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Reliable second hand car for €3,000?

Question

Hi,  I bought my first car in October 2009, a ’96 Golf. I bought it for €1,100 and I love it because it’s my first car and now I’m finding it hard to let go! I’ve had quite a bit of work done on it, but in the last few months, I haven’t felt very safe in it. It’s an old car and I think it might be time to upgrade, to something in the 00 range perhaps! I travel to work by car Mon-Fri and I use the car on business trips. So I will be using the car a lot. In terms of budget, I suppose realistically I could only spend up to €3,000, but I’d rather spend less of course! Any recommendations on a good brand/model that I should check out would be greatly appreciated!
Le meas, Caitríona Bairéad

Answer
Hi Caitríona,
Many thanks for the question. The obvious choice in your price range, given that you love your first Golf, is a 2000 VW Golf. You could also get a 2002 Ford Focus for similar money alternatively. Other ideas would be a Honda Accord, looked after properly the Accord is extremely reliable  and taken care of they will run forever. Also if you don’t need space or seats the Mazda MX-5 is easy to live with and great fun to drive.  It’s not the world’s bestselling soft-top sports car for nothing!
The  best rule of thumb is to consider what ten year old+ cars are still on the road in decent numbers; both the  Ford Focus and VW Golf are still going strong with 00 upward plates abundant on the road. Also Japanese cars are always worth considering as they are generally the most trouble-free.
Remember buying an older car means all the problems that show up after three years commonly such as trouble with windows, locks, doors and warning lights and those appearing after five years like brake problems become far more common. In addition problems may occur with shocks, and struts. Whatever you are thinking of buying, take it for a drive and at the very least make sure it has road-legal tyres and a valid NCT certificate.

Best of luck and if you need anything else just give us a shout!.

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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