Worth a second look?

The trials and tribulations of buying a used car, and a 12 yr old one at that!

My criteria. NC 3.5, 2.0 Sport Tech, PRHT, 09/10 plate, good condition, good service history, circa 60-70k miles, not red(!), budget ideally £7-8k.

6 weeks into my search and there’s not a lot to look at in the SW, so I’m having to travel a bit to see examples. The second one I looked at was a couple of hours away (I was passing travelling for work), and was nice, but I’ve always said not to buy the first thing you look at, so I thought I’d bide my time. However, having looked at half a dozen I keep thinking back to it and it keeps appearing on searches, with not too many new ads, so I’m now reconsidering.

First thing, I’ve not had a good look underneath it, but the dealer has said he’d put it up on the ramp for me to look at. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t really know what to look at, what was acceptable/surface and what was bad. Can anyone point me in the right direction of some clear and simple photos that might help a novice like me?

Secondly, the dealer isn’t too keen to negotiate on price (£7k), but is happy to do some work on things I’ve picked up. Slightly higher mileage at 80k, but MOT and service history is good (only previous MOT fails on discs and pads, no advisories). There’s some confusion as to whether the diff oil has been changed (documented as transmission oil change), so he’s willing to do gearbox and diff oil to be sure, as well as a full engine service and gearbox turret oil. There are Hankook tyres on the front (approx. 5mm) with a new set of budgets on the rear (branded as Cooper I think), which I’m not too happy with. He said he’d replace the rears with Hankooks to match the front. He’ll also tidy up a nasty gouge on a wing mirror. However, I know looks can be deceiving, but it’s tidy inside and out and it’s not red!

So, do you think it’s worth a second look (with a 4 hr round trip), or do you think this is a fairly average offering and I should wait a bit longer into the Autumn when prices may soften a bit and people are looking to part company before the winter? Is the work the dealer is happy to do a reasonable offset to paying the screen price?

Thanks folks, appreciate your thoughts.

4hour round trip isn’t exactly a roadtrip! Go and see it, at least you know it’s had the work done.

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Personally, I’d swap the Hankooks on the front for matching Coopers any day of the week! Full set of brand new all round. Controversial maybe but if they are C8’s on the back, a good (not budget) all round tyre, that is only my opinion, having run Coopers for quite a few years on all the cars, not just 5’s :+1: Not buying the first car might have been a good idea for you but If it was the right car regardless, and now you’re back looking at it anyway :thinking: Up on a ramp, take someone with you (if possible) who might be a bit more experienced at looking out for problems. If the car is red rusty all over, then maybe not so good but if just odd bits of surface rust, can be easily sorted :+1:

Front of rear wheel arches, along cills, across the car behind rear bumper, etc. If not done already, read about rust areas on these cars. Mileage, don’t get too hung up about it, (mines on 118k) unless you’re going to put a lot of miles on it yourself. Good Service and MOT history are good to have and if dealer prepared to do the bits you’ve mentioned, not too bad a deal. You’ll always find another after you’ve bought one, that’s cheaper, lower miles etc, but they’re never there when you want them! :slightly_frowning_face: As said, 2 hours isn’t too much of a journey, especially if it’s a good car :+1:
Just one more thing, if you’re unsure what you’re looking at on this car, you’ll be just as unsure on the next one and the one after that. If it ticks all the boxes and you can get it on a ramp, well, might be the car for you after all.

Good luck with whichever way you go and I trust you’ll get there in the end!



Cooper tyres are fine and the company is now owned by Good Year…



If you have alreday looked at half a dozen you should by now have some idea of the state of the various vehicle undersides. I think that is the first thing to look at, as I said previously I carried a pair of ramps and a piece of carpet with me when viewing vehicles, a few funny looks and a couple of refusals but that made walking away easier.


Dealer / price sounds fair to me.

I would say if the rear arches / sill joining area is OK, then rest of car is probably fine too ( no welding or advisories on mot?). Get him to sendyou a few pics of that (needs to peel back the arch liner) and tell him you’ll come out to buy it if he does the other bits. BUT agree you can still walk away. I’d be planning a 1way trip.

Or, spend the next 2month looking and spending time/effort/money trying to save a quid or 2 when you could be out driving?

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Watch a few of these videos about rusty NCs will give you a good idea what to look for.

That’s just what I was looking for! I’m not a complete dullard, but this will certainly help!

That’s say £600 worth of work at RRP, assuming the full engine service is oil, plugs, air & pollen filter, coolant…

It’s a shame you don’t like red🙄


Storm Blue would be my preference!

I suppose it’s only parts/oils to him, fit the labour in around other jobs?

Pollen filter?

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Ah that’s the boilerplate ad wording seen on all the car selling websites; “All cars have a pollen filter don’t they sir?”

The Mazda service lad called the ‘cabin filter’ on the Mazda3 a pollen filter, but it is so coarse pollen goes straight through. However it does keep the twigs and leaves out of the fan sitting just below it, but only if one is very, very, very careful taking it out from the slot not to wipe them all off.
This after-market offering is a lot better, still coarse though.