Dear Top Gear,
I'd like to ask where I can buy used cars with good quality like a Lancer or a Lynx (2000 to 2003). Should I go directly to used-car owners or to buy-and-sell shops? Ano bang mas okay, Lancer o Lynx? Pang-daily drive lang ng family. Wala kasi akong masyado alam sa sasakyan, drive lang. Marami ako nakikita sa car search sa internet. Hindi ko alam kung mas maganda bumili sa internet or sa buy-and-sell shops. Bakit parang mas low-priced 'yung Ford Lynx M/T na model 2000 to 2003 (compared with other brands)? Kung Lancer naman, gusto ko palitan 'yung taillight ng crystal at 'yung mags ng 16- or 17-inch. Hope you can help. Thanks.
1.) The best place to buy a car, any car ultimately depends on a number of factors:
a.) Convenience for you/your location - You might be able to find a good deal on a car, but it might be in a different province/region. You'll have to contend with the hassle of shipping it back to where you are, and getting all the proper legal documentation for your car's shipment. Plus if there are problems in the future, it's best that your seller can be reached easily to clarify things or help you sort out whatever issues you with your second-hand car.
b.) Trustworthiness of source - There are a lot of fly-by-night used car salesmen and dealerships. They'll sell you smuggled or worse, stolen cars with shoddy paperwork. This can quickly become a nightmare as you'll be forced to deal with the police, end up with nothing, and face prosecution due to tougher fencing laws. Buy from a trusted source who can show you all the paperwork of the car you're eyeing. Additionally, some used car salesmen might try to sell you a car that has been involved in an accident so the car's mechanical integrity is suspect.
c.) Cooperativeness of source - If the used car salesman doesn't make himself available to answer your questions about the car's mechanical and legal history, and doesn't want to show you a copy of the car's LTO papers, walk away. That's mighty suspicious.
Additionally, as a tip I give to all my friends buying second-hand cars, get a copy of the car's LTO papers, then have it checked/validated at your nearest LTO Center. It will take about a few days and cost is minimal, but it's worth the added safety, security and peace of mind of the buyer.
Lastly, I always encourage people looking at buying second-hand cars to go directly to private sellers or the real and current owner of the car you're eyeing. Used car salesmen will have an additional margin on top of the real selling price. While it's true everyone needs to make a living, there's nothing wrong with saving as much as we can. You can also gauge better a car's true worth, its mechanical integrity and feel assured that since the owner has shown him/herself to you, there will be no legal problems with the car you're eyeing.
2.) On fuel efficiency and buying a Mitsubishi Lancer versus a Ford Lynx
I'm a Mitsubishi fanboy so I'd recommend a Lancer. The dealer support is far bigger with Mitsubishi, almost everyone and his aunt can fix a Mitsubishi. There is also a good amount of secondary sources for car parts and accessories. As a bonus, a lot of Lancer generations have interchangeable parts and accessories.
I've only ever sampled the Ford Lynx RS 2.0 and the car's a real gas guzzler. However, I've talked to a number of Lynx owners and a lot of them complain that parts are not always readily available, the engine's a real gas guzzler and there are some electrical gremlins inherent to the Lynx. Rumors of overheating also abound. Whether or not these are true all conspire to bring down the second-hand value of the Lynx.
As for changing the wheels, you'll increase in-city fuel consumption when you go to bigger 16- or 17-inch wheels from the OEM 14- or 15-inch wheels since there is greater rotational mass/inertia to overcome, thereby requiring more power. Think of it as having a similar effect as starting on a higher gear on your car's transmission.
Out on the highway, where speeds are constant, the wheels won't make much difference. But your speedometer will be off, you might get caught for overspeeding.
As for changing your lights, well the jury is still out on that one, but whatever you decide on doing, make sure there is still good visibility from your taillights/headlights especially at night and when the weather is very bad.
Dear Top Gear,