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View Full Version : Which price to go for, a car that is cheap or the same one which is more expensive?



Ross PK81
2008-Nov-01, 08:52 PM
I've got an idea of what sort of car I want, I can afford to pay around a thousand at the most.

I've seen Vauxhaul Astra's from the mid to late 90's advertised many times from around 500 to 1000.

I'm sure the cars for around 500 were also described as being reliable in the adverts, so why is there such a huge difference in the prices for these cars?

Is there any point to me paying 1000 if I can get the same car for around 500 instead?

I'm totally new to all this since this will be the first ever car I buy.

Thanks.

PraedSt
2008-Nov-01, 08:54 PM
Mileage.

Ross PK81
2008-Nov-01, 08:57 PM
Mileage.

Ah okay, so even if they're both reliable the one with more milage is more likely to become unreliable sooner than the car which is more expensive which has done less miles, hence the price.

MarkB
2008-Nov-01, 09:02 PM
Hi Ross,

Ideally you want low milleage, one owner (preferably an old lady) and a service history. Forget about things like colour and the alloys it has and stick to the underlying mechanics.
BTW where in Manc are you? I have a job in Urmston on Monday, small world :)

Mark

Ross PK81
2008-Nov-01, 09:07 PM
Hi Marc, I'm not actually living in Manchester anymore. But I was born and grew up there, I lived in New Moston which is in North Manchester, about a 10 minute bus ride away from the city center.

PraedSt
2008-Nov-01, 09:08 PM
Ideally you want low milleage, one owner (preferably an old lady) and a service history. Forget about things like colour and the alloys it has and stick to the underlying mechanics.

I'd second that Ross. Also, if it's your first car, take someone along who knows how to kick the tires. Maybe Mark if you two manage meet up? :)

Ross PK81
2008-Nov-01, 09:23 PM
I'd second that Ross. Also, if it's your first car, take someone along who knows how to kick the tires. Maybe Mark if you two manage meet up? :)

You know I was thinking of just getting a car from a dealership because there's more chance of getting something reliable that way. I think it may really limit me to the sort of car I can buy though.

Maybe I'll look at buying a car privatley as well, since you can actually hire someone to come along with you to take a look at the car you're seeing and they can spot whether it is reliable or not.

MarkB
2008-Nov-01, 09:29 PM
There is money to be saved by going the private route, like you say just take somebody who knows what to look for. Good luck :)

sarongsong
2008-Nov-01, 09:35 PM
Sometimes a seller will offer, or accept an offer on, a perfectly good automobile at a lower price because of immediate financial needs.

PraedSt
2008-Nov-01, 09:42 PM
You know I was thinking of just getting a car from a dealership because there's more chance of getting something reliable that way. I think it may really limit me to the sort of car I can buy though.


Don't give up completely on the dealer route. There are some advantages.

I forget about the UK, but in most countries its easier to get financing if you go through a dealer (a car loan). Of course that's a double edged sword: you're more likely to go over-budget that way.

Also, given the current economic climate, a dealer might be more desperate to close the deal than a private individual (who can always get some more use out of his car). You might get a bargain.

Ross PK81
2008-Nov-01, 11:02 PM
I've remembered, there's also a garrantee (or is that warranty?) with a car dealer.

I've just been having a look at the classifieds and doing some insurance quotes and have discovered that I wouldn't mind getting a Ford Focus either.

I guess the reason why I've pretty much limited myself to these two cars is that they seem to be the only cars that I could afford, and like the look of which seem to be smaller than average size.

The reason why I don't want anything that is a bigger size is that as well as them being more expensive to run, I feel that they will be more difficult to drive, since the roads in the UK are narrow, and you can get parked cars on either side of the road and traffic coming the other way. I've only just passed my test so I'm still really new to driving.

Ronald Brak
2008-Nov-02, 12:10 AM
Avoid a car that emits a lot of white smoke after the engine has warmed up. This means the engine is worn and it is burning oil. Check the oil. if there is water in it this is a bad sign. If it is gritty with metal chips in it that also means the engine is worn. If it is clean that means the oil has just been changed. (A 500 pound car isn't going to keep its oil pristine for long.) Oil in the radiator water is bad. Check along the door bottoms for bad rust. Bubbles in the paint also indicate rust. Check to see if the car is actually straight and hasn't been slightly bent in a bad accident. Note that the tires on the car may be underinflated to give it a smoother ride. Note that the average car in the UK might do around 15,000 km a year so you'll know about how far the average car will have been driven for its age.

The more mechanically minded people here can give you a lot more advice like this.

MarkB
2008-Nov-02, 12:16 AM
If you are looking for good, independant reviews of used cars then check http://www.parkers.co.uk

mike alexander
2008-Nov-02, 01:11 AM
Look at the tyres for signs of uneven wear, especially on the inside/outrside only. This could indicate alignment problems or a collision. Sight along the side panels to see if they have any subtle ripples; again indicators of collision.

Take the car for a test drive, then park it on a clean surface; check for any leaks.

Do the belts squeal? See if they look worn.

How far do you have to depress the brake pedal? Too far means new brakes soon.

Do all the lights work? Heater? Windshield wipers/cleaner?

Overall, examine the systems related to safety. If you don't feel competent to do so, Take Someone Who Is along.

My first car was a purchase without my uncle along. He shook his head at me, and next time he was there (Unc was a mechanic).

mugaliens
2008-Nov-02, 02:18 AM
There is money to be saved by going the private route, like you say just take somebody who knows what to look for. Good luck :)

I second that. Most dealers are experts at taking trade-ins and making them look (and smell) like new. Beneath the Armor All, they're still the reason someone else traded it in instead of keeping it. And since trade-in value is considerably less than private sale, the owners who traded in their cars valued them less.

On the other hand, cutting the middle man, er, "dealer" out of the middle by going with a private owner generally gets you more bang for your buck.

Just take someone who knows what to look for. And even if you do, use this handy checklist (http://autos.msn.com/advice/articles/aischecklist.aspx)to ensure you look at all the right things in all the right places! If you do find defects, but they're acceptable to you, you can use this checklist to help talk down the price a bit. If the owner refuses to go down on the price for a car with some non-critical defects, then it's time to move on.

And, as always, unless you've already done your homework, don't buy that moment. Take some time to go home and upload all the car's features and conditions into Kelly Bluebook or AADA's website to get the best value.

I don't know if they cover the UK, but I'm sure there are some UK-equivalents.

Just one thing, make sure the steering wheel is on the right... ;)

Ross PK81
2008-Nov-02, 01:23 PM
Thanks guys. :)

eric_marsh
2008-Nov-03, 01:15 AM
I don't think that price can be considered to be an absolute indicator of quality. Take the car you prefer to a mechanic and see what he says.

novaderrik
2008-Nov-03, 06:27 AM
get the cheap one, then learn how to fix things.
seriously.
i'm a firm believer that everyone's first car should be a POS that needs constant maintainence so you actually get to know what does what- this could save you a LOT of money down the road when you can fix things yourself, or at least know when a mechanic is trying to screw you over.
or do they have laws against working on your own cars over there?

PraedSt
2008-Nov-03, 06:57 AM
get the cheap one, then learn how to fix things.
seriously. i'm a firm believer that everyone's first car should be a POS that needs constant maintainence so you actually get to know what does what- this could save you a LOT of money down the road when you can fix things yourself, or at least know when a mechanic is trying to screw you over.

or do they have laws against working on your own cars over there?

Good idea. And no for the laws bit. :)

Ronald Brak
2008-Nov-03, 09:24 AM
get the cheap one, then learn how to fix things.
seriously.
i'm a firm believer that everyone's first car should be a POS that needs constant maintainence so you actually get to know what does what- this could save you a LOT of money down the road when you can fix things yourself, or at least know when a mechanic is trying to screw you over.

I agree and disagree. It depends on the person. If you think that fixing cars is something you would enjoy, go for it. But if it's not something you would enjoy, and you place a moderate dollar value on your time or expect to in a few years, you may be better off using mechanics even at the risk of being ripped off. Looking at how reliable cars are becoming, while becoming harder to fix without specialized equipment, I'm thinking the pay off to being able to do it yourself is decreasing.

Donnie B.
2008-Nov-03, 01:05 PM
It also depends on whether you have (access to) a garage or not. Car repairs outdoors in winter are not a lot of fun. Unless you get one of those cars that only breaks down in the summer.

Concerning warranty / guarantee: in the US, at least, what you get is a warranty, not a guarantee -- if you get anything at all. However, in some states there are "lemon laws" that provide a true guarantee for a short time after purchase (30 days is typical). If something goes seriously wrong in that time, the buyer can return the vehicle to the seller for a full refund.

None of this may apply in the UK, however.

Ross PK81
2008-Nov-04, 09:31 PM
get the cheap one, then learn how to fix things.
seriously.
i'm a firm believer that everyone's first car should be a POS that needs constant maintainence so you actually get to know what does what- this could save you a LOT of money down the road when you can fix things yourself, or at least know when a mechanic is trying to screw you over.
or do they have laws against working on your own cars over there?

Why not just get a good car and then learn how to fix it if something does eventually go wrong with it?

Getting a piece of **** that I can't drive and may not even be able to fix myself doesn't really seem like a good idea.

MarkB
2008-Nov-04, 10:34 PM
Hi Ross,

You might be able to get yourself a haynes manual for your particular model.
That way you could do your own servicing etc, but todays cars are not designed for the home mechanic and rely on diagnostic kits beyond the scope of the average home mechanic.
The thing is not to get carried away, you started this thread saying that you are totally new to all this but now you want to carry out your own repairs.
I have owned cars for over 20 years now and it's far easier to get a trusted mechanic in to carry out the work for the same reasons he gets me in to sort out his IT problems.
You will always get people shouting from the sidelines to do it yourself and don't give money to the man but this is a very large investment for you and you need to approach it as such.
Start by looking on sites such as parkers.co.uk that will give you an independant price for the vehicle you have in mind, from there if you fancy a Ford Focus look up an online owners club for the dos and don'ts of buying.
Above all stay as level headed and impartial as you can, there is nothing wrong in admiting your ignorance when it comes to a purchase of this magnitude that's what knowlegable friends are for :)

Mark

eric_marsh
2008-Nov-04, 11:50 PM
get the cheap one, then learn how to fix things.
seriously.
i'm a firm believer that everyone's first car should be a POS that needs constant maintainence so you actually get to know what does what- this could save you a LOT of money down the road when you can fix things yourself, or at least know when a mechanic is trying to screw you over.
or do they have laws against working on your own cars over there?

It made sense to me when I was a teenager. Back in those days you could actually work on a car. These days with all the computerized systems it takes a lot more sophistication.