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Used car purchase - Help!

Friend wants me to go car shopping with her. Has max £4K to spend ideally VW Polo. Where to start? 
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  • autotrader.co.uk
  • Cargiant in west London. Price is price, no haggling, cars are good.

    website works well but jump on a train and walk around their site. He deed of cars to choose from.
  • Cargiant in west London. Price is price, no haggling, cars are good.

    website works well but jump on a train and walk around their site. He deed of cars to choose from.
    Oh lord, not cargiant. 

    Pushy kids trying to sell cars they know nothing about,  no proper test drive , huge pressure to take out a warranty and loads of stories around of poor after sales service if the car you buy goes wrong.

    Not somewhere I would go .
  • Cargiant in west London. Price is price, no haggling, cars are good.

    website works well but jump on a train and walk around their site. He deed of cars to choose from.
    Don’t seem to have any in her price range!
  • I was going to say main dealer. Always got mine from them (Honda, Jag, Merc)......but what do I know about cars..
  • kimbo said:
    Cargiant in west London. Price is price, no haggling, cars are good.

    website works well but jump on a train and walk around their site. He deed of cars to choose from.
    Don’t seem to have any in her price range!
    Good.
    She's had a lucky escape 
  • £4k you'l be looking at private or small independent garages who specialise in the 2-8k cars.

    Forget the big boys.
  • As Rob Lee says you will be best off looking on Facebook marketplace, ebay and auto trader. 

    A piece of advice I dont mind giving to anyone is tyres. They are a dead giveaway to how much a car was loved. If the tyres are all different brands and budget ones, walk away. It indicates the car has been looked after on a budget and not as lovingly as I would look after a vehicle. Smell is another, if it smells of cigarettes, walk away you will never get rid of that smell. Paperwork is important, modern cars especially VAG diesels can carry high miles but you don't want to buy something used for delivering takeaways, 20-40k a year would be motorway mileage and is fine. 

    Sadly, you won't get a lot for 4k nowadays you will be looking at an 11 year old polo with ok miles and few add ons 
  • Full service history - recent cam belt change - had a great VW Polo that I drove from 85,000 miles to about 140,000 miles; it did not have a recent cam-belt change so it was the first thing I did about £450 a few years ago.  
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  • I've never felt pressured in Car Giant. The opposite if anything.
  • Cargiant in west London. Price is price, no haggling, cars are good.

    website works well but jump on a train and walk around their site. He deed of cars to choose from.
    Oh lord, not cargiant. 

    Pushy kids trying to sell cars they know nothing about,  no proper test drive , huge pressure to take out a warranty and loads of stories around of poor after sales service if the car you buy goes wrong.

    Not somewhere I would go .
    Are we talking the same place? Its the very opposite of pushy ("here's a car, here's the price, do you want it?"). I agree the test drives aren't the best (quick drive around the estate) but I've bought a few cars from there and no issues. It's extremely easy to decline their offer of a warranty ("no thanks").

    Their model is simple - buy cars at auction, quick service and sell with a mark up. They've been going for years because customers go back time and again...
  • My advice would be for what its worth would be to put the perameters in Auto Trader, age, mileage, price range etc and don't be wedded to a Polo. With a bigger budget, pick your car but for 4K a great deal might jump out at you. 

    If it is an older car, check when the cam belt has been changed. Not a rule of thumb but we bought our son a 2009 Fiat Panda Multijet when he was 17, four years ago. It was old but had a full service history and had only done 23k miles- one owner, old lady. It cost £2.5 k which was high for the age but has been brilliant with no trouble whatsoever. Tax is only £30 a year and it is very economical.

    My son said he wouldn't have bought it (it was a surprise Birthday present) but he would now. Sometimes the right car jumps out at you.
  • edited June 8
    I may sound like a Fiat salesman but the 8v Puntos and Pandas, 1.2 and 1.4, have non interference engines which are rare nowadays. It basically means the piston is at top dead center, it will never go higher than a fully open valve and if your rubber belt goes you just replace. With an interference engine it does a lot of damage. It is probably worth factoring in the cost of changing the belt if you buy an older car with an interference engine. My son's is a diesel and has a chain belt but most cars have rubber ones which perish over time.
  • Agree with Muttley - dont just go for a Polo - VW still has a premium price attached to them.

    Look at the Korean and Japanese brands, Toyota, Kia and especially Honda. Might not be as cool, but Honda are especially well made and often driven by more sedate people :wink:
  • Agree with Muttley - dont just go for a Polo - VW still has a premium price attached to them.

    Look at the Korean and Japanese brands, Toyota, Kia and especially Honda. Might not be as cool, but Honda are especially well made and often driven by more sedate people :wink:
    Don't forget Skoda are owned by VW now. My son has one and it has a lot of VW parts.
  • Saga Lout said:
    Agree with Muttley - dont just go for a Polo - VW still has a premium price attached to them.

    Look at the Korean and Japanese brands, Toyota, Kia and especially Honda. Might not be as cool, but Honda are especially well made and often driven by more sedate people :wink:
    Don't forget Skoda are owned by VW now. My son has one and it has a lot of VW parts.
    As are SEAT.
  • as are 
    • Audi
    • SEAT
    • ŠKODA
    • Bentley
    • Bugatti
    • Lamborghini
    • Porsche
    • Ducati
    • Scania
    • MAN
    get a bently, it's basically a vw polo
  • edited June 8
    as are 
    • Audi
    • SEAT
    • ŠKODA
    • Bentley
    • Bugatti
    • Lamborghini
    • Porsche
    • Ducati
    • Scania
    • MAN
    get a bently, it's basically a vw polo
    Oh no it isn't!!

    But seriously, we are talking about a budget of £4k and SEAT falls into that category.
  • Prices of second hand cars are rising.  A 71 reg Kia EV6 GT LINE was just sold in Chippenham for £49.999. The new price last December was £ 44, 600. It had done 7200 miles. I know it is not née but that is the market.
    Look for a cheap robust car brand others over look such as Dacia or alike. 
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  • Prices of second hand cars are rising.  A 71 reg Kia EV6 GT LINE was just sold in Chippenham for £49.999. The new price last December was £ 44, 600. It had done 7200 miles. I know it is not née but that is the market.
    Look for a cheap robust car brand others over look such as Dacia or alike. 
    You're not wrong. I have a Q8 that I purchased in March 2020 - so now 2 years old and 18k on the clock. We Buy Any Car have offered me 90% of the purchase price - when I trade in it will likely be more.

    Madness.
  • edited June 8
    check what cat the car is. You can do it online. in case its been in an accident and the dealer is either not telling you or didn't realise themselves. Its not the end of the world if it has been but depending who did the work and how well, it could and probably would lead to problems in the future. All of that should be reflected in the price of the car. 
  • Just a personal preference, but I'd opt for a dealer over a private sale. Private sales tend to be a bit cheaper, but if that engine goes pop on your way home, you're buggered. Someone might correct me here, but (unless stated) registered trade dealers have to offer a minimum 3 month engine & gearbox warranty, so if you discover any issues in that time, they need to either sort it, or give a refund, rather than the bloke down the road that says "not my problem mate, it was fine when you bought it". 
  • kimbo said:
    Friend wants me to go car shopping with her. Has max £4K to spend ideally VW Polo. Where to start? 
    What about a fiat 500?

    Anyway, I would look on autotrader. You can put in your price limit and block out any cat cars. Leave out mileage until the cars are listed then refine your choice using mileage and/or year. Mileage is more important IMO in an older car.
  • I would go for a Corsa, loads around, cheap to run.  
  • Thanks all. Will share this thread with her. Thankfully got someone at work helping her!  

  • Do NOT buy from a mobile number and meet on a street corner
    Give no weight to a recent MOT, The MOT is a very basic check. 
    Look back over "older" MOTs and see if any advisories noted, see if they have been actioned.
    Look up the test history on .gov.uk
    Be very careful where a car has a brand new mot,  yet seems tired with misted headlamps, make sure seat belt pretensions haven't been activated...etc, does the colour seem consistent around the car. Get a full service history and does it look like money has been spent on servicing and repairs
    Check for engine warning lamps and take on a meaningful road test.
    Check the VIN against the V5

    Take someone with you who's judgement you trust.
    Some dealers have Part Ex which they may just want to "march on"and you sometimes fall lucky and find a bargin.

    I am a DVSA Vehicle Examiner and spend my time carrying out MOT re-inspections  after a car has been purchased and serious defects have come to light, and the new owner is out of pocket big time. 

    One tip, try and buy a car from someone you know., and is a genuine seller.
    Remember there is always another car around the corner!!!
    Great advice.
  • Put the £4k down on a new one on a PCP contract, drive something decent that isnt going to cost him anything if it needs fixing, which a ‘£4k’ old b anger probably will do in that time 
  • If you have the registration number you can look up recent MOT records and it is free.
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