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Cars for basic travel

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BrokenDoll
BrokenDoll Community member Posts: 6 Listener
Does anyone know which cars cope best with low usage?

I need an Automatic with at least 4 seats (that fits 2 car seats) other than that I'm not fussy I just want practical/working.

I live rural but not too far from a town center and currently drive approx. 600-700 miles per year (about 15 miles per week to shops etc... occasionally into the city for hospital etc... but not that often. In winter I can't get out and about due to ice/snow so for about 2 months a year its barely used). 

My current car is a nightmare, mechanics say thats because its 'not driven enough' so everything seizes/dies/rusts then needs a tonne of work every year (especially in December/January when its barely used due to the snow and ice). It only takes 7 days of not being driven to completely die.

There must be some kind of car designed for just basic local running around tasks that doesn't require hundreds of miles a week constantly just to stay working. 

Anyone else who uses their car just to do local basic shopping runs etc... what kind of car do you have and do you have the same issues?

Comments

  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community member Posts: 14,984 Disability Gamechanger
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    I think most modern simple petrol cars should be able to cope with that, I know a few people who have cars used similarly to you and they have few or no issues. A Fiesta, Kia Picanto and a Mazda 3 off the top of my head. All petrol and I believe are all simple with no turbochargers or hybrids. What is your current car? Also would help to know your budget to suggest something different.
  • BrokenDoll
    BrokenDoll Community member Posts: 6 Listener
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    I currently have a 20 year old Honda Jazz. I was offered £2000 for my car if I sell it. 

    I don't have much money right now as I just lost a PIP appeal, I was hoping to sell stuff and get together a few thousand more if I can to have a budget of maybe £4-5k but I probably can't afford anything 'new'. I assume I'll be looking at something over 10 years old in my budget.
  • OverlyAnxious
    OverlyAnxious Community member Posts: 2,796 Disability Gamechanger
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    Sadly, no car is designed for such low usage.  When you consider the cost of a brand new car, no one could justify such a high price for so few miles, so cars simply aren't designed for it.  Car makers are not interested in what happens to older cars once they've passed the warranty period.

    The Honda Jazz is still one of the best options you'll have, but ultimately things like brakes, steering and suspension are more or less the same setup on every car.  They all need to be used regularly to prevent them from seizing up.

    A full electric vehicle would be better for your usage than a petrol or diesel engine, but obviously they will not be in budget.  You would also need access to a plug point to charge it.  You could look at the Citroen Ami as a very small EV, but they are not really designed for countryside use, best for town driving.

    Modern petrol and diesel cars have a lot of 12v battery faults, most will suffer from low battery faults with low mileage or long periods left unused.  This is due to the emissions regulations from around 2010 which only charge the battery to around 80% to save 'wasting' fuel charging it to 100%.  And the fact that modern cars have more electrics working in the background.

    So, having accepted that no car is actually designed for this, my recommendations would be:

    Small vehicle
    Petrol engine
    Basic to mid spec - The fewer 'options' on the car, the less battery charge will be drained
    No wet cambelt - That rules out 1.0 EcoBoost and 1.2 PureTech for example.  Ideally a chain is best, but a dry cambelt is an acceptable compromise.
    No keyless entry - This keeps part of the car awake all the time searching for keys, which drains the battery


    So my personal suggestions would be 1.25 Ford Fiesta, 1.2 Vauxhall Corsa, 1.2 Fiat 500, 1.2 Suzuki Swift or a newer model Honda Jazz.
  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community member Posts: 14,984 Disability Gamechanger
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    I knew you'd be along @OverlyAnxious not trying to step on your territory as you know far more than me but I had a car with a timing chain and that most definitely needed changing just like a belt, not sure if all cars with chains are the same or maybe I just got a bad one but I think when the manufacturer says it's "sealed for life" or whatever that just means it's good for the warranty period, they don't really care if it goes wrong after that.

    Out of curiosity I put all the OP's requirements and budget into AutoTrader and quite a few Vauxhall Astras from 2014-2017 ish or so came up, with reasonable mileage, they seem like a decent car for the money but I don't know anything about them!!
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,110 Disability Gamechanger
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    If you’re only doing 15 miles per week then I have to ask is it worth spending all that money on a car? Can you use a taxi? This would surely be much better for you and would save you a lot of money. When you take into consideration the insurance, tax, fuel, MOTs, that’s a big cost for just 15 miles. 
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 12,112 Disability Gamechanger
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    Have to agree with Poppy if you only intend driving 600-700 miles a year i.e on average 12-14 miles a week is the cost of a car really worth it when you add in tax, insurance,servicing and petrol plus the cost of a car and its depreciation surely it would be cheaper to use either buses and/or taxis ?

    2024 Election won

  • OverlyAnxious
    OverlyAnxious Community member Posts: 2,796 Disability Gamechanger
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    66Mustang said:
    I knew you'd be along @OverlyAnxious not trying to step on your territory as you know far more than me but I had a car with a timing chain and that most definitely needed changing just like a belt, not sure if all cars with chains are the same or maybe I just got a bad one but I think when the manufacturer says it's "sealed for life" or whatever that just means it's good for the warranty period, they don't really care if it goes wrong after that.

    Out of curiosity I put all the OP's requirements and budget into AutoTrader and quite a few Vauxhall Astras from 2014-2017 ish or so came up, with reasonable mileage, they seem like a decent car for the money but I don't know anything about them!!
    BMW did have an issue with chains, but that wasn't caused by the chain itself, it was caused by faulty plastic chain tensioners.  In general, chains shouldn't need replacing even at 15 or 20 years old.

    The main benefit of a chain over a belt is that they very rarely break under normal circumstances.  They can stretch and rattle, which is annoying and slightly reduces performance and economy, but doesn't do any harm to the engine.  Rubber belts can snap or teeth get stripped off without any prior warning which causes total engine destruction when pistons hit valves at 2000 RPM.  

    Dry belts generally last a while, many will do 10 years or more.  But wet belts that are run in oil can get damaged very quickly when the wrong oil is used, or if the car is used for lots of short & cold journeys, or if it's left parked for long periods.  I couldn't recommend anyone buying a 10 year old vehicle with a wet belt, and definitely not for the type of use the OP is suggesting.

    The Astra is probably a bit bigger than the OP needs and they do appear to offer good value for money.  Must admit I had 2 Vectra's, both full of problems, and there were another two Vauxhalls in the family that seemed to be constantly breaking as well.  Trouble is, they can sell them cheaply by making them cheaply, which often means lower quality parts, and those are the ones that wear, rust and seize more quickly.  I will add that Vauxhall is now part of Peugeot, so modern Vauxhalls can't be considered in the same way as 10 year old ones.
  • cake38
    cake38 Community member Posts: 10 Listener
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    For short trips like yours, petrol cars are usually more reliable. Models like the Honda Jazz or Toyota Yaris are great for this. They're automatic, have enough space for your needs, and they don't mind sitting idle for a while. and if you're comparing cars from different countries, you might see speed in mph or kph. I usually check them with this speed converter.

    And a tip for the winter months: consider a trickle charger to keep the battery in shape when you're not driving much. 🚗💨

  • cake38
    cake38 Community member Posts: 10 Listener
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    woodbine said:
    Have to agree with Poppy if you only intend driving 600-700 miles a year i.e on average 12-14 miles a week is the cost of a car really worth it when you add in tax, insurance,servicing and petrol plus the cost of a car and its depreciation surely it would be cheaper to use either buses and/or taxis ?
    you've got a point there. With the kind of mileage you're talking about, it does seem like the costs of owning a car could outweigh the benefits. 
     Plus, no worries about the car sitting unused for long periods. It's definitely worth considering, especially for infrequent city trips or when the weather turns bad.

  • cake38
    cake38 Community member Posts: 10 Listener
    Options

    For short trips like yours, petrol cars are usually more reliable. Models like the Honda Jazz or Toyota Yaris are great for this. They're automatic, have enough space for your needs, and they don't mind sitting idle for a while. and if you're comparing cars from different countries, you might see speed in mph or kph. I usually check them with this speed converter.

    And a tip for the winter months: consider a trickle charger to keep the battery in shape when you're not driving much. 🚗💨

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