Deal breaker or not? Buying a car with issues

When most people buy a car, they’re looking for something that’s in the best possible condition for their budget. However, if you’re prepared to take on something with a few issues and resolve them yourself, you’re likely to get a lot more for your money.

Of course, it all depends on your level of skill, your patience and how much you’re willing to invest in the vehicle. But just like buying a dilapidated house and renovating it, it can be just as satisfying doing this with a car.

Sometimes these issues might be deal breakers and be enough to put you off the car completely- but it shouldn’t always be the case. Here are a few things to consider when you’re buying a car with existing issues.

A non- starter

A car that doesn’t start will put off most people. After all, a car pretty much has one job- to go! Due to the fact that a non starter is almost impossible for a seller to get rid of, the price is likely to be incredibly cheap, even for an expensive or luxurious motor.

If you have a good idea of what the issue is and know how to fix it then it could be worth taking a chance on, but proceed with caution. Even the most experienced car mechanics will turn down a non starter for a project just as there are so many possible causes. Only purchase if you’re sure you know what the problem is, and how much it will cost to fix.

A car that has been written off

Cars that have been involved in accidents and written off by insurers often end up back on the roads at a reduced price. While it can put lots of people off, in many cases an ex-write off can actually be your opportunity to grab a good bargain.

Providing you can check that the work has been done to a high standard, the car is likely to run and work exactly as it once did. Any car you buy could have been involved in an accident and fixed off the books, so just because it has a clear history doesn’t mean you’re getting a pristine vehicle.

If you want a car that’s a little out of your budget, one that has been written off could be a good choice as you can snag it for less.


Excessive amounts of rust can be an issue with cars. Rust is generally a sign that the vehicle hasn’t been well maintained, and this can indicate that other issues might be present too. However, providing it’s not too extreme and hasn’t caused any damage to the structure, it might still be ok to proceed with.

If you search how to remove rust you’ll see it’s fairly easy with the right products. A little rust can be a great bargaining chip, and will probably enable you to knock hundreds off the asking price. Be sure to bear in mind the cost of repairing the paint, some parts might need completely respraying which can add up.

Have you ever purchased a car with existing issues and fixed these up yourself?

** This is a collaborative post

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