Cheap Cars Under 500 Pounds – Are They A Bad Idea? – Boost And Camber

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Whether you want a cheap daily car, a put me on, a project car or just something to do a Rust to Rome challenge in. Finding cheap cars under 500 pounds can be a challenge and sometimes more hassle than it’s worth. Although you may come across that perfect gem.

Sometimes it’s just down to luck and sometimes finding that perfect £500 banger could cost you more than you think. Don’t let that stop you from getting these cars though, you’ll be surprised how much you will fall in love with a cheaper car than you will a good reliable runner.

In this article we will go over what you can expect to find for £500, some of the problems, where to buy a £500 car and should you buy one. Keep reading to find out if buying a cheap car is really worth it in the long run.

Disclosure: Posts on BoostAndCamber include ads and affiliate links where if a sale is concluded through the links, BoostAndCamber receive a small commission at no cost to yourself to help with the running of the site.

What Can You Expect For £500?

Money in the modern world never lasts, you can walk into your local shopping Center and find that 1/3 of your monthly wage has gone in one day, usually on new trainers, a nice set of joggers and hoodie, a Costa coffee and a new phone contract.

But what’s if you didn’t buy those things and wanted a new car, even if it’s just ANOTHER project car to match the other 3 that haven’t been finished since 2007. Not talking from experience, asking for a friend.

When buying a £500 it is literally a gamble, a bit of a pick and mix, you really don’t know what you are getting for your money. I’ve had an experience of my own where I got an absolute gem of a Ford that lasted me years and is still on my drive and the only issue was a flat battery and a bit of rust.

Other people may have experienced broken timing belts, blown turbos, worm hubs, discs and pads. If you are one of those people bear in mind you could have had the AA come out and do a check over before you buy the car, also known as a pre purchase inspection, giving you a piece of mind.

Without getting a car checked, you could be going into a game of Russian roulette with your dash lights. But if you play it safe or get super lucky, you can find an absolute belter of a car for the cost of a new games console.

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Problems You May Encounter

All cars come with problems, there’s no denying it. You could buy a 1 year old demo straight off the lot and have problems with it a month later. Cars break, they are mechanical and can’t be expected to last forever.

But if you’ve done your homework on your car of choice, you can usually pin point normal problems with certain cars. Some cars might have serious engine problems over 80,000 miles and some might need gearbox refurbs at 150,000.

Always do your research on whatever car you’re buying to find common faults for that model, then see if it has those problems. This way you can minimize any problems you may encounter.

If you do come across any problems when buying your next car, remember you are the one handing over your hard-earned cash for something someone wants rid of. There is usually a reason they are selling, maybe some serious repairs bills are coming up, maybe they did need the size upgrade for their dogs?

Either way, trust is a big thing when buying a used car, but keep your wits about you and you might just drop on, minimalising the risk for problems your may encounter.

Where Can You Buy A £500 Car?

Finding a used car is very simple nowadays with the use of the internet. There is always a car out there for you for under £500 if you’re willing to search.

Some of the top places we recommend you try searching are

  • eBay
  • Autotrader
  • Facebook sellers groups
  • Gumtree
  • Word of mouth

Although these might seem dodgy and most people slate buying a car on eBay, it’s just another advertising tool to help someone pass on their four wheel baby to someone else for a required cost. After all, they’ve got to sell their car somehow.

Facebook can be very lucrative as you can join groups dedicated to the cars you like or you can search the bargain cars within your area and just post “any cars for £500, will take today”. This is very effective and a lot of the time you will get quite a lot of feedback and help from desperate sellers. Don’t be hasty.

So long as you take precautions, finding a good car using these advertising methods can take time but extremely worth it with years of fun if you find the perfect car.

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Should I Buy A Car So Cheap?

It’s not the question should you buy a car for £500, it’s more why SHOULDN’T you buy a cheap car! I’ll use a recent experience of a friend to give you a great example.

My friend recently bought a Mazda 3 from a garage, it ended up with some serious problem days later, he then took it back only to be told they would only swap the car and not refund. He traded it back in for a Vectra with no surprise, it needed a coil pack among other things.

After all the kerfuffle, he had spent £1795 to buy the initial Mazda which was traded for the Vectra. Needless to say, he got a full refund. Feeling defeated, he needed a car, so he took to Facebook ads and found a £350 2002 Honda Civic 1.4 petrol 3 door.

He went to view the car, test drove it and fell in love with it. After months of driving it, he’s had no issues and tonnes of fun with tuning potential in mind.

Moral of the story is, it doesn’t matter what you spend, it’s how you spend it and if you enjoy the money you spent.

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Buyer Beware

Just beware when shopping for a new used car, there are a lot of crooks just out for your money. More than there are decent people just trying to pass on a legacy.

If you want to spend your money wisely, just remember you are the one with the money and the power, not the seller, you are more than welcome to walk away at any point, regardless on whether the seller is a “good guy”. They’re all good guys, until they are not.

Trust your gut, it likes food.

If you have any success stories or long term car love stories from a car you bought for under £500, drop a comment below, we would love to hear your stories.

Best of luck


Founder of Boost And Camber

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