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Buying a Car...some advice to avoid making expensive mistakes

(20 Posts)
Patttsy2001 Sat 14-Sep-02 18:49:15

Hi, can anyone give me advice? Our car has had to be scrapped as it would cost more than it was worth to fix. (Broke down on the school run, my dd's first day at school, but that is another story!)

Have since been managing with taxi's and the help of friends. I have three children and was thinking about getting a nearly new Puegot 406 or something similar in size. I don't want to spend more than 7K ideally. Can you Mumsnetters recommend a make of car that is reliable and how to wrangle a good deal from the salesman at the car showroom?


WideWebWitch Sat 14-Sep-02 19:07:39

Can't advise about type of car but remember some advice my uncle gave me (ex car salesman) when I bought my car: "remember they want to sell it to you more than you want to buy it." I did remember, negotiated hard (over the phone, didn't see the car but my mum had told me it looked OK) and got £1,500 off the first price he offered. So haggle!

threeangels Sat 14-Sep-02 22:43:41

Hi Patttsy2001, The only advice I can think of at this moment is to stick with and be firm about a price you dont want to go over or maybe even a little lower then you actually want to pay on a car payment (just dont tell them that). Theyll try to get the higher price first out of you and if you stick by your amount you may be able to get them to go down to the payment you want or pretty close to it. My last car took for ever for an agreement. The salesman went back and forth to his manager with a certain car payment lower then the last one at least 5 or 6 times till they realized we could not purchase the car for more then the stated amount when we got there.

Like WickedWaterWitch said they really want the sale and will most likley take your offer (if reasonable) then let you walk out to somewhere else. Its just like buying a home sometimes. Good luck, to me I dread when its time to purchase a new car.

SueDonim Sun 15-Sep-02 05:40:48

Hi, Patttsy. You're already in a strong position as you're not trading in another car. Definitly negotiate a discount for that!

As for makes of car, we've had two Ford Mondoes as company cars and they never missed a beat even though they both had 80K on the clock by the time they were returned. Not the most exciting of car but for reliability, they did the job.

SueDonim Sun 15-Sep-02 05:43:40

Me again. I just asked DH and got more information thn I wanted, really! But he's given me some websites, which might be useful.

Kelkoo has a used car site .

SueDonim Sun 15-Sep-02 05:47:02

And DH says this is a good site too, and can locate cars for sale in your area. HTH.

robinw Sun 15-Sep-02 07:52:05

message withdrawn

clucks Sun 15-Sep-02 14:02:42

Are you definitely going for something new?

I imported my new car from France £3k cheaper than I would have got it here and the salesman was not going to budge on the published price here. I have since crashed it around a bit. I have heard good things about the skoda fabia too and lots of praise for Toyota yaris, most expensive I think. I think skodas and more recently kia (Korean, I think) are particularly good value.

I think most showrooms make you wait for weeks while they order your car. If you have the time to wait, import it from the continent and save on a more expensive model.

Patttsy2001 Tue 17-Sep-02 13:35:43

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the advice and websites. I am not able to afford new. I have been for a look this morning and found (suprise, suprise!) that a woman with a pushchair doesn't get the salemen running out of their offices to help. One saleman was quite helpful, and said I should go for a young car with high mileage, rather than a old car with low mileage, as I am a low mileage user (just running the children around town).

I do need a reliable car, and fairly large as I have three children under 5, so have bulkly car seats to fit in the back.

I don't have any idea what make or model to buy yet, though I saw a Primera and a Saab I quite fancied if only for the leather seats! To be honest the whole idea of having to buy a car is rather daunting. (Bang goes my trip to the Caribbean, joke)

Gumdrop Tue 17-Sep-02 13:45:54

Car salesmen are "guided" by a trade publication called Glasses Guide - which lists makes of cars / mileage / models and gives the price that they should pay if they were buying it second hand. Ideally get hold of a copy, and take it with you and make sure they see you using it - or alternatively drop it into a bargaining conversation along the lines of "Oh that's a really interesting price, BUT I was really looking to pay a maximum of 5%/7.5%/10% (depending on how hard nosed you want to be) on top of the glasses guide price - would you be able to accommodate that?"

PamT Tue 17-Sep-02 14:24:20

We had a Nissan Primera until this summer when we swapped it for a Nissan Terrano. We have always found Nissans to be reliable and well built. You also tend to get more goodies (eg central locking, electric windows etc) for your money compared with Ford or Vauxhall. Primeras seem to be less desirable than Mondeos or Vectras so are slightly cheaper but IMO are a superior car. I don't know about reliablitity (think they are ok) but Renault Laguna's have masses of boot space in the estate version - really good for all the kiddy clobber. A word of warning though, lots of this size of car have been company cars and therefore haven't been treated with the care and respect that owner/drivers usually give their cars, these are usually high mileage, poorly cared for bodywork and thrashed engines.

Ems Tue 17-Sep-02 14:57:03

Pattsy2001, go to

In the buying section, they have a guide on how to buy, what to look for etc - loads of good tips.

Then if you feel really knowledgeable you can cut out the middle man (dealer and his PROFIT) and see what is available to buy privately in your area.

Good luck. When we were in Devon this summer, there were loads of Citroen Picassos about, dont know how much they are secondhand, but they look a good size for families.

Ems Tue 17-Sep-02 14:59:24

About 2 yrs ago whilst car hunting, I was in a dealership and the salesman actually asked if this was "all OK with my husband" !!!! It was actually my money, and I couldnt believe that this attitude and 'sales technique' still existed!!

titchy Tue 17-Sep-02 16:43:22

We bought a Renault Scenic last year from a car supermarket. Only £7500 for a 3 year old model with low mileage. Tons of room, and a lot cheaper than a Renault dealer. There are car supermarkets all over the country. The following website lists all the genuine car supermarkets that sell large quantities of cars and therefore have lower prices (as opposed to all the dodgy dealers out there who claim to be car supermarkets but aren't really):

You can check the stock as well which we found really useful so you don't waste a journey and get an idea of what you can afford.

WideWebWitch Tue 17-Sep-02 20:40:54

Ems, know the feeling, I was shown a car ages ago with the line: "Lots of space in the back for the shopping"... And for salesmen I've killed because they pissed me off presumably.

Patttsy2001 Fri 20-Sep-02 23:54:36


Still searching for a car. Can anyone recommend the Volvo V40 and answer a few questions? I would be really grateful as I need to come to a view on a car in the next few days. (Can not afford to continue hiring a car)

Could anyone tell me whether it is possible to service Volvo's outside of the dealer network? And are Volvo's 'expensive' to service and for parts? Does anyone know what insurance group the V40 is in?

It is just that I have seen a Volvo I might just buy if...(the answers to the above are pleasing!)

Thanks Patttsy2001

Willow2 Sat 21-Sep-02 08:47:04

DH has the s40 and it is a lovely car (if a bit "safe" - should imagine V40 is euqally nice if not nicer

Lucy123 Sat 21-Sep-02 10:38:17

Patttsy2001 - my mum had a Volvo that lasted for *years*. She used to get it serviced/fixed/MOT'd at the local garage and it never cost more than £150 to get it through the MOT (and it was 13/14 years old I think - it was stolen in the end). As it was a local garage I don't know if they used proper parts or not though.

For the insurance group and other advice, have a look at the parkers website . This website also gives the list price for all models (you'll pay a bit more in a showroom, but you can use it as ammunition for haggling)

Lucy123 Sat 21-Sep-02 10:39:36

ok for some reason that link doesn't seem to be working - it's

Patttsy2001 Sat 21-Sep-02 12:00:00

Hi All,

Just to let you know have decided to go for the Volvo V40.

Thanks for all the help Mumsnetters.(What is the correct collective term for Mumnetters?)

Best wishes Patttsy2001xxx

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