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First car; cheap sub £1k or spend more for reliabilty? Watch

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    I'm looking for my first car. I will be using it for a pizza delivery job and the usual shopping, going out etc. I've been looking to get a reliable make for sub £1000. But my dad is saying that I'll encounter too many problems with such a cheap car and it would be expensive in the long run, and I should be looking for something around £2.5k-£3k. I think this is too much and with a good car make I shouldn't face many problems. Is there any way to convince him that a cheap car will do? Or is he correct?
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    Tbf he's probably right, you're gonna be putting a lot of mileage on that thing and I guess you don't want to lose your job the first day it goes wrong!

    You pay so much on insurance and petrol, year after grinding year, that really an extra 1000 on the price of the car is piddling.
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    You can get a car that has done around 50k miles from about year 2000/2001 (punto / corsa / micra / clio / polo ) under £1000, and as it is your first car you probably wont be too upset if you scrape it or anything - Also I am guessing the insurance will be much less.

    However I guess if your family are (sort of) well off, and you live in an area that is cheap to insure cars in, Then it might make more sense to spend 2-3k.

    For me if i spent £500 on a car the insurance was about 1.3k, If i spent £2000 on a car the insurance went up to about 2.3k so take insurance into account.
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    (Original post by ak_93)
    You can get a car that has done around 50k miles from about year 2000/2001 (punto / corsa / micra / clio / polo ) under £1000, and as it is your first car you probably wont be too upset if you scrape it or anything - Also I am guessing the insurance will be much less.

    However I guess if your family are (sort of) well off, and you live in an area that is cheap to insure cars in, Then it might make more sense to spend 2-3k.

    For me if i spent £500 on a car the insurance was about 1.3k, If i spent £2000 on a car the insurance went up to about 2.3k so take insurance into account.
    Yeah I really don't mind if it gets scratched or even slightly dented. And no I don't live in a cheap insurance area. I have actually found a Polo and a Golf from around those years with low mileages so they would be my first choices.
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    (Original post by ak_93)
    You can get a car that has done around 50k miles from about year 2000/2001 (punto / corsa / micra / clio / polo ) under £1000, and as it is your first car you probably wont be too upset if you scrape it or anything - Also I am guessing the insurance will be much less.

    However I guess if your family are (sort of) well off, and you live in an area that is cheap to insure cars in, Then it might make more sense to spend 2-3k.

    For me if i spent £500 on a car the insurance was about 1.3k, If i spent £2000 on a car the insurance went up to about 2.3k so take insurance into account.
    I agree.
    You can easily get something in that price range that hasnt done too many miles, has been looked after etc. It should still be pretty reliable, so you shouldnt have issues. Just because you have a slightly older car, doesnt mean its any less reliable. For your first car, you dont want an expensive car, as you will inevitably have the odd scrape, and at least if you have an older car, it wont matter too much, whereas if you had a more expensive car, you would be gutted if you scratched it. You should get plenty of different cars under £1000, such as ford fiestas, vauxhall corsas, nissan micras, toyota yaris's, vw polo's, etc. Id stay away from puntos though.
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    (Original post by ak_93)
    You can get a car that has done around 50k miles from about year 2000/2001 (punto / corsa / micra / clio / polo ) under £1000, and as it is your first car you probably wont be too upset if you scrape it or anything - Also I am guessing the insurance will be much less.

    However I guess if your family are (sort of) well off, and you live in an area that is cheap to insure cars in, Then it might make more sense to spend 2-3k.

    For me if i spent £500 on a car the insurance was about 1.3k, If i spent £2000 on a car the insurance went up to about 2.3k so take insurance into account.
    Hm, really odd. In my experience higher value cars attract lower premiums (granted, over the phone) as they're generally more reliable and you're more likely to take care of it instead of driving it like a reckless tosser...

    With regards to insurance, it's not you or your car that insurers are concerned about, it's more so to do with the risk you pose to other drivers on the road...and I was told by LV that because you're less likely to crash with a higher value vehicle (6-7000) , you're less of a liability...

    I ran some test quotes weeks ago and here's what I came back with:

    2009/59 Honda Civic Hybrid (4dr)
    49000 miles
    7450 pounds to buy (my Mac didn't come with a pound sign )
    1050 p/a (with mum, dad and gran on policy as named drivers)
    Picture Below:
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    2004/54 Vauxhall Corsa
    53000 miles
    2400 pounds to buy
    1680 p/a (again, with mum, dad and gran as named drivers)
    Picture Below:
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    Pics aren't the actual cars but just to give you an idea..

    Their reasoning was that the Corsa was associated with boy-racers, as are pretty much all the cars you mentioned above (bar the 2001 Polo) - and because they're cheap and easily modifiable they pose a bigger risk than a Civic hybrid, which needs a bit of extra care as it's much larger. Also the crash statistics for the Civic hybrid are well within my favour

    [EDIT] you're more likely to find luck obtaining a reasonable quote over the phone - the formulae used to calculate premiums online aren't suited to young drivers.
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    (Original post by ss_s95)
    Hm, really odd. In my experience higher value cars attract lower premiums (granted, over the phone) as they're generally more reliable and you're more likely to take care of it instead of driving it like a reckless tosser...

    With regards to insurance, it's not you or your car that insurers are concerned about, it's more so to do with the risk you pose to other drivers on the road...and I was told by LV that because you're less likely to crash with a higher value vehicle (6-7000) , you're less of a liability...
    What ss_s95 said is correct, the more new/expensive the car is, the cheaper the insurance, I just bought my insurance before for my new car and actually asked them this on the phone and they said its because you're more likely to look after a newer, more expensive car than a old banger. I also went with LV.

    They quoted me £2700 ish on a Corsa B 1.2 worth £500 from 1998 to prove it to me. Gave me my new quote on my Corsa D, Limited Edition 1.2 worth £14,650 for £1244 which I took.

    Edit: Not just boy racers buy corsas, I am 25 nearly 26 and have no intention of being a boy racer, which was also taken into account on the phone. I just like the car and loved it when I test drove it.
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    If you buy carefully, you can get a good car for less than a grand. Here is a post I made a couple of days ago on the subject:

    (Original post by 1992LP)
    Yes, you can get a decent car for the price. At that end of the market you will get a better selection on Gumtree and eBay.

    Don't be too picky about make and model (within reason), and concentrate on getting a car with a long MOT and tax.

    Looks for service history and MOT history to see if the car has been looked after or not, and if there are any big bills looming.

    Usual checks for buying a car - tyre and brake condition, rust (check under the boot carpet!), is there enough oil and water in it, does it smoke, does it rattle, are all the panels the same shade of colour, are any panel gaps uneven etc (sign of crash damage), is the gearbox in good condition, does the clutch slip etc etc.

    When you are going to see a car, research that specific model on here, review websites, and owners forums before you go to check for common faults. For example Vauxhall Astras need cambelts every 40k miles, BMW's can give you problems with cooling systems, Fords are susceptible to rust in certain areas (bottom of the doors on Mondeos) etc.

    Obviously not all of these will be applicable to you, but it should give you an idea of what I mean.

    Mileage is NOT important, buy on condition and history.

    And yes, I have run cheap cars in the past! I bought a Ford Mondeo ST24 for £800 a couple of years ago which was totally reliable over the 10,000 miles I did in it. I then sold it to a friend, who sold it to another friend, and between them the thrashed hell out of it (first car for both of them) but it NEVER went wrong. Obviously there were consumables - tyres, brakes etc, but nothing else. In the end one of them stuffed it into a field and it went to the great scrapheap in the sky with a perfectly functioning 2.5 V6 engine with 150k on it and the original clutch and gearbox. It was a wonderful car.

    Now obviously you won't be buying a V6 Mondeo, and there will be some nails out there, but there are some gems too if you look hard enough.

    My advice? Get a Nissan Primera or Almera with as long an MOT and Tax as you can find.

    Last point, which I can't stress enough, mileage does not matter! Buy on condition and history. Think about it - a car that has done 100k on the motorway with the engine up to temperature in top gear and low rpms on smooth road will be in much better condition than a car with 40k that has done all of these miles in town. Look at the crap roads, think how much wear will be on the clutch and suspension! Now I am not saying to totally ignore low mileage cars, I am saying that it does not matter what the number on the dashboard says so long as the rest of the car checks out.

    Out of all of my cars, the one with the lowest mileage (69k - 80k) was the least reliable, and the one with the highest mileage (currently on 122k) has been the most reliable. It does not matter!

    Plus high mileage ones are cheaper due to this misconception, so your money goes further!
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    (Original post by S'Class)
    Yeah I really don't mind if it gets scratched or even slightly dented. And no I don't live in a cheap insurance area. I have actually found a Polo and a Golf from around those years with low mileages so they would be my first choices.
    Well if you don't need a big car and looking for something reasonable and reliable, but remember its never guaranteed.........Micra, Yaris or a Polo...... also do have a look up on the model to look for common problems so you can keep an eye on those bits when you buy it.
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    Micra, Yaris or Civic
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    Naa my 1998 Nissan Micra that had 138000 miles basically had no problems in the year I owned it.
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    Something that has been recently MOT'd is usually a safe bet, as this will mean there are no significant mechanical faults that'll render it unusable in the near future.
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    What you pay doesn't have any bearing on reliability.
    You can pay over 100k for an Aston Martin and it'll break down fairly frequently.

    I've bought cars for a lot less than a grand that have been totally reliable. Heck, I've had cars that have been GIVEN to me worth no more than a couple of hundred quid that have been very reliable.
    Condition is everything.
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    (Original post by 1992LP)
    Last point, which I can't stress enough, mileage does not matter! Buy on condition and history.
    I respect your opinion, but I still disagree. If nothing else, high mileage will make it worth less and probably harder to sell if you don't want to run it into the ground. In itself, running a car into the ground can be something of a false economy, as repairs start to be a very significant proportion of the car's value. I've certainly been on the wrong end of a couple of big repair bills, even though I do most of the work on my cars myself. On the flip side, buy the right car and look after it and you can get some good cheap motoring with a cheap car, but it's definitely not guaranteed!

    High mileage cars will inevitably have more wear, even if it's restricted to cosmetic things like the seats. I've had a few cars and by the time they start to get close/beyond 100k they're generally starting to look pretty tired. Put another 20k on the car and it's likely to be looking pretty ropey, even if mechanically it's still sound. Nothing wrong with running an old/high mileage car if you're happy with that, but it's not something to ignore. For what it's worth, I've never had a car with less than 65k on the clock, but I've paid accordingly. I'm unlikely to bother with a car over about 100k, because the depreciation and potential difficulty of selling it after another 20 or 30k isn't worth it to me. Problems (mainly minor) have definitely started cropping up more often on my car as the mileage has racked up - arguable whether that's age or mileage, realistically it's a bit of both.

    You're right about condition being important - history I personally am not so bothered about, you can generally tell if a car's been looked after.

    Anyway I'm not trying to change your mind, just thought I'd offer a different viewpoint.

    For a first car £1-1.5k is probably the kind of mark I'd look at - realistically it's going to get bashed a time or two and may end up wrapped round a tree! One thing I would say though is if you want to be a delivery driver make sure you're appropriately insured, it needs to be for business purposes, and you'll need to declare your job. A lot of insurers won't insure delivery drivers.
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    My 03 Yaris has 90k miles and is going strong. Market value would be what, £1.5k now?
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    I respect your opinion, but I still disagree. If nothing else, high mileage will make it worth less and probably harder to sell if you don't want to run it into the ground. In itself, running a car into the ground can be something of a false economy, as repairs start to be a very significant proportion of the car's value. I've certainly been on the wrong end of a couple of big repair bills, even though I do most of the work on my cars myself. On the flip side, buy the right car and look after it and you can get some good cheap motoring with a cheap car, but it's definitely not guaranteed!

    High mileage cars will inevitably have more wear, even if it's restricted to cosmetic things like the seats. I've had a few cars and by the time they start to get close/beyond 100k they're generally starting to look pretty tired. Put another 20k on the car and it's likely to be looking pretty ropey, even if mechanically it's still sound. Nothing wrong with running an old/high mileage car if you're happy with that, but it's not something to ignore. For what it's worth, I've never had a car with less than 65k on the clock, but I've paid accordingly. I'm unlikely to bother with a car over about 100k, because the depreciation and potential difficulty of selling it after another 20 or 30k isn't worth it to me. Problems (mainly minor) have definitely started cropping up more often on my car as the mileage has racked up - arguable whether that's age or mileage, realistically it's a bit of both.

    You're right about condition being important - history I personally am not so bothered about, you can generally tell if a car's been looked after.

    Anyway I'm not trying to change your mind, just thought I'd offer a different viewpoint.

    For a first car £1-1.5k is probably the kind of mark I'd look at - realistically it's going to get bashed a time or two and may end up wrapped round a tree! One thing I would say though is if you want to be a delivery driver make sure you're appropriately insured, it needs to be for business purposes, and you'll need to declare your job. A lot of insurers won't insure delivery drivers.
    Nothing wrong with your post at all, healthy debate is always good!

    There will be some nails out there, but I think if you buy sensibly you can use the high mileage thing to your advantage as they cost a lot less, and to be honest once cars break the 100k mark they don't depreciate that much less so you might not lose that much come resale time. Say you buy a car at 80k and put another 20k on it, you will probably lose more money than if you bought at 110k and sold at 130k, so why not save some money?

    They aren't all tatty, take a look at this:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2005-VOLVO...item460e559456

    ETA - they have taken the mileage off the ad from the last time I saw it. The car is on 320k!

    Here is another:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VOLVO-V70-...p2047675.l2557

    Looks pretty good eh? Now look at the mileage! Lots more like that - my car is on 121k and has virtually no scratches or stone chips at all at 15 years old. Having said that, there is a similar one that is 5 years younger near me that looks like a shed, so that goes back to what I sad about buying on condition.

    Running to the ground can be financially viable, you just need to know when to call it quits or you can end up with a money pit!

    Good post though, always good to hear opposing views. As you can probably tell, I am a bit tired of the whole "don't touch anything with over 50k on it, it will be a shed" idea that seems to get thrown round here a lot. One man conversion mission and all!
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    (Original post by 1992LP)
    If you buy carefully, you can get a good car for less than a grand. Here is a post I made a couple of days ago on the subject:




    And yes, I have run cheap cars in the past! I bought a Ford Mondeo ST24 for £800 a couple of years ago which was totally reliable over the 10,000 miles I did in it. I then sold it to a friend, who sold it to another friend, and between them the thrashed hell out of it (first car for both of them) but it NEVER went wrong. Obviously there were consumables - tyres, brakes etc, but nothing else. In the end one of them stuffed it into a field and it went to the great scrapheap in the sky with a perfectly functioning 2.5 V6 engine with 150k on it and the original clutch and gearbox. It was a wonderful car.

    Now obviously you won't be buying a V6 Mondeo, and there will be some nails out there, but there are some gems too if you look hard enough.

    My advice? Get a Nissan Primera or Almera with as long an MOT and Tax as you can find.

    Last point, which I can't stress enough, mileage does not matter! Buy on condition and history. Think about it - a car that has done 100k on the motorway with the engine up to temperature in top gear and low rpms on smooth road will be in much better condition than a car with 40k that has done all of these miles in town. Look at the crap roads, think how much wear will be on the clutch and suspension! Now I am not saying to totally ignore low mileage cars, I am saying that it does not matter what the number on the dashboard says so long as the rest of the car checks out.

    Out of all of my cars, the one with the lowest mileage (69k - 80k) was the least reliable, and the one with the highest mileage (currently on 122k) has been the most reliable. It does not matter!

    Plus high mileage ones are cheaper due to this misconception, so your money goes further!

    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    I respect your opinion, but I still disagree. If nothing else, high mileage will make it worth less and probably harder to sell if you don't want to run it into the ground. In itself, running a car into the ground can be something of a false economy, as repairs start to be a very significant proportion of the car's value. I've certainly been on the wrong end of a couple of big repair bills, even though I do most of the work on my cars myself. On the flip side, buy the right car and look after it and you can get some good cheap motoring with a cheap car, but it's definitely not guaranteed!

    High mileage cars will inevitably have more wear, even if it's restricted to cosmetic things like the seats. I've had a few cars and by the time they start to get close/beyond 100k they're generally starting to look pretty tired. Put another 20k on the car and it's likely to be looking pretty ropey, even if mechanically it's still sound. Nothing wrong with running an old/high mileage car if you're happy with that, but it's not something to ignore. For what it's worth, I've never had a car with less than 65k on the clock, but I've paid accordingly. I'm unlikely to bother with a car over about 100k, because the depreciation and potential difficulty of selling it after another 20 or 30k isn't worth it to me. Problems (mainly minor) have definitely started cropping up more often on my car as the mileage has racked up - arguable whether that's age or mileage, realistically it's a bit of both.

    You're right about condition being important - history I personally am not so bothered about, you can generally tell if a car's been looked after.

    Anyway I'm not trying to change your mind, just thought I'd offer a different viewpoint.

    For a first car £1-1.5k is probably the kind of mark I'd look at - realistically it's going to get bashed a time or two and may end up wrapped round a tree! One thing I would say though is if you want to be a delivery driver make sure you're appropriately insured, it needs to be for business purposes, and you'll need to declare your job. A lot of insurers won't insure delivery drivers.

    What do you think of these?

    http://www.gumtree.com/p/cars-vans-m...ry-item-full-7

    http://www.autotrader.co.uk/classifi...s/20?logcode=p

    http://www.gumtree.com/p/cars-vans-m...ale/1012530128

    http://www.autotrader.co.uk/classifi...35nj?logcode=p
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    around £1500 should get you a decent, reliable car, make sure its between 02-05 plate
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    First one - on one hand a full MOT and 6 months tax on a £700 car is good, and it looks alright in the photos, but it is a cat C write off and the ad is not exactly coherent.

    I would want to find out more details about the write off and all repair details. It could have been something minor, or something major. More info needed! Cat D and C cars can be good value, but they will be very difficult to sell on later. E.g. a cracked bumper is enough to write some cars off due to part and labour costs, but it could also have been in a bad crash. We don't know at this point!

    ABS light being on is potentially just a sensor, but it could be a major fault. Also I think a warning light like that will fail an MOT. Someone else should clarify that though.

    Second one - no mention of MOT, service history, or Tax, and no interior photos. The 1.4 is a bit asthmatic, but for a first car it will probably be fine. Watch for electric faults on the mk4!

    Third one - find out how long tax and MOT are. For some people long = 2 months. No mention of service history and no interior photos. Quite pricey for a 2003 Yaris as well, but there may be some room for negotiation there. Looks alright from the photos and they are reliable cars, so possibly worth a look.

    Fourth one - Full MOT is good, but no mention of tax or service history. Also scuffs on the bumper, missing hubcaps, and filthy interior are a tad offputting. Not a lot of effort has gone into selling that car, if it close it might be worth a look but I wouldn't travel too far to see it.

    Fairly average selection, but surely in London you can do a lot better

    ETA - 2 mins on Gumtree turned this up:

    http://www.gumtree.com/p/cars-vans-m...ory/1015377059

    Even if it has no tax, for less than a grand you can have a decent looking motor with a full MOT, tax, and service history. Plenty of nice cars out there!

    Cheaper still, and a very good honest advert:

    http://www.gumtree.com/p/cars-vans-m...rop/1014648726
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    (Original post by 1992LP)
    First one - on one hand a full MOT and 6 months tax on a £700 car is good, and it looks alright in the photos, but it is a cat C write off and the ad is not exactly coherent.

    I would want to find out more details about the write off and all repair details. It could have been something minor, or something major. More info needed! Cat D and C cars can be good value, but they will be very difficult to sell on later. E.g. a cracked bumper is enough to write some cars off due to part and labour costs, but it could also have been in a bad crash. We don't know at this point!

    ABS light being on is potentially just a sensor, but it could be a major fault. Also I think a warning light like that will fail an MOT. Someone else should clarify that though.

    Second one - no mention of MOT, service history, or Tax, and no interior photos. The 1.4 is a bit asthmatic, but for a first car it will probably be fine. Watch for electric faults on the mk4!

    Third one - find out how long tax and MOT are. For some people long = 2 months. No mention of service history and no interior photos. Quite pricey for a 2003 Yaris as well, but there may be some room for negotiation there. Looks alright from the photos and they are reliable cars, so possibly worth a look.

    Fourth one - Full MOT is good, but no mention of tax or service history. Also scuffs on the bumper, missing hubcaps, and filthy interior are a tad offputting. Not a lot of effort has gone into selling that car, if it close it might be worth a look but I wouldn't travel too far to see it.

    Fairly average selection, but surely in London you can do a lot better

    ETA - 2 mins on Gumtree turned this up:

    http://www.gumtree.com/p/cars-vans-m...ory/1015377059

    Even if it has no tax, for less than a grand you can have a decent looking motor with a full MOT, tax, and service history. Plenty of nice cars out there!

    Cheaper still, and a very good honest advert:

    http://www.gumtree.com/p/cars-vans-m...rop/1014648726
    Tbh I don't mind if a car has any scratches or dirt or anything. As long as it's reliable and won't give me any headaches for a good few years.

    Regarding Cat C and D (which I didn't know what it was until now), if I'm spending 700-800 pounds I wouldn't be too worried about selling on. Just at least getting 2-3 years out of it would be fine for me.

    Also, I'll be getting Co-op's young driver insurance - I tried getting a quote for a 1997 car and it said it was too old. I think the max age for them is around 2000-02.

    Thanks for the advice
 
 
 
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