When is it the right time to write that classified ad, say goodbye to your car and move into a different model?
9 October 2018

Comfy seats. That topic proved a popular column, probably because it was all based on real-life scenarios. Everyone wants to complete a journey without a pain in their rear ends.

So here is another FAQ from the used car buying masses: should I keep or sell?

There is, of course, no definitive answer to this, because I’d need to know all the background details.

In this case, the dear reader was running a 1999 Audi A6. Not only that, it was a 2.7 T quattro, with 94,000 miles and full service history. The mitigating factor is that it is due a full-service-and-cambelts-with-water-pump visit to the garage. He’d had the car for 13 years, but its value is now rather less than the cost of popping to the garage for all those bits and bobs to be done.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz CLS on PistonHeads

It all boils down to how much you like your motor. Some become bored after a year or so and fancy a change. After a dozen years, I would bet that he is rather attached to the old girl. In that case, sorting it all out has to be regarded as something of an investment. Having wrung full value out of the car, this is simply prolonging its life, which has to be the green and Bangernomic way forward.

The sheer hassle of finding anything as good will always be tricky. However, let’s see if we could take on some old nail without it causing us any serious financial fallout. I do fancy a coupé at the moment, or maybe just something with compromised rear head room, because I never sit in the back, but still four doors. That would mean a Mercedes-Benz CLS with 120k miles. A 2007 CLS 320 CDI with a full history and a year’s worth of MOT at £5000 seems like a good buy.

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Long term I ought to think petrol, like the Audi mentioned earlier. In that case, a 2009 Volkswagen CC 1.8 TSI should make sense. Less posh badge, but it still seems very contemporary and has just two previous owners and a fresh service up to 70k miles and the dealer was even backing it up with a warranty. That’ll keep going for a bit at just £5k.

How about a proper coupé? BMW 645CSi. I had a close encounter late last year and it was even cheaper than the £5000 being asked for this 2005 car with 107k miles, four owners, a fat file of receipts and a fresh full-on service. All very reassuring and what a way to travel in the coming decades.

They are out there: motors, primed and ready for another 100k-plus miles. So if you fancy a change, then just part-exchange and move on with any of the above.

What we almost bought this week: 

BMW 320 - 81,079: 

I’m currently trying to talk to someone sensible about the Baby Shark’s starting issues, as it is getting very boring to start. While I do that, here’s a picture of the radio I don’t like. It weighs almost nothing and the reception is awful but, in my neck of the woods, there isn’t much worth listening to anyway.

The fact is that it tells the time and wastes battery when I have a perfectly good 1979 quartz clock. Worst of all is the aerial, sold to me as an invisible wire that looks like a rogue windscreen wiper. Least of my worries.

Reader’s ride: 

Lexus LS: Reader Damon is very happy after a month spent with his lovely Lexus LS, which cost £9k after part-exchanging a slightly troublesome Audi A8.

“This is the world’s greatest family car,” he says. “We went to Norfolk for a week at the end of August and not once did I get an ‘are we there yet?’ or ‘I’m bored’. The children were watching the Harry Potter box set on the roof-mounted screen, with wireless headphones.

The cooler box in the rear seats kept drinks cold and the rear and side blinds kept the sun out.

Tales from Ruppert’s garage: 

Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit: The era of the affordable Rolls-Royce may soon be over, with the prices of even elderly and very frail cars on a relentlessly upward path. Rare now are those that command only four figures – almost certainly best avoided – but it’s still possible to pick up a decent Silver Shadow or, better still, Spirit for around £15,000.

Readers’ questions: 

Q. My husband and I put our faith in a new Range Rover a couple of years ago but it has been plagued by small electrical issues. We want to replace it with something similar. What do you recommend? Constance Sewell, via email

A. The Range Rover is a wonderful car but it is known for being a bit problematic. Our sister magazine What Car? recently published its reliability survey and, among large SUVs, the hugely competent BMW X5 scored very highly, with only 10% of cars developing a fault in the first three years. MP

Q. My 17-year-old daughter wants to buy a new car. She liked the Vauxhall Corsa she passed her test in but wants a smaller car, like the Citroën C1. Is that a good option? Georgie Stack, Godalming

A. Yes, it’s not bad, but if you’re going to go small, what about one of our favourites, the Volkswagen Up? It’s cheeky, it’s easy to drive and see out of and it’s decently equipped. On-the-road prices undercut those of the C1 too. MP 

Read more

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Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 5 October

James Ruppert: used motors that just run and run

Join the debate

Comments
11

289

9 October 2018

I would say sound advice for the owner of the A6 is stick with it if it is a sound and reliable vehicle.

A good independant will do the full service/cambelt/water pump for less than a grand.....its not about whether the car is actually worth a grand, its about a grand is not much to run a car for a year or two. As long as the car doesnt have any other issues, this is the safest route to cheap motoring.

A £5k CLS CDI could easily swallow £5k (injectors are a fortune to replace and frequently an issue for example), if it turns out that you have bought someone elses problems rather than someones pride and joy.....you have no way of knowing and little recourse if it all goes tits-up. It has also covered more miles than the Audi.

A four pot Passat will feel gutless after the Audi and a BMW 645csi is another potential money pit if you are unlucky.

9 October 2018

Get it fixed up and it could last 5 years before a big bill, after all a new 1.0 Focus will lose around £2,500 a year in depreciation for 5 years so a possible £1,000 of bill a year for 5 years seems financially sensible. Plus, you get to waft along in a top 2.7 Quattro.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

FMS

9 October 2018
xxxx wrote:

Get it fixed up and it could last 5 years before a big bill, after all a new 1.0 Focus will lose around £2,500 a year in depreciation for 5 years so a possible £1,000 of bill a year for 5 years seems financially sensible. Plus, you get to waft along in a top 2.7 Quattro.

 

Give reasons why on earth you are comparing that used car with a new one. Ludicrous, uninformed, thoughtless and completely predictable nonsense from you, yet again. TwIT

9 October 2018

..you to get the car fixed and sell it only when working OK, not a good idea to try to sell your way out of trouble. I don't think anyone could accuse you of being a spendthrift, you've done your bit so go for it in the next couple of years in any case.

 

9 October 2018
405line wrote:

..you to get the car fixed and sell it only when working OK, not a good idea to try to sell your way out of trouble. I don't think anyone could accuse you of being a spendthrift, you've done your bit so go for it in the next couple of years in any case.

 

But the work is going to cost more than the car is worth.

They would be better off, money wise, scrapping it and pocketing the scrap money, saving the difference between the work and the used value.

There is a huge market for big old German cars, plenty of boy racers who want to upgrade from their Golfs and Boras and don't mind doing a bit of spannering or know a mechanic on the cheap who can keep it running at least until the next MOT.

 

If you're really worried about selling privately, a dealer trade will allow you to sell it on, the dealer's mechanic can work on it, can put it as deposit on something shinier.

289

9 October 2018

....poor advice I am afraid, They could easily buy a car needing more than the cost of servicing the Audi....and quite possibly bigger far more expensive repairs too.

Better the devil they know if it is running well £800-£1000 is absolutely nothing to spend for 1-2 years motoring.

9 October 2018

Just needs a service item completed, Cam belt with extras £600 at a guess from by an independent specialist (who'll do the job as well as Main dealer). 

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

9 October 2018
xxxx wrote:

Just needs a service item completed, Cam belt with extras £600 at a guess from by an independent specialist (who'll do the job as well as Main dealer). 

No, no, no - an independant specialist will do the job BETTER than a main dealer.

XXXX just went POP.

FMS

9 October 2018
xxxx wrote:

Just needs a service item completed, Cam belt with extras £600 at a guess from by an independent specialist (who'll do the job as well as Main d"ealer). 

 

At a guess"...is that because having never bought and run an ACTUAL car, you are clueless as to the real world costs of doing so?. As your other nemesis has rightly pointed out, yet another twittish post from you. TwIT

9 October 2018

my civic is  a 97' 144000 miles full history and i have 100% confidence in it , yes its worth only £300 private if that  but would not hestiate  to drive it here in angus to london right now

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