Author Topic: Second hand car shopping  (Read 3673 times)

Brit71

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Second hand car shopping
« on: April 14, 2022, 05:20:30 AM »
Our car may need to be replaced and I would like to do this more systematically and logically than I've done these things in the past. 

Firstly what sort of car should we look for.  The main purpose is to drive my wife to work and back.  We do have a big dog that often needs boot space and we'd like a safer model.  Otherwise it's cost per mile.

As there are big differences between car models (even names) across the Atlantic as well as some differences in the market structure I thought I'd ask the questions on this forum.  I've looked on the blog and forum for posts about used car buying, but if there are any hidden gems out there by all means post them!

bownyboy

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2022, 12:56:33 AM »
We bought a second hand car in July 2020. Our trusty 15 year old Mazda MX5 failed its MOT (rusty sills) and it wasn't worth it to fix it. Neither of us had bought a car in donkeys years and had no idea where to start.

The idea of buying privately filled us with dread in case we got a dud (we're not experts by any means). Also being ripped off from a dealer meant we wanted to avoid them if possible (and dealing with sales people, shudder).

So in the end we decided to go with one of the big warehouse companies. We searched auto trader to get an idea of the market prices for what we wanted (Korean or Japanese mid size SUV. 3-4 years old so someone else has paid majority of depreciation, low mileage, sun roof, automatic) and then I created email alerts for when something appeared.

In the end we found something with Imperial Cars Warehouse (now bought by Cazoo). Best bit was there was no negotiating, no sales people. We paid £75 holding deposit, could test drive it on our own and had a week to decide if we wanted it or get our deposit back.

There were no hard sells for extras just a 'how do you want to pay'. Best of all we got a 3 month guarantee from them plus remainder of the manufacture guarantee (2 years).

Its a Hyundai Tucson 2016 4WD Automatic with Panoramic Sunroof and all the silly extras which after driving a 2 seater manual 6 speed convertible is a dream to drive.

Crazy thing is, its worth more now than when we bought it in 2020!


Affable Bear

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2022, 06:23:36 AM »
We bought a second hand car in July 2020. Our trusty 15 year old Mazda MX5 failed its MOT (rusty sills) and it wasn't worth it to fix it. Neither of us had bought a car in donkeys years and had no idea where to start.

The idea of buying privately filled us with dread in case we got a dud (we're not experts by any means). Also being ripped off from a dealer meant we wanted to avoid them if possible (and dealing with sales people, shudder).

My Dad had a 1989 MX-5 imported from Japan in 2005, he loved that car until rust eventually killed it off in 2016. It was a sad time and even though he resprayed the chasis I dont think they were built with the Great British weather in mind!

I also have the same dilemma in buying cars, hate dealers because you know you dont get a deal haa! But equally nervous of private sellers, I think I prefer private sellers over dealers because at the end of the day I dont mind fixing a few things here and there and get a great deal as opposed to paying top dollar with a dealer and having to fight with them if there is an issue.


Our car may need to be replaced and I would like to do this more systematically and logically than I've done these things in the past. 

Firstly what sort of car should we look for.  The main purpose is to drive my wife to work and back.  We do have a big dog that often needs boot space and we'd like a safer model.  Otherwise it's cost per mile.

I think if you are commuting you are looking for high MPG low tax and reasonably comfortable (arm rest, automatic if predominantly city commute, AC, heated seats etc..), probably looking at a petrol engine due to the shorter trips. 

If you have a dog to ferry and need the boot space the obvious choice is probably something like an estate but they wont be as efficient as a small 1.0 petrol, not as easy to park or manoeuvre in city and you are probably looking at diesel, which is probably only worth it long distance commuting. I think a less popular choice but probably more functional/value choice might be to consider an MPV because they have lost a lot of their imagine since everyone wants an SUV meaning they donít hold their value very well, they are also deceptively big. I think the C4 picasoo, fiat 500L, Ford C max, Berlingo, Peugeot Partner, Fiat Doblo etc... Are all pretty cheap and offer decent space. Again you aren't going to impress many people but think of the money that you are saving and you get all the practicality and more than a fake SUV (like Juke, Captur etc..)

If thereís just 2 of you and you are happy with the dog using the back seats folded down you could probably get away with a smaller car which would be more efficient, lower tax, petrol/hybrid/elec and easy to drive in the city. Not sure which cars offer the best flat boot spaces I think the Ford B max is a bit smaller and is pretty flat and the Honda Jazz has a reputation for flat folding seats (kudos for reliability too).

Let us know what you end up with!
« Last Edit: April 19, 2022, 06:30:05 AM by Affable Bear »

Brit71

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2022, 11:15:22 AM »
We bought a second hand car in July 2020. Our trusty 15 year old Mazda MX5 failed its MOT (rusty sills) and it wasn't worth it to fix it. Neither of us had bought a car in donkeys years and had no idea where to start.

The idea of buying privately filled us with dread in case we got a dud (we're not experts by any means). Also being ripped off from a dealer meant we wanted to avoid them if possible (and dealing with sales people, shudder).

My Dad had a 1989 MX-5 imported from Japan in 2005, he loved that car until rust eventually killed it off in 2016. It was a sad time and even though he resprayed the chasis I dont think they were built with the Great British weather in mind!

I also have the same dilemma in buying cars, hate dealers because you know you dont get a deal haa! But equally nervous of private sellers, I think I prefer private sellers over dealers because at the end of the day I dont mind fixing a few things here and there and get a great deal as opposed to paying top dollar with a dealer and having to fight with them if there is an issue.


Our car may need to be replaced and I would like to do this more systematically and logically than I've done these things in the past. 

Firstly what sort of car should we look for.  The main purpose is to drive my wife to work and back.  We do have a big dog that often needs boot space and we'd like a safer model.  Otherwise it's cost per mile.

I think if you are commuting you are looking for high MPG low tax and reasonably comfortable (arm rest, automatic if predominantly city commute, AC, heated seats etc..), probably looking at a petrol engine due to the shorter trips. 

If you have a dog to ferry and need the boot space the obvious choice is probably something like an estate but they wont be as efficient as a small 1.0 petrol, not as easy to park or manoeuvre in city and you are probably looking at diesel, which is probably only worth it long distance commuting. I think a less popular choice but probably more functional/value choice might be to consider an MPV because they have lost a lot of their imagine since everyone wants an SUV meaning they donít hold their value very well, they are also deceptively big. I think the C4 picasoo, fiat 500L, Ford C max, Berlingo, Peugeot Partner, Fiat Doblo etc... Are all pretty cheap and offer decent space. Again you aren't going to impress many people but think of the money that you are saving and you get all the practicality and more than a fake SUV (like Juke, Captur etc..)

If thereís just 2 of you and you are happy with the dog using the back seats folded down you could probably get away with a smaller car which would be more efficient, lower tax, petrol/hybrid/elec and easy to drive in the city. Not sure which cars offer the best flat boot spaces I think the Ford B max is a bit smaller and is pretty flat and the Honda Jazz has a reputation for flat folding seats (kudos for reliability too).

Let us know what you end up with!

My wife has a reasonably long commute - 45 miles round trip four days a week and mostly on dual carriage way (we are thinking of either a closer job or trying to rent out our house and rent a flat closer to work - but assume we don't).  Although I learned on automatics and prefer them I realise that there are more manual cars and their reliability tends to be higher.  Also she doesn't prefer them and she does the bulk of the driving.  It also won't hurt if I want to persuade her into a smaller car than she's used to.

We currently have an estate with a large boot, but a smaller car with foldable seats seems to be to be better for cost but also they tend to be reliable - so I'm looking at Toyota Corolla and fitting a roof rack for the rare times we will need to take the dog and a week or two's luggage.

Her father attended motorway crashes in the 70s, 80s and 90s and so she has been bought up to believe in big Swedish cars, but Japanese cars actually seem very safe now.  That however may be a different battle!

Affable Bear

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2022, 04:12:22 AM »

We currently have an estate with a large boot, but a smaller car with foldable seats seems to be to be better for cost but also they tend to be reliable - so I'm looking at Toyota Corolla and fitting a roof rack for the rare times we will need to take the dog and a week or two's luggage.

Her father attended motorway crashes in the 70s, 80s and 90s and so she has been bought up to believe in big Swedish cars, but Japanese cars actually seem very safe now.  That however may be a different battle!

Thats a tough job, I guess you see first hand what holds up. I have to admit I do love a Swedish estate! Never owned one but have always had a soft spot to get one, maybe when we have little ones and I can justify the extra space and costs.

I think Japanese cars are pretty good, I would say Toyota and Honda are probably the best looking at the reliability surveys (if you believe them) I had a Nissan in the past and it wasnt any different to the other cars I have owned reliability wise. Corolla must be a good shout because I see loads of Taxi drivers in them so it must mean they are pretty comfortable, economical/reliable and have at least decent space for luggage, the latest model looks pretty snazzy too!

Brit71

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2022, 01:37:49 AM »
So the garage seem to have found the reason why the accelerator is cutting out - I think it was the fuel filter but I may have it garbled.

So we asked when we needed to look at getting our 225,000 mile car replaced and were told that 300,000 miles would be a good time.

So I don't need to replace the car, so when should I look to replace it?

There are some repairs coming up, £600 for a flywheel replacement - but I don't think that I should be using that as a trigger.  Other than that the repairs are a sunk cost.

So what are the triggers for replacing a car - if there are any other than never again being able to start. 

It's a diesel estate car and I've been checking the MPG on the dashboard which says it's doing 52-53 MPG.

I am trying to persuade the wife that our next car should be a smaller, possibly Japanese car.

Affable Bear

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2022, 02:19:57 AM »
Personally if I loved the car and 50mpg isn't exactly horrific I would probably keep it until it dies, becomes unreliable (breaking down a lot) or gets to the point that its uneconomical to fix (engine replacement or something).

Loving the mileage by the way, wear it as a badge of honor!

Brit71

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2022, 04:37:27 AM »
Personally if I loved the car and 50mpg isn't exactly horrific I would probably keep it until it dies, becomes unreliable (breaking down a lot) or gets to the point that its uneconomical to fix (engine replacement or something).

Loving the mileage by the way, wear it as a badge of honor!
We're talking about a continental European diesel car before 2014, so for all I know it may just be telling me what I want to hear. Remember VW!

MisterA

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2022, 05:16:22 AM »
We're in the same position. Our 2006 Mondeo estate has been great, plenty of space and reliable. But it's long in the tooth, and costing us a bit at the MOT's.

Like @brownyboy we also fancy buying from Cazoo or similar, and we too were thinking of a Korean Kia Sportage possibly, with a 7 year manufacturers warranty. The 7 year warranty really does give you some peace of mind. But, the cost of used cars has gone up so much, that we're thinking of hanging on for a year or more. But this could backfire, if the prices continue to go upwards!

Then again, things are in flux at the moment. Should we get a diesel, petrol or electric car? Delaying for a year or more might help that decision.

Brit71

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2022, 06:25:36 AM »
We're in the same position. Our 2006 Mondeo estate has been great, plenty of space and reliable. But it's long in the tooth, and costing us a bit at the MOT's.

Like @brownyboy we also fancy buying from Cazoo or similar, and we too were thinking of a Korean Kia Sportage possibly, with a 7 year manufacturers warranty. The 7 year warranty really does give you some peace of mind. But, the cost of used cars has gone up so much, that we're thinking of hanging on for a year or more. But this could backfire, if the prices continue to go upwards!

Then again, things are in flux at the moment. Should we get a diesel, petrol or electric car? Delaying for a year or more might help that decision.
Unlike shares or houses (well, building land under the houses), cars are wasting assets, so the price won't go up endlessly. You may need to wait more than a year, but it seems like the best strategy.

Brit71

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2023, 10:54:26 AM »
So I'm resurrecting this.  The car look like it's dead from the floods.  It may be able to be replaced but I'm preparing for the replacement.

We had the recovery driver who seems a bit of a gear head saying that considering my wife's fairly long rural commute we should get diesel. For diesel he prefers "proper" Japanese cars because they are so reliable but they do have a cost premium because word's got out about them and there's a service premium because a lot of the parts are imported.

But a value play he says is Ford because they have a bad reputation but they've cleaned up their act and most of this is now undeserved and there's not the problem with "proper Japanese" parts.  They aren't as reliable as Japanese cars but nowhere near as disastrous as they used to be and if you're OK with some irritating minor repairs then they are actually quite a good bet.  But he personally would pay more for Japanese.

Does this sound fair?

Affable Bear

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2023, 06:51:59 AM »
I have had a lot of fords, first car was a fiesta and currently have a 2019 focus. Can't say I have had much problems outside of standard/easy/cheap things. Equally though my uncle bought a 2008 fiesta last year and its been a nightmare, didnt buy the greatest example though as it looked end of life (dont know why he didnt spend a bit more for a lot more tbh) but im sure hes spent over £1k on it since then.

I think most modern cars thesedays are pretty reliable anyway, sure some brands are more reliable than others but the difference isnt as great as it used to be. Biggest difference IMO is the cost of the parts and how tricky it is to fix common issues that car model suffers with, some cars are pointlessly complicated to replace parts (pretty much luxury market). For example air con belt failing which is a cheap part but you have to remove half the engine to get to it resulting in excess labour costs. I tend to find non luxury car brands keep things more simple and easy so the repairs tend to be less complicated and therefore cheaper (most of the time), when I had my Fiat Panda I think I had about 3-4 things go wrong with it but each repair was so cheap it was silly really, before that I had my Nissan 350z had to replace some of the suspension cost me like £2k in the end but that was the only thing (and a £100 new straight pipe).



Brit71

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2023, 01:51:42 AM »
I have had a lot of fords, first car was a fiesta and currently have a 2019 focus. Can't say I have had much problems outside of standard/easy/cheap things. Equally though my uncle bought a 2008 fiesta last year and its been a nightmare, didnt buy the greatest example though as it looked end of life (dont know why he didnt spend a bit more for a lot more tbh) but im sure hes spent over £1k on it since then.

I think most modern cars thesedays are pretty reliable anyway, sure some brands are more reliable than others but the difference isnt as great as it used to be. Biggest difference IMO is the cost of the parts and how tricky it is to fix common issues that car model suffers with, some cars are pointlessly complicated to replace parts (pretty much luxury market). For example air con belt failing which is a cheap part but you have to remove half the engine to get to it resulting in excess labour costs. I tend to find non luxury car brands keep things more simple and easy so the repairs tend to be less complicated and therefore cheaper (most of the time), when I had my Fiat Panda I think I had about 3-4 things go wrong with it but each repair was so cheap it was silly really, before that I had my Nissan 350z had to replace some of the suspension cost me like £2k in the end but that was the only thing (and a £100 new straight pipe).
Some mechanics say that the reliability of cars made now is worse than it was ten or twenty years ago.  It may be a variant of "in my day", so is there some sort of objective measure on this?  My wife is very likely to listen to the car mechanic that her family has used for almost 50 years, who is certainly of that school.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2023, 02:37:11 AM »
Having recently bought a second-hand car (a VW e-Golf, very happy with all-electric) and done some research on the matter (mainly Mr SLTD, admittedly, but he told me all about it!) my understanding is that modern reliability issues are often to do with all the whizz-bangery making the car so much more complicated that there's so much more to go wrong. For example, our car has all sorts of "helpful" automatic systems and it's all controlled with computer sensors and what have you. So it's not just "have the brakes failed", it's "has the computer brake sensor failed so the car can't tell if the brakes have failed or not so it's refusing to even let you turn it on even though the brakes are fine". Which is sort of helpful and safe but also a PITA if it's just a bit of grit on the parking sensor and the whole thing isn't a death trap. It's not that cars just "aren't made as well as they used to be", it's that they're BETTER than they used to be but given so many more connection points between things there are just that many more potential points of failure so you're more likely to have many small failures but not more likely to have a big failure.

daverobev

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2023, 06:28:12 AM »
Also there are cycles with innovations causing issues and then the gremlins being worked out.

One thing I read about recently when I was half-looking at a Fiesta myself was that Ford decided to use a wet timing belt in some engines (ecoboost, not sure if all of them). It costs an absolute fortune to replace because you have to take the whole car to pieces to get at it.

But yeah, if you need 'just a car'... there is a lot to be said for a Dacia Sandero, or perhaps a Suzuki Ignis (this latter being 4 cylinder which I prefer). Not much to go wrong. In the case of the Sandero it's based on a previous-generation Clio, without the bells or whistles. Lightweight, not much tech, so not much to go wrong.

Affable Bear

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2023, 06:59:18 AM »
In the case of the Sandero it's based on a previous-generation Clio, without the bells or whistles. Lightweight, not much tech, so not much to go wrong.

Definitely agree with simplicity, I think electric cars have a lot less mechanical things that can go wrong with them but they do have a lot more tech so im guessing there will be issues with gremlins! That said a standard petrol car with all the gadgets you have to worry about the complicated electrics and additional mechanical issues..

Brit71

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2023, 02:37:11 PM »
OK, so the price is creeping up.  The person we're relying for advice on this, my mechanically inclined brother in law, is pushing us to more and more expensive cars.

The car he really wants us to take is 2.5 years old with 1 owner and 40,000 miles.

On many things the brother in law is in agreement with us - we need it for a commute so a diesel automatic with 5 doors (we have a big dog).  He's also suggested a 2 liter engine, which seems sensible and looking more kindly on German and less kindly on Japanese cars than we were previously. As we're getting so many SUVs with this spec we're trying to now insist on estates (big dog again, but also safety) which is limiting our choice - particularly with Japanese cars.

The argument is basically that with lower mileage (also fewer owners and younger car, but mainly lower mileage) we're buying lower maintenance and a longer life so paying more will result in paying less over the long term.

Is this right?

Affable Bear

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2023, 08:49:05 AM »
I think there is a bit of how long is a piece of string is, there are so many variables to consider when buying a car, I think its most important to look at how the vehicle you are looking at has been kept. I wouldnt be pushed into buying something based solely on a recommendation either, a car should suit your needs and wants at the end of the day, if its slighltly less reliable you can always factor this into the cost of the purchase, put 10% of the purchase price into a car fund for example and this can cover any unexpected hiccups (if you have any).

Things I tend to look for are if the tires are all matching (similar wear same brand/make) if there are 4 random tires it suggests that the previous owner replaced them individually as and when with whatever was cheapest at the time, whilst somebody more careful might replace 2 front or 2 back or even replace all 4 tires at the same time, if they are doing this you know they havent skimped on the maintenance of the car. Check how often the car has been serviced, does it line up with the cars handbook, did it fail an MOT or have lots of advisories (you can use the Gov.uk MOT history check to see this) if the car has had 3 MOTs and no advisories you can assume car has been looked after (more than likely) but if you see lots of advisories of worn tires, break pads low etc.. Maybe the owner hasnt looked after it as much as they should have. If there are too many owners for how old the car is it might suggest people selling quickly as car has problems, mileage can be subjective as 40,000 miles in stop start traffic will put more wear than motorway driving but again this is hard to tell or verify, clues might be if the seats are more worn than usual (low mileage but lots of wear on seat might suggest lots of short journeys or city driving etc..)

There will always be some risk no matter what you do but just be prepared that its not a brand new car, you might have to do something to get it fixed so I wouldnt push myself out of my affordability comfort zone personally.

Good luck and let us know how you get on!!

Brit71

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2023, 12:20:51 AM »
So we've bought

The better half (for whose commute the car is for) was persuaded that the sensible solution was to get a German SUV, either Audi Q3 or a Tiguan.

Long story short we bought an 11 year old possibly over priced (but slightly) Tiguan with a decent service history but with an expectation that we'll need new tires, cam belt and possibly DSG oil change in the next year. And insurance is rather higher.

But it's done.

Affable Bear

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Re: Second hand car shopping
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2023, 02:34:48 AM »
Stress over! Fingers crossed everything works out, I just started looking for a second car for the family and I'm suffering from analysis paralysis! It's not a fun process...