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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:12 am 
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Yes, good advice on service history books - as a quick check the garage addresses ought to be close to the previous keeper's addresses. Kept in London yet serviced in Manchester should ring warning bells.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:54 am 
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Chopper1192 wrote:
I used to be a Nissan technician. Do not touch 'em is my advice - the Renfault generation ain't built like the older cars used to be.

Indeed, having spent time working a 's technician for Nissan, Rover, Vauxhall, and Jaguar I would say that at the bottom end of the market were chewing over here the original brand makes little odds what you choose. Even on the best brands a decade of neglect and abuse will reduce every single one of them to the same level - sheds.

I'd sooner have a decade old cherished for Poxhaul than an abused Toyota the same age, thank you very much.

Check the service history on a car that age, but also check the other subtle indicators. An OE or quality oil filter (Mann and Hummel, MAHLE etc) is a good sign, cheap brands and anything orange is a sign things have been done on the cheap. The tyres, are they decent brands with at least the same make and type on each axle and preferably all 4 wheels? Yick Yack Woosongs or a mish mash of different tyres aren't an indicator of a car that's been maintained lovingly.

When it had its cambelt (assuming it's not a chain-cam motor) did they fit New idlers, tensioners and bottom pulley, or were they penny pinching and just changed the belt?

Also check the garages named in the history really exist. Fake stamps, invoices, and even ready stamped fake service books are easily and cheaply available today from places like eBay and few people have the nouse to spot that one.

Perhaps not such a problem on a Fiesta or Corsa, which at 10 years old are more or less disposable, but if you want a larger more complex car you want one that's been looked after properly, not run on a shoestring.

Forget looking at the badge - you need to be a lot more savvy than that when buying a decade old car or you'll just inherit someone elses old nail.

Whilst I'm on-board with a lot of that, I'm not buying completely into the whole, time is a big equaliser thing.

All that said, and all other things being equal (ie so mechanical appraisal, and looking at service history) I'd still rather have a decent Toyota / Honda / Nissan (and the model I suggested was effectively, pre Renault, engine was Nissan - well there's a possibliity that one of the diesel engines could be shared with Renault, and has a cam chain, rather than belt) than a Kia, Hyundai, Renault or Citroen from the early 2000s.

Yes, more than purely badge / brand / make matters - condition does truly matter, but surely that goes without saying. I just find that motoring surveys and real world (and I don't just mean the odd anecdotal take, with a vapidly small sample size) findings do tend to show something with some makes. And bearing in mind, if we're talking about cars from 2002, 2003, 2004, what matters is things that evaluated vehicles of that time - they may well have changed somewhat in brand, since then.

If I was looking for a git-old car, that was a reasonable size, would I tend to skew my interest in favour of certain makes - like Saab (yes, I know there's that whole Vauxhall / GM thing, but all the same...), Volvo, Toyota, Nissan (yes, the QX can make a good buy), Honda, and possibly Lexus (forgive the Oxford comma), then evaluate condition and mechanicals.

This isn't a jingoistic thing, but old Renault or Citroen has just seemed to imply pain to me - especially diesels, and most certainly things like the electrics (gizmos, not motor) or autos.

I think the real problem for the OP will be there's such a wild diversity in advice, assertion and dismissal that doesn't really help. Looking at mechanicals and condition is good worthy advice - but surely stands for whatever you buy - even cars less than 3 year old, need good solid mechanical appraisal. And there's definitely something to consideration of certain makes / rejection of certain makes, once cars get to a certain age. If you know enough to give a car a once over and inspect everything, that helps - if not, maybe try and take somebody with you who does - because you can't trust the dealer, MOTs or necessarily claims about service history without a serious dollop of caveat emptor.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:42 am 
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I'm not really a car nit, just transport to me. That said between us me and Mrs Chopper have had 23 Peugeots (I have a family.member who used.to be a big non at their HQ so we.could.have up to 2 cars a year at cost) and only one gave us any pain and that was slickly fixed under warranty.

Not my first choice, but when you can buy them cheap and usually sell them a year on at little loss.or.even a profit, why not? 23 cars from a manufacturer who many disgruntled poor 'quality', and one cam cover oilseed between the lot of them.

All this x brand is.great, y is crap is utter.rubbish promulgated by the UK press.and.blindly followed my a sheep like public.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:01 pm 
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Some good advice on the thread. However can't help but think Isaac_AG needs to have a think exactly what you're after and go from there. You can easily narrow things down from the off then start looking at the pros and cons of individual models.

What size car? Big estate or 7 seater?
What mileage and sort of journey would you expect? Unless you're doing a reasonable amount of miles and mainly long journeys (say 10K plus) a modern turbo diesel may not make sense due to the added complexity and ability to generate large bills. On the flip a big car with a small petrol engine would not be ideal.
Budget. Always the key ;)

Once you get an idea of these you can start looking at models. Plenty of car sites out there (things like honestjohn for example) where you can see the foibles and gotchas on various makes and models.

As for mileage there are really no hard and fast rules. Yes, something with low miles may have had lots of short journeys thus putting extar wear and tear on the car, on the other hand it may just not have been used much. Yes, something with high miles may have had lots of easy motorway miles and been maintained meticulously, or it may have been a repmobile and driven to within an inch of it's life. Know plenty with company cars and none seem to be especially caring for their vehicles....

Anyhow. Assuming 2.5K budget and looking at a big estate good starting point would be a mk3 ford mondeo....


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:15 pm 
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Chopper1192 wrote:
I'm not really a car nit, just transport to me. That said between us me and Mrs Chopper have had 23 Peugeots (I have a family.member who used.to be a big non at their HQ so we.could.have up to 2 cars a year at cost) and only one gave us any pain and that was slickly fixed under warranty.

Not my first choice, but when you can buy them cheap and usually sell them a year on at little loss.or.even a profit, why not? 23 cars from a manufacturer who many disgruntled poor 'quality', and one cam cover oilseed between the lot of them.

All this x brand is.great, y is crap is utter.rubbish promulgated by the UK press.and.blindly followed my a sheep like public.

I'm not buying that differences betwixt make are purely inventions by the press, and a blind willing audience.

I will accept there are an awful lot of people who will base their values on whatever Clarkson, et al, say about them - which, largely, is one of the most retarded things I've ever come to realise. Why average people would think that the criteria and values of Jezza and The Help, would be relevant to them, is a mystery all of it's own.

Satisfaction surveys, and brand reputation didn't just come about because of what the media would have us believe - and why would they care, really?

Relevant to this thread, I've fairly close experience of a Kia (Carens) and Nissan (Almera Tino) from around 2003 / 2004. Both looked to be similarly looked after, in terms of service history, and tells from under the bonnet, under the wheel-arches, and the general fittings and fixtures inside. In fact, I'd say the Kia was marginally better in condition. Quality and reliability? They're simply not on a par.

One of the regular issues with Kias of that era, is the door handles crack, inside the mechanism, rendering them useless from the outside - it's far from a rare thing, in fact forums show some owners have encountered it several times, one owner encountered it 3 times on the same vehicle. That's not a trivial thing merely to do with quality control - that's quite a known and clearly repeated issue with something being poorly designed or spec'd.

The gearboxes on those era of Kias are known to be fragile - many saying after 60k all bets are off. Suspension prone to maladies, too.

The equivalent Nissan? Well I'm sure it has some known issues - but over the same period, the number of trivial, yet draining, issues over the same period of ownership? 0.

Maybe that's just blind luck, maybe that's just one was looked after much more, but somehow wasn't evident in the fixtures, fittings and trim. And it's those little things, draining, yet not prohibitive, that do truly take the life out of it for you, with cars of that age. When you have one vehicle, where it's just one little niggle then the next, and it never seems to end, yet another, that hasn't any - or the ones it does have are so rare as to be suprising, that, to me, tells a story more than simply friday builds.

Now what I would say, is that brands like Kia and Hyundai have come on leaps and bounds in recent years - but still - where Kia is concerned, the model that I knew about, several of the regularly expected issues were still in evidence in the model that replaced it.

For cars like Volvo and Saab - of a certain age, and a certain size, many of the models were pretty damn bomb-proof. Late 90s and even more imposition of technology that didn't quite have the same degree of reliability put a lot more makes on a certain par level, but up to a certain point, there were some clear winners on longevity and robustness.

If there was really no difference between brands, people like taxi drivers wouldn't lean towards certain models, nor man-with-vans, either. And satisfaction surveys just pure damn luck, as opposed to certain trends appearing.

Now we can all talk from our personal, anecdotal experience - which will exhibit a certain bias, or note that there does seem some consensus. And that consensus, I'd suggest, isn't a media invention (since it tends to be able vehicle ages that are long since what the media seem to care about), nor truly about what the likes of Clarkson, et al, rap on about.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:21 pm 
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Isaac_AG wrote:
I hate changing cars I would love the money to get a new one.


If you think £5-600 at MOT time is bad, you don't want to think about the depreciation on a new car ;)

I'd think carefully about how you're going to use the car. If you're not doing all that many miles, then fuel consumption is less of an issue. Say you do 6000 miles a year. A 40mpg car will use 150 gallons, a 30mpg car will use 200 gallons. That extra 50 gallons a year is about £6 a week. Which isn't much. Given that a very economical big car is likely to be more expensive to buy, service and mend compared to a less economical big car, I'm not sure there's much mileage (heh) in prioritising fuel economy.

We've got a camper that does high-20s mpg on a good day, but we don't mind much because we only do 3-4,000 miles a year in it. We spend more on campsite fees and ferry fares than on petrol ;)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:27 pm 
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We do about 10-15000 miles a year, although recently we have been insisting the children catch the school bus instead of expecting me to drive them and getting our shopping delivered that has reduced considerably the amount of miles we do and petrol usage each week.

Depreciation might be bad but at least it would be covered with a warranty, anyway it aint going to happen so I'll just have to get the best I can.

Alison


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:39 pm 
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Isaac_AG wrote:
Depreciation might be bad but at least it would be covered with a warranty


Not really :) According to the What Car depreciation calculator I just found, a brand-new Mondeo estate will lose TEN THOUSAND POUNDS of value in the first year. I wouldn't have thought there are many things that can go wrong with a year-old Mondeo that'll cost £10k to fix, which makes the warranty look like fairly poor value ;)

But as you say, somewhat irrelevant. Cars are a nightmare. I tend to go for the "buy something 3-4 years old and keep it until it falls to pieces" approach just too avoid having to buy them too often. I shouldn't think that that's the most economical plan, though.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:22 pm 
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You are talking about May as a purchase window. There is plenty time to read up on car buying. Even though it is something I do regularly I only really get into the details when I am about to make a purchase. £2500 perhaps does not sound like much, but it does buy a lot of car nowadays. I would visit a few large second hand dealers to scope and drive the cars you have in mind, once you half fixed on a few.

Like John said try and fix on the car type before anything else. Bear in mind most seven seaters in the MPV flavour or estate car flavour have rear most seats that are less than practical for every day use, and certainly not suitable for grown kids or adults. You also tend to lose most of your practical load space when using the extra row.

With a seven seater MPV you generally need to make a compromise on fuel economy, the Renault I linked being an exception.

Whatever manufacturer figures pretend, you tend to either have a small engine that needs hard working to keep things moving, or a large engine that is a little thirstier. Either way, unless you have a feather light right foot you tend to get much less than the stated figures. The difference between a thirsty car and a more frugal one can easily add up to a thousand plus a year.

Of course you could just buy a big lump like this with LPG, http://www4.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/201302155353795/usedcars?atcide=emgm3&logcode=emf ,that will return 35mpg equivalent all day long with excellent performance on LPG. You only live one life at a time. I personally find autos much more relaxing to drive than manuals, and as a result I probably even out any difference in efficiency by driving less frantically.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:59 pm 
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That's a beast. The Toyota Avesis Verso seems to have normal 6&7 seats. We have up to £3000 to spend. I'm not sure though maybe just an estate will do, like John suggestion of a Mondeo there is a 2006 one at the mo, there maybe another in May. It would be nice to get one as young as possible.

Alison


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