Should I buy a used Focus auto with high mileage?

My wife and I are buying our first car and are looking at second hand Focus automatics. We're keen on the Focus due to the excellent road tests and apparent low maintenance costs.
We don't have a lot to spend (4000) which means that we are looking at vehicles with mileage of 80,000+
1) Are we better off to forget the Focus and buy a cheaper car with lower mileage (e.g. Pug 106/306)? 2) If we go for it, are there any particular questions to ask the seller (e.g. cambelt change)? 3) Anything particular to watch re: automatic transmission on Focus?
Thanks for your thoughts. Tim
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Hi Tim,
Try http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/home/index.htm he writes a motoring column for the Saturday Torygruff. Search his pages and you should find known problems, recalls, likes etc etc on most if not all UK cars.
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Also check/compare insurance and licensing fees.

No. :-)

Maintenance records, oil changes, repair charges, gas consumption record... Also get a independent mechanic to verify it's condition and road worthiness. Do a lien check. Cross-check the asking price with a Black Book or other reliable price-checking mechanism. Kick the tires - yes, seriously! Especially check the amount and type of wear that might indicate problems with the suspension, wrong air pressure, etc.

Euro versions are different than NA. If you were buying NA, I would recommend 2002 or later model year. The 2000 models were beset with engineering problems as they tried to take the Euro version over to NA with as few changes as possible.
**WHY** would you want to buy a vehicle with high mileage as opposed to low mileage? More wear and tear vs. less would seem to be counterproductive as you would be buying more problems. The best vehicle to purchase is usually a 1 or 2 yr old low mileage vehicle with no accidents or rust. That way, the largest share of the depreciation is swallowed by the original user and you still have some warranty left on the vehicle. 4000 or roughly 10K Canadian might be able to net you a 3 yr old vehicle. I can understand the desire to spend as little as possible according to a budget but deliberately looking for a high mileage vehicle is not necessarily the best way to go about it. Anything older than 3 years and you will likely need to put money into the vehicle for repairs of some sort so the lowest initial cost isn't always the best cost indicator of owning that vehicle.
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wrote:

On the other hand, buying a two year old car with 20,000 miles on the clock can be bad news. It may be that the orignal owner bought it, found lots and lots of problems, then sold it as soon as they could afford something newer.
Or something three years old and just 12,000 miles. Not good if the owner drives the three miles to and from work each day and has the odd shopping trip at weekends. I'd rather buy something much higher mileage at three years...

Subject to budget of course.

It does depend though. For the fleet I helped managed we used to buy stuff that was around a year old, but then for a fleet, budget is less of an issue.
I've bought two (small) cars that were inside a year old with under 10,000 miles. I've also bought two larger cars (Mondeo, same as the Contour, and an Accord) with around 70,000 miles and being four or more years old. None have had any real issues although the Accord is the most likely (the most recent purchase) since it has more gadgets to break.
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My wife and I are buying our first car and are looking at second hand Focus automatics. We're keen on the Focus due to the excellent road tests and apparent low maintenance costs.
We don't have a lot to spend (4000) which means that we are looking at vehicles with mileage of 80,000+
1) Are we better off to forget the Focus and buy a cheaper car with lower mileage (e.g. Pug 106/306)? 2) If we go for it, are there any particular questions to ask the seller (e.g. cambelt change)? 3) Anything particular to watch re: automatic transmission on Focus?
****
As I understand, the Focus automatics are all 1.6s and use a CVT box... not known to be especially long lived either.
4,000 buys a *lot* of cars, but the Focus keeps its value. I shied away from the Focus when I needed to replace because I insisted on "TDCi" since I wasn't going to compromise with an inferior petrol version. :-) The only Focus diesels in my price range were higher mileage, but untidy with it. I've no problems buying something with 130,000 on the clock that looks genuine, but not when it looks knackered...
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not
I
If you want a Focus 1.6 Auto, avoid anything upto 2002 (as someone else said) the early cars are a nightmare with serious powertrain problems.
Other than that when looking at a high mileage Focus, go on condition, and evidience of good maintanance- bills / receipts / service book. Bonnet chips, and corrosion on the tailgate, and on the rear wheel arches, especially around the sill area.
They are very reliable save for afew common faults- Fuel gauage sender, coil packs, VSS, HT leads etc. All simple and relatively cheap to fix.
The Focus auto uses a mazda sourced 4 speed conventional auto box by the way. NOT a cvt.
There are plenty of 1.6 Foci about, (of not auto's) so dont buy the first you see, and make sure it has 5 doors and climate pack in a metallic.
Tim..
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[snip]

Cool. Although I could swear that auto I tried was a CVT - were the early ones such made?

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Nope.
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it is correct that 4-spd auto box is a Mazda unit. I have a '01 wagon 1.6 liter with auto tranny and it works flawlessly. It only has 50K on the clock but it is driven daily mostly in hilly city traffic and shifts very smoothly. I don't know who said that auto trannies before 2002 are no good but I have never heard such a thing. As far as I know, if you maintain it and drive the car without abusing it, it should last well beyond 100-120K miles.
The 1.6 liter you tried might have a CVT in it if it is a diesel 2005 or 2006 model. Ford started to sell 1.6 liter TDCi diesel cars fitted with PSA made CVT box here in Turkey last year. I have been wanting to replace my wagon with one of these but excessive price ($27K! ouch!) is keeping me from doing it.
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wrote:

We've got an auto in our 2000 2.0L Zetec wagon with about 80,000 miles on it. I don't have many complaints with it, but it is a dog when it comes to downshifting. The car will fly from a dead stop, but if you are already moving and stomp on it, performance is poor.
But it gets decent mileage (25-30 mpg) and I wouldn't have anything but an automatic in heavy traffic/city driving.
Matt 00 Focus Wagon
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Tim wrote:

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Tim wrote:

tim, you should read the new book, "The Insider" about the car business. read about it at www.theinsiderbook.com. ther's alot on used cars. i would need more info on the ford to help, like year model , equipment, etc. i also don't know much about the market there. is l4000 equal how many u.s. dollars? how much driving (miles) per year will it be used for? if your buying from private owner asking questions is fine except only believe what can be documented by previous owner. if you're talking 8000 u.s.dollars for it that would probably be too much based on our market here in the states. i believe you'd be better off putting down 4000 lbs. on a 2-3 year old aver. miles vehicle and fin. 3-4 thousand and getting newer car. you'd have excellent equity position and could also get warranty. need more? e-mail me @ snipped-for-privacy@theinsiderbook.com. read my web site! esp. the table of contents. thanks and good luck. will help more if can, bill kelbaugh
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read my web site! esp. the table of contents. thanks and good luck. will help more if can, bill kelbaugh
WTF is all that about?!
tim..
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