Looking for Used Car under $5000

Hi guys,

I am new in Australia on student visa. So I've got few questions on different categories which I am trying to get suggestions from forums. Just searching for used hatchback car under 5K with automatic transmission. I'd prefer a car with less maintenance cost, cheaper spare parts (which brands have cheaper parts?) and anything that will minimize my financial burden as a student. People are mostly suggesting to go for Toyota, Mazda or Mitsubishi. Found some cars which I have listed below.

  1. Toyota Echo 2003 (private seller-3.5K, no remote)
  2. Toyota Echo 2002 (dealer-4K)
  3. Hyundai Getz 2009 (dealer-4.5K, with small dents from hail)
  4. Mitsubishi Mirage 2003 (dealer-4.2K)
  5. Mazda 323 2003 (private seller-3.9K)

I hope you guys can help me by suggesting one from above or direct me to any other listings you know about. Also what should I check during inspection of the car- technically, papers, registration, insurance or anything else? Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • +2 votes

    If you are not confident enough to check a car over then do get it inspected. Mobile mechanics may be the easiest way unless there is a reputable mechanic near where the car is being sold.
    Most cars of that price range come with problems.. some small and some major and expensive so be warned.
    Do you have a friend, fellow student or a relative that could help? Two heads are better than one.
    Just like in any other country people selling cars usually lie… It is up to you to check.
    A few cars here from gumtree… dont be afraid to look at something around $6k and if it is a good car then offer your $5k cash… nothing to lose and a positive buyer usually swings the deal.
    DO get third party property damage insurance before you drive it away…!!
    A few cars here… just had a quick look… (may not be a hatch.. up to you if that is mandatory)
    https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/prospect/cars-vans-utes/toyo...
    https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/dudley-park/cars-vans-utes/2...
    https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/plympton/cars-vans-utes/toyo...

    Toyotas are my pick when shopping for older cars…
    Be careful… I have seen people go looking for a $5k car and a few months later they have spent a few K more to make it reliable.

    • +3 votes

      "Most cars of that price range come with problems.. some small and some major and expensive so be warned."

      Disagree. Sure, there are risks, but there are also plenty of cars at that price that have a lot of reliable life left too. The trick is that for older cars you need to be prepared to spend a little if something goes wrong, and you need to have some mechanical know how to be able to assess the risk.

      Buying a car at $5k from a dealer, you could probably get the same car privately for $3k. There won't be a warranty from the dealer unless you 'buy' one. The only difference from a licensed dealer is guarantee of title, but you can do your own PPSR search before buying privately to negate that.

      •  

        Very few people have the knowledge or skill to assess a used car. Even those that pretend to…
        True… some do have some reliable life left… but if you want to get into nitty gritty…
        say you buy one and it needs a timing belt… most cant do that themselves… can be up to $2000 and again most people will have no idea if it needs replacing soon anyway… also consumables… brakes ? $300, tyres.. $500 for cheapies, battery $150, cv joints, etc etc etc… It does not take long to rack up $$$s on that car that attracted you with its pretty wheels and radio with the flashing lights…

        •  

          there are plenty of people out there with enough knowledge to buy a $5k car, most of them have been doing it for years and have learned how to pick a better one.

          Having said that, if you are asking for advice here, you don't know wpenough about cars to be able to pick the difference.

    •  

      @xywolap Thanks for your suggestion. Since I'm just learning to drive, I am focusing for hatchbacks (due to smaller size than sedan) as well as automatic ones. What do "Registered: No" and "Doesn't have service history" mean in Toyota Corolla Conquest you have suggested above?

      @Euphemistic I'm a newbie when it comes to driving. And being an international student here, do not have much idea about cars. What is PPSR search?

    •  

      xywolap Thanks for your suggestion. Since I'm just learning to drive, I am focusing for hatchbacks (due to smaller size than sedan) as well as automatic ones. What do "Registered: No" and "Doesn't have service history" mean in Toyota Corolla Conquest you have suggested above?

      Euphemistic I'm a newbie when it comes to driving. And being an international student here, do not have much idea about cars. What is PPSR search?

  • +4 votes

    skip the dealers, dodgy as

  • -3 votes

    buy a bike

  • +2 votes

    Definitely Toyota, try and find a 90 series Yaris (2005 onwards) over an Echo, as most Echos have just a driver's airbag and nothing else in the safety department. With a Yaris the minimum in safety is dual airbags and ABS brakes, with factory option of side, curtain and driver knee airbags. Also, the 90 series Yaris has versatile rear seating that besides folding can be moved back and forth to give you more cargo space if needed.

    Can you drive a manual? There's bucketloads of cheap Yaris manuals floating about in SA.

    Other option is to look at a ZZE-122R Corolla (late 2001 thru early 2007), in an Ascent Sport, Conquest or Levin for the extra bit of safety and features over the povo pack Ascent.

    Found this '05 Conquest for you.

    •  

      Just learning to drive so I'd prefer automatic over manual. Liked your recommended Conquest, however, my only concern is odometer (200,130 km). What I've read for buying used car is to look for one that has lower KM (below 200,000km and preferably under 150,000km).

      • +2 votes

        The reason I recommended Toyota is, they are bulletproof, if maintained properly. Don't be scared of the km if the vehicle has excellent service history. You need to increase your budget for lower km anyway.

  •  

    Without a doubt, get a Corolla Sportivo. Should be able to find fairly low KM model and one that fits your budget. Mad!

  •  

    International licence holders should be forced to wear an I plate to distinguish them from local licence holders. Don't skimp out on insurance for your sake and others.

  • +1 vote

    Toyota Echo
    Mazda 323 Hatchback 1999 - 2003 models

    Both very solid second hand cars. Especially the Mazda 323.

    My advice is to make sure you test drive 4-5 of the same type of car. You will get a feel for which cars run better than others - go for the one that drives the smoothest :)

  •  

    All of your options have very small engine, those car will only be useful to commute around the city. You'll be having a hard time if you want to use it to travel around. I would personally prefer Honda Jazz, Toyota Yaris, Mazda 2, or Suzuki Swift. You will be able to get those car within your budget if you're okay with older year or higher mileage.

    If you don't have knowledge about car, I suggest you spend ~$250 for a pre-purchase inspection. This will save you a lot, as buying a car under $5000 is a hit and miss. If you happen to get a lemon, you might have to spend more than $1000 just to get the car on the road.

    Just a small tip based on my experience on looking for a Good and Cheap Car on gumtree or any other site. I usually don't bother with ad that has been posted for more than 2 days, cause a good and cheap car usually won't last. Ofc, you need to observe for new ads everyday, but it will save you thousands of dollar.

  •  

    Bought Yaris 2007 model (odometer 97,000 KMs) for 6K.

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