Buying a second hand automatic (advise needed)

Discussion in 'Cars, Bikes 'n AFVs' started by Zarathustra, Apr 8, 2008.

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  1. Afternoon,
    i'm currently driving a 04 VW Golf and while it's a very nice car, my biff right leg means that i have trouble working the clutch, mainly by not being able to feel the bite or controlling my leg which means i eithe stall it or end up riding the clutch.

    So anyway i'm tempted to trade it in for an automatic, but i know dick about cars (which is where you fine people come in). T he cars i've seen that are around my price range of around £7000 and below are all around 8-9 years old with around 80-100,000 on the clock.

    Ayone have any idea what is a reasonable price to pay, and what problems could i get by buying an old automatic?
  2. Why not have a look at Saabs? Either the 93 or the 95 - for the budget you are looking at you will be able to get a very good example of either type in automatic. I'm on my third Saab automatic and have never had any problems.
    Saab owners tend to look after their cars and you will find all the right stamps and history with the documentation - just make sure that any purchase has a full Saab service history.
    Saabs are a little bit different, can be quite quick and very solid, biased opinion of course :D
    Hope this helps.
  3. blue-sophist

    blue-sophist LE Good Egg (charities)

    I'm not taking the pi66, but I've never had an automatic that old ...

    However, I've been driving autos since 1982 and I have never [I know, don't say that] had any trouble. Although - they were all dealer serviced.

    Oldest was a Jeep Cherokee [94-08] that my son inherited and has just been disposed of at around 80,000. The air conditioning and ABS had packed in, though.

    I think a lot depends on how well the car has been looked after generally, and whether you can keep £1K in reserve if things do go to sh1t.
  4. Automatics generally command about a grand over standard prices when new. Now, if it is a luxury model, that will translate to maybe 500 over manual when second hand. If, however, it is an every day model, most people wont be looking for an auto so you should probably not pay any more than for the standard version.

    Unless it is really old, you should get less problems with an auto than with a manual as it is harder for the driver to screw it up and anyway autos tend to be driven by "sensible" drivers because boy racers think they are boring and lower performance. An auto that is, lets say, 5 years old and has been serviced according to schedule should have no problems at all.

    Your real trouble is finding one second hand in anything that is not a "luxury" brand and priced accordingly.

    Best bet is probably a volvo. They do autos throughout the range and sell a fair number. Resale values are not high considering the build quality. The V40 series (now discontinued) go pretty cheap and are a nice, if a bit dull, car. The 2 litre auto is the one to look for and you should be able to get one about 6/7 years old with around 70-80,000 on it (lots of life left) easily within your price range with cash to spare. Volvo owners often have full service histories, avoid a car without one. If you can find a one owner car all the better as it will most likely have been well looked after by a middle to late aged, middle class owner. Avoid the 1.8 GDI (Petrol not diesel) engine version as those engines are great when new but prone to trouble once the miles build up (I am not even sure the GDI was available with an auto box anyway).
  5. Isnt the clutch on the left?
  6. Well he did say "i know dick about cars". Maybe that's where he's been going wrong.

    Oh, yes. Second the Saab.
  7. Second hand automatic? Go for the Browning HiPower, loads of them about and quite cheap. :twisted:
  8. Well spotted that man, i put that in as a test :D you'll be pleased to hear you passed...just

    No, it's my left leg thats buggered, i'm infantry so give me a break :oops:

    Thanks for the replies guys, you've given me something to think about, although i got a quote for a BMW i was looking at and got quoted £3384 a year, even for a xcrow driver like me that seems a bit steep
  9. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    Agree on the Saab. My domestic sunray can only drive an automatic and we recently baught a Saab 93 with LPG. Its a sound car and to be honest a pleasure to drive.

    It's a 2001 2.0 turbo with LPG and cost 5000 euros so thats the sort of price you are looking at.
  10. Seeing as you have a VW already, have a look here
    It`ll give you an idea of price and what models are available as autos. When you go to inspect it, try and get one with service history, regular oil changes are important on an auto box.
    Try and take somebody along who knows their way around cars.
    Have a look underneath the engine/gearbox for oil leaks around the bellhousing (this is the dome shape between the engine and box), auto gearbox oil is invariably red in colour, any leaks around this area..walk away.
    Get in the car and start the engine, put your left foot on the brake and put the box into 'drive', put some revs on the engine and hold it there, the revs should increase then stay fairly stable as if the car is trying to move. If the revs go sky high, the box is slipping..walk away.
    Take it for a test drive, the box should go smoothly up through the gears, if it jerks violently when changing gear..walk away.
    Check that the kickdown is working, this is when the car is rolling along gently and you want it to show a burst of speed, put your foot hard down on the accelerator and it should kickdown a gear.
    Hope this is of some help 8)
  11. Had VAG cars for forty years, very little trouble. Audis all did easily more than 150k. 200 Turbo auto did 250k, 200 Manual did 190k, A4 turbo did about the same. Volkswagens (various) did similar mileages. All sold on in fine running order. Modern SEAT and Skoda are impressive. Take a look at the Skoda Superb V6 diesel with auto. Not very common but huge value for money, masses of space. Frau Unsworth has the SEAT Leon diesel which is excellent.

    The secret is regular and thorough servicing, and never mind all that 'sealed/lubricated for life' garbage - change transmission and final drive lubricants regularly (40 or 50k). VAG auto boxes and power plants are robust. Use decent quality lubricants and filters. Incidentally ATF fluid for VAG auto boxes is now yellow and semi-synthetic. Don't use anything else. Euro Car Parts and German, Swedish and French Car Parts are cheap and good quality. Always make sure that the cam-belt has been changed exactly as specified. If there's a doubt - walk away.

    If you're in South London area I can recommend a very thorough private garagiste who is conscientious (extremely) and cheap. I give him all the really ghastly jobs to do and - worse - perch on his shoulder whilst he does them.... Never go to VAG dealers unless you really have to. Rates are staggering and ability average to mediocre.
  12. Crow check pms
  13. For a well-informed opinion, check the car-by-car breakdown here;

    My wife had her left leg knackered in a mugging attempt 20-ish years back and has been limited to automatics for about 15.

    From my limited experience, do NOT buy an automatic Renault, ever.

    Ford Mondeos are good cars and cheap for what you get, the ex-fleet market keeps the second hand market stocked, but the lowish prices are not the result of poor quality. Their auto-boxes apparently have a life of about 100,000 miles; so if you're buying any car of that age it would be advisable to keep £1,000 in hand. It's not a DIY job if the box expires.
  14. Done reply sent