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Buying a second hand car


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When buying a second hand car with a fixed budget do you look for low mileage and older or newer with higher mileage.

The cars nowadays don't seem to rot like the old Vauxhaul viva and seem to do higher mileages without too much bother so "age or mileage? " is the question. 

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Older lowish miles for me. Under body rust is the main thing for me once I've settled on what car I want, and some of that comes from past experience. I mostly choose decent condition older cars that have run their depreciation course and and are generally easier to maintain or repair - with more space under the bonnet. As you say some have appalling rust issues.

I just got a second motor mainly for the Mrs, partly so I don't need to rush the next bit of work I'll be doing to sort out a VVT issue with my 120k 03 X-Trail: its an 02 Civic with absolutely zero sign of body rust anywhere, and only 83k miles. Our W reg Honda CR-V we had about 4 years ago also had no signs of under body rust - dunno how they manage that but i rate their ability to defy rust very highly.

Edited by Dave-G
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I work for a main car manufacturer here in the UK. All modern cars over the last 20 years are passed through the ED process as they come over from the Weld shops, this is basically a series of dip tanks that apply Electro Deposition. This allows car body to be fully covered internally and externally with the anti corrosion material...hence why a lot of manufacturers give 20 years anti corrosion warranty. Old or new car is a good question, I would focus more on service history, so for me either would be ok. What I will say is that Honda are very much admired within the industry as a mass production build car, but still set leading standards on quality. All the Japanese manufacturers set very high quality standards....so this is where I would focus.

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Condition, as opposed to age/mileage.

I've seen low mileage newish cars ex fleet so uncared for they could be toast. 

On the other hand a well cared for older model with a higher mileage maybe worth a glance. 

My last new car a Volvo XC70 went at 5 years with under 22000 on the clock for close to the purchase price.

I would look at what you want out of a car, make a short list then compare prices.

As I'm fond of saying, anything is only worth what you're prepared to pay.

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1 hour ago, nellywinner said:

I work for a main car manufacturer here in the UK. All modern cars over the last 20 years are passed through the ED process as they come over from the Weld shops, this is basically a series of dip tanks that apply Electro Deposition. This allows car body to be fully covered internally and externally with the anti corrosion material...hence why a lot of manufacturers give 20 years anti corrosion warranty. Old or new car is a good question, I would focus more on service history, so for me either would be ok. What I will say is that Honda are very much admired within the industry as a mass production build car, but still set leading standards on quality. All the Japanese manufacturers set very high quality standards....so this is where I would focus.

Thanks for that information - shame Nissan didn't do that with their X-Trail - though apparently post 06's allegedly have sorted the rear turret rust issues, perhaps the dip gets a deposition into the spot welded turret reinforcement plates that don't get painted so both plates rusted from within.

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  • 2 weeks later...
10 hours ago, oldypigeonpopper said:

Hello, anyone know about a Ford Fusion hatch back, I don't really need 4x4 , but go around the farm fields in summer, there's one I'm looking at with 54, 000 in good condition, £1,500, only do 100 miles a week, will have full service and warranty, 

Pal of mine had one and amazed me where it would go despite not being 4x4. Can’t comment on reliability

I have tended to go high mileage newer but always want to see a good service history. Was thinking of a replacement for the L200 recently when having an issue with it. Was looking at Ex police dog vans which seem pretty good value and I know to be well serviced.

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3 hours ago, Dave at kelton said:

Pal of mine had one and amazed me where it would go despite not being 4x4. Can’t comment on reliability

I have tended to go high mileage newer but always want to see a good service history. Was thinking of a replacement for the L200 recently when having an issue with it. Was looking at Ex police dog vans which seem pretty good value and I know to be well serviced.

Thanks to reply, 

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