Help with buying Car Please - gram99
Got a shocker of a call last night to say my wife was involved in a head on collision. Thank God after going to hospital and getting some xrays she is okay and came home last night with bruising and a few scratches. She is sore this morning but considers herself very lucky.

The car is a total write off. I have £3500 to get me a car soonish. It will be used for me the wife and a 3 year old. Is it possible to get a decent looking car that would suit famly use at this price? I am totally clueless about cars. We had a Mazda 626 and whilst I liked it I did find it very boring to drive. I did think about a 323 fastback? What are they like and could I pick one up at that price? Any other suggestions.

For reliability am I best buying from a dealer or a private sale? Remembering my car knowledge is limited.

We are probably looking for something that is sturdy and safe too as I reckon the 626 helped save her from serious injury.

Help with buying Car Please - spikeyhead {p}
There's an excellent set of instructions avialable on this site, click on the "how to buy and sell used cars" button on the left.

You are likely to be able to get an excellent selection of family cars for your £3500, but remember to put some aside for the insurance, which may be quite a lot more than you think after the accident.

As you have limited knowledge of cars then you should save the risk of buying provately and buy form a dealer, where you have some comeback. This will cost you a little more but save you the possibility of buyer a problem car.

Use a smaller dealer that offers a general selection of cars, rather than a main dealer, who generally aren't interested in sellign cars at this price level. Visit several to get a good feel for what is in stock, sit in the cars to make sure you're comfortable in the driving position and that there is enough room for the family.

Then leave, have a good look on autotrader, there is a link to it on the left hand side of this page to see haw the prices of cars that you like compare with what is available. Remember that exact model types, engine sizes, trim levels, alloy wheels, leather etc all have an influence on the price. This then leaves you in the position to be able to negotiate.

Also have a look through the "car by car breakdown" on this site, button on the left, to see what's good and bad about each of the possibilities.

Return to your favourite car and offer 15% less than the screen price, even more if you feel its already pverpriced. If they aren't willing to negotiate then walk out, there's plenty more to choose from.
I read often, only post occasionally
Help with buying Car Please - gram99
thanks I reckon a dealership is the way to go for me.
Help with buying Car Please - No Do$h
Not a bad idea Gram. £3.5k buys all kinds of cars these days. Have a look at Honda Accords for that kind of money and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.
No Dosh - Backroom Moderator
Help with buying Car Please - gram99
thanks guys, I ended up getting a 96 Saab 9000 CSi for 2k it has done 74,000 miles and has a good service history. I know I maybe paid above book price but it is in mint condition. I am well chuffed. Didn't ever think about owning a Saab. Wish I had got one years ago! I love it.
Help with buying Car Please - Avant
Congratulations - sounds as if you've done well. Saabs are as safe as Volvos and safer than most others. If you have a few things go wrong, you've still got £1500 from your budget.

Good luck, and I'm sure we all send best wishes to your wife for a full recovery. Ideally she should get back behind the wheel ASAP.
Help with buying Car Please - gram99
yes thanks I am going to take her out for a wee drive today.
Help with buying Car Please - Citroënian {P}
Glad to hear Mrs gram is OK.

If I were you, I think about replacing whatever car she walked away from a head-on with another the same. That the 626 has saved her once would for my money be reason enough to buy another.

MINI adventure coming to an end

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