First Time Buyer: Need a Used Car - Budget under $8k

Hi All,

I need few suggestions as I am buying a car for first time and that too I will need to go for a used one.

I saw few ads and dont know how to decide. I have been asked to get the inspection done but it seems to be a costly affair specially when you dont end up buying the car you got inspected.

I checked online and inspections start at $270, do you know any one cheaper?

Also any suggestions on what can be the best second hand car under 8k.



  • You're going to have to specify more than that.

    • Which state
    • Average driving distance
    • Auto or Manual

    Most likely just look for a Corolla circle 2008 from a dealer if you don't know how to inspect a car.

  • do you know any one cheaper?

    I have a cousin in Doo Town (TAS) who does them for $150. Are you near there?

  • 2014 Toyota Yaris

  • I've got a fully sic Hyundai Excel for sale bro. 0 to 100 in 20 seconds. Nice rims and I'll throw in my subs. Mates rates!

  • As you are new here: The usual response is Toyota. Camry or Corolla depending on your needs.

    But to be properly recommended a car you need to describe what your needs/wants are. We could spend a week going backwards and forwards offering suggestions only for you to have already decided you don’t want that one because xxx.

    So is it:
    Just commuting?
    Weekend travel or holidays?. Highway or only urban.
    How many passengers, how often. No point getting a 7 seater if you only drive to the station.
    How much luggage storage space and what will you carry? Just a handbag or going camping for a week at a time. Shopping for one or a family etc.
    Will you think about carting stuff on roof racks, trailer.

    Once you’ve decided what category car you want, come back and ask us to help you decide between 2-3 vehicles.

  • I have a car to sell if you don't want to do a mechanical inspection.. and also only $7,999 under your budget!

  • what city

  • Here is a basic guide Link Best thing is to get a "car person" to help. Download and print used car checklists. Aim to look at five - ten cars. Fill in the checklist and write any notes. Dealer would be simpler, but generally more expensive. Private sales can save money, but are riskier. Ex government or ex lease auctions can be good. You still need to check the car in all cases. Also, check the title with PPSR for $2.95. It always is a good idea to do this check yourself.

  • Buy a toyota/or a car in warrantry- that way you know that there arent any major problems otherwise they would have taken it to fix it

  • Do your research, keep a close eye on the market, Gumtree/Carsales. It can take a few months to understand what the prices are for cars that sell. Once one comes up and it's a good price pounce on it, hesitate and you'll miss it.

    I bought a second hand car about 12 months ago, just before the market shot up. I was going to get a pre purchase check, bit the mechanic said that the RACV check was essentially identical to a roadworthy but they also check the entertainment unit, so if you do get a pre purchase check make sure it's providing you with more detail than just a rwc.

  • Will buying car from a used car dealer a safer option for first car owner?

    I think some dealers offer 1 year warranty?

    Also, as dealer is in a fixed site where you can always come and visit them, I assume they are less likely being "too" dodgy because if they know something really wrong with the car and they still sell it a premium, they have risks of people suing the company?

    Having said that, i would recommend go to a dealer based on google review, just in case there are dealers out there doing what they are not supposed to do as well.

    They downside is, the price could potentially be more expensive than if you bought it directly from a private seller. But as a first car owner and if you know less about car, i think this would be a safer option.

  • Toyota. Any model. With minimal investment such as 6 monthly regular servicing with quality parts and oils, fill up only with quality fuel such as shell or bp (do not use 7eleven or generic / independent servos), you will most likely have years and years of trouble free motoring

    Source: personal experience

    P.S. I dont think it matters WHERE you buy dealer/ gumtree / carsales etc, just take someone with you who has a reasonable knowledge of cars

    • Ah the good old myth of "different quality petrol"… they all come from the same port mate.

  • Best bet is to go a manual and not an auto, then you avoid transmission problems. Avoid a diesels, they are hugely expensive to fix. Do you want to be able to move gear, maybe a Ute? Hatches are better than sedans, they have more room and a rear wiper! 6 cylinder for towing or turbo 4 and is fuel price an issue?

    • How does manual avoid transmission problems?

      • Manual is simpler, less to go wrong than an auto. BUT a clutch is guaranteed to wear out while an auto might last the life of the vehicle without maintenance if nothing goes wrong.

  • Mazda 3 / 6's and Toyota's from around 12 -15 years ago (generally).

    Simple 4 or 6 cylinder petrol NA engines that are reliable and simple to service.
    Insurance, parts and repairs are cost efficient.

    Subaru's are good too, but the AWD eats into fuel and adds weight/rear axle/diff componentry.

    This is OzBargain: Save money, then spend it on other things on Amazon/Ebay.

  • Dear OP

    Like you have no idea so we dont either

    No idea about you
    No idea about your family
    No idea why you want a car
    No idea what you expect from a car
    No idea if you want performance, economy, passenger, transit, uber driver or whatever type car
    No idea if you need a small car or a big car or a wagon or a van or a bus or a truck

    I think you need to get your act together mate and make some preliminary decisions on your own.

    But in short to answer your question look for the best car under $8K
    By that I mean:

    Lowest kilometres
    Very well serviced and with a service record AND receipts
    Longest rego
    Newest model
    In the best cosmetic condition but watch out for dealers who detail thier cars so even a bomb looks great!

    Brand matters not as all the above trump Brand

    • So a shiny haval/mg with lower kms, some warranty is better than a corolla or i30?

      • At that price you are looking at 200,000km in Corolla or i30 and much older models so YES!

        Ive probably bought and sold a lot more cars than anyone else here so I think my advice is with worth considering.

        Seen many people buy the typical Toyota with high kms only to end up with huge problems and repair bills.
        Owning a Corolla does not equate to low travel, regular maintenance etc.

        In fact when compared with other cars at the same price point Toyota Corollas are usually much older with more wear and tear and possibly not as well maintained.

        As i said, dont stick to any brand, rather stick to the CRITERIA!

        • I’ve also had my share of cars and know my way around a spanner.

          Brand/model is definitely part of the criteria. If you are buying an $8k car you need to consider availability of parts. Cheap brands are typically less reliable. Rated models are harder to get parts for and often more expensive for those parts.

          Since we have no other criteria than $8k car, you can get a low km Yaris easily for the price. Take you pick of 12yo 70k km or 6yo 120-150k km - or anything in between.

          • @Euphemistic: I dont disagree but your inital argument is flawed.
            Hyundai and Kia were once considered cheap and less reliable.

            So were Japanese cars when they first came to Australia

            I stand by the FACT that a used car that is NEWER, has been regularly serviced and with low kilometres will ALWAYS be the better buy. Especially with long rego.

            People like you put too much focus on Toyota.
            They are just like in other car seriously. There is no magic about them.
            If you service a car regularly and treat it with respect and TLC it will last a long time.
            This basic rule of thumb applies to every car on the road with few exceptions
            I can tell you that many Toyotas have been neglected and are a very poor choice.
            But their popularity alone sells them and then buyers suffer the consequences of buying an old, run down car just because its a Toyota.

            There are a few brands to avoid though so it does work in reverse and you simply exclude these from your list.

            I had a friend stranded in Forster because they had a mechanical problem with a VW Jetta.
            It was only a few years old but took over 2 weeks to get the parts to Forster hence unwanted extended holiday.

            As per your argument on parts - European cars in general are to be avoided due to higher insurance and servicing costs and high cost of parts (if you can readily get them). Including those badged under Ford and Holden but made in Europe

            PS Pls define "cheap brands typically less reliable" - give specific examples. A Yaris is a CHEAP brand for example.
            Mitsubishi Lancers are also typically cheap to buy but also cheap to run and VERY RELIABLE!
            So again a flawed argument without qualification

            • @Amayzingone:

              I had a friend stranded in Forster because they had a mechanical problem with a VW Jetta.

              I think as you continued your argument there you ended up agreeing that brand does matter.

              End of the day, I’m in the same boat as many in that if I were looking for an $8k car (for arguments sake Mazda 3 sized) my shortlist would immediately be Japanese or Korean and I would recommend the same to others.

              Anything Chinese is out, regardless if I could get a much newer lower km model, my experience says they are cheap for a reason and usually that is cheaper lower quality parts and equipment, not necessarily the drivetrain. Most euro is out due to it being out of warranty and likely have high parts prices.

              I stand by the FACT that a used car that is NEWER, has been regularly serviced and with low kilometres will ALWAYS be the better buy. Especially with long rego.

              So you’d rather buy a Haval than a Toyota/Mitsubishi/Hyundai? If it is a bit newer and has less kms? I’d hazard a guess probably not. I certainly wouldn’t and could not recommend anyone else do it either - especially in the $8k range

              To your ‘PS’ point, cheap brands are at the moment Chinese. Yes, back in the day Japanese was rubbish as was Korean. Both have now lifted their game and are well built and reliable. Yaris is not a cheap brand, it is a Toyota. Lancer is not a cheap brand either, it is Mitsubishi. Both are cheaper models compared to larger models from the same brand because they are smaller/smallest.

              Chinese models now are cheap because they are built down to a price so they use cheaper plastics, thinner metals etc. give them 20 years and theyll probably be better quality and be replaced in the market by another cheap brand.

  • You are putting words in my mouth
    Pls dont do that
    The truth is we agree on the basics. yes you would always choose a Japanese car first over anything else including Korean.
    But it must fit THE CRITERIA !

    I never mentioned Chinese and would not consider at this stage though DO NOT under-estimate the Chinese
    Unless you have been to China you have no idea what you are talking about my friend.
    They are now the biggest car manufacturer in the world !
    They have so much demand that they can only supply China and SE Asia.
    Arguably such huge demand does not come with unrelaible cars.

    • Your original premise was that brand doesn’t matter at all and now you are saying it does. I don’t really see where I put words in your mouth.

      Anyway, this is all pointless discussion as OP appears to be a one post wonder and hasn’t come back to give us an idea what sort of car they want to allow any meaningful recommendation.