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Buying a Focus and have a choice of two - any tips to help me decide?


Mike-Mike
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Hi everyone, 

I'm new here and I hope this kind of question is allowed. 😀

I'm looking at buying a Focus and have seen two contenders. I wonder if anyone might have some advice, things to look for or to avoid when buying? They are both 1.6 diesels.

Option 1. 2011 plate.

(The side-on image below - hopefully the left or top image)

£,3795 (reduced from £3,995 apparently)

  • 109,000 miles
  • FSH
  • 6 months on the MOT
  • Timing belt and water pump done 3k miles ago
  • oil and filter will be changed upon purchase
  • 6 month warranty
  • Engine looked very clean
  • 3 or 4 bits of age-related bodywork damage - big chip on the bonnet, two fair size chip / rust repairs on the boot etc
  • Spare wheel missing (would ask for that to be added)
  • Slight rattle / creak sound from the front at low speed whilst gently decelerating (not necessarily under braking) and gently accelerating
  • Engine stop/start didn't seem to work (tried it with aircon off)
  • Aircon needs re-gassing (they will do this)
  • Trip computer showed average consumption of around 54mpg
  • Seems to drive very nicely (steering, gear change, braking all fine), I couldn't identify any particular worries but I am no expert!

-

Option 2, 2012 plate.

(The angled image below - hopefully on the right or beneath)

£3,490 (although strangely it's gone up by £100 since I test drove it today)

  • 116,000 miles
  • FSH
  • 12 months MOT
  • 1 month warranty
  • Timing belt and water pump need doing and he's asked me to contribute £150 to get that done
  • Will do oil and filter change upon purchase
  • Engine bay was very dirty
  • Body work very good for its age (and I prefer these wheels!)
  • Aircon was cold
  • Average fuel consumption showing as 15mpg! (but wondering if the trip computer had recently been zeroed and he's only taken it around the block?) The live consumption seemed normal.
  • And seemed to drive just as well as the other one - no issues with clutch / gears, brakes, steering etc

-

So, any pointers? Anything stand out as an issue? Anything I've missed? In my guy I'm leaning toward option 2 but both have pros and cons.

Thanks in advance for any help. I recently got stung with a faulty Mk2 so am trying to be extra careful this time.

Cheers!

Mike.

Focus_11_Plate_Option_1.jpg

Focus_12_plate_Option_2.jpg

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Option 2, is that from a main dealer or small independent outfit? 1 month warranty would put me off a little. 

AVG fuel consumption would be low for the reason you suggested in my opinion. 

Stop/start is so hit and miss and requires so many preset criteria to be present. I'd get the battery health checked, as it could need replacing. 

A clean engine bay often tells you less than a dirty one. Why has it been cleaned? A dirty engine bay is honest, it hides very little when it comes to leaks etc. 

Having the belt and pump changed at time of sale gives you reassurance it's definitely been done, and the selling garage would be easier to deal with if there was an issue. 

What are the tyres like, will they need replacing soon? They are both 1.6diesels but are they the same spec? 

The wheels are nicer on option 2 😉 

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Option 1 every time.

Trader is honest in saying it has 6 months warranty, which is a fact even though most will try and tell you they only give 3 months. The timing belt and water pump have already been done at no additional cost to you. So the spare wheel is missing, you can get any amount on eBay for £20. The trip computer shows 54mpg. It's only a guess at what it has been doing since the last time it was reset, don't pay any attention, it may or may not be correct.

Trader 2 is offering a 1 month warranty, even though he must know that legally it is 6 months, so that makes me wonder why ? They want you to pay £150 to change the timing belt. If you buy the car and don't get them to change it, just see how the garage feels in a few months time when the belt snaps and the car is dragged back to them as scrap ! On the plus side you like the wheels, but your buying the whole car.

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5 minutes ago, unofix said:

Option 1 every time.

Trader is honest in saying it has 6 months warranty, which is a fact even though most will try and tell you they only give 3 months. The timing belt and water pump have already been done at no additional cost to you. So the spare wheel is missing, you can get any amount on eBay for £20. The trip computer shows 54mpg. It's only a guess at what it has been doing since the last time it was reset, don't pay any attention, it may or may not be correct.

Trader 2 is offering a 1 month warranty, even though he must know that legally it is 6 months, so that makes me wonder why ? They want you to pay £150 to change the timing belt. If you buy the car and don't get them to change it, just see how the garage feels in a few months time when the belt snaps and the car is dragged back to them as scrap ! On the plus side you like the wheels, but your buying the whole car.

I did wonder about the short warranty, I had in my head it was a requirement to provide at least 6 months but couldn't find the legislation.

The price going up is also weird. 

I might have gone for option 2 due to the better bodywork, but garage reputation would probably be the decider.

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40 minutes ago, Jonro2009 said:

I did wonder about the short warranty, I had in my head it was a requirement to provide at least 6 months but couldn't find the legislation.

This here is about the simplest explanation I can find. It seems more that you are covered by the 'Consumers Rights Act 2015' rather than by an actual warranty.

https://www.car.co.uk/car-warranties/faqs/used-car-warranties/what-is-statutory-warranty-on-a-used-car

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First 6 months after purchase the burden of proof is on the seller to prove that whatever failed was not on its way out at the point of sale. This is basically impossible and a waste of money to try and provide legally so for all intents and purposes when enforcing your legal rights you have 6 month warranty on all car purchases, because it’s cheaper for them to fix than try and prove otherwise. 
 

I too would steer clear of any seller offering less than 6 months warranty as they are trying to avoid their legal obligations and will be a pia if anything goes wrong. 

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The best colour either way, by the look of it - Ink Blue?

Good replies above and I would be swayed by reputation/feedback from recent customers if its available on the web, esp those which describe how they dealt with any problems. i.e. ignore the ones that say "The salesman was helpful and the car was clean when I picked it up last Saturday".

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1 hour ago, Jonro2009 said:

Option 2, is that from a main dealer or small independent outfit? 1 month warranty would put me off a little. 

AVG fuel consumption would be low for the reason you suggested in my opinion. 

Stop/start is so hit and miss and requires so many preset criteria to be present. I'd get the battery health checked, as it could need replacing. 

A clean engine bay often tells you less than a dirty one. Why has it been cleaned? A dirty engine bay is honest, it hides very little when it comes to leaks etc. 

Having the belt and pump changed at time of sale gives you reassurance it's definitely been done, and the selling garage would be easier to deal with if there was an issue. 

What are the tyres like, will they need replacing soon? They are both 1.6diesels but are they the same spec? 

The wheels are nicer on option 2 😉 

Thank you.

They're both from local indie places. Tbh I'm not overrrrrly worried about a 1 month warranty as there's lots of cover in the Consumer Rights Act and Consumer Credit Act (if I part-pay on credit card) to cover for faults. Of course, 6 months would be nice and I'll mention that the other dealer is offering that.

Good point about the engine bay. Tyres were fine on both, no immediate replacements needed.

As for the spec, they're both Zetec Euro 5. Option 1 has a nice little left-arm rest with the cubby cover but that's not make or break.

Thanks for the reply.

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1 hour ago, unofix said:

Option 1 every time.

Trader is honest in saying it has 6 months warranty, which is a fact even though most will try and tell you they only give 3 months. The timing belt and water pump have already been done at no additional cost to you. So the spare wheel is missing, you can get any amount on eBay for £20. The trip computer shows 54mpg. It's only a guess at what it has been doing since the last time it was reset, don't pay any attention, it may or may not be correct.

Trader 2 is offering a 1 month warranty, even though he must know that legally it is 6 months, so that makes me wonder why ? They want you to pay £150 to change the timing belt. If you buy the car and don't get them to change it, just see how the garage feels in a few months time when the belt snaps and the car is dragged back to them as scrap ! On the plus side you like the wheels, but your buying the whole car.

Thank you for the response.

With the 6 month warranty do you mean the effective cover that the Consumer Rights Act gives, or is there something specific with regard to used cars?

LOL, yes - I do like the wheels... not the be-all and end-all for sure! 😄

Thanks again.

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1 hour ago, Jonro2009 said:

I did wonder about the short warranty, I had in my head it was a requirement to provide at least 6 months but couldn't find the legislation.

The price going up is also weird. 

I might have gone for option 2 due to the better bodywork, but garage reputation would probably be the decider.

Thank you.

Yes, I'll also have a dig-around for 6 month warranty legislation. If I find anything I'll link it.

Both garages are pretty new - been in their current locations for around a year for option 2, a bit less for option 1. Apparently option 1 have been in the trade longer and have (or have had) other locations too. Option 1 does have "verified" reviews on Autotrader that are almost universally positive.

Re: the price going up - I'll ask him about it, but I guess he's hoping I wouldn't notice and is hedging against me not wanting to part-pay for the timing belt work.

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1 hour ago, alexp999 said:

First 6 months after purchase the burden of proof is on the seller to prove that whatever failed was not on its way out at the point of sale. This is basically impossible and a waste of money to try and provide legally so for all intents and purposes when enforcing your legal rights you have 6 month warranty on all car purchases, because it’s cheaper for them to fix than try and prove otherwise. 
 

I too would steer clear of any seller offering less than 6 months warranty as they are trying to avoid their legal obligations and will be a pia if anything goes wrong. 

Thank you, that's useful.

I did regale him with my woes with the faulty Mk2 and said should anything go wrong within the requisite time-frames that I would reject and be back for a refund which he was verbally very amenable to. Words are easier than deeds I guess though.

I mentioned about CRA and the right to reject for refund etc and he didn't seem fazed by it.

I may be over-thinking it but I'm ultra-cautious having just been stung.

For 10-11 year old cars, they were pretty damn good tbh.

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21 minutes ago, alanfp said:

The best colour either way, by the look of it - Ink Blue?

Good replies above and I would be swayed by reputation/feedback from recent customers if its available on the web, esp those which describe how they dealt with any problems. i.e. ignore the ones that say "The salesman was helpful and the car was clean when I picked it up last Saturday".

LOL, tbh a lot of the reviews for option 1 dealer are like that! A few do mention easy resolution of issues.

No reviews for the other that I could see but I'll have another look.

Ah, good to know it's the best colour 😄 - they're both the same, and if you reckon it's Ink Blue then I'll go with that.

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21 minutes ago, Mike-Mike said:

A few do mention easy resolution of issues.

That's a good sign IMHO.

 

Sometimes difficult to tell colours from photos, but they both look like mine, you see, hence my comment! 

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I'd choose the blue one! :wink: 

Seriously, option 1 looks better overall BUT... 

The AC won't just need a regas.  Mk3's are notorious for minor gas leaks.  If it's regassed you'll probably find it only works for a month or so.

The spare wheel is probably missing because it was rusty from a water leak in the boot.  Easyish fix, by resealing the rear vents behind the bumper.  Not a deal breaker, but something to be aware of.

Lastly, check the MOT history online.  Minors or advisories might suggest what the creak/rattle is at the front end.

 

As for the wheels on option 2...they'll be a right pain to clean, would avoid those myself! :laugh: 

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I love this thread! £3500 is a budget many would have to buy a car (except me where that would be 3 times my budget LOL). It reinforces to me that once the government has banned proper cars, and forced us into battery ones, that the choice for consumers will increasingly dwindle from a potential  affordable set of wheels, and many will have no choice at all.

To quote that famous 20th century philosopher, (Elton John), "it's a sad sad situation...."

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Deffo check the MOT history on line as it gives you a very idea on the life its had previously.

As for the wheels, you can also buy a set of wheels on eBay for a couple of hundred quid.

Stop start on the MK3 isnt an issue, should work all the time (ours did).

Mpg you will be getting a minimum of 50mpg around town and easily up to 70mpg on a run if your fairly light footed. Ours returned 64mpg overall but it was remapped.

Good luck.

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1 hour ago, Wino said:

Stop start on the MK3 isnt an issue, should work all the time (ours did).

You're one of the more fortunate ones. Most don't. After working sporadically for a week or two after we'd bought our Mk3 (probably because the dealer had charged the battery) it didn't work again for four years, until I put a new battery on exactly 2 years ago. It then worked reliably until a couple of months ago and now it's not working again at all, in spite of all our journeys being extra-urban and at leat 30 minutes on main roads. I can't be arsed to keep putting the battery on charge and it's going to be traded in anyway in the next few weeks. It's replacement won't be a Ford.

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4 hours ago, TomsFocus said:

I'd choose the blue one! :wink: 

Seriously, option 1 looks better overall BUT... 

The AC won't just need a regas.  Mk3's are notorious for minor gas leaks.  If it's regassed you'll probably find it only works for a month or so.

The spare wheel is probably missing because it was rusty from a water leak in the boot.  Easyish fix, by resealing the rear vents behind the bumper.  Not a deal breaker, but something to be aware of.

Lastly, check the MOT history online.  Minors or advisories might suggest what the creak/rattle is at the front end.

 

As for the wheels on option 2...they'll be a right pain to clean, would avoid those myself! :laugh: 


Thank you, that’s useful. Yes, I’ve read about the wet boot and handy to know about the aircon.

 I’ll re-check the MOT history.

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1 hour ago, Wino said:

Deffo check the MOT history on line as it gives you a very idea on the life its had previously.

As for the wheels, you can also buy a set of wheels on Ebay for a couple of hundred quid.

Stop start on the MK3 isnt an issue, should work all the time (ours did).

Mpg you will be getting a minimum of 50mpg around town and easily up to 70mpg on a run if your fairly light footed. Ours returned 64mpg overall but it was remapped.

Good luck.


Thank you, good to know about the stop/start.

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1 hour ago, mjt said:

You're one of the more fortunate ones. Most don't. After working sporadically for a week or two after we'd bought our Mk3 (probably because the dealer had charged the battery) it didn't work again for four years, until I put a new battery on exactly 2 years ago. It then worked reliably until a couple of months ago and now it's not working again at all, in spite of all our journeys being extra-urban and at leat 30 minutes on main roads. I can't be arsed to keep putting the battery on charge and it's going to be traded in anyway in the next few weeks. It's replacement won't be a Ford.

We only did around 4k to 5k a year in it. Odd why others with more travelling and mileage were/are having issues.

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Before I put the new battery on I first fully charged it with my CTek charger then after installing it I cleared all codes and reset the BMS as recommended by @JW1982. It seems now the battery has lost a smidgeon of capacity it's decided not to work again. To be honest I've never been bothered about it not working as it saves wear and tear on the starter and ring gear. With the journeys we do it usually only operated when we reached our destination anyway. A total waste of time.

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3 hours ago, mjt said:

Before I put the new battery on I first fully charged it with my CTek charger then after installing it I cleared all codes and reset the BMS as recommended by @JW1982. It seems now the battery has lost a smidgeon of capacity it's decided not to work again. To be honest I've never been bothered about it not working as it saves wear and tear on the starter and ring gear. With the journeys we do it usually only operated when we reached our destination anyway. A total waste of time.

Perhaps it's to do with your MK3 being a petrol and not a diesel ? 

 

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I can't see what difference that makes. Presumably they both only charge the battery to 80% capacity, or are you saying it's due to different batteries? Does the diesel have a higher A-H or CCA capacity?

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1 hour ago, mjt said:

I can't see what difference that makes. Presumably they both only charge the battery to 80% capacity, or are you saying it's due to different batteries? Does the diesel have a higher A-H or CCA capacity?

I'm presuming the diesel would have a heavier duty battery than the petrol version.

If you think the stop start is bad on a MK3 don't go anywhere near a mk4.

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