coolant changes, timing belts are in question a dealer/specialist receipt is very welcome.

Conversly I'm helping someone resolve an unwise buy at the expensive three year old car at 48K that has only ever had two services and all the filters** carry the date code of the month the car was built!!

**Except oil filter.


Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Dizzy {P}
I can see this thread going on and on ...!

Contrary to KA, a set of new tyres (especially budget brand) would want some explaining to me. New tyres could have been fitted to hide the fact that there is a suspension or steering problem, or even body misalignment from an accident, that is causing uneven and/or rapid tyre wear.

Having said that, I recently fitted a full set of premium quality tyres to the BMW that I now have for sale! Reason in my case is that the old set were down to 2 or 3 mm, which is my preferred limit, and I replaced them shortly before my wife persuaded me that we should buy a new car. Honestly!

As for the petrol left in the tank, I was keeping it between 1/8 and 1/4 full in the expectation of selling the car fairly quickly (wishful thinking as it turned out) when my son asked if he could borrow it for a 14-mile round trip. On his return he proudly announced: "I've filled the tank for you, Dad"!

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - wemyss
Ideally one should buy a second hand car from someone you know or a friend of a friend who can give some information. I just have to think of family members. One of my son in laws came round once to get me to change the oil. Next day when I took the waste oil down to the local oil refuse tank I had to stand there for 10 minutes to pour the old oil out of the can. It have virtually returned to its crude state.
Asking later when he had last changed it he couldn?t remember if he ever had?
However it said something for his car a Carlton which had done over the 100K mark.
There are some brilliant older cars maintained by caring owners who tend to keep all their property in pristine condition.
This same philosophy could be used when going to a private owners home to view the car.
If the house looks in poor condition with belongings strewn around the site I think its fair to say his car will have been treated the same.
Owned by one little old lady is no warranty. The other week I was given a lift into town by a charming old lady in her clean looking Metro.
In a one mile journey with a clear road the old dear never changed out of first gear. It must have been near full revs all the way into town. I doubt if the other gears have ever been used.

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - madf
SWMBO drives a 1993 Peugeot 106 diesel .. owned from new and done 38k. ALL service receipts/MOTs and bills are available to view.. new tyres just fittted. It's metallic silver and almost immaculate apart from the odd (touched up) stone chip and minor scratches to interior plastics. Carpets are like new due to rubber mats..

No it's not for sale.. but you can find other like that.. saw one (not as nice) for £1295 with tax and MOT last week..(Glasses Guide about £800. )

WHY settle for third best when you can buy first rate with a bit of searching? (and at lttle real extra cost).

PS yes I know the mileage is low but the oil/filter is changed annually and it is serviced and INSPECTED by me and it is garaged every night. Mechanically it is virtually as new..If it was a petrol car I suspect the story might be different as average journey length is about 1.5 miles....

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Maz
Interestingly, there are as many thoughts as posters on this one. It's easy to get bogged down with infinite possibilities.

A K-Plate Carina for £400 could be a great buy or it could be a waste of money, depending on what goes wrong over the next few years. If it's a good car you could easily run it for another 3-5 years without massive expenditure.

The trick is deciding whether it's good or bad one.

Assuming there are no signs of the car being used for mini-cabbing and it drives OK, ask the man to pay for/pay half of an MOT test. Once you've got your failure sheet, everything will seem much clearer.

If he refuses, you should plan in advance to walk away or offer to pay yourself. I don't think it's worth buying this without knowing your immediate costs - the MOT.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
David HM. Although you say it is the ideal, it is possible to get full history with all receipts. I am always looking for one owner cars, and those who have a set of receipts means they are organised enough to keep them. You can then look at the car and see if the receipts tally with the quality of maintenance. Also, I have seen many cars that are 15 years old with receipts for the past 10 years and fully stamped book. They are difficult to come by I agree, but once I do the car always seems to be the best of the bunch.

Quality of maintenance can be tested For example, are all moving parts lubricated or greased, is the air filter clean or relatively new, what about the coolant. Is it low? Gear oil can be easily inspected as can all fluids. You can see if the oil filter is quite new and the fuel filter is quite new. Even inspecting to see if all the doors open smoothly and are lubricated can give clues of use and service.

Of course service history can be forged. But I would go and check the service history with the person or garage who serviced it. They will always help if they are a good garage, and this can even give you a better idea about servicing quality.

When looking at cars for sale, I always have owners saying that ?I SERVICE THE CAR? or ?FRIEND DID IT?. This seems to be the old trick in the book. I have come across this many times and when I ask if they have receipts for the oil, spark plugs and sundries the answer is always ?no?. Why do they lie? Although it can be true, I really doubt it and anyway it cannot be testified. The worst one is when the advert says FSH, and when I view the car it has a book stamped up to say 30k miles, with nothing else. No receipts for recent stuff or anything. This worries me since so many cars out there are like this and buyers drive away and suddenly break down.

Well, at the moment I am still looking for a good car for sale, but have failed so far. The carina e I mentioned in the beginning may be a candidate if the owner contacts the mot garage to have it picked up and mot?d. There are many places that pick up cars for little charge so if it is genuine then he will agree. But I really doubt he will agree, and if he does it means it is genuine.

Today I looked at a Toyota corolla diesel M registration with 145k miles. The owner told me on the phone it was fully serviced. Guess what. No history, no recent receipts for anything. It sounded fine, but was really scruffy inside. Because it was white, it had rust spots everywhere. The owner wanted £800, I said it was only worth £600 at most. No he didn?t agree with me. And the tyres were mixed ?avon, bridgestone plus budget. One front one was changed, but the other?? Also, needed tracking to be done. And to add to insult he used a mobile telephone number which is always suspisous.

I will keep looking and it will take me a long while to get a good car. But then at least I will have a good car for my £1000-2000 budget I am on, and I will be proud of myself.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Hugo {P}
It sounds like you're being particularly shrewed.

Let me put this to you-

Citroen Xantia 1.8LX 16v 1997 Full MOT good contition, replacement engine only done 18K miles. Air con, Tow hitch with twin electrics - £1299

The P reg Xantia I am advertising tomorrow has no service history, not even an owners manual, but I can show you receipts for the replacement engine, new cambelt, filters, plugs etc and a fresh MOT.

I intend to be honest with potential buyers and will offer the following information.

The lack of service history etc is due to a decision initially taken by the previous owner to scrap the vehicle when a piston disintegrated. He subsequently disposed of the history.

I expressed an interest in the car and received it gratis but paid for its delivery. Originally intending to keep it myself, I had the engine replaced by a mechanic friend of mine, and had a minor repair carried out to the bonnet and NS wing.

The MOT was achieved by replacing the near side door mirror glass, replacing both front wipers and re aiming the ns headlight.

I am aware of a number of imperfections on the bodywork and interior trim and will gladly point these out to anyone. These include a minor crack in the front bumper, a small dent in the rear offside wing, a small scape at the bottom of the driver's door and stone chipping around the rest of the car, not forgetting scapes on rear valances cause by careless reversing. In addition there is a cigarette burn on the rear ns seat.

If one is looking for a showroom example, they may be slightly put off with the minor dents etc, but if one is looking for a reliable car with plenty of life left in it and one that has obviously been well looked after, judjing by mechanical condition (all gaters etc intact), then this is a bargain.

No I'm not trying to sell the car to you. I just want to know what your reaction is.

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - looking4car
£1299 rather than £1300

That would make me think 'If he's trying to disguise the price he might be doing the same with the car'.

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Hugo {P}
OK thanks

Anything else?

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Andrew-T
H - why don't you include the recorded mileage? It may be a deterrent if it is a high figure, but any interested person is going to ask the question anyway. Some put 'average' or 'low', which is usually a matter of rather flexible opinion. Or is the idea to ensure a call just to find out?

Agree about £1299. No need to look like a trader (unless you are one I suppose).
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - footy_72
You could always buy my 1992 Honda Accord 2.0i

Superb Condition, 90,000 miles, aircon, cruise control, electric windows, mirrors, seats etc.....6 disc cd changer

£800 o.n.o.

07793 949769
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
Hugo: the tow hitch puts me off. Citroen gearboxes aren?t the most reliable and straining it with a trailer or caravan does it no favours.

Also, does the new engine have a service history for the 18k miles. I do not like the idea of a new engine because the car itself will always eventually have faults i.e. steering, wheel bearings, body work. For the age I think the price is reasonable though.

Footy: I don?t like three things about your advert. All you mention is what the car has i.e. electrics. What about service history, mot and other things. Those who place adverts like this usually try to sell on its spec and not condition, its history etc.

You also use a mobile telephone number; I always ask myself why not just give a landline unless you are dodgy or something. Also, the fact they cost a lot of money to ring just shows your lack of empathy and would probably mean you wouldn?t feel bad about ripping someone off. I also hate when people advertise things like cd changer. This usually means thrashed as you probably love loud bass music. Hard breaking, strong acceleration and tailgating comes to mind. Worse of all, it means that instead of paying for a service or oil change, you bought a cd changer, which isn?t good. Furthermore, it is also a way of persuading people to buy the car. If the car is so good, by just viewing it would sell itself and doesn?t need these pointless extras in the ad.

I think the mobile phone really put me off. They always do and mean trouble in most cases.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Dynamic Dave
Greg P,

How on earth can you judge a how a person treats a car simply because they have a cd changer fitted? Forgive me, but I think you're talking utter nonsense.

Secondly, on the mobile phone paranoia thing, why not ask for their landline number once you've made initial contact via their mobile, or is that being too logical? Perhaps the person isn't sat right next to a landline, but 99% of the time will have the mobile in their pocket waiting for that all important call while they're down the shops, or in the garden, etc, etc. It's the 21st century, people don't soley rely on landlines anymore. If they did, they would never leave the house. OK, there are answer phones, but how many people feel comfortable leaving a message on one of those - I certainly don't.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - king arthur
Greg P,
How on earth can you judge a how a person treats a car simply
because they have a cd changer fitted? Forgive me, but I
think you\'re talking utter nonsense.
Secondly, on the mobile phone paranoia thing, why not ask for
their landline number once you\'ve made initial contact via
their mobile, or is that being too logical? Perhaps the
person isn\'t sat right next to a landline, but 99% of the
time will have the mobile in their pocket waiting for that
all important call while they\'re down the shops, or in the
garden, etc, etc. It\'s the 21st century, people don\'t soley
rely on landlines anymore. If they did, they would never
leave the house. OK, there are answer phones, but how many
people feel comfortable leaving a message on one of those - I
certainly don\'t.

Agreed, there\'s nothing wrong with putting a mobile phone number. I always wonder about those people who are proposing to buy a car, and worry about the extra cost of calling a mobile phone! I\'m afraid they usually turn out to be timewasters.

Gregory P, I really do think you are being far too careful in choosing a car! Not everyone out there is selling dodgy motors, you know.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Hugo {P}

Good points,

Towhitch, most likely used to tow caravan at some stage, but I thought it was always the clutch that took the brunt of the load. The clutch that came with the new engine was inserted as my mechanic friend thought it was in much better condition.

New Engine - No, no service history for the 18K engine. To be quite frank, I only have Universal Salvage's word concerning the mileage, but after you hear it it is quite obviously a tight low mileage engine. I do have the receipt for the engine though, telling you when it was bought and how much I paid for it. I guess the buyer could verify with US what mileage it had when sold.

As you asked about the mileage of the car itself - 99604. Having said that, I must tell you that the car has travelled approx 50 miles that are unclocked. The reason is that the connector for the speedo baffled everyone, whilst the car went for its MOT and re test. We finally located its mating half on the gearbox last night and a drive this morning confirms the speedo to be working and the mileometer and trip counter are once again counting the miles. There is no doubt in my mind that the mileage is otherwise genuine as I know the previous owners. The speedo was disconnected to remove the engine and gearbox assemblies.

General condition of the car is good but not perfect.

Mechanically it is sound. The previous owner used it to commute across Cornwall every day and needed a reliable motor. Although he did not stint on its servicing and repairs as and when it needed them, he claims that he had to spend very little, until the engine went.

Bodywork is on the whole good. Minor NS wind and bonnet damage was repaired for me. There was no need for new panels. The damaged was caused by the previous owner being slid into by a car in front. Apparently, when he was driving in slightly snowy conditions a lady in front of him skidded to a holt slightly up an embankmant, he did the same and stopped inches away from her, unfortunartely, she then slid back into him. He didn't chase the repair up because he ended up getting rid of the car a few months later (to me). She had no claim and kept her NCD.

I sought an economical repair here and I would be happy to point out the tell tale signs. As you can understand for the price of the car I was not about to spend a large sum of money. The repair does looks tidy, but if you're looking for an absolutely perfect front end - look elsewhere.

Other body blemishes include minor scratches on drivers door and rear wing, which I would point out, plus the usual population of stone chips that is typical on a car of that mileage. Oh yes and there bits of rust on the roof by the doors where someone has had those roof bars fitted.

Cigarette burn in rear seat. Diameter of a cigarette.

Erm, that's all I think.

Car originally failed MOT on cracked NS door mirror, worn wiper blades and an incorrectly aimed ns headlight. So getting it through was a real headache! :) Replacement Mirror glass and wiper blades by me and headlight aim adjusted and checked by MOT station. Job done!

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - king arthur

Don't worry about sounding like a trader by putting £1299 in your ad, everyone does this anyway.

Don't overstate the bodywork blemishes, as you may make them sound worse than they are and put people off coming to see it. Be ready to point things out to people, but essentially it is up to them to satisfy themselves with the condition of the outside of the car.

Of course you should mention that the car has a cd changer!
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - AngryJonny
I'd personally avoid mentioning the headlight realignment specifically unless quizzed about the MOT tweaks. It suggests that the car's been in some kind of knock and could put people off coming to see it. OK - so it has been in a knock, but probably not as serious as the buyer would assume if you hinted at it in the ad.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
Dynamic Dave: I am generalising. A good sound system and cd changer does not always mean a bad car (obviously), but a car that is cheap with 20% of the cost made up of audio system does make me ask questions. Boy racers usually have rubbish cars and great sound systems, and those who play loud music in 90% of cases drive like they are on drugs.

Worse though are tuned cars e.g. boy racer exhaust, wide tyres etc. Guarantee its rubbish in this case.

And the mobile point. I am talking about adverts that only have a mobile number in it. If it also has a landline, then this is fine and only costs penny?s more for the extra word. I personally avoid ringing mobiles because they cost too much to ring e.g. 50p per min vs. 2p per min. Perhaps I am a ?scrooge?, but those who waste money are those without money.

You can ring the mobile, but with the benefit of hindsight I have found that the seller refuses to give the landline number. I have viewed some cars with just the mobile no in the ad, and the car is usually a bad one. For example, the corolla I saw earlier this week. The ad said FSH, but the mileage was 145k miles whilst it had SH up to 20k miles and one receipt for a clutch. Again, a generalisation but with viewing about three cars with a mobile I will never do it again.

Anyway, a separate question.

The corolla I saw had 145,000 miles. It was a diesel and sounded pretty good, but with no history apart from the clutch receipt and stamped book for 20k miles, with lots of rust spots and different front tyres on each side and scruffy inside and out with a small dent. M reg and white. Also, the car did emit some black smoke when first accelerated but afterwards nothing but grey smoke. Is this worth £800 that the seller is asking for it? When I asked for the landline no, he did give it after some hesitation.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - AngryJonny
In my opinion... no. But then I haven\'t seen the car. Doesn\'t sound like it\'s been looked after though, and it\'s quite possibly an ex-minicab.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - madf
A diesel with smoke?.. both grey and black. Avoid possible EXPENSIVE problems (fuelling/turbo?) imo of course
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Maz
Gregory P.

To go back to the carina e for a mo., because it seems the better bet to me, you mentioned about the owner getting it towed to a testing station.
I understand it runs and assume that he'd need to get it towed because he's in a wheelchair. Could you offer to take it for him?
Sorry if I've missed somehing, it's a marathon thread.

Also, I think you mentioned a budget of 2-3k before. have you considered going to a dealer and using a bit more of that budget in exchange for a warranty and some peace of mind.


Thoughts of a car I viewed today - M.M
Problem with the dealer at £2500 Maz is that £1000 of that is the car's value and the rest his family holiday in Spain paid for.

Actually I'm a bit puzzled Gregory...

Half your posts are asking naive stuff about buying that is well known to most car enthusiasts...the rest is you telling folks how they should be selling their cars and offering us your collected thoughts on how to buy a car.

You either know stuff or not...makes it easier to help if in turn we know which it is.

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Hugo {P}
Half your posts are asking naive stuff about buying that is
well known to most car enthusiasts...the rest is you telling folks
how they should be selling their cars and offering us your
collected thoughts on how to buy a car.
You either know stuff or not...makes it easier to help if
in turn we know which it is.


I don't think that's completely fair. I for one wanted a sound board from people who are actively looking for a car. I don't mind at any feedback designed to help me.

Yes I feel that I can go some way to help with the advice for Gregory, however, in the light of what happened recently to a fellow backroomer (through no fault of his own IMO) and not wanting a buyer to be disgruntled, I want to seek advice about how others peceive my sales pitch. Gregory is an ideal for this as he has started to think along the right lines, thanks to you and others in the back room.

Gregory still needs our help when looking for a car. I for one will continue to help him. Should hecome down to Cornwall and look at my car, then I will be quite willing to sit back and let the discussion continue without me!

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
M.M: I will be going to the see the carina I mentioned in the beginning to talk to the man, but I won?t hold my breath. Anyway, I went past his house yesterday and he still has the car and I will wait a little longer until he is desperate to get rid of it.

When I spoke to him he mentioned his son lives in the area. When I asked whether his son could get it mot?d, he made up a story saying he was very busy. This does not make sense, since it only takes an hour to take it into the centre and would be worthwhile as the car could be sold for much more.

From the advice given on this forum, it seems to be a money pit. The likelihood is that either there is something really wrong with the car or it failed its mot with a lot to be done. An exhaust alone costs £200 which looked quite rusty and may need replacing to pass.

The point that every car enthusiast knows about the points I made about buying a car, I think that it still needs pointing out. I am sure there are many visitors on this forum who find some information useful and are not all experts. I especially liked the comment about original dealer registration plates, which I think many people didn?t know.

Whether I know my stuff, I think I am more a learner at this point. A lot of the time I just give my points of view or whatever I have learned from my searching and need confirming for its correctness.

In theory, buying a car is easy according to many in the forum. But, in reality it is not easy if you are looking for something worthwhile. I think many people buy new and forget just how difficult buying a car is. If it was so easy, why is it that whenever I look out the window I see a car that doesn?t start properly, stalls, gives out smoke etc. Note that in my street there are about three big nursing homes, and the workers spend about £500-1k for a car. For some reason, those with Toyota?s seem to be fine, even if they are 20 years old.

I think too many of us buy the first car we see. I am trying not to buy impulsively but on the merits of the car. I also try not to be seen as a time waster. When I view a car and find tatty bodywork in the drive, I just walk away. If the service is non existent, I walk away. I will only test drive a car if I am genuinely interested in it, and that hasn?t happened yet. I do perhaps start the car to listen to the engine sometimes, but I will always tell the owner if I am not interested.

I am continuing my quest for a car. I have my heart set on a Toyota corolla or carina e, and am looking for a looked after one. I have to be strict, and will be looking out for any discrepancy, no matter how small. I did see a perfect one in pristine condition with everything that should have been there. It was at a dealership but it was sold by the time I viewed it. It was a 2litre exec, with air con, fsh, Dunlop tyres, light blue etc. Although it had 90k miles, it was a very good example. I want to find something like this again.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Nesjo

Why are you so fixed on getting a Corolla or a Carina? Is it the perceived economy, bargain insurance, or something else?

Have you ever driven a Corolla or Carina? They have got to be two of the most bland cars on this earth - there's nothing noteworthy about them in terms of driving experience.

Instead of a Carina you could look for a Nissan Primera, an early Mondeo or a late Cavalier. Instead of a Corolla you could consider a Peugeot 306 or a Honda Civic.

But if you are yearning for a Carina / Corolla, keep looking at the private ads. These cars are a pensioners' favourite and you should be able to find a garaged, regularly maintained, miniscule mileage example (complete with cushions on the back window shelf if you are lucky). Try the local paper in Bournemouth or another pensioner hotspot.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
I prefer Carina?s to any other car. They are reliable, and the bland image does not worry me. I fail to see the fun in breaking down. Pugs break down more than a Toyota anyway, and the nissans are not as good as the toyota?s. Fords have cheap parts, but they break so much more than the toyota?s that it is an uneconomical car. I do not like garages anway. I might consider a cavalier if I could find a good diesel, but in general there are very few cars that beat the toyota?s.

The Honda are quite good, except that the civic drinks a lot more fuel than a small engine should. The 2 litre carina?s are strong simple engines and average about 35mpg-50mpg. I have driven one so I know this from experience.

Anyway, what do you mean by bland. All cars are bland. I have driven many cars and there is no real difference. Driving experience: breaking down really is exciting isn't it?
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Nesjo
I'm confused now. The reliability of an eight-year-old car pretty much depends on how much TLC it's had in the past, and how much it gets in the present. This applies to Toyota as well as other brands.

Get your car serviced regularly, check fluid levels and tyre pressures, don't leave the lights on when the car is parked, try not to lose your keys, and join the RAC or the AA.

Not all cars are bland. Nor are all GBP 2000 cars bland.

For this money you could probably pick up a Peugeot 205 GTi 1.9 - a mechanically-simple, economical engine provided you don't rev it too hard, a nice five-speed gearbox, and a quasi-flying machine if you quit worrying about speed cameras, fuel consumption and actually trying to use fifth gear.

Or you could find one of the original early 80s Toyota MR2s - very economical, especially in the wet, since the rear end is so twitchy that you hardly dare to touch the gas pedal.

The third option is an original Mini. Superb choice, super-economical 1.0 or 1.275 engines, far more street cred than in any Toyota beginning with the letter C, cheap spares, mechanically incredibly simple (which means DIY servicing), and most certainly not bland to drive. Anybody who says a Mini is bland to drive has evidently not driven a Mini!
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Nesjo
" far more street cred than in any Toyota beginning with the letter C" ... well, the Celica is debatable, I s'pose.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Andrew-T
'Pugs break down .. ..'. As the exception to prove your rule, since 1988 my family has owned about sixteen 205s, 106s, 306s and 206s, none of which ever broke down. [With the glaring exception of a cambelt failure on my daughter's 205 soon after a 50K Peugeot service, when the garage should have advised her to have it done].
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Dynamic Dave
Try the local paper in Bournemouth or another pensioner hotspot.

Off topic, but have you been to Bournemouth lately? I'm only 35 and the last time I was there, I felt past it.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - SpamCan61 {P}
Watch it and 'No Dosh' live down Bournbemouth way;-). Seriously at this time of year I try and avoid local journeys; the traffic mostly consists of old dears with cauliflower perms in their Micras doing 25 mph @ 7000 rpm irrespective of whether it is a 30 /40 /60 limit; and grockles doing u-turns in front of you becuase they've just missed the turning to their camp site.
Then they clog up Tesco car park & buy all the bread & milk B4 9 a.m.

Rant over; off to slam my head in a door now :-)
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
I went to Auction today and saw a very nice Toyota Camry 2.2l, R reg and 96,000 miles. FSH and gauranteed miles went for £1150 with new pirelli tyres. If it wasn't the new tyres, I would have bought it. They could be hiding something.

In light of these kind of prices, I will be buying from auction. The savings are enormous. I even saw an E reg VW golf GTI, alloy wheels (those ones from halfords that cost quite a lot) went for £250 in auction. Wouldn't buy it, but great buy for a boy racer -they spend £400 for these.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - king arthur
Did the Camry have 12 months ticket? That would explain new tyres if so.

Just be very very careful. I never cease to be amazed how people can be so particular when buying a car through classified ads or from a dealer, but then will try their luck at auction on cars they can't test drive, can't see underneath of, and have very little or no warranty to fall back on.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Andrew-T
Greg - I don't think you are ever going to buy a car. You are too suspicious (must gamble sometimes), your standards are unrealistically high, and you may spend half your hoped-for savings travelling to auctions chasing that Grail vehicle before you find it. Most of those legendary cars don't reach the open market, because the owners either keep them or sell them to a friend of a friend.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - DavidHM
I agree.

Every point you have made, in isolation, has been good. You are very good at reading an advert, interpreting whether or not it really is a selling point, and so on. You know what cars have a good reputation for reliability.

But you are like an examiner setting a paper where the pass mark is 100%. And even if you did find the car that truly was perfect according to your standards, you could well end up paying more of a premium than you'd save in reduced maintenance costs.

Take a small risk, because all this worrying and prevaracating is costing you far more than you're likely to gain by having such high standards.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - madf
"Take a small risk, because all this worrying and prevaracating is costing you far more than you're likely to gain by having such high standards"

I tend to disagree cos the chances are eventually you WILL find som,ething that meets your standards and more importantly you will be happy.

Nothing worse than buying what you fell is second-best and regretting it afterwards..
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - M.M
Actually madf I think David was very charitable and on the right lines...we're talking of a decision here not to buy a car because of it having new tyres fitted.

And if you look back the list of things "Gregory" is avoiding you'll see it covers most aspects of used cars, and some things found on a brand new one.

We shouldn't be too worried though because he still has his moped and is giveng the best entertainment here since Ladaboy rumbled out a good while ago.

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Hugo {P}
I agree MM

New tyres on a car is hardly a reason to avoid buying it. There could have been fitted by the owner a few months before trading it in, or they may have been needed for the MOT, or some tyre chain had a good offer on, etc etc etc......

Or maybe it was used to smuggle cannabis inside the tyres and Customs and Excise have kept the old tyres as evidence! In that case, what else are you likley to find hidden in the petrol tank? If you take it abroad will you get slung into some spanish jail for the rest of your days because C and E failed to spot the resin attached to the rear bumper?

Sleepless nights!

If the tracking was out it would be cheaper to sort this out than change the tyres.

The fact of the matter is that every used car has a history and you will never get to the bottom of it 100%

If your 70% to 80% happy with it and it's a good deal go for it. Yes we all make mistakes, that even includes people in the trade, would you not agree MM?

When I bought my L reg Xantia, low guaranteed mileage and FCSH from an auction, I paid about £900 below private sale price and found only one significant defect a few months later, the ABS was not working. Well £80 got a replacement ECU delivered to my door and another £30 got it fitted and checked. I was still quids in because I took a calculated risk.

With regular servicing, that car has NEVER let me down in the 2 and a half years I've had it.

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Ben {P}
Greg P, dont forget at auction you will have to pay a private buyers premium. At bca a 1200 pound car will carry a £100 buyers premium, in addition to the hammer price.

When buying a car you have to asses the risk the car presents to. The greater the risk, the further away you should hope to be from top book price. When i buy cars i try to factor in the risk of possible problems i may have with the car. If i buy at auction, and dont drive it, i have to take certain chances- ie a syncro in the gearbox may be worn, or the geometry is out etc. Therefore i expect to pay a bit less at auction than i would buying privately. I try and spot something that is genuinely cheap for me, and buy that. I wouldn't buy anything like a luguna, unless it was absolutely dirt cheap, because i know they are trouble.

I havent kept my cars long recently- i get bored and like to change. I have had about three cars in the last six months. I have covered all costs except petrol and insurance and finished a few hundred quid up. The main problem i see with your approach is, when you see a good deal you might be too hesitant, and the car may go to another buyer. You just have to trust your instincts and go for it. I bet you could get a decent mondeo for £1500 at auction.

As cars are changing things like the rigorous servicing you rightly look for have less effect on the potential reliability. Ancilliaries are more likely to cost ou money these days than engine failures.

The last three cars i have had were mondeos. Two had full dealer history, one owner etc. One car had no paper work besides the V5 and MOT. I took a chance and bought it unwarranted millage sold as seen at auction. Didnt look great, dare i say it budget tyres front and back (not matching i might add), but it drove the best of all three, and i could forsee nothing that was going to cost me money in the near future. You take your chances.It was the cheapest in comparison with glass's book price i have bought. The most recent one has just been serviced by a main dealer and its quite a mess, taking me sometime to sort it out. I reckon the unwarranteed one had been serviced be the previous owner himself. Couldn't find anything wrong with it. I dont think much of a lot of main dealer servicing.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
Well, today I have found the best car that I will probably buy at the right price. All the points HJ states about buying a car are true of this car. Perhaps not a carina e, but it is a Toyota corolla 1.6 litre H reg with 96,000 miles (executive model).

The oil was the best I have ever seen and proves it has had its correct oil changes. Even the top of the oil filler cap passed the test. The service history includes stamps and receipts. It was dealer serviced up to 50,000 miles when it changed owners. The second owner has had it serviced at a local garage that I checked out and the mechanic who serviced his car was very competent. Included with the service receipts were all the old MOT certificates since 1991. The owner mentioned the tyres last 30,000 miles for him. The car also included six months tax as he is selling it half way through the expiry. I also noticed it was for 12 months which shows he wasn?t a scrooge.

Further to this, the car was initially bought from a Toyota garage as a part exchange and the recent owner has also bought a new Toyota. Another minor touch was that the cigarette lighter device was as new and never used meaning both owners were non smokers. All the door hinges were even lubricated which was quite good.

The only item that may need replacing is the radiator because it has bits broken off. The owner did point this out to me anyway. The engine was very quiet from cold and sounded like new in my view. Even the registration plate was the original, showing it wasn?t crash damaged.

The owner wants £700 for the car, but I need to ask some questions to experts here before I haggle;

1. The colour is red and somewhat faded. How much should this put off the price of the car?
2. Can anyone tell me what the glasses guide suggests the price should be for this car? The parkers guide doesn?t go so far back. I consider the car between good and poor condition.
3. How much is a radiator approximately for this car either s/h or recon? I can use this as a haggling point and for my own information.
4. Finally, what do back roomers consider a fair price for this car? How much should I offer considering the merits of this vehicle?

I know I have looked and discussed many cars, but now I know what to look for when buying a car and so my next purchases will be much easier. The advice given has been priceless so far and appreciated all the comments made.

In terms of reliability, I think that the 1.6 should be very reliable based on its reputation. The owner also seemed to know that if the timing belt snaps it doesn?t damage the engine as it is a non interference engine as said here:
The timing belt was in fact changed three times in its life as well as recently at 93k miles. I think although it may be older than the other cars I was considering, the fact it has been cherished and serviced religiously makes it a very good buy. The car will go for another 20,000 miles and from what I know these enginesare pretty strong.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
Any thoughts of this car yet?

Much appreciated
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Billy Whizz
You still haven't bought it??? I am fed up with this. Have you wondered why no one replied? If the car is still available (and somehow part of me wishes it isn't) just give him the money, Mr "wealthy computer seller". What do you want? A new car for £700? And even new cars aren't perfect :-(
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - weatherwitch
It's only a cheap car anyway, my E reg has 118k on the clock and has a fairly comprehensive service and repairs list for the first 60k.

The oil in mine is amazing too as is the top of the oil filler cap, but it hasn't actually been changed for the last 11 months. Lubricated door hinges?! Is that really a sign of a cherished car or a sign to cover dropped sticking doors?!

re. the Car colour faded problem, at that price it doens't matter that much, it's not a car for show. That's what colour wax was invented for. If the seller had done it before you saw the car you wouldn't know about it. If anything maybe a few tenners off the asking price but that's all I'd say.

I'd also add that a tax disc having 6 months doesn't say scrooge to me but someone who is probably thinking of changing it within 6 months! It's how I used to buy my car tax when I knew I was getting bored of a car.

Compared to the potential electrics problems with the Carina's of that age it sounds good to me.

H reg Corollas round here ask for £650-£750 so I'd expect the seller is looking for about £550-£600. Good luck with it.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Gregory P
With reference to Billy Whizz?s comment. I know that the gentleman selling the corolla still has it for sale because it is still their. I knew he would not be able to sell it purely because of the colour and its fading colour. The owner has not polished it prior to selling so I doubt anyone will be buying it.

Since I have left it some weeks, he is now probably very desperate to sell the car so I will offer as little as possible. I think I can probably get the price down to £550, or even less. I visited the garage he had the car serviced at and he is sound. I asked other local garages and they say he has been there for 30 years with an unblemished reputation.

Anyway, how much would back roomers suggest I offer. It needs a good polish and reconditioning of the alloy wheels and should be O.K.

Weatherwitch, could you tell me what repairs your Toyota has had and at what cost.

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - neil
GregoryP... just a short note to let you know that whenever I in the future advertise a car for sale, although I shall not include these words in the advert, you may infer that it means 'to any person on the planet EXCEPT GREGORY P' as I would not sell you anything, ever.

Particularly not a car. Not even if you offered me OVER the asking price. And strangely, I keep all of my cars exactly as you would wish to buy them - except of course the oil is suspiciously clean and I buy premium tyres in sets of four, because they're cheaper than new wings. And the red paint is suspiciously unfaded - that must be hiding something other than the hours and pounds I've spent of the Autoglym. You ARE Ladaboy and I claim my £25!

Thoughts of a car I viewed today - king arthur
GregoryP... just a short note to let you know that whenever
I in the future advertise a car for sale, although I
shall not include these words in the advert, you may infer
that it means 'to any person on the planet EXCEPT GREGORY
P' as I would not sell you anything, ever.

I'll second that, Neil - please don't answer any of my ads, Gregory, EVER!! It wouldn't matter much anyway as most of my cars go within a week, so you wouldn't stand much chance of buying any of them!
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Andrew-T
Greg - by now you must be aware of the general view of your buying behaviour. I can only assume you are unbelievably mean or stingy, holding off as long as possible in the hope of saving another £50. That will happen anyway as most cars lose at least that much on their book price in a month or even a fortnight. But I suppose it may give a bit of a buzz when you find that no-one else has bought it yet.

Regarding the faded colour - if all the paintwork looks original, it is probably better to see it as it is, in the knowledge that it hasn't been dolled up to get it sold. More to look forward to, polishing it up yourself.

I can think of only one reason for searching for the perfect car - that you intend to keep it as a museum piece, until it becomes a classic. Best of luck.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - THe Growler
There is a phenomenon which occurs in decision-making, which I once taught among many other things, called analysis paralysis.
What we have here is a good example.
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - weatherwitch
Ok my problems with my old dear as requested :)

In the two years I've had mine, I've had the standard services carried out. I've had one new battery about £30, and shortly after I got it, the car started to drive itself at 33mph and ticked over at 3400revs! To drive below 33mph was to apply the brakes permanently! Worried I'd really been stung, and needing it checked out incase there was a major fault, it cost £27 including vat, labour whilst they blasted the carburttor out of years of gunk, including one big chuck that had been blocking the pin(?) in the open position. I just wish it had PAS and that the driver door lock would stop messing me about and let me in! End of faults and problems.

'Analysis paralysis', never heard of it before now but certainly now know what it means! Thanks Growler.

One thing about being too critical or looking for too much about older cars is that they are going to have faults, but so will all cars, brand new cars develop faults. If the vehicle is sound, then go with your gut instinct. One day you will have to make a choice and actually buy a vehcile :)
Thoughts of a car I viewed today - Hugo {P}
Gregory... Gregory... Gregory!

I'm sure most here would advise you to go into the 2nd hand car market with your eyes open and you have certainly done that.

Below is what I said in a previous post on this thread:

"The fact of the matter is that every used car has a history and you will never get to the bottom of it 100%

If your 70% to 80% happy with it and it's a good deal go for it. Yes we all make mistakes, that even includes people in the trade, would you not agree MM?

When I bought my L reg Xantia, low guaranteed mileage and FCSH from an auction, I paid about £900 below private sale price and found only one significant defect a few months later, the ABS was not working. Well £80 got a replacement ECU delivered to my door and another £30 got it fitted and checked. I was still quids in because I took a calculated risk.

With regular servicing, that car has NEVER let me down in the 2 and a half years I've had it."

For your sort of money the risk of buying something that needs work or will need work in the near future is not insignificant.

However, you have to manage that risk, because you will not eliminate it all together. To my mind, the risks are much lower now than they were 10 or 15 years ago, because cars are in general much more reliable, and many failures or faults nowadays tend to be much more terminal (eg ECU failures).

IE consider how much you are prepared to spend on buying the car, then consider how much you would be left with to fix it if you needed to.

But remember, if you by a £700 car and it needs £500 spending on it, it will still be a £700 car when you've spent the money.

Whereas, if you buy a £1200 car that needs £100 spending on it, it's still worth the £1200.

If you're handy with repairs, the £500 bill may be reduced to £100 or so, so it may be worth going for. If you're not mecanically competent, then one way to mitigate the "risk" is to buy newer, lower mileage and a service history.

I think your problem is, as the Growler says "analysis paralysis". You don't know whether to spend the minimum in case you need the money for repairs, or to spend more for a better car, which may not leave you with much of a cusion. Also, you're taking every little scratch, dent etc as evidence that the car's been written off or is about to blow up!

The best deal you've come up with so far IMO is that one at auction. New tyres is a bonus, that's less money out of your pocket! If you can get a 5 year old car that seems it has been looked after for that kind of money GO FOR IT!


Thoughts of a car I viewed today - DavidHM
Hugo - agree 100%.

I'm not saying don't go for the Corolla, if it's cheap enough, but...

1. Faded paint might not be a problem but if a five year old is within your budget, more or less, why get a twelve year old and put up with looking and feeling like you drive a banger?

It's not the end of the world if all you want is dour functionality, but there are plenty of cars out there that will do the job and look fresh.

Of course, if it definitely will T cut and polish out, that's not such an issue - but red cars aren't always savable at this age.

2. New radiator - could be a sign of cooling system problems, e.g., recent or imminent head gasket failure. It probably isn't, but that would certainly raise more questions in my mind than new tyres, especially if they're not of a budget brand.

Basically, go into it with your eyes open, don't expect any car to be 100% perfect, and remember that a well maintained, high mileage car that you keep for several years is likely to be the cheapest motoring of all, long term.

3. Clean oil - a 15W40 oil change costs a tenner in National, so assuming no mayonnaise, there's not much to read into that as it's so easy and cheap to disguise the condition if you want to.

4. Well maintained car - great, you've done a lot of research into this individual car's history, but remember that any car this age has a potential to become your stroppy teenage stepchild.

5. Tax bought at six months intervals - when you're buying a £500 car, of course the last owner was on a budget. While bangernomics is real and makes a lot of sense, treating every minor problem with the full force of the franchise and its labour charge can easily work out more expensive than leasing a brand new equivalent car, especially if you shop around. If the car appears to have been maintained well, the length of the tax disc is of no importance.


Value my car