Are you terrified of buying a cheap second hand car?
The majority of vehicles sold for the same value as a good night out, will inevitably bite you in the behind. We are often telling our clients this when buying a low budget car. Additional funds will be required to bring this car up to safe and reliable standards. Obviously there are exceptions to this but more often than not, it is the case.
Any car that is left 40,000kms between oil changes will be an issue and most old cars will have suspension so saggy its comparable to National Geographic boob photos, but we do have opinions of what we believe are the better secondhand cars whilst living on a budget.
This list will no doubt be followed by a blog post at a later date with a blog covering what we believe the good secondhand cars are in a higher cash bracket. Additionally buying a car on this list does not default mean it will be good, with any car frequent servicing and routine maintenance are the most important factors. We assume most humans understand that without us having to spell it out but after meeting many people who claim to be human we have discovered common sense is not so common.
Nissan N15 Pulsar
Very little goes wrong with these.
We have first hand experience with this one. Dragged off the back of a tow truck smashed up after rear ending something expensive, the owner, uninsured, signed the little hatch over to us. We sorted the smash damage ourselves and visited some wreaking yards to repair the little car. Three years down the track its pushing 250,000 kms and has never let us down. Neither of the engine options in this car run a timing belt, so there is a big win there. The only thing to watch for is the clutch cable on the manuals fail and chew out the clutch. Replacing the clutch without fixing the cable will see your new clutch gone in two weeks or less.
Mitsubishi CE Lancer
Granted every one of these you see has those hideous altezza clear tail lights fitted to them but you can hardly knock a car for distasteful modifications. (If we were, we would have to discredit every Commodore ever made). Mechanically these are very good, they do run a timing belt so be mindful of the expense of changing that if its close to the 100,000kms. I’m sure our viewers will have a thing or two to say about these but the reality is taking into account the age of the car and the dollars were talking about spending and these are not bad cars.
We have first hand experience with these too. We owned one for a few years as one of our run around cars. Once they get a bit on in the Kms these little engines are known for blowing smoke, consuming engine oil and that amazing Hyundai hydraulic lifter noise. All of these items are an issue but if you are in the know about them and check your oil often you can make them last and be reliable. Again these engines do run a timing belt so be mindful of that. The hydraulic lifter ticking noise these engines make is almost a built in service reminder, once the engine starts ticking, change the oil and add a lifter free additive. Run the car for up to an hour and the ticking will go away. In about five months time it will start to come back. At that point repeat.
Toyota AE101 Corolla
About as exciting to look at as a pair of dirty socks, the Corolla is a little dull. Exciting body types is not something you can demand if you’re buying a car for under $5k and thus the Corolla is probably the best car on the list. They do run a timing belt but aside from that they have little to no common problems. Unlike other vehicles on our list the Corolla is a 4 door option. So if avoiding the “hairdresser” car look is high on your list of vehicle requirements then the Corolla is a good call. Known to run forever with regular maintenance, these cars are amazing.
Honda EK Civic
The Honda Civic is a cool fun car to drive. A number of engine options came out with the civic and most are pretty good. There are some common suspension flaws and electrical components to the Civics that can get a little pricey on the repairs invoice but in our opinion probably the coolest car on our list. Note here that all the Honda engines run timing belts and run engines on the “wrong” side of the engine bay making some timing belt jobs difficult and require specialty tools.
Mitsubishi CE Mirage
Basically the Mirage is a compact version of the CE Lancer. The same engine and the same lame altezza tail lights are available for this car. The same engine as the Lancer and the same relatively good mechanical reliability. They are a great car. We have found the space inside the Mirage is an issue for some people. Front row footballers should avoid this car and if picking kids up from school or taking nan to bingo is on your “need to do this week” list then the Mirage may not be suitable for you.
If you’re fine driving a car that looks like an oversized jellybean then this is the car for you. Some wacky features like the dash and shifter set up make the car a little bit exciting. If you’re a young lady and after a car with a little bit of character on this kind of budget then the Echo is not a bad car. A little under powered and not high on the masculinity scale but still not a bad car. This is one of the cars often used by mechanics as loan, delivery and hire cars. If mechanics are buying them, its saying something.
As previously stated buying a car in this price bracket is more than likely going to need more repairs. The other negativity to buying these cars is it takes very little damage on these vehicles for an insurance company to write them off as they are worth so little. Insurance assessors often won’t even bother coming out to view these cars they will just write them off instantly. Finally before committing to these cars check the insurance rates on them. Typically these cars are high risk cars as they are often owned by high risk drivers. Young blokes who drive them like go carts or the young birds playing bumper bowling with her car whilst doing her makeup on her way to work, means insurance premiums can be very high.