What to consider when choosing a car? Watch
whats more important?
-number of owners
-Year and plate
I'm looking to get my first little run around but torn between a few cars and don't know whats more important
Not one attribute by itself can tell you the true story of a vehicle. There's plenty of mollycoddled cars owned by enthusiasts that can be better (or worse) than younger cars despite their age or mileage.
Mileage - Anything over 100k Miles is something I'm going to avoid for the most part, unless I'm looking for a cheap runner to tide me over to a newer car, with the exception of certain cars. 100K miles is about the same as a 10 year old car. It's where you can start to see costly jobs coming up over the horizon.
MOT History - I wouldn't pay particularly much attention to this. I might see if there's any advisories or reoccurring problems though. Like, the odd thing here or there, whatever. If it's having problems year after year mind you, I'm not touching it.
Number of owners - Not something I pay much attention to. I don't really see how much that impacts things unless we're talking about an excessive amount of owners which would suggest something is wrong with the car.
Year - 10 years old is usually my limit for a car. That's usually at the point/close to the point where you might start to see costly jobs crop up.
Service history - Maintenance is key, no matter how bulletproof the car is, if it hasn't been maintained properly, it's doomed.
Brand/Model reliability - Cars that have known common failures are going to have failures. It's like buying a 2.5L Subaru, the head gasket is going to go at some point, make sure it has had a replacement, or ideally, has been rebuilt using forged parts. Likewise, a brand like Toyota and its Luxury division: Lexus, are known to be extremely reliable across the board. I might be a bit laxer on mileage and age with cars like that.
Milage compared to age - Is it old and has fewer miles than you'd expect on a car that age? It's spent most of its life doing short trips or in busy urban environments. That means it has probably spent a lot of its life under the operating temperature, meaning the engine has been worn prematurely, most wear and tear on the engine itself happens when the engine is cold. Alternatively, it may have been used during a lot of stop-start traffic. Setting off puts a lot of stress on the engine. I don't believe it's as detrimental as ragging a cold engine, but it'll have an effect on the engine itself, no doubt.
If the car is young but has a lot of miles on it, you might be in for a good bargain. Young cars with a lot of miles on the clock will have mostly been used for long journies. That also means the engine has spent most of its life at operating temperature, and there won't be as much wear on the transmission. Providing the car has been maintained well, a car like this could be a good option.
Comfort - If a car doesn't feel good to drive, it doesn't matter what it is, or how well it's been maintained, there's no use in buying it.
Pedal wear - Look at the pedal of the car. If the wear of the rubber on the gas and the brake pedals are inconsistent with the mileage the car has done, chance are the car has been ragged around a fair bit. Why is that bad? If it's been ragged around on a cold engine, the engine has been worn prematurely. Bearings, mounts and the suspension might also have their fair share of wear since the car was probably ragged around corners as well. It may have also been involved in a, or several, collision(s). There could be underlying damage that wasn't picked up during repairs which could make a high-speed crash fatal. This is more important in fast cars and your typical boy racer cars, the sort of cars that are likely to get ragged around.
A general visual check wouldn't go amiss either.
I bought a car a couple of years ago and did it all wrong. 2002 Passat estate. I didn't test drive it. It had no service history. The MOT history was hilariously bad. It was 15 years old with 150k miles on it.
One of the best cars I've owned. I put over 35k miles on it over the following few years and I don't regret the extra money I dropped on maintenance. It was quick, comfortable, economical, and not *that* expensive to fix just more expensive than an econobox. Even with 185k on it the interior was mint and spotless. The engine ran like a top. I only got rid because the DMF was starting to show signs of imminent failure.
I don't look at number of owners really, or miles as long as they're under 200k. MOT history is a big red flag for me on the vehicles I buy which are typically nearing 20 years old and have a few miles on them.
My latest purchase is a 2002 Golf estate. Less than £1200 for a PD130 diesel mk4 with less than 100k miles on it. It needs some work but they're all cheap fixes. Excellent MOT history as well. The auto gearbox slips a little on the 2-3 shift but a repair kit for that issue is £100 in parts and a few hours for me sitting on the drive taking an auto gearbox apart for the first time.
The best thing you can do is take someone with you who knows what they're doing. You can do all the prep you like but you can easily miss something that someone more experienced will notice right away.