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Frank Hovis

High Mileages In Private Cars

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I'm considering one option which will see me doing 25,000 - 30,000 miles per year. I'll be paying for all the fuel, running costs and initial purchase.

If anybody does do this what works best:

Buy nearly new and run to a starship mileage?

Buy cheap older cars with low mileage and hope to get 3 or 4 years out of them?

Small engine / big engine?

Car would be smallish so Ford Fiesta or Focus size.

I'm assuming diesel is the way to go as with those mileages the fuel saving will outweigh the higher cost and more frequent replacement of tyres and front suspension components owing to the havy engine.

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Buy a cheap older reliable car such as a Toyota Corolla or Avensis or Honda Civic (medium sized engine, 1.6L or so, no turbo as that just means one more delicate part that can break), that's what minicab drivers do who have similar requirements as you.

---

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That sounds like a lot of hours behind the wheel.

I know you are a tough old wizened driver, but I'd be looking for something that left me feeling comfortable and fresh when I stepped out of it...

But then I'm soft, lazy and a bit fat.

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Just got a ford focus diesel.

it's got the toys, cruise control and all that nonsense.

Seems to go pretty well. I reckon motorway cruising at high speed you'd get 55-60 mpg out of it. New diesels have the DPF issue. You won't have any problems if you do this sort of mileage, but if for example you started doing lots of short runs of 5 miles or so it could be costly. I do 13 mile runs, plus normally one or two 100 odd mile runs to heathrow/gatwick per month so that cleans up the dpf.

For me long distance cruises you need big safe cars. It's all very well having airbags and crumple zones but when it comes down to it mass has a big effect. I probably wouldn't go for the fiesta for that reason, plus its always embaressing trying to cram clients in the back of a small car. I think a car snob would not view a fiesta as a business car but you'd get away with something the size of a focus.

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If anybody does do this what works best:

Buy nearly new and run to a starship mileage?

Buy cheap older cars with low mileage and hope to get 3 or 4 years out of them?

Small engine / big engine?

With that mileage its got to be diesel, and probably bigger than a focus.

A nearly new focus is going to be ITRO £10,000 - £15,000, after 4 years of that mileage it's going to be worthless and probably worn out as well.

You can pick up 10 year old mondeos with <60,000 on the clock for about £2,000 and probably get 4 years out of that as well.

Any extra costs in terms of repairs and servicing are going to be outweighed by the saving on depreciation.

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Remember the cost of death as your mileage increases. More time on the road, more risk.

A well looked after car with high mileage is a good car. An abused car with any mileage is asking for trouble.

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With a car it can all be pot luck. By a lemon and you'll wish you bought a pear instead.

That's why buying Japanese makes sense (especially with such a high annual mileage), it greatly reduces the risk of buying a lemon.

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I second the Mondeo recommendation- late Mk3 or early Mk4 diesel. At some point there's a possibility that you'll need to do the injectors or DMF, which will be several hundred quid in each case- but the cars are so cheap that you could say that's already factored into the purchase price, which will be considerable less than an equivalent Focus. Other parts are cheap and servicing is easy in my (albeit limited) experience. Get a top spec one with leather and cruise*, it'll only cost a couple of hundred quid more than a base spec one. I have a Mk3 V6 petrol and it's a lovely car, just very thirsty- but I only do about 2-3000 miles a year in it.

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Moving is one option and I'll be starting with the car I already own but that has already got a lot of miles so I would need to start thinking about its replacement when the inevitable major repair crops up.

Okay, thoughts for me there as whilst I like small cars I'm sure I'd find it less tiring in a big one.

Ta

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Remember the cost of death as your mileage increases. More time on the road, more risk.

A well looked after car with high mileage is a good car. An abused car with any mileage is asking for trouble.

Full service history. ;)

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I replaced my destroyed avensis with another avensis, 2.0D4-D....brim to brim did 50Mpg ( computer said 52), and that was A roads and around town...suspect nearer 60 on motorways.

its got all the toys and was cheap to buy, 4.5 years old...same price as other petrol ones on the forecourt...so the premium paid for diesel engine is gone....Web talk says to change the air filter every 10K and manually clean the recycler thingy ( not DPF). taxi Avensis go 3-400K it seems if you do this little extra maintenance.

Climate control and cruise control are nice extras.

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Big comfy Jap diesel, forget small cars for that kind of mileage. I'd be considering the quality of the driver's seat as a very important criterion under those circs as well.

Your chances of being in an accident will also rise so a bigger car with decent safety will increase your survival chances, and you should be able to get one that does at least 50mpg.

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With that sort of mileage, diesel is a no brainer. Assuming a lot of it is motorway, don't worry too much about DMFs and clutches, they don't take a lot of wear at a steady 70.

You have three options

Buy new - and watch the value of your car taper to zero after 4 years.

Buy 3 years old - the same will happen, but you've only spent half as much.

Buy something a bit older for peanuts, give it a damn good service and don't worry about the depreciation.

I would get a 7 year old Alfa 156 2.4 diesel. Plenty of poke (really, more than enough), nice handling car,, and about £2k for a really good one. Give it a full service (belts, suspension) , and you'll have spent 3k. They are good for 200k miles.

Actually, I'd move. I'm commuting 12k miles a year, and it is very dull.

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With that sort of mileage, diesel is a no brainer. Assuming a lot of it is motorway, don't worry too much about DMFs and clutches, they don't take a lot of wear at a steady 70.

You have three options

Buy new - and watch the value of your car taper to zero after 4 years.

Buy 3 years old - the same will happen, but you've only spent half as much.

Buy something a bit older for peanuts, give it a damn good service and don't worry about the depreciation.

I would get a 7 year old Alfa 156 2.4 diesel. Plenty of poke (really, more than enough), nice handling car,, and about £2k for a really good one. Give it a full service (belts, suspension) , and you'll have spent 3k. They are good for 200k miles.

Actually, I'd move. I'm commuting 12k miles a year, and it is very dull.

The alfa 2.4 diesel is something i'm looking at possibly getting, although I do quite a bit of narrow road driving so a little hatch would be better at squeezing through smaller gaps etc. If I was doing big mileage i'd want something that has a bit of grunt to get past traffic if that's your sort of driving, nothing worse than getting stuck behind slow traffic on roads you know well, so something like the alfa would be good and still fairly good on mpg I think.

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The alfa 2.4 diesel is something i'm looking at possibly getting, although I do quite a bit of narrow road driving so a little hatch would be better at squeezing through smaller gaps etc. If I was doing big mileage i'd want something that has a bit of grunt to get past traffic if that's your sort of driving, nothing worse than getting stuck behind slow traffic on roads you know well, so something like the alfa would be good and still fairly good on mpg I think.

Errrrrr - no!

>>>>>>>>>>>never, ever, buy an Alfa with your own money!!!! ..........EVER

I was lucky enough to ENJOY 5 Alfa company cars, including a 156 GTA (still drooling :) )

servicing seemed to be £1000 every time :( (but luckily I didn't pay :lol: )

sexy fun awesome but feckin expensive cars

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I'm a fan of bangernomics these days.

However, if considering an older car; also consider two possible hidden costs:

Your image, in your client's eyes, if you run an older car; and also, when running an older, less reliable car, the possible loss to your business if you break down on the way to something important.

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If you're spending a long time behind the wheel, I'd recommend a Merc C Class diesel - the last of the old shape, 06-07 can be had for Focus money with low mileage. I've got one and it's a seriously comfortable car and not too bad on fuel, I can get 50-55 on a reasonable run as long as I don't go much over 75.

I'd expect something like this to go on for about 200K miles:

http://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/201306227430706/sort/default/usedcars/transmission/manual/maximum-mileage/up_to_60000_miles/price-to/10000/fuel-type/diesel/model/c_class/make/mercedes-benz/onesearchad/used/postcode/b988aa/page/1/radius/1501?logcode=p

Better still, no particle filters or DMF's! MB Dealer servicing is pricey, but there are good independents around who'll do it for much more reasonable money.

Edit - Or a Skoda Octavia, but I don't know much about the reliability of the newer ones. They still seem fairly popular as taxis though, so they must be OK.

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If you're spending a long time behind the wheel, I'd recommend a Merc C Class diesel - the last of the old shape, 06-07 can be had for Focus money with low mileage. I've got one and it's a seriously comfortable car and not too bad on fuel, I can get 50-55 on a reasonable run as long as I don't go much over 75.

I'd expect something like this to go on for about 200K miles:

http://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/201306227430706/sort/default/usedcars/transmission/manual/maximum-mileage/up_to_60000_miles/price-to/10000/fuel-type/diesel/model/c_class/make/mercedes-benz/onesearchad/used/postcode/b988aa/page/1/radius/1501?logcode=p

Better still, no particle filters or DMF's! MB Dealer servicing is pricey, but there are good independents around who'll do it for much more reasonable money.

Edit - Or a Skoda Octavia, but I don't know much about the reliability of the newer ones. They still seem fairly popular as taxis though, so they must be OK.

Now that's one I hadn't considered. It does look comfy :)

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Now that's one I hadn't considered. It does look comfy :)

Beemer diesels seems to be reliable enough, 4-pots anyway. Mostly variants of the same 2-litre unit.

Check Honest John's forum too. He advises against buying a high mileage diesel.

The last thing you want is to pour the fuel savings into a replacement dmf\turbo.

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The last thing you want is to pour the fuel savings into a replacement dmf\turbo.

This is a bit of a special case. He is going to rack up 125k in 4 years, which is basically going to kill whatever it is he drives. It is not a bad idea to get a medium mileage diesel for beans and anticipate that the DMF + turbo will fail, and budget for it. So rather than paying big money for a low mileage car, you pay peanuts for a higher miler and have cash in hand for the big ticket items - which may go wrong as well with the 'better' car.

As to Alfa reliability, it is no worse than anything else these days. And you can get lowish mileage diesels for beans. Budget to replace the entire engine and drivetrain, you're still winning....

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1. Most cars that have been near a back street dealer in their life will have been clocked.

2. Mileage is no guarantee of condition.

3. 2 bad owners are worse than 10 careful owners.

4. A great condition car with no service history is still great condition car.

5. 100k on long motorway journey is better for a car than 50k on short town journeys.

There is only one rule to car buying. Take someone with you who knows about cars, and buy the car based on condition.

The other stuff like service history and number of owners are just clues to help you decide.

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  • 243 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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