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to buy a very very cheap car?

(53 Posts)
RentANDBills Wed 15-Mar-17 12:36:40

A series of unfortunate events has led me to be rather suddenly ousted from my flat in London and living on the floor of my mother's house. At the moment I have no clue what I'm doing with myself, whether I will remain local to my Mum or go back to London to find another job.

My Mum lives in the sticks and realistically I need a car to be here, or else I'm housebound. I have a small unit in the next town that I am keeping most of my things and running my business from - the journey is 10 mins via car, 50-60 minutes via (very expensive) public transport.

There are some cars in the area being sold for £300-500; all of them 15+ years old, most likely with dodgy year long MOTs written by shifty dealers behind a shed somewhere.

I'm tempted to buy one, even if it is just to scrap it once its MOT is up which would potentially be cheaper than the repair bill for something in the next bracket up.
However, I may go back to London, or go travelling, or become a nun or go live in a cave with 50 cats in which case I will no longer need a car - so would possibly want to get my money back (more likely on a more expensive car?) to buy cat food/train tickets/nun hats.

AIBU to buy something so cheap and run the risk of not being able to get rid of it in 2-3 months if necessary? or run the risk of exploding halfway down the motorway

Itisnoteasybeingdifferent Wed 15-Mar-17 12:43:39

Not all all...
Being unwise is another matter.. the problem is that you don't know what you are getting. Some old bangers are really good. Others will let you down as soon as you start them.

What you really need is a friend in the motor trade.

Astoria7974 Wed 15-Mar-17 12:46:15

Not all of the dealers will be shifty. I have a 18 year old automatic that I'm planning to get rid of for 500. It's condition is great, starts, has a new battrey, except it's a bit grimy inside

Wando1986 Wed 15-Mar-17 12:47:01

Or to buy one off a friend so you know exactly what sort of runner it is...

EssentialHummus Wed 15-Mar-17 12:47:15

I have an £800, 20 yo Mercedes (out of choice!). In your shoes I'd get onto AutoTrader and find a private sale Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, Vauxhall or little Renault (so Aygo, Corolla, Jazz, Corsa or similar) for £500-£600. Any repairs will be cheaper than other car brands and it should get you through, and be re-sellable even if at a slight loss.

MatildaTheCat Wed 15-Mar-17 12:50:48

Put the word out via social media or word of mouth. There are often very elderly people with old but well maintained cars which they are giving up.

Ds is driving around in his grandfather's Honda Jazz, it's completely wrecked in terms of bodywork FIL became a slightly erratic driver and even more erratic Parker in later years. However, the interior and engine are immaculate and it's got 23,000 miles on the clock despite being 16 years old. That's the sort of thing to look for.

Of course the insurance is another matter entirely.

BarbaraofSeville Wed 15-Mar-17 12:50:58

You would be better off buying something in that price bracket than shelling out for something a bit more expensive. Once you get past about 5 years old, it really is the luck of the draw.

Some people could pay a few grand for a 5-10 year old car and, while they could be lucky and it lasts well without needing expensive work, if could easily need something like major engine or gearbox repairs that they feel obliged to have done, because the car 'owes' them.

But if you spend under £500, and it all goes wrong, you could just scrap it and get another or do without and all you've lost is a couple of hundred pounds. A colleague bought a 15 YO car for about £300 and it's run for years and hardly needed anything spending on it except MOT and tyres etc. She's been really lucky.

I would go as small as possible - old Nissan Micra for example. If you're lucky, you could get one that's been used as a run around by a pensioner for example and will have been looked after and done hardly any miles.

drquin Wed 15-Mar-17 12:54:49

Yes, there'll be some dodgy motors out there ....... but there'll be good ones too. Good, if a little dated and not very pretty.

So look at it this way ....... I'm guessing by your description of "very expensive" public transport, you could easily spend £300 a month commuting daily? So what's your preference. If you can afford the public transport, monetary and inconvenience cost, and you know it's only for a short tiny, maybe you just suck it up and stay on public transport. If not buy a cheap car, in the full & certain knowledge that it's not going to be pristine and perfect, but should do you or a short time.

OhDearToby Wed 15-Mar-17 12:55:46

Best car I ever had was an old micra that cost £700 until I got crashed into and it was written off sad I still miss that car.

So I advise getting a micra!

expatinscotland Wed 15-Mar-17 12:58:45

If it's what you can afford, it's what you can afford.

Ginkypig Wed 15-Mar-17 13:03:25

Do the sums

How much will the car, fuel, insurance, tax etc cost?

How much will public transport cost?

Also consider if you go for the car and it blows up in a months time can you afford to lose the chunk you spent out and still afford to go back to public transport.

If after the sums the car works out cheaper and your ok with the gamble I'd go for it if not stick with the safer option.

RentANDBills Wed 15-Mar-17 13:04:38

We do actually know 2 very good, honest mechanics in the area - I'll have a word with them.

I really don't care what it looks like, so long as it gets me from A to B in one piece.

I'll look into Micras!

Public transport would be about £100 a month, so not that horrendous, but it would very slowly get me to the unit and back, that's it. My car insurance would be £30/40 a month, tax perhaps another £10-15, so it would arguably be about on par with running a car.

Secretariat Wed 15-Mar-17 13:05:13

All my reliable cars have been purchased privately, all of the pigs that cost me thousands in repairs bills came from a dealer.

Also my OH has a motorbike shop next to a crash repair place and there is a massive amount of crashed cars i see go in there waiting to be bodged repaired and then sold on by dealers. I would never approach a dealer again.

You can find bargains for a few hundred quid, and tbh honest an old computerless car will go on forever if you provide basic maintenance. Easy to work on to if you are mechanically minded

EeyoreNeededMedication Wed 15-Mar-17 13:06:10

There's always a bit of luck involved in bangernomics but, (Arnold Palmer?) said "the more I practice, the luckier I get."

Minimise your risk by learning a little about what to look out for in whatever model's you're thinking about buying. Better than that, take someone along who knows what they're talking about.

You're as likely to have problems selling a more expensive car. More expensive cars tend to be more expensive to repair when necessary and if you get a bill you can't afford, you're shit out of luck.

Have you thought about a cheap scooter or bicycle? 5-10 minutes by car must be under 5 miles, unless you live and work next to a NSL road.

FreckledLeopard Wed 15-Mar-17 13:11:59

I bought a sixteen year old (X reg) Ford KA a year ago for £450. It's great! The body work is battered and the interior has seen better days, but (touch wood) it's started every time, passed its MOT (albeit with the need for some welding) and is a nippy little thing. I'm very fond of it.

It does appear to be pot luck though. I got mine via Gumtree.

Good luck!

FreckledLeopard Wed 15-Mar-17 13:12:07

I bought a sixteen year old (X reg) Ford KA a year ago for £450. It's great! The body work is battered and the interior has seen better days, but (touch wood) it's started every time, passed its MOT (albeit with the need for some welding) and is a nippy little thing. I'm very fond of it.

It does appear to be pot luck though. I got mine via Gumtree.

Good luck!

dingdongdigeridoo Wed 15-Mar-17 13:16:38

My old fiesta reached the ripe old age of 20 before giving up. Some little cars last really well, and having a car will give you so much more independent.

Check the insurance situation first though. My old car had surprisingly high insurance costs.

Youhaveupdates1 Wed 15-Mar-17 13:16:45

If I was to sell my car now I would have to sell it for £300/400 as it has a massive dent in the side and broken bumber due to an accident but iv just had brakes done and last MOT was perfect, it's over 10 years old with high mileage but it runs well, so not all cheap cars will breakdown on you smile

RentANDBills Wed 15-Mar-17 13:22:58

This is reassuring, I will keep my eyes open for something cheap and cheerful. I am not mechanically minded AT ALL but I'm sure Google will help me with that one!

SquatBetty Wed 15-Mar-17 13:25:56

I bought a 15 year old VW Polo about 10 years ago and it was brilliant - very low tech and not very powerful mind but V cheap and reliable. I sold it on as we didn't need 2 cars but I bet it's still going strong somewhere. So keep Polos in mind too.

amusedbush Wed 15-Mar-17 13:27:04

I bought a cheap 10 year old car in September 2015 for £500. I took a friend who is familiar with cars, I took a test drive, everything looked okay. Problems started about a month later and then in March 2016 it had to be scrapped because it needed a new (auto) gearbox for ~£1300. The garage who sold it to me obviously did a patch repair to get it shifted because it was a total lemon.

Never again.

verywellspoken Wed 15-Mar-17 13:29:34

We had a very poor phase a few years back, and were limited to very cheap cars. If you go for something known to be reliable, with a long MOT then even you scrap it after a year, you've not lost too much, as compared to the depreciation involved in buying knew cars.
The best one we had was a rover, it was £300, I've seen them for under £200 on autotrader recently, was built like a tank and would have lasted forever. We sold it when things got better but could have probably driven it for another 10 years!
We did learn the importance of doing a check on the car before buying it, using the reg numbers e.g. www.instantcarcheck.co.uk/
you can check if it's ever been written off, stolen etc, and also that the mileage is genuine.
Hope things improve for you soon!

hellsbellsmelons Wed 15-Mar-17 13:30:31

Got my DD a cheap and cheerful Ford KA.
It was fine for the interim she needed it for.
Sold it on on ebay for £280!
It's still going strong now.
I also part ex'd my Citroen C3 Pluriel for £500.
That was 4 years ago and that's still going strong.
Once you have a number plate check the MOT history HERE
It will tell you if there are any advisory notes that may need fixing in the near future.

5foot5 Wed 15-Mar-17 13:31:48

I bought a 15 year old VW Polo about 10 years ago and it was brilliant - very low tech and not very powerful mind but V cheap and reliable. I sold it on as we didn't need 2 cars but I bet it's still going strong somewhere. So keep Polos in mind too.

Couldn't agree more. My Polo is over 14 years old now. I checked recently and I think if I sold it I would be unlikely to get £400 for it - if that. However, it is a fantastic little car - just sailed through its MOT a month ago. Less that 40K on the clock (yes, seriously). Only criticism I have of it is that it only plays cassettes and I don't have any now!.

You can't have it though. It's mine grin

EssentialHummus Wed 15-Mar-17 13:35:57

5foot - there are actually cassette-to-ipod adaptors out there, have a google! Basically looks like a cassette tape with a headphone jack coming out of it, works brilliantly.

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