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Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
Hi all,

Returning after a sabbatical to ask your help, please!

Unbelievably the Astra's MOT date is just around the corner again, and, whilst I am for once organised enough to get it done before the due date, there are a couple of things that were raised last time which I would like some knowledge of, please. Forewarned is forearmed sort of thing, plus just going into the garage knowing a little bit rather than nothing might help.

Obviously I know there may be other things that have cropped up since the last MOT, but if anyone could enlighten me on the following I would be grateful.

Last MOT stated 2 'Advices', namely:

M (or N?)/S/F C/V Boot; and

O/S/R outer sill.

I'd be really appreciative to hear what these are, if they are big jobs, what money I'm looking at, and anything else that might be helpful.

I'm booking it in tomorrow, and I'd really like to go a little more knowledgable than i really am!

Thank you in grateful anticipance,

HF
Some pre-MOT questions please! - BazzaBear {P}
N/S/f = nearside front. The drivers side front. CV joint is 'constant velocity' joint, basically the joint which allows you to steer with the front wheels while still providing power through them. It is surrounded by a rubber boot, packed with grease. If it was on it's way out at the last MOT, I'd bet it's gone by now and will need replacing (these are a fave item for garages to say needs replacing at almost every MOT. Not that I;'m saying they don't...). Should probably only set you back ~£30 for the garage to do it.
O/S/R = Off side rear. Passenger side, rear sill. I assume the advice was that it was starting to rust/rot. Might need some welding done?
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Altea Ego
HF!!! Hiya!!


Your first will be

N/S/F (near side front) constant velocity joint (C/V) The boot is a rubber gaiter/belows over the joint to prevent dirt and water in the joint. It may have been split, or going, you need ot be prepared for the fact the joint may have gone and be a MOT fail. dunno bout cost depends if joint has gone or not.

O/S/R - off side rear outer sill, thats the area under the doors, its a structural part of the car, I assume it has rust and may have got worse. May need welding say 100 quid?
Some pre-MOT questions please! - BazzaBear {P}
Sorry, RF makes a good point about the joint possibly being on the way out (although you'd certainly know if it was very bad. If it's gone altogether you won't be going anywhere, if it's badly worn you'll make a nasty clacking noise when turning left)
I don't know about the price for the replacement of a CV joint on an Astra, but on my old Mitsubishi it cost ~£100, I'd assume an Astra would be cheaper than that.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - martint123
Slap wrist for not getting the advisaries sorted out after your previous MOT - not bad enough to fail the MOT, but bad enough to be warned that they're close. One years extra rusting of the sill could well spell expensive repairs. Damaged drive shaft boot, lets crud in and grease out - so instead of replacing a rubber gaitor, it may need a complete Joint.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - mfarrow
"Advisaries" can be a bit contraversial IMHO. The first MoT I took my car to 3 years ago came up with corrosion on the floor where the seat fixes, cracking CV boots, a cracking alternator belt, and welding needed at next MoT. I didn't have any of these seen to. Car has past MoTs twice without any work since.

--------------
Mike Farrow
Some pre-MOT questions please! - smokie
Same here, Mike, with a Fiesta. Advisories from 2 years ago not caused a problem since.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Civic8
Agree with martin123.Thats what the warning is for.If you dont get it sorted and it fails on those items. It will cost another MOT if it fails on new computer system
--
Steve
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Phil I
Hi HF good to see you are still about. Trust everything copacetic for you.

Only two answers from the testing station
1) Here is your new certicate give me the fee.

2) Here is your fail sheet give me the fee.

Not advisable to give your tester carte blanche to repair to pass as this can be very very expensive. Astra has given you 12 months service so you couild probably say it owes you nothing and you can then look at costs of repairs to pass as the starting point for another 12months if it is worth it. Can only be calculated when you have 2) in your hand.

We will all await your news
Phil I
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
Grrr I think I got time-out, not sure but wouldn't surprise me (or many others here?)

Ok first, I (making Oscar-Type speech) want to thank Bazza and RF, for sticking by me. Seriously I am really grateful for their help, and also their remembrance of me! I really do take all the advice given, whether it seems like I do or not.

Also, (god this does sound like an Oscar speech) I want to thank Martine, and MFarrow, and Smokie(who I hope I have some history with) for all input.

Just like to say that any 'advises' from last year were not ignored by me, the garage actually did say I could leave them till next MOT. Maybe that makes me stupid, maybe it just means that I couldn't afford it yet.

Can i just say to Steve O, that I appreciate his posts, and am grateful for anything he has to say about my car!

And also, finally, to Phil I, who has forever been really good to me here, through thick and thin! Phil I really do appreciate all your comments, and hope you'll have a little listen when my results come out (MOT Thurs this week - wish me luck!)

Love to all
HF

Dunno why, but RF I love you
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Mapmaker
Dunno why, HF, but if it were me asking those questions, Reffe'd've told me that my car was a boat anchor and not worth it...
Some pre-MOT questions please! - GrahamF1
Why all this doom and gloom about the CV joint itself being on the way out? Might help to check the boot first!

Nearside front CV boot check. Turn wheels to full right-hand lock. Get your hand in behind the nearside front wheel, feel along the driveshaft out towards the hub until you feel the rubber boot. Feel all around it. Do you feel just rubber, or a load of grease and muck? If the former then you've nothing to worry about - the boot is still intact. If the latter then you'll need a new boot kit. It'd have to be split for quite a while to wear the joint to the point where it'd need replacement. Splits tend to exude grease slowly, it doesn't all come out instantly and leave the bearing running dry straight away.

Boots are an MOT favourite. They SOUND like serious parts to the uninitiated, but boot kits are dirt cheap from motor factors = huge garage premium on the part. They can pretend it's a big job when it's pretty quick and simple = high labour charge.

The sill: have a look at it! Does it look solid, or rusty and about to give way. Any structural rust (a hole or potential hole if jabbed with screwdriver) means failure.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - helicopter
HF - Where have you been hiding ? Good to see you back on line.

Is it really a year since we all held our breath and the Astra sailed through the MOT ?

Anyway I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you on Thursday.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - No Do$h
Hiya HF ::waves from Canary Wharf in a general southerly direction::

I've just posted this in another thread, but worth posting it here.

www.vosa.gov.uk/vosa/carlgvowners/mottesting/carco...m

The above is a link to the items checked during an MOT. You can save a deal of heartache if you quickly nip over the car, with HF Minor and Junior's assistance, checking things like seatbelts, lights, wipers etc. If you spot something you may be able to get it fixed at your local halfords for under a tenner as opposed to the price of an MOT, fixing and retest.

Can't add a lot to the above posts really with regard to the specifics. The NSF CV boot can potentially be replaced at quite a low cost provided the CV joint is ok. The sill is the worrying one and only the MOT station or a decent mechanic can tell you if it's still sound enough to do the job.

Fingers crossed!

ND
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Phil I
Always at your service HF. Will await your news on the MOT outcome.

Trust score line reads Liverpool Vic.: 0. HF: 1. (or even 2 or 3) :-))

Happy Motoring PhilI
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
Haha, now I know why I've missed this place so much!

Not in Oscar mode today (thank god) so I'm not going to name you all individually. Tempted, but I won't - just really good to re-make some old aquaintances.

Anyway, I am literally just about to go out and do that Italian thing, then I will return and hopefully enlist the help of the HF offspring to do some 'basic' checks. I will try all that I have been advised, however I would mention that looking at the sill is quite challenging for someone who doesn't know what the sill is. I'll do my best.... I'm thinking, that I can avoid excessive garage charges because I will have a few days grace after its check tomorrow, to maybe get some stuff repaired or (dramatic boom of music) do it myself.

Looks like I was in waffle mode after all...

Will be back if not tonight then definitely after the dreaded deed has been done.

Thanks to all...

HF
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
I *hate* to reply to my own message - seems so sad in a way.

However, I have now done the Italian thing - not without its own problems I have to add. Did a tried (literally thousands of times) route, but thought I'd do it a couple of times just to make sure. And took the wrong turning, and got semi-lost. Quite scarey cos it was a road I do not like. However that is just part of being an HF. Meant the car got a longer than intended run anyway.

Then I tried to carry out Graham's instructions. Hmm. Turned the wheels as instructed, put my hand in, and driver side (I am sorry, the N or O things I am still not quite sure about) was fine, no mucky stuff, no grease or anything. But then I got daring and did the same on the passenger side, and my hand came out blacker and greasier than - well, a very black and greasened hand. Still can't get all of it off. So I am guessing at least some work needs doing here, albeit that they have said N/S not O/S? I'm a bit suspicious about that, and it would be great to go in there and say that I know the driver side is ok but I know the other isn't.

The sill i am sorry that I still don't know how to do this. But ND, I have been through the list of check-things that you gave me, and I think these are all aok. I think.

Anyhow, I will write again tomorrow after the test, I have at least a week after the test and before my MOT actually runs out, so I guess I don't actually have to give the garage carte-blanche to repair at will, yet.

Ta again,

HF
Some pre-MOT questions please! - No Do$h
Open the front and rear doors on your car and stand back. Look along the bottom of the car where the bottom of the closed doors would be. This is the sill of the car. The sill extends from the inside lip that the inner bottom edge of the door rests against, out and round to the underside of the car. It's a structural member, taking a significant part of the load in the car's bodywork, a bit like a girder on the outside edge of a steel-framed building. If it rusts through, the structural integrity of the car is seriously compromised, hence it is a fail if there is significant rusting.

Now you know where to look for the sill, you need to get down on your hands and knees and have a look at it. If there are any bits you can poke a ballpoint through, prepare for some bad news.

Hope it hasn't got that far and that it all goes well tomorrow.

ND
Some pre-MOT questions please! - volvoman
Hi HF - good luck for today. I forgot to mention it at the time but I had a very quick glance at your car on Tuesday and saw quite a bit of heavy corrosion around the junction of the sills and the rear wheel arches on both sides. On one side some of the metal appeared to have corroded away. Not having has any rust problems with cars before I couldn't say if corrosion in these locations is serious but the problem can only get worse and it might be a false economy to ignore it for much longer. From what I could see the rest of the sills looked reasonable but if you can pluck up the courage I suggest you do what ND suggests. If it passes, why not try and get some idea from the garage as to what it'd cost to get the problem sorted now as opposed to next year? The welding needn't be too expensive if you shop around. Anyway, let us know what happens. Fingers crossed.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
It really is not my day.I'd just finished typing all that I am about to type again when my computer stopped.

Anyway, I am hoping there might be someone here right now who can help me. Firstly, it goes without saying that I failed. I'd like to write down all the points I failed on first, to see if anyone can help.

1. nearside rear seat belt insecurely fixed to vehicle's structure

2. offside rear seatbelt as above

(apparently these first two will be solved by welding mentioned later, so are not problems in themselves)

3. rear registration plate insecure (I knew this, and had screwed it back on, but it seems it is insecure again)

4. no 4 injector fuel pipe leaking

5. nearside rear outer sill subframe mounting prescribed area is excessively corroded

6. nearside rear wheel arch body has a sharp edge caused by corrosion

7. offside rear wheel arch as above

8. nearside front front constant velocity joint gaiter split

9. nearside front tyre has a cut in excess of the requirements deep enough to reach the ply or cords

10. offside front tyre worn close to the legal limit

Garage itself doesn't do welding (for 5, 6 and 7), and cannot fit me on for the mechanical work either, within 7 days (free retest within 7 days). They've suggested a welder and a mechanic to me, But as these are both unknowns I was hoping maybe someone could give me a really rough estimate of the money I'm looking at here.I Know you can't be accurate, I know I'm looking at at least one new tyre if not two, and the gaitor thing they reckon will be £50 labour plus part plus VAT. The garage man seemed to imply I'd need to consider whether it's worth keeping the car.
Having spent the best part of £50 already just on learning it's a failure, I'd like to keep it on the road if I can. (sentimental reasons too).

Anyhow I really need to go to these blokes this afternoon if I can, so if anyone can even give me a hint I'd be grateful, just so I'm not being ripped off.

Thanks to anyone that can help.

Hopefully,
HF
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Ex-Moderator
I think you need to consider replacement of the car.

Have a look in autotrader and find out what something acceptable woudl cost you. That will help you to decide if you should have the repairs done or not. But honestly it sounds like "not".
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
OK Mark, thanks. I need to know what the repairs would cost also though, so I can compare it with the cost of new car. Whichever, I need to do it urgently, as you know my car is vital to me.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - RichardW
Hi HF.

Bad news :-((

That sounds like an awful lot of welding to me - the fact that it is rusted around the subframe mount, sill and right into the inside where the seatbelt is fixed on, sounds like it is going to be a big job to put right (esp as it's both sides). Finger in the air? £400. Trouble is, once cars have started to rust, and been welded, they tend to continue to go that way, and you might be looking at the same again next year.

£50 + boot (prob £15) + Vat sounds about right. Two tyres about £35 each. Diesel leak should be easy to fix (just nip the union up). Doubt you will get much change out of £700 in total. Ouch.

As others have said time to dig out the local papers and go looking for another car - also e-bay, but watch out as most of the cheap cars on there are cheap and there for a reason -none of which you want to buy a part of! You should be able to find another for £500 or so. Don't worry about what it is, you just want something that's got 1 years MOT, recent service, and sensible mileage.

If the engine is OK, stick the other one on e-bay, you will probably get £100 or more for it (I just sold a ZX TD for spares for £170).


--
RichardW

Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Number_Cruncher
1. nearside rear seat belt insecurely fixed to vehicle's structure
2. offside rear seatbelt as above
(apparently these first two will be solved by welding mentioned later,
so are not problems in themselves)


That is believable.
3. rear registration plate insecure (I knew this, and had screwed
it back on, but it seems it is insecure again)


Some double sided tape applied to cleaned surfaces will suffice - a few quid for a roll of tape?
4. no 4 injector fuel pipe leaking


If this is leak off pipe, you will probably need to get a short length of leak off pipe fron Vauxhall. Fitting is just a case of cutting to length, and pushing onto the pipe ends.

If this is delivery pipe, you need to buy a new pipe, and fit it. Fitting shouldn't take longer than 15 minutes. Probably £20 all in.


5. nearside rear outer sill subframe mounting prescribed area is excessively
corroded


It is difficult enough to assess the extent and cost of corrosion with the car in front of you! The bit I don't get is that they say both sides seat belts are insecure, but only fail the N/S sill - most curious?
6. nearside rear wheel arch body has a sharp edge caused
by corrosion


The sharp edge can be removed by simply cutting the metal away, and bodging with gaffa tape, or filler - this bit isn't structural - it has failed owing to the sharp edge being a danger to passers by.
7. offside rear wheel arch as above


As above.
8. nearside front front constant velocity joint gaiter split


This is about an hour's worth of labour, possibly £15 for the parts. The £50 that was mentioned possibly includes a new joint being fitted. You may get away with only fitting the rubber boot. Without seeing/hearing the joint I don't know.
9. nearside front tyre has a cut in excess of the
requirements deep enough to reach the ply or cords
10. offside front tyre worn close to the legal limit


Shop around for good offers on tyres.

I hope that has been of use to you - sorry I can't be more specific on price.

number_cruncher

Some pre-MOT questions please! - Altea Ego
HF working backwards

10 & 9 - best part of 70quid for two new tyres, valves, fitting & balancing

8 - 75 quid once fitted with parts & vat.

4 - say an extra 25 quid if the guy who does the CV boot does it at the same time.

So £170 for all the oily bits and tyres.

1,2,5,6,7

This sounds bad. The corrosion sounds extensive, bad enough to fail the seat beat mounts by the sound of it. Temporary welding (if they can find any good bits to weld to) may keep it on the road for a year, but you have to accept this car is getting to the terminally dangerous stage. If you can come out of this with an MOT and a total bill of less than 400 quid you are doing very well.

I doubt you will get it through another MOT next year without similar trauma,,,


Sorry HF. :-(
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
Oh dear. Thanks so much to you all for coming back so quickly. I'd like to think Numbercruncher's slightly more optimistic view was right, but I'm also really grateful for the ballpark estimates of £400-700.

I wasn't expecting this this year, having sailed through MOT last year, but I regret I think you may be right, RF, spending the money this year might well mean the same next year too.

If anyone's still about, do you think I should go to these garages and get quotes anyway? Kind of might as well whilst I'm shopping for my Autotrader I suppose.

Really sad about this, I know it's stupid but me and my Astra have been through some times together...

HF
Some pre-MOT questions please! - BazzaBear {P}
I would have thought it can't hurt to get a quote. At least then you know for certain what you're looking at.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - volvoman
HI HF - Really sorry to hear your news but I think I'd tend to agree that shelling out hundreds on this car is probably money down the drain and simply delaying the inevitable.

If you're going to look for another car, for God's sake take someone with you who knows something about cars and can advise you on what to look out for. There are loads of dodgy motors and even dodgier people out there! I wish I could help on that front but as you know, my knowledge of cars is on a par with my understanding of astrophysics. Can't you call in a favour from someone somewhere??

Good luck - will try to call you later but your phone is nearly always engaged.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - frostbite
Hi HF!

Sorry to hear your news. If you have by now decided to get rid - why not pop it on eBay - it's free listing today, up to midnight.

Be perfectly honest about it, in fact say you're selling it for spares, and you might be pleasantly surprised how much it bids to.

If you get no bids it won't have cost you anything.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - GrahamF1
Sorry to hear you'll probably have to replace it.

But you learned something. That's a positive. You did the diagnostic on the CV boot by yourself, and got the expected result. Incidentally they were right about which side it is, on a right-hand drive car the passenger side is the near side and the driver's side is the off side. Think of it this way - you're driving along and you pull in on the left to park as you normally would. The side nearer to the pavement is the near side.

You'll learn a lot more if you look at some diagrams of mechanical parts. I suggest when you've bought your next car you buy the Haynes manual for that model. The CV 'boot' is simply a flexible rubber shroud around a moving joint. The near side one on your car had developed a split, so the grease (packed into the bellows to lubricate the joint) started to leak. Grease catches dirt, hence the muck and general filth. Like I said before, you'd have to run it split for a long time before the joint will break up due to lack of lubrication. While there's muck around the boot, that means there's still grease in there!

Some pre-MOT questions please! - GrahamF1
Something else to add, on the general theme of trying to understand cars.

When I was at school some of the kids we called 'thickies' left at 15-16 and became apprentice mechanics. No offence to anyone here - there are smart and stupid people in most professions.

But I always thought along the line that if they could do it, then it couldn't exactly be rocket science could it? And it isn't, it's logical. It just takes lots of reading, studying diagrams, and ultimately looking at the car itself to understand the concepts involved.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
Ok, thanks to everyone that has said anything. Know it sounds ridiculous but I am still in a bit of shock that I have to get rid of my car. Sons keep telling me it's only a car, but...

Anyway, whilst I'm still semi-coherent about the subject, special thanks to Graham - and yes, I have certainl;y learnt one lesson if not more - how to get greasy hands from checking gaiters! So, one positive.

This PM, was a real run to and fro between various car people. Went first to the welder recommended by the garage. He (at about 2pm) had shut up shop for the day. Then on to the mechanic recommended. It was like one of those 'looking for illegal booze' or something trails - 'just go up the alley and ask for tony type of thing. Which I did, and happened across Tony himself. This is where I am a bit suspicious. Tony said he could do all the mechanical work, and send car to welder, his estimate about £350-£400 all in. I asked Tony, if it was his car, what would he do, and he kind of said that the car would be good for at least a year if not more.

Went then to Kwik-fit, I know they don['t do welding etc but thought they might be able to recommend someone - all I was trying to do was get some kind of quote. So they directed me to an alleyway, with a number of garages. Anyway to cut long story short, eventually spoke to Nick, a welder, who can also get the rest of the work done for me if I want. But again his quote was at least £400, maybe more. I trusted Nick more than Tony, not sure why.

But, the long and short of it is that I am looking at another £4-500. And I have been out and bought some car mags, not Autotrader yet because the shops didn't have it but - I am finding it very hard to resign the Astra to the scrapyards. Yup it's silly but I am sad.

Gonna look at the mags tonight. But would really appreciate some help with this. My specifications right now are just dirt cheap, year MOT, hopefully some tax - and no, V-Man, I don't have a mechanic to come with me, I'll just have to grease up and pretend i know something about cars.

Which just brings me back to Graham's comment. I know what you mean about the so-called less clever kids going on to be mechanics etc. What would I give now, to have had the kind of training those kids got instead of my own, totally inadequate training. I admire every single person who has made a life out of those trades that we, as kids, were told were'nt good enough. Starting a waffle so I will go, but, just envying everyone who's parents were intelligent enough to tell them to go get a proper job.

Going off to be sad and read car papers.

But thanks for all help.

HF
Some pre-MOT questions please! - local yokel
Round here (Reading/Oxford) it seems that the starting price for a banger with 10+ months MoT is about £300. Tax = £10/month for cars less than 1,500 cc. £500 seems to get you something that will probably get through at least one more MoT without too much work. I got an Uno (one owner, full history, 75,000 miles) for £150 - it only had 4 mths MoT and 3 tax, but that means I paid about £30/month for the MoT ticket. I reckon it'll get the next one with about £150 spent on it, so that's a bargain.

Perhaps have a look at some of the "unloved" marques like Fiat - Tipos (Astra/Golf size) don't seem to rust, and I saw one on Ebay, one owner, FH, 12 months MoT, get no bids at £350, and it wasn't in the Highlands - Maidstone I think. Look at the 205 thread on here - they last a long time, and the diesels particularly so, and there's loads of parts for them in breakers, as they share bits with some Citroens, and other models of Pug.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Adam {P}
Hi HF,

Sorry to agree with everyone but paying £700 repairing your Astra which will no doubt fail the next MOT is crazy. Even though you are crazy ;-) I think you'd be far better off looking for a new car. I would have thought 700 quid would get you a minter.

Sorry to hear about the knackered car though.
--
Adam
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
I wish it was friday - then at least I would have an excuse for excessive drinking and/or abusive behaviour.

But it's not - so - first, thanks to local yokel, appreciate all the comments, and yep I know deep down that it's crazy to spend too much on the Astra when I could get something else for much the same price. There's a big sentimentality thing here, you understand, but yeah I do know when to give in - thanks for the advice.

Adam - good to see you again, again I know what you say makes sense. Just didn't think it was going to be the end of the line just yet and thus I am in a bit of shock! - hence what I said about don't anyone dare upset me today! (not here, I was all ready to take on the whole of Orpington High Street only no-one did anything wrong...)

So, yes, looks like a new car. I do hope you will all help me with this. And with getting any money I can for the old engine etc. Not yet had the heart to look through papers for new car - that is tomorrow's job. But for now, thanks.

Tomorrow is another day, huh?

Thanks to everyone
HF
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Adam {P}
Out of interest HF, how old's the Astra?
--
Adam
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
Adam it started its life in 1992 so it's probably not all that much older than you are! :) (going on memory here, which also is not quite what it used to be!)

Still, I'm sure you're still going strong and so was the Astra before today... :(((
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
agh meant younger, not older, of course - sorry
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Adam {P}
Well hopefully my arches aren't going to rust anytime soon HF!

I've just been looking on Autotrader - you'd be amazed what you can get now for that kind of money.

I know I know - sentimental value...;-)
--
Adam
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Dynamic Dave
HF,

As others have stated, it's time to retire the Astra as the rustworms have found a home in your car.

It *might* be worth your while phoning around a couple of garages in your area and asking if they've got some part exchanges out the back that people have traded in for a newer car. Some of the part exchanges are considered too old for the forecourt and are generally sent off for auction. You'll be doing yourself and the garage a favour by taking one of these part ex's off their hands. You'll get a cheap car, and the garage will probably make a couple more quid off you than they would at the auction.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - No Do$h
I asked over at Alfaowner.com whether anyone could recommend a mechanic/garage in the Orpington area for good, reliable advice and work. I figure if anyone knows the value of a good mechanic, it's an Alfa driver..... ;o)

The recommendation I got was Gonella Brothers in Catford, which is about 8 miles away?

Whatever you do, you need to find yourself a mechanic you trust and stick with him for all the little jobs your car needs in the future. Building up a rapport with a garage is worth its weight in gold.

ND

Some pre-MOT questions please! - Civic8
HF.I am in st pauls cray.so if you would like.I will have a look see what the damage is.Just send me an email as to where you are.I will gladly have a look and give an opinion. agree with ND. though never needed or used them..ie I havent a clue where they are. though as you know Catford is not far away
--
Steve
Some pre-MOT questions please! - PoloGirl
HF I totally understand how you feel, about the MOT failure (six months ago I was posting in tears because Polo had failed) and about getting rid of a car that you've been through a lot with (there will be many more tears when Polo finally goes).

Does anyone know, would £700 get an old, old Golf? They seem to go on and on and on, and also seem to be more reliable than more recent ones!

Good luck!

Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
Good afternoon all.

Still not happy - PG, guess it's a female thing, is it?!

Anyway just thanks for advice. DD, do you really think I could do a part exchange? - I mean why would they take the Astra if it's worthless? Sounds a great idea though, although remember my budget will be very limited.

ND, thanks for the garage advice, Catford's a bit difficult for me to get to (not because of distance, because of driver ineptitude) however I have emailed Steve.O. who is just down the road from me, hopefully I can get an opinion there. (I know what you mean about good mechanic relationship, I had just that for a long while but unfortunately circumstances which I won't go into mean that it is no longer an option!)

Nowt promising yet in the car adverts - I hate doing this. But if I see anything then of course I will be back to ask opinions.

HF
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Alfafan {P}
HF

Don't know your exact post code, but a quick search on Autotrader from this site shows a 1997 Skoda Felicia for £995 at the Crown Garage on Station Approach, Orpington. There are at least 50 cars available up to £1,000 within 10 miles.

Others in the BR will give you loads of advice on any car you shortlist so best of luck!
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Dynamic Dave
DD, do you really think I could do a part exchange?


Er, no. I meant for you to call some garages to see if they have had any part ex's that have been traded in but are too old for them to put on the forecourt. Generally they keep them around the back of the garage and then are sent off to auction when they get enough to fill a car transporter.

Some time ago on one episode of Top Gear, the team were each given £150 to buy a 2nd hand car with. JC ended up paying £1 for a Volvo. OK, it was a ropey Volvo, but you *should* be able to pick up something half decent for a few 100 quid.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
OK, typical me I guess. Sorry DD, got wrong end of stick.

Seen one garage in local papers that's talking p/x (feel really grown up knowing the abbreviation).

Also loads of possibilities in papers but from past experience it's like a minefield and knowing me I will step on the wrong stone. (sorry my metaphors have slipped somewhat).

Also internet, Ebay I am worried about because isn't it always 'sold without seeing' sort of thing with them?

Alfafan, I really appreciate your having gone to the lengths of looking at garages near me - and the 1997 Skoda sounds good at face value. I've really got to spend a weekend doing nowt but looking at cars. Not something I am looking forward to but so be it.

I am gonna give the Astra one last roll of the dice, so to speak, if I can get the car down to Steve.O.That will be helpful, I don't think he will give me any help that it can be resurrected now, but until I know, I have to hold out!

Lastly - Am I mad? Been looking through all the mags today, and what caught my eye, amongst others, was a Ford Camper Van. Eldest son was disgusted, younger son always follows eldest's lead.But me? I don't know.I'm still in post traumatic Astra syndrome. Anything I do for the next month at least will be involuntary.

Back tomorrow, and thanks to everyone, and sorry to the site in general, when I first wrote I didn't dream this would become a long thread. Sorry.

Always

HF

Some pre-MOT questions please! - DieselBoy
Hi HF,

As attractive as a camper van might seem, it's a much bigger vehicle and therefore there is more to go wrong in terms of bodywork / rust etc etc. For the price range you're looking at, it's bound to be a 'ragger'

I'd keep your search to cars that are similar to your Astra. You can get a lot for sub £1000, as we both know....

Cheers,

DB
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
DB, hi!

Good to see you again and thanks for your words of wisdom - you are absolutely right, I'm sure. I've just gone into a funny 'oh-my-god-car-is-failing-and-I-love-it' mode.

I kind of know the camper van was a no-no. Just seemed attractive for a while, and admittedly it still does but I do take your point about the rust etc. To be honest all camper vans in the paper averaged about £28,000, the one that appealed to me was maybe £700. So I guess it might have been a little deficient compared to the rest?!

Agree that I should look for something similar to what I've got, in reality. I just have the problem that, whilst in all the mags etc, it seems like I can get a lot under a thousand, in reality actually most of them are either false trade (is that right expression?) or absolutely knackered! So it's a bit of a ball-game really. And without really knowing a mechanic, I am subject to whatever people want to throw at me really!

Hey but in any case, thanks for your reply, it's appreciated.

Many good lucks and all that sort of thing
Take care
HF
Some pre-MOT questions please! - DieselBoy
Bear in mind , as you know, I bought a car unseen off e-bay (Pug 405), and it's still going strong with minimal work needed. It can be done, but isn't recommended!

If I was darn sarf I'd have a gander at cars with you. But I'm not.... See if you can rope a local mechanic into going to have a look at a car for you, or even get the owner to take it to the mechanic's garage. You'd be amazed what a sweet smile and a folded note with a four pack of Stella can get you (not that I know!)......

Best of luck.

DB
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Civic8
HF did you get my e`mail.Just give me a ring and will sort out a time to look at it.Not certain of garage mentioned on station approach has been their for more years than I can remember.But maybe worth a look if yours has past its prime.I also know a chap that buys and sells so I may have a word with him
--
Steve
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
Hello again,

first, Steve yes I got your email, and replied to it, however been having some computer problems lately so maybe you didn't get it - I'll give you a call this afternoon on your mobile instead, if that's ok?

DB - thanks again, I'll definitely take advice and get someone to help me look at cars (unless hopelessly independent brain comes on!) But yeah, not really something I can bluff my own way through, I don't think. Although going along armed with a 4-pack is pretty scarey too. People might think I'm propositioning them or something ;)

RF - I love the Astra *despite* its rust and falling-apartness. There's an expression somewhere about something old and rusty sort of growing into part of you. Can't for the life of me remember what it is, but it means that being old and rusty is a massive compliment ;)))

See y'all later
HF
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
Replying to myself again! - but just wanted to tell you that I have just had the pleasure of meeting with Steve O. He is a lovely and very helpful man, (as, I have to say, are most people I come across on this site) and was kind enough to check out my car for me. Unfortunately his opinion is that it's destined for the knacker's yard too. So, much to my dismay and sadness, it really is going to be goodbye to the Astra at the end of the week. I am not going to be worth talking to come Friday.

I would now like to ask your opinions of what I want to get, please?

My only specifications are that it be economical and preferably diesel. Other than that I really don't care, which is why all the car mags are confusing me a bit - too much to choose from believe it or not. Just would like to know what might be good and what I should steer clear of.

Hoping someone can point me in the right direction, I have one or two garages to check out but being ignorant it's quite a task.

HF
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Civic8
Hi HF.Try users.autoexposure.co.uk/mpautosandcompany/search....1

They have a mondeo 1.8 glx TD £985.Hope that helps
--
Steve
Some pre-MOT questions please! - DavidHM
HF, commiserations on the loss of the Astra. I remember that the thread in which you were considering buying it was one of the first I posted on.

I'm not going to tell you not to buy a diesel, because there are too many variables, but I wouldn't have thought you did enough mileage to make economy your top priority.

If you get 40 mpg around town from a diesel, over 6k miles, rather than 30 mpg from a petrol, you'll save £170 or so.

That's a fair chunk of change, it's true, but diesels often cost a few hundred more even at the banger end of the market, will generally have done a higher mileage and you might end up with a car in better condition, that will last longer, for less money.

Just by going for a 1.4 petrol instead of a 1.7 diesel, you'd save £50 a year in road tax, and insurance might be cheaper too, reducing your fuel saving even further.

Obviously if the right diesel comes along at the right money, jump at it, but don't buy purely on grounds of fuel economy, because it's really only one element of your costs. Under £1k for a seven year old Mondeo diesel is suspiciously cheap and, given that it's black, there are no photos and no mileage listed, I can't help thinking that it's a worn out ex-minicab.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - local yokel
This guy is in Kent - and he's got a nice selection, including a little diesel AX, a Cinq Sporting (Gp 3 ins and the FIRE engine), and a higher mileage Corsa diesel.

www.chris-cars.co.uk/_chris.htm
Some pre-MOT questions please! - local yokel
The reason the FIRE engine is good is because you can not bend the valves if the cam belt breaks, I should have pointed that out. HJ quite likes them, I believe, and I have two, one in a Punto and the other in an Uno - had the Uno at 80 mph today very happily, and it gives me 45 mpg - paid £150 for it, and they don't rust badly. Worth looking one out, perhaps. Puntos also good, and plenty under £1000 now, with good rear seat space, 45 mpg and quite comfy.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Civic8
L Y do you know where in kent this garage is.Kent is rather large.Webb site doesnt give address that I could see.Unless I missed it?
--
Steve
Some pre-MOT questions please! - DavidHM
A whois search here gives

195.66.240.211/cgi-bin/whois.cgi?query=chris-cars....k

However viewing is by appointment only so hopefully there won't be hordes of Backroomers turning up...

Chris's Cars
Island Road
Hersden
Canterbury
Kent
CT3 4JD

I quite fancy those Felicias though.
The Astra Tribute Thread - HF
Good morning people, thank heavens I am able to get back to the site now - internet problems for a few days, sorry.

Loads to say and probably gonna be timed out, but here goes...

First, to Alfafan, I have actually been warned away from the crown Garage, due to an experience my sister had - won't go into detail in case it's libellous, I did take a couple of looks up there but couldn't see the Skoda in question - maybe it's been sold.

Steve, I cannot yet access the site you wrote, but will try again later - thanks! If the Mondeo you are looking at here is a petrol 1.8, I think it would be way too unecomonical for me to run. But I'll check it out, and thanks again for your help which is really appreciated.

DavidHM, cannot believe that my first Astra posts were when you first came to the site too! Kind of thought you'd been around a lot longer than me. I do take your point about maybe considering a petrol car, if I can find a small one. I did (DO, until Friday) enjoy driving a larger car though. It makes me feel more powerful. Also take what you're saying about the Mondeo - till I see it I won'/t be sure, but thanks for the note anyway, I have a lot of faith in you and you're probably right.

Local Yokel, thanks for your points, I'm unable as yet to get access to the site you've mentioned, but (I am sorry if I have misread this) from first reading are you recommending I buy a fire engine? Camper van is one thing, but a fire engine? Be good though, wouldn't it, whenever I am late with the shopping or something, putting on my siren?!

Thanks, to I think Steve and DavidHM for the Kent address. I will get in touch this afternoon.

This really scarey for me, I have found as I trawl through the papers and make phonecalls that I don't, or shouldn't, actually trust anyone. I don't quite know what I'm asking, but I would really appreciate all your help and support. Astra has only 2 days to go, and to say I'm gutted would be a huge understatement.

Hoping Volvoman might be kind enough to accompany me to view cars, but cannot impose too much on him.

Right, going for now - and RF I fear our love affair might be over soon due to the attentions of an extremely good-looking shelf-stacker in Safeways this morning.

Oh and one more thing. I've retitiled this, as you can see, and if moderators don't mind I would like just to pay tribute to my car. I know I'm a girlie but that car has meant the world to me. Driving along this morning, with my sixties tape, I decided that 'Out of Time' by Chris Farlowe was maybe a fitting song for the Astra - closely followed by the Moody Blues 'Go Now'. Would be very pleased to see some more Astra Tribute songs here, if anyone can be bothered.

Signing off before computer signs me off, back later I hope.

Thanks to everyone who has posted here.

HF
The Astra Tribute Thread - HF
Ok, have now checked out websites. Ta for the link to MP Autos, Steve, and I'm giving them a call in a sec - saw 1996 N Hyaundai Accent 1.3, 55K, 2 owners. Since I have no idea what this is, maybe someone can tell me before I call?

Also the other website, Chriscars, can't see anything for me but I don't really know what I'm looking for. DHM do you think those Felicias look ok?

Help, somebody, please!
The Astra Tribute Thread - Happy Blue!
Felicias are Skoda's built during the transition between Communism and Wlokswagen. The later ones provide spacious and I think well built cars some with good engines.

Wotth a look,, usually driven by the elderly so should not have been abused too much.
--
Espada III - well if you have a family and need a Lamborghini, what else do you drive?
The Astra Tribute Thread - HF
OK, thanks for that! I'll think on it, but not for too long. Really worried now as have to find car within 2 days.

Since i have no idea what I am doing, has anyone any opinions on a 1996 Hyundai Accent, 1.3 or 1.4 (garage wasn't certain). They say 55,000 miles, 2 keepers, M reg, it came from Steve's recommended website but it is the absolute maximum price I can pay. Really i'm looking for something much cheaper. Garage man mentioned the Mazda but after seeing comments here I'd be too nervous about making a wrong decision. Please realise that a grand's mistake might not mean all that much to a lot of you, it does to me.

Anyhow, might visit that garage tomorrow, if I get any positive feedeback from here and V-Man can take me.

HF

The Astra Tribute Thread - andymc {P}
My dad had a Felicia estate he was delighted with. Pretty solidly built car, no glamour but plenty of practicality and reliability. He would still have it only for my kid brother, who wrote it off last year.


--
andymc
Vroom, vroom - mmm, doughnuts ...
The Astra Tribute Thread - Altea Ego
Comments on this guys?

1997 R Reg DAEWOO Nubira 2.0 CDX
4 Doors, Manual, Saloon, Petrol, 99,000 miles, Metallic Blue, MOT-10-2005. Air-Conditioning, central doorlocks with remote control, power steering, ABS, Electric mirrors, Electric windows, Driver airbag, Passenger airbag. Insurance Group:11, Had clutch, head gasket and cam belt all within last year, but faded paintwork hence bargain price - Mobile : 07710 588252 - £695.


Lots and Lots of cheap Daewoos about under a grand
The Astra Tribute Thread - HF
I appreciate this, RF, and I see it might be a good car for some - but I am really looking for a year's MOT if I can get it, thinking of gettring another MOT in 4 months is a little more than the little HF brain can take. Also, I do think that a 2 litre petrol car will be more than I can afford to run, honestly. Hate to admit this but it's true. I'm not sure about the insurance group, but I'm thinking the lower the group the better, so group 11 is pretty high? I'm sorry, don't mean to dismiss your suggestions, but I don't think that particular car will be right for me. Thanks though - I'll appreciate it if you come up with a few more suggestions. Maybe I'll even ditch the shelf-stacker...
The Astra Tribute Thread - Altea Ego
First I am rusty, and then dumped for a ........Shelf Stacker!
The Astra Tribute Thread - HF
AndyMC, hey it's good to see you again - I hope all is well within the MC family.

Take what you say about Felicias - but heaven help me when I actually go to view one of them, or something else, for myself. What I really want and need is someone to take the ball out of my court and do it for me. Ain't gonna happen though, so I would really appreciate continued help and guidance till I buy something. Anything any of you say is much appreciated.

RF, I am sorry. The rust wasn't a problem... but... hey maybe if said shelf-stacker isn't there next time I shop, I might reprieve you. I still hold a little torch for you, which might beam even brighter on the day I get a new car.

HF, always alluding to cars even when deviating completely from the subject.
The Astra Tribute Thread - andymc {P}
Thanks HF, it's nice to see you back on here again. Don't be a stranger once you've got the new HF-mobile! All are well in the family, thanks for asking & hope the same goes for you. Kid bro is still inflicting mayhem on both my dad's car and his insurance renewal premium (reversing into a gate twice, scraping down the side of another car, and the best one yet, reversing over a friend's viola worth £6000 - result!), but that is all about to end - car is being replaced now that dad is retiring, and McMinor won't be insured on the new motor!

I'd say you're doing yourself an injustice HF - you're a lot more capable of checking out a motor than you think. I knew next to nothing about cars until four or five years ago, when I decided to take an interest (so that I wouldn't end up making the same mistakes as with our first car) and have learned a lot from browsing on here and elsewhere. I've found HJ's guide for checking out a used car to be invaluable - I've printed it out and taken it with me when looking at cars before now, ticking things off as I went. Might be a pain for the seller, but hey, it's my money. Step-by-step, it covers all the main areas - anyway, don't you know how to check a CV joint? ;-)
--
andymc
Vroom, vroom - mmm, doughnuts ...
The Astra Tribute Thread - pvmw

To re-iterate a comment made earlier, consider looking for a Puegeot 205 or a Citroen ZX. I had/have both. My 205 cost me £280 with 9 months MOT 3 months ago, and I sold it on last weekend to my neighbours niece - it'll go on for years. The last ZX died at 150k miles when it got hot and the head gasket went (hence the cheap 205), I've replaced it with another - for £600-ish you should find quite a decent one with several year's life in it.

They don't rust, bits are readily available, they are cheap to insure and they go on for ever (unless they lose water and overheat)
The Astra Tribute Thread - RichardW
HF

Unfortunately buying a car when you really need one is just the wrong thing to do, but that can't be helped! You might be best going for a private purchase rather than a garage. You will get to meet the owner, and see his house etc - gives a good idea what you are getting into. Buying from a dealer you lose this valuable input. Ask the vendor some direct questions as soon as you get there: What mileage, how long had it, why selling, any problems. Good owners will know these off the top of their head. How does the car look? Some look good, some look sheds. Avoid sheds! Are the hadnbooks and MOTs present - a nice sheaf of paper is what you are looking for - does the mileage on these tie up with the car? What does it look like under the bonnet? Generally grubby is good - it hasn't been tarted up for the sale. Very black / oily is bad, as is very clean - it's been tarted up for the sale. What does the drive look like under the car - very black and oily, walk away. What does the oil look like (ask the vendor to show you the dipstick if you can't see it - if it looks gungy or lumpy, or white and cloudy, walk away. Have a look in the coolant reservior - again, make sure no oil in there (don't do this when the engine's hot though!) A years MOT is a good place to start, at least all the rust and suspension will have been looked at - remember though that this does not cover the engine or gear box. Take the car for a drive. Does the engine start easliy, and run nicely when it does? Any clonks/bangs? Engine rough, gearchage rough, clutch comes in near the floor or near the top, gears difficult to engage? Does it feel like it wallowing all over the road? Does it stop in a straight line? What are the tyres like? New or old, budget or branded make? Do all the lights, wipers etc work. Do the locks work? Does the chassis number on the V5, MOT and car match.

Buying from a dealer will give you some protection against defects, but you might have a battle on your hands getting anything done/ Buying privately will gain you an extra £200 - £300 worth of car.

I'd avoid the Daewoo mentioned above - I've heard parts tend to be dealer only, and can be very pricey.

It's a lot of things to look at - maybe you can print the above off and use it like a check list. Mostly buying a car at this end of the market is feeling that it's OK, and all the above just give you a pointer to that. Unfortunately even those of us supposedly in the know get it wrong sometimes!

Good luck - and remember haggle hard - there's always money to be had off the asking price!


--
RichardW

Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....
The Astra Tribute Thread - HF
Richard thanks for all that, I really appreciate it. Yes, I see what you mean about a private seller - and I've saved all your comments on my computer.

Also take what you say about the Daiwoo - I do have a problem, though, and that is where the hell do I go for something trustworthy?

I know you say about private sellers but I have been conned so many times that I am nervous about all of these.

I'm sorry, I know I'm being impossible here - but if you or anyone else can tell me a car to go for I will be grateful. Ug, sorry again but I need as much help as I can get here. Got to go, Richard can you help me with a few more ideas? Sorry to ask, just really desperate now.

HF
The Astra Tribute Thread - local yokel
I've just had a chat with Chris Whalley of www.chris-cars.co.uk the guy I posted baout, based near Canterbury - he's a nice guy, not out to rip you off, won't sell you a dud, and anyway we all know where he lives.

Give him a call on 07834 362222 and have a chat with him - tell him what you want from a car, and he will sort you out. I quite fancy one of his Saabs my self, so I might be down to see him, but not for a week or so. He said he sees loads of people like you who are very worried about being ripped-off, but I think he's sound from our conversation, and since I interview people all day long on the phone, I hope I can get a good, correct impression.

Broken link fixed. ND
The Astra Tribute Thread - RichardW
Stick your postcode into Autotrader and set the min price to £500 and see what comes up. I used BR6 0TE (Orpington College, not far from you maybe given discussion further up) and turned these up:

1990 MAZDA 323 1.6 SE 5dr Fastback,
Petrol, 69,000 miles, . White. Tax and Mot to January 2006. Full maintenance and service Jan 2005. FSH. email inbenn-gd@yahoo.co.uk. £500.
Tel: 01483 424062
Distance: 35 miles
Price: £500

LADA Samara Hatchback, M reg.
30000 miles, blue, 6 mth tax, 1 year MoT. £500 . ono.
Tel: (01580) 211869
Distance: 24 miles
Price: £500 ono.

1993 ROVER 200 214 SLi 5dr Hatchback,
Petrol, 61,000 miles, . petrol 1.4, 61,000miles,5drs,h/back,e/w,c/l,pas,s/roof,r/cassete,cambelt changed,full service history,regularly serviced,clean inside and out. £525 . ono.
Tel: 0786 3334861 or 01344 457691
Distance: 36 miles
Price: £525 ono.

1995 SKODA FELICIA 1.3 GLXi 5dr Hatchback,
Petrol, 61,000 miles, . N Reg Very reliable. MOT Jan 2006 Tax Sept. Central locking, sunroof. Maroon. Reasonable offers considered. £525.
Tel: 07989 560170 or 01372 726429
Distance: 16 miles
Price: £525

1994 CITROEN ZX, 1.9 D Avantage
Diesel, 5 door hatch, L reg, 5 speed, 1 year MOT, full service history, Power steering, electric windows, remote central locking, e/sunroof, stereo, metalic paint work, excellent condition, £550.
S KTel: 07956 117242 or 07932 595067
Distance: 21 miles
Price: £550

The Mazda definitely sounds interesting - these are often looked after cars. You'd need to check the insurance though. The Lada, well, it's a Lada, so parts might be tricky, maybe best avoided. The Rover's interesting, but doesn't say how much MOT. The Skoda is the one they were making when VW took over. Basic but sound. I like the sound of the ZX, and they are very good cars. But then I am, er, a little biased towards them! It looks smart enough in the photo. These should give you a taste for the sort of things to look out for in the ads though. You might however find quite a few of those are sold as the new mag generally comes out on a Friday.

Hope this is some help....
--
RichardW

Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....
The Astra Tribute Thread - HF
Richard, thanks, I am really interested by this. Again I am not too sure about the Mazda, like you say insurance etc. The ZX yep I know you are a little biased, but maybe?! Know it's too late in the day now to do any calls, but tomorrow definitely check some of these out as well as the others mentioned above. It seems, although he cannot access this thread anymore, that I might have the help of Volvomasn for tomorrow's search - his wife has even offered him to me for the day.

Wish me luck, please, people, gonna have to make a hard decision and I know you lot are going to help me.

Thanks for all input,

HF
The Astra Tribute Thread - No Do$h
I might have the help of
Volvoman for tomorrow's search - his wife has even offered him
to me for the day.


The lengths that lady will go to just for a day of peace ;o)
The Astra Tribute Thread - Adam {P}
HF, I wish you the best of luck with the car. If I lived anywhere near you, I'd tag along too for the entertainment.....namely VM negotiating a price ;-)

Seriously though, good luck. With all the help people have provided on here, I don't think you could go far wrong.

Good luck,
--
Adam
The Astra Tribute Thread - Ex-Moderator
I'm all for conversations being conducted in a friendly and amusing manner, but this went somewhat too far.

I removed loads of rubbish. 'Scuse me if I nailed a good post as well, but its difficult to avoid doing sometimes.

Now if we could avoid mindless notes written just to take it to 100 replies, I'd be grateful.
The Astra Tribute Thread - HF
Sorry.

I will now conduct my search for a car without help from here, although I kind of thought that was part of what this site is about.

Mark, one of us has got out of bed the wrong side this morning and it's probably me, but please bear with me and understand I'm a bit stressed about the car situation ok? And yep I know it was silly to try and take the thread too far. Can only say sorry again.
The Astra Tribute Thread - pvmw
Hey, keep asking the questions. Advice is free, and if it helps you to a decision its got to be worth it.

I'd seriously consider the ZX. I'm on my second, I do 110 miles a day commute, it manages over 50/gall, its comfortable and reliable (with a caveat about head gaskets and don't let it overheat) and it has none of the complexity of most Citroens.

If you want a bit more detail about what to look for send me an e-mail.
The Astra Tribute Thread - Ex-Moderator
>>I will now conduct my search for a car without help from here, although I kind of thought that was part of what this site is about.

What ?? For goodness sakes get your toys back in the pram and don't be so silly.

I politely asked for a lack of meaningless drivel - which this site is NOT supposed to be about.

By all means ask advice which, as you very well know, is exactly what the site is for.
The Astra Tribute Thread - No Do$h
It may be worth reminding you, HF, that several of your posts stated that they probably should be deleted as they were so rambling and off topic.
The Astra Tribute Thread - HF
ND, and Mark, well one of you I've already apologised to but I'd like to re-iterate it and to you as well, ND. (can anyone work out which mod I have previously apologised to? I am so subtle.)

Anyhow I am sorry and stressed and I have to find a car by tomorrow and the ones I looked at this morning were either sold or rubbish.

I am truly sorry for taking out my frustration here. Can't promise it won't happen again though. ;)))

The HF Humiliation Thread - HF
Morning.

I just went to one of the garages I'd noted, re part-exchange etc.

There were lots of men in nice suits waiting for customers probably wishing to spend many thousands of pounds with them. Then in I go, get seated at a very nice desk, and ask what they've got for a couple of hundred! I will give the bloke much credit, he was very amiable, but I probably wasn't part of his expected quota for today.

Anyway apparently dealers generally will only sell to traders and then the trader will sell it to the likes of me, or at auction. Not quite sure if this applies to all garages, but certainly this one. It's not worth their while to risk being sued for a dodgy sale - according to the nice man I spoke to.

I have a few more phone numbers to try.

HF
The HF Humiliation Thread - Ex-Moderator
I should imagine that is likely to be the reaction from most smart dealers.

However, about a year ago I went down to one of the more "back street" garages which sells cars priced between about £2,000 and £9,000.

I asked them a similar question; I ended up choosing between a £500 Cavalier and a £400 Rover 420 (I think, it was a 2.0 something or other).

They had about 5 other cars which didn't interest me. I had to sign a receipt based on the fact that I had bought the car for spares and not for use on the road, but it had 3 months MOT. And, as it happened, sailed through its next MOT. It did very well and racked up loads of miles until it died through no fault of its own.

So I suspect that you are asking at the wrong level of car sales place. Try a rougher place.
The HF Humiliation Thread - Mapmaker
Take hold of the yellow pages (you may find yell.com easier to use to find local dealers). Pick up the phone to them & ask them. Save the humiliation!

I've had 3 cars from dealers on a 'trade sale' basis. it's doubtful whether the 'trade sale' term would stand up in court, which is why some won't sell to _you_. And those that will tend to be fairly sure of the car in its current state.

I think you said you're in Catford? I've had a couple of things done to cars at a place called Cremer Garage, 35 Cremer Street E2 (Shoreditch - if you can face a trip into the centre of town). The chap there is called Errol, on 020 7729 6423 and he said he'd always be able to find me a cheap car if I needed one.
The HF Humiliation Thread - Mapmaker
Alternatively, look for another Astra exactly the same. Have you somewhere to keep the old car? You will find that you can move bits off the old car onto the new one as and when they are required. (Exhaust, cat, tyres. Irritating items like light covers or mirrors that are very expensive when they get broken.) Then sell what's left on ebay.
replacing an astra thread - Dalglish
i feel reluctant to give advice or suggestions regarding choosing a car of which i have no experience. so my one and only post on this subject is:

dynamic dave may be able to comment on the following suggestions -

which were found from autotrader on the left, inputting:

postcode = br6 0te; 10 mile radius search; no age limit for car;
make = vauxhall; max price = £1000; max mileage = 80,000; and choosing both private and trade sales.

1994 VAUXHALL Cavalier 1.8 LS,
L reg. 76000 miles, 2 owners since new, metallic blue, pas, central locking, electric windows, sunroof, 8 months tax, 10 months MoT, good condition. £550 . ono.
Tel: (020) 85164987 or (07957) 747144

VAUXHALL Astra 1.3 GL, 39000
miles, black, 5 door, 1 family owned, fsh, very good condition, 1st to see will buy. £650 . . cp.
Fast and DirectTel: (01959) 509075 or (07831) 555919
Distance: 6 miles

1995 VAUXHALL ASTRA 1.4 [60 PS] Merit 3dr Hatchback,
Petrol, 68,000 miles, . 11 months mot. power steering. cheap tax. good condition. ideal as 1st car.car is based nr Dartford. no canvasser callers!. £850 . ono.
Tel: 07971 075524
Distance: 8

1997 VAUXHALL Vectra 1.8 LS,
P reg. 80000 miles, in red, 5 door hatchback, full Vauxhall s/history, 1 years MoT, e/windows, c/locking, 1st to see will buy. £995.
Tel: (07960) 154414 or (07947) 938858
Distance: 7 miles

i make no comment on the suitability or otherwise of these cars.

if you widen the search to include other makes, there are plenty of examples within the budget.


replacing an astra thread - HF
Blimmin heck I really am getting fed up. Just replied very nicely to all of you (without swearing) and computer failed. So gonna keep this really short for now.

Actually almost bought a car earlier, I was trying to talk the guy down pricewise and I think I had won, he was going to bring it to show me, but as luck would have it a geezer from Birmingham has decided to come all the way down here to have it for himself.

Said I'd keep it brief - well thanks for the new numbers and possibilities, and btw no I am not in Catford, I am in Orpington and to be honest the closer I can get a car the better, for me.

Going to investigate, and then go really downmarket - and downmarket Orpington is not a nice place to be.

Later
HF
replacing an astra thread - HF
Ok I am going with the Astra as above, suggested by Dalgleish. The 1.3, 39000 miles.

Talked to owner, obviously a dealer but who am I to complain.

Lots of service history apparently, and he says no rust. I did ask him if he was kidding me but apparently not.

It has no tax, but my existing (just) Astra is running out of that at the end of June so not real problem.

I asked the bloke if he was open to offers, (;)) and he would be, but if I pay the asking price he will put a full year's MOT on it for me. £650 - it's way more than I'd planned, but do you reckon I could be on to a good deal here?

Spent the whole day pretending to be un-naive. Can you just tell me if I'm making a huge mistake? Gotta call the guy tomorrow morning if I want him to MOT it.

Ta in advance
HF
replacing an astra thread - Ex-Moderator
Didn't steve.o. offer to help ? If he did, why not give him a call and ask him to meet you wherever the car is ?? I'm sure that he wouldn't mind for the price of a pint ? And he does, then apologise on my behalf.
replacing an astra thread - helicopter
HF , I know it is difficult but I would certainly try and get someone who knows to go with you and not jump at the Astra - play hard to get.

An MOT is not going to cost a dealer much and I would still not agree to pay full asking for the sake of one bit of paper. Its your hard earned money we're talking about here.

I was also having a look at the 1.8 Cavalier suggested above .

From the photo in the Autotrader to my mind it seems a good bet, cheaper and with a lot of tax and MOT on it although admittedly it has a higher mileage .

Good Luck with the hunt and - who is going to post reply 100?
replacing an astra thread - HF
Hi there,

In turmoil really, But I have enlisted Volvoman to help me tomorrow. If Steve.O is about then I guess that would be even better?

OK kind of put my hopes on this Astra, and according to V-Man it is so cheap for its price it is probably dodgy. The 1.8 I really think will be too expensive for me to run.
replacing an astra thread - Dalglish
as i said earlier, i shall not comment any further on the suitability or otherwise of those cars, but leave that to the experts who know those models.

one comment - perhaps if this thread fails to entice the help needed, it may be an idea to start a new thread with a more appropriate title.

( i had not bothered to read this thread until today as i had thought it was about mot issues and not about buying a replacement car ).

replacing an astra thread - DavidHM
HF, if this Astra really is a 1.3 GL as described it's a 1988 or older and £650 is an awful lot of money for that, despite the low mileage, unless you're planning on using it to start a collection of well preserved 80s hatchbacks.

I sold my 1989 R19 for £320 with a year's MoT and that was in excellent condition for the age, with only minor faults (e.g., fuel gauge not working, a couple of minor scratches, and that's about it) two years ago, although it did have 90k up.


I can't look at the car for you, but the advert really doesn't sound very promising at all, sorry.
replacing an astra thread - DavidHM
Assuming the age of the Astra is what I suggested above (if it's a 1.4 GLS, it's completely different!) the Cavalier sounds like a much better buy.

There'll be no difference in parts prices, servicing and tyres and Cavaliers are probably easier to work on (although I'm no mechanic) so labour might actually be less.

Fuel might be about £85 a year difference (34 vs 39 mpg @ 6k pa); tax will be £70 more and insurance £45 extra. They add up to less £200 per year; not insignificant but the car's £100 cheaper before haggling, certainly safer (with ABS at this age) and more spacious and comfortable.

It may work out cheaper to have the Cav over the Astra, but even if not, I'd suggest that it's better value.
replacing an astra thread - Adam {P}
I read the thread before but didn't have anything valuable to have.

However, if David's right, and he usually is, and it's the Astra that looks like a Daewoo Nexia, then you'd be absolutely crazy to pay £650 for it.

It could have 1,000 miles on and I think that'd be too expensive. I haven't looked at Autotrader and at the risk of sounding like Michael, what kind of Mondeo could you get for £650? I'd guess a pretty decent one.

Far better than a 1988 Asta. Far better.
--
Adam
replacing an astra thread - DavidHM
For instance...

1996 FORD MONDEO 2.0i Ghia 5dr Hatchback,
Petrol, . blue mot april 06 e/w a/c e/s/r e/s c/l a great car in good condition inside and out first to see will buy bargain !!!. £695 . ovno.

4 miles from the Orpington postcode I used on AutoTrader.
replacing an astra thread - local yokel
Cavaliers are fine cars for bangernomic motoring, but do check the front of the rear wheel arches. There's only two types of Cavalier - those that have had the rear arches welded, and those that will have them welded.

The 2.0 8 valve goes like stink, but gives 40 mpg if you don't hammer it.

Alternatively you can have my 1991 Fiat Uno 1.0 with 12.5 months MoT, fresh on today, FSH, 76,000 miles for £375, but I'm between Oxford and Reading ;)
replacing an astra thread - frostbite
Since the size is increasing - you could have my old '89 Granada Scorpio 2.0i (auto) with all the toys for just £250 but it's back to needing an MOT again.......
replacing an astra thread - Big Bird
well done to HF - the thread has reahced the ton

Dan
replacing an astra thread - HF
Oh dear, I am very very tired and if tis ok will come back and answer people tomorrow.

I am now seriously confused and likely to remain that way.

But a.m. I will seriously consider all that's been said and respond.

Thank you.
HF
replacing an astra thread - Dalglish
now that your thread has reached its goal of 100+, and id you have not found the car you wanted, why not start a new thread with a title that says " advice wanted - car under £xxx " or whatever.

replacing an astra thread - Ex-Moderator
Or not.

Reaching 100 should not be a goal. Where it seems to have been, then it can just carry on and live with the slow response times and confusing mass of notes that it has earned itself.
replacing an astra thread - HF
Mark you can be very cutting at times. I'm sorry thread has gone on this long, maybe if I can buy something today then it can die it's death?

Ok, to all others, I think there might be some confusion, as the bloke said car 1998, not 1988.

I reckon, since I have semi made an appointment to see the car, I might as well do so. It would be rude not to.

If it's not as it sounds, I'll be back (sorry Mark). Cavaliers, yes I do hear what you're all saying and maybe my thoughts of economy are wrong - but - well let me come back later just to see if the Astra in question is any good.

Footnote to say I gave the old Astra a lovely send-off last night. Drove to my favourite village, paddled in the river, and then got horrifically lost and took maybe 3 hours to get home. And the village is maybe 6 miles away. Am going now before I start being over-dramatic about old Astra again.
replacing an astra thread - Ex-Moderator
>>Mark you can be very cutting at times. I'm sorry thread has gone on this long, maybe if I can buy something today then it can die it's death?

I rather think that you miss the point.

I have no feelings one way or another how long it carries on. It will carry on for as long as you need help and/or advice and others are able to provide it. There is nothing to apologise for there, nor is there any reason to speed its demise.

However, I also see no reason to restart it, and thus split up the "story".

It is a pain when people see the magic 100 as a target and write drivel just to get it there. I have put a fair amount of effort into this thread to carefully weed out the rubbish so that it remains readable. Therefore it will continue as is. And all this discussion is doing is adding more irrelevant stuff to the thread.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Mapmaker
I'd be looking for a VAG car, personally. A Jetta or an Audi 80. Both remarkably unfashionable & with incredibly poor residuals.

cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=...W

Would be the car I'd go for. The Jetta is even more unfashionable than I am. A Golf, but with a bigger boot. I know it's in Worcestershire, which isn't helpful; and that it ends within a couple of hours (likewise). But it is from a trader, so you have some sort of guarantee that it isn't going to die before you reach the end of his street. (That could be a topic for debate.) Best of all, VWs don't really rust like Astras.

Unfortunately they are a fairly rare car, but when they do appear they're cheap. 5 months MOT for under £100 (as happened here) is properly cheap.

cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=...1

Alternatively, what about an Audi 80? Galvanised, so pretty much rust-proof. A real step up in the world from an Astra, although you might find keeping it on the road costs a bit more. Just to prove it can be done:

cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=...1

cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=...1

Maybe a Fiat Bravo/a (maybe somebody can tell me the difference?) Get yourself a P-reg car for your budget.


Some pre-MOT questions please! - Mapmaker
What about a Nissan Bluebird? It won't win you any prizes in the street cred competition, but they're renowned for their reliable mechanicals. Tin worm will get them in the end, though. (I suppose you could add some bling alloys if you wish to improve your street cred.)
cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=...1

Several on autotrader in London at under 500 for a long MOT. e.g. 1990 G Reg NISSAN Bluebird 1.6 L
4 Doors, Manual 5 speed, Saloon, Petrol, 136,000 miles, White, MOT-04-2006, 3 Owners. 07713950564, 5 speed, Heated Rear Window, Adjustable seats, Child locks, Cloth upholstery, Head restraints, Heated screen, Power assisted steering. PX to clear April 2006 MOT drives great ideal run around call Kevin Johnson on 07713950564 or 02083919460 Epsom Surrey £295.

KJ CarsDealer's Website
Tel: 0208 3919460


Some pre-MOT questions please! - bimmer-driver
May have a job finding any decent Bluebirds these days as they are now the car of choice for banger racing as I found out on Sunday. Atleast half of the competitors were driving them, the rest mostly Primeras. Says a lot about how tough they are though.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
Sorry to those who I haven't answered - have been out of action ill for a bit.

Search is now back on though, and am going to look at a couple of cars this pm. Trouble is, most of the best stuff has already gone by the time I phone, despite ringing as soon as the papers/online ads come out.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - local yokel
www.chris-cars.co.uk 07834 362222 of Canterbury has still got a SKODA Felicia 1.3 GLi , 5 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 1998 S Reg , 100,000 miles, Blue, MOT-05-2005. 1 PREVIOUS OWNER FROM NEW, FULL MAIN DEALER SERVICE HISTORY, MANUAL SUNROOF, Tax, Air Bag, DRIVES VERY WELL, NEW IN FROM LOCAL MAIN DEALER, nice tidy car for age, Power-Assisted Steering, NEW MOT, SPACE NEEDED MUST GO. Insurance Group:4, £675 - haggle him for a new MoT at that price and you've three years motoring at a very fair price I'd say.
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
Thanks Local, although Canterbury too far for me.

However, no matter - because I am now the proud owner of a new car. For better or worse, I have purchased a 1997 R reg Fiesta 1.25 Encore, which I'm picking up on tuesday. It's quite exciting.

It's pretty much immaculate both inside and out, drives beautifully, and I hope it and I are to share a long and very happy relationship.

Thanks to everyone who has helped on this thread, i appreciate it.

HF
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Adam {P}
Can't go far wrong with one of them HF. I had one and loved it.

Congratulations,
--
Adam
Some pre-MOT questions please! - Phil I
Glad you found something to suit HF. I see from your other thread you now have a better appreciation of the true meaning of statements in advertisements for pre-owned vehicles.

Happy Motoring in your Fiesta Phil I
Some pre-MOT questions please! - HF
Thanks, Adam, and Phil - really appreciate you following my thread and helping me. In respect of the moderators I would like that we now leave this thread entirely. It really has become a bit long, hasn't it?

One more time, and especially to Adam and Phil, thank you.

Actually I would quite welcome one of the moderators closing this down completely because otherwise I might come back Tuesday eulogising on the Astra. But thank you both, very much, hope you're right Adam!

Moderators, would you mind closing this down now, please? Seriously I would appreciate it if I could have the last word here. Yep it's stupid, yep it's girlie, and yep it's Friday night. But it's my car and we already know thread is too big so can it die now please?

Hopefully
HF

Locked as requested 01:41 ND
 

Value my car