buying my first car -- HELP!(21 Posts)
I'm about to buy my very first car, and knowing absolutely nothing about cars I'm a bit lost. We're planning on getting a used Toyota Corolla or Yaris for about £3000, so it looks like it'll be from around 2002ish. Some questions:
- Do all these cars have isofix points or is that something I need to check?
- When it says (52 reg) or (02 reg) what does that mean?
- If I buy from what seems like a fairly large dealer, does that mean I don't have to worry about the car being stolen/tampered with?
- What are the features that actually matter? I guess I care about airbags, central locking and isofix, but are things like fog lights and 'steering wheel rake adjustment', etc. important?
1. Not all cars have Isofix (particularly 02 models), so best to check.
2. 02 reg is a car release to market in March 02; 52 is from September 02z
3. Reputation matters. If it's got good word of mouth and has been around a while, you'll be alright. Ask to see all paperwork.
4. Fog lights are really important! Please don't buy a car without those! Rake adjustment means that you can adjust the height of the steering wheel so it's super-comfy for you to drive. It's nice, but not a deal-braker.
Airbags and central locking are nice. Air-con is nice but it guzzle fuel, so I prefer to open a window. Good de-misters are imperative for me; I hate having misty windows and them taking ages to clear. I like a good radio/CD or mp3 player. Child-locks are good, as are buttons that stop your kids from winding their windows down.
I drive Citroens. I really like them, and a good value family car (with these features) is the Picasso range ... you might want to check them out I'd your heart isn't set on the Yaris or Corolla.
Apologies for some of those type-o's - I'm using an iPhone!
For £3000 you should be able to get into a 2004, 2005 or even 2006 model.
A quick look on this page suggests both models from 2002 have ISOFIX points, but check on the car in question before you buy.
52 and 02 refer to the registration number, and the (approximate) first year of registration; a car with an 02 registration will have been sold (and first registered with the DVLA) between March and August 2002, a 52-reg will have been sold between September 2002 and February 2003.
It should be a slightly safer bet, as I expect most large dealers do an HPI check. However, HPI checks may not show if a car's mileage has been changed, and accident damage not dealt with through insurance companies won't be recorded.
It depends what matters to you, I suppose. Steering wheel adjustment will allow you to set it so you're most comfortable; if it's fine as standard for you, then it's no big deal. If you don't know what it is you want, then you won't miss it if it's not there.
Oh, I forgot to add that fuel economy is worth checking. Anything that does over 45mp/g is a good runner
Fog lights are really important! Please don't buy a car without those!
Are they really though? Front fogs don't improve your vision ahead (IME the fog just throws the light back at you) and with dipped headlamps you're just as visible to other road users anyway.
The biggest problem in fog is the number of idiots who don't switch their lights on at all (or think sidelights are sufficient).
Oh well, each to their own. I like fog-lights on my cars.
No, buying from a fairly large dealer does not mean it hasn't been stolen or messed about with. Ask if it has been HPI checked. That will show up if it has any money owing on finance, or has been in an accident, or is stolen. My dad sells cars, so if we don't buy one from him he checks to for us.
I would, also, research the NCap safety rating of the car before I bought it too. My current car has a 5star safety rating. I wouldn't want anything less than a 3. I would search for common faults, too.
I like air con. I don't find it guzzles a lot of fuel. Opening a window uses up a bit too, and I prefer to be comfy. Make sure that the car is going to last your for as long as you need it to. We bought a hatchback when our DC stopped using a pushchair, completely forgetting they would grow and they very soon wouldn't fit behind my, very tall, DH so we had to up-size again!
I would get either the RAC or AA, or someone who knows about cars, to chock the car over before you part with any money. If the dealer doesn't like you doing that, walk away!
I think all cars in the UK have to have rear fog lights. I agree with Mittens, I think front fogs just throw the light back at you and make it harder to see!
Yes, rear fog lights are mandatory (for the most part).
I drive a corolla and got a diesel 2004 plate for £3250. Took me a while to find one I liked. I looked at the tax bracket- low emissions = low tax. Number of doors- 3 or 5? Service history? Whilst mileage isn't necessarily majorly important, it's good to look in conjunction with the history. I looked at mileage in relation to age. Expect reasonable mileage to be about 10k per year for petrol and 20k for diesel. Then look in conjunction with service history. Eg high mileage may not be a problem if services regularly but low mileage maybe if its never been checked
Stupid phone. Sorry for typos. Btw I love my car
Toyota Yaris is fab, loads of fans on here! Do a search on it. Mine is 53 & has isofix, v little spent on it in 8 years ( fuses/wipers/bulbs/ one set of tyres) , 50mpg. Low insurance/tax.
Mine is worth about 1800 now so you should get a newer one for 3k.
Wow, lots of responses, thank you. Yes, I've just discovered this HPI business, so will do that. A few more questions, if anyone's still paying attention:
- elvislives2012, I'm a bit confused by what you wrote. Isn't the tax bracket going to be the same for all Corollas?
- OodKingWenceslas, do you think the Yaris would be big enough for a family of four (2 DCs are very young)? I was leaning towards the Corolla because it seemed that maybe the Yaris wouldn't work for trips.
- As for age and mileage, if you had to choose, I'd assume it's better to have less mileage than less years?
- How much does it cost to have AA/RAC look over the car? And how does that work?
I still use mine for 2 adults + 3 kids but not long journeys because we have a big car too.
I was happy with the Yaris for 2+2 though. Dd1 is ok in the back at 5ft3. In mine the back seat slides so you can have more leg room/boot space. Newer Yaris are bigger
Sorry I have a tendency to ramble!
Car tax is banded and the bands are decided by the amount of emissions the car releases. The lower the emissions the lower the tax. It used to be done on engine size.
If pushed I'd prefer one with lower mileage but it would really depend on the cars history.
As for age and mileage, if you had to choose, I'd assume it's better to have less mileage than less years?
Personally, I'd go for the other way round: if it's not done many miles over a long period of time, that either means it's done very short journeys (not good for the engine) or it's done longer journeys then been stood around for a while doing nothing (some bits still decay while doing nothing, or can throw up problems when it starts to get used more again).
As elvis said, if it's got a good service history then it's a good sign it's been looked after. If you find a car with, say, 12000 miles on it, it may never have had a service - that won't have done it much good, even with that low mileage.
AA Vehicle Inspections - I put my registration in and it came out at £291, but it's a bigger engine and possibly more complex than a Corolla or Yaris.
RAC Vehicle Inspections - this gives some guide prices, you're probably looking at £150-£200.
If you know a good local independent garage, you may be able to get someone from there to give a car a look over for less than those prices.
It's a big deal buying a new car, it's a big purchase and you need it to be super safe, once you've researched your model and found what you would like its a really good idea to get a vehicle check, there are various prices for how in depth you want it to be but I would check there is no finance outstanding on it to be sure it's only £19,99 Have a look here www.vehiclecheckuk.co.uk They have information on all this and they check with VOSA which checks that model has no manufacturing recall problems, no other site does that it checks with www.carcheckuk.co.uk
The Honest John website is a good source of information:
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