The Cheap Car Cycle

Cheap (Adjective \ˈchēp\): Of little cost or value

I am stuck in the cheap car cycle.


A cheap car, as opposed to a budget or a bargain car, is not a good thing.
I bought a cheap car as I need to drive to my work which is 17 miles (27 km) from where I live and the public transport links are very bad.
I bought a cheap car because I did not have sufficient funds to purchase a nice car, and my mini is currently SORN’d and without MOT.
Here is the problem; cheap cars are not good value for money, because cheap cars go wrong.
A lot of the time it is uneconomical to repair such a car due to the numerous problems present, which means scrapping or selling the car after a while (normally when the MOT expires). But now another car is required, and funds are likely short, so what happens?
You buy another cheap car.
The new cheap car goes wrong/ requires repairs that are uneconomical to repair.
You sell/ scrap again.
You buy cheap again and the cycle continues.


The cycle needs to be broken.


I have hopefully broken the cycle with my latest purchase, a low price Honda. This car looks in good condition, has a full year of MOT and was well cared for by the previous owner and has no issues I know of (for now).
Hopefully this car will see a long service with me without costing me too much or presenting too many problems, allowing me to save sufficient funds for a better car, or to soldier on indefinitely (the preferred option as I’m fond of this Honda and I don’t like parting with or buying cars!).


“Buy cheap, buy twice” they say, well in the case of cheap cars you will buy more than twice!

Has anyone else had to deal with the Cheap Car Cycle? Any thoughts on the topic? Let me know in the comments below!

*Image royalty free courtesy of



5 thoughts on “The Cheap Car Cycle

  1. I know the cheap car thing, though perhaps from a somewhat more elevated level of cheapness than your good self. By cheap I’m hazarding a guess you could be in the sub grand bracket. My cheap is sub four grand, or three at a push. (Oops, bad choice of word.) For three grand discrimination and nous can definitely pay off handsomely, as with the ’05 Lexus is200 I had a couple of years back. At £3500 it gave the impression of a car that didn’t want to go wrong, the same feeling I now have with my ’06 Toyota Avensis, acquired for the same kind of money. I’ve seen older version of both these models for a grand or two less that I’m willing to bet would reward their owner with another 100,000 miles with minimal expenditure if properly maintained.

    I too hate parting with cars. Before the little Lexus I had a 14 year old Mazda Xedos 6 and would have it still were it not for rust.

    I don’t normally write stuff like this but I thought it would make a nice change.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah yes, the dilemma that most of us (older folk) have been through. Most of the cars I have owned have been cheap cars over the years. And by cheap I mean £200-300, although it was a long time ago. My first car (embarrassingly, a Hilman Imp) was a pile of crap for me that lasted under 6 months, but I sold it for 75% of what i paid for it. My next (a more manly 10 year old Ford Cortina) cost me £245 and lasted 4 years of relatively hard driving. I used to spend around £100 on repairs annually. After a series of under £300 cars that lasted only a year or two I finally saved up for a “decent” car (a 5 year old Citroen BX14) for £2500 with 50K on the clock it lasted me 5 years andI sold it for £200 with over 200,000 miles. My next Citroen (ZX) was newer and more expensive, so I expected great things. I got rid of it after 6 months because it cost me a bloody fortune in repairs…
    Unfortunately, the bottom line is you need luck, and it’s useful to have a mechanic (remember them) as a friend to help you choose. In the old days it was also easier to maintain and repair stuff ourselves. These days the cars are so complicated you cannot even change the plugs without tilting the engine block in some (I kid you not – try changing the plugs on a ’99 Plymouth Voyager).
    These 4 wheeled metal boxes are the bane of our lives yet we have no choice but to use them.
    Good luck is all I can offer. I’m afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha it sounds like this post touched a nerve there, although I understand about new cars being near impossible to work on, and I think that’s such a shame, as it means that when these cars are older they will not be economic to keep on the road as the cost of repairs would be prohibitive! Also there is definitely luck in buying cars! You find some cars will have a cloud over them the whole time where as others run like clockwork despite their age!


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