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what should i look for when buying a car?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by es, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. new years resolution - get my car licence... before winter anyway (its all about setting realistic goals :p)
    so in the next 3 to 6 months ill be looking at purchasing a car. Budget 4k. im going for licence in automatic cos ill be on an unrestricted licence by august regardless (end of P plates)... but the car i buy will probably be an auto - not sure how long id keep it though.

    what is high kilometres for a car? what is suggested km when purchasing 2nd hand?

    prefer - small (easier to adjust to difference in size from bike), economical, automatic.

    suggested models?
  2. You save money going for manual.

    What do you want the car for? Commute, long trips, passengers?
  3. My car is 160,000k and still ruining strong.
  4. Toyota Corolla or Camry. Would be my first choices.

    Second to that a Magna. KM's not overly important, but treat it as if you were buying a bike. You should be right.
  5. always a good idea to get a car with around 100,000ks on the clock, especially when a small car. (if you get one thats just over 100,000ks, make sure its had its timing belt changed already) But most that are under 100,000ks and under 15 years old tend to be over your price limit.

    I personally have '94 mazda 121 manual and ive had it for 6 years, never cost more than $50 to fill from empty (even when petrol was at its highest) and have got 532 ks to one tank about 2 years ago (averages about 450ks to the tank) had very little need for sevicing and never overheated. I cant reccommend my car more, so if you looked for say a '94/'95 model in auto you should be able to get one for around 4k. Make sure you get air con though... thats the only dowside of my beast. Oh, and you'll need to find a private seller for that price range.

    So i suppose this is a bit of a bias opinion on a car you might enjoy, but yeah, a good little reliable car. So if you like the look of them, keep an eye out for a decent one.


    edit: my car is at 195,000kms ATM, only had to replace clutch and left CV joint so far.
  6. 20,000kms per year is considered average. If your looking at a magna check for smoke, valve stem seals are a common problem with the type of magnas in your price range
  7. Mechanic check older cars. Most of the rules are the same as buying a bike.

    redbook is a great place to check prices and to check for avg kms.

    I personally wouldn't go for a magna pre 00.
  8. If you're planning on driving on the highway any distance then some small autos can be a bad idea - they simply don't have enough power and/or the right gearing. However if it's only for driving around the city then these same cars can be quite a bargain (since nobody wants them). Auto Daihatsu Charade/Applauses for example can be bought cheap and are fairly reliable - just rubbish to try and drive at 100kph for long periods. Early Holden Barinas (rebadged Suzuki Swifts) are also good.

    For highway driving stepping up to a Nissan Pulsar, Toyota Corolla, Mitsubishi Lancer etc. would be a good idea. As far as mileage goes usually >150,000kms is where you start getting a few minor problems, but they're usually reliable enough until the 250,000km mark if maintained.

    Avoid the cheap Korean crap (Daewoos, Kias and early Hyundais) - I've heard of far too many suffering serious mechanical failure with as little as 20k on the odometer.
  9. i have a 88 skyline which i bought for 1.5k. Its done about 180000kms and still runs awesome. Only things i have done to it is clean the injectors but my mate found it for me and he is a member of a skyline club so hence he makes her run like a dream. If you just want a car to get you from a to b dont disregard the oldies. Yes it is a 6 but excellent for highway travel and if someone hits you they just bounce off and plenty of power to spin the wheels. Or if oyu want a 4 i could suggest the pintara.
    Or mabye the lancer gli nice 4cyl auto still got some guts goes excellent on the freeway only loses some power when you hit a decent hill with a full car load. Been to adelaide and back numerous time in it and runs like a dream.

    my 2c
  10. well i would come off the auto/manual restriction in only a few months so maybe i can borrow a car from my dad until then - what would you recommend for manual?

    i would be likely to be doing highway driving (melb to ararat) regularly enough to affect my car choice.

    how likely is it that a cop would be checking my licence for manual/auto anyway? isnt it just the $150 fine & no points for driving out of restriction?

    mmmm but if i have an accident id probably be classed as driving without a valid licence.
  11. I don't think that a cop would check unless they had a reason to pull you over in the first place.

    Though do they check at rbts?
  12. i have to say when i had an eyesight restriction & wasnt wearing glasses i was never asked if i was wearing contact lenses... i dont think they pay that much attention to restrictions
  13. If you want to play it safe then wait a few months and use that time to save.
    If not just have a look around.
  14. In which case given the limited opportunities to overtake on that road you really wouldn't want to be getting anything smaller than a 1.5L as a manual - or a 1.8L automatic.
    A medium-sized Japanese sedan/hatch will be the best compromise between something small for the city - but without being gutless and badly affected by crosswinds like the smaller cars. So along with the Corolla, Lancer and Pulsar also consider cars like the Mazda 323, early 2wd Subaru Impreza, Honda Civic, Mazda 626 (not the turbo), Toyota Camry (early models are no bigger than the current Corolla) etc. Shouldn't be too hard to find a good 2L auto if you're not too worried about a specific make/model (and aren't chasing something sporty).
  15. One word of warning, with you budget at 4k (i hope thats not including on road costs) you will be heading into used p-plater car territory.
  16. There is a dedicated sub$5k car yard in west Melbourne/Kensington off Dynon road behind the United servo. He rebuilds the engines and offers 12 months RACV 12 month Warranty RWC at time of sale. 500 autos or something its called. Might be worthy of a look.
  17. Dunno why people don't like the pre '00 magnas. I had a 94 model that was running fantastically at 240,000k's. Did it's air flow sensor and I just dumped it. On the driving side it handled, and it's fit and finish was shitloads better than the peice of shit 2000 model commodore I had. (You could see fcukin' mold lines on the dash!)

    If you're test driving it, go first thing in the morning and feel the bonnet to make sure they haven't warmed it up before you got there.
    Try and get a glimpse in the garage and look below where the car is stored to see if there's a huge oil leak or something like that.
    Check the shocks, have a look at the engine bay to see if it's been recently cleaned. Check it after a test drive.
    Look at all panel fits to see if it's been involved in a stoush.
    Don't disregard any warning light that appears on the dash.
    When going for a test ride, accelerate to 60k's and brake as hard as you can. Lets you know what sort of condition the brakes are in, and it's also fun to scare the living jesus out of the seller.

    Etc. There's probably people much better qualified to give hints on this here than me.
  18. If it's a front wheel drive, do tight figure of 8's. Not to the point your fish tailing, but any odd clacking or grinding feeling indicated the cv joints are buggered.

    There are rubber boots on the seals to cv joints - check them.

    Run your hand across the radiator (when cold) to see if leaking.

    Test all electrics.

    Smell the engine for burning.

    RACV check
  19. Look inside the wheel arches. It's here you'll notice any rubbing (from someone fitting stupidly oversized wheels or dropping the suspension), also pays to check in there for signs of overspray from a hasty freshen up of the paintwork prior to selling.
    Of course also check for signs of uneven tyre wear from rooted suspension or driver abuse. If possible try and check under the car as well (mirror and a torch can be handy for this) - it's usually the best indicator of how well a car's been looked after. Look for anything that might be leaking as well as signs of damage or rust.