Need advice on evaluating a used Hyundai i20 as my first car

This will be my first car and a beater car in which me and my wife expect to go on a few long drives too apart from doing occasional office commuting.

BHPian xodus99 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello everyone,

I live in Thane, MH and was looking to buy my first beater car. I found this car on Spinny.

This is a 2014 Hyundai i20 Magna 1.2 and has run 18.6k kms till date. This is being sold for 3.9L.

I did a test drive yesterday and here are observations:

  • My wife said there was a humming low-frequency noise, (the type we get from a subwoofer) in the cabin. This was with the windows open (without AC) and windows closed (with AC). For some reason, I didn't pick this up, maybe because my focus was on the drive.
  • I felt very slight vibrations on the steering wheel at low rpms.
  • When the AC was on, on second gear, the car struggled to pick up on a 45-degree incline. There was no power at all. Worked OK in 1st gear. Second gear was fine without AC.
  • The suspension was not squishy, there were no thuds, and overall pretty satisfactory.
  • The steering was also good, but not as light as a normal Hyundai generally is.

After the test drive, I checked the registration number online and found the owner name, chassis and all other info. I spoke to the Spinny guy and shared my observations with him. I told him that 3.9L was way too much for this car, and I can negotiate around 3L. They were reluctant to offer any room for negotiation stating they have invested in fixing the car. When I asked them what exactly did they invest in, he mentioned the following:

  • Changed the battery.
  • Brake pedal was hard, apparently, they have changed this.
  • Fixed the steering wheel. They changed the top motor in this.
  • Changed bushes in shock absorber.
  • Engine mount was rusted so they changed it.
  • They replaced the clutch disc.
  • Replace the windshield since there was a small crack on it when they got it from the previous owner.
  • They topped up all fluids in the car.
  • Radiator cap was burnt due to heating apparently, so they changed it.
  • Apparently, they have done service, (but for some reason, they didn't change engine oil. I pointed out when he asked my test drive experience in the start itself).

He said they will change the spare tyre and apart from that will give me a: 1-year warranty (or 15k kms) on powertrain covering engine, transmission, drive train. Includes cost to repair or replace parts if they malfunction or be damaged.

And 3-month comprehensive warranty (or 5k kms) covering all components typically like AC, Fuel systems, electronics, with a short list of exclusions.

Terms say the car must be serviced only at Spinny powered service centers.

Now, I didn't do any inspection of the car, since I didn't have a mechanic with me that time. I didn't see the dates on the glass too. When I heard the windshield was cracked, I asked them to share the owner's details and they promptly did.

On speaking with the owner, who mentioned he was a retired senior citizen, he said there was a small crack on the windshield because something hit his car - either a ball or something when he parked his car outside.

During this conversation, he mentioned he replaced the battery and also replaced the clutch which cost him around 13k.

When I asked him why the car ran only 18.6k km, he said he only used it occasionally and his office was close by. And after he retired, he didn't use it much because the pandemic began.

Apparently, the car was serviced only twice (1st and 2nd service) at ASS. Rest, he serviced it with his trusted mechanic, because he doesn't like the ASS. So there is no service history after that.

In the end he said the car is great. Just change the engine oil and you should be all set.

He sold the car to Spinny in Dec 2021 and was happy with what he got from them.

So, Team BHP, here are my concerns:

  • 8 years, it ran only 18.6k kms, I am not sure if this is believable.
  • Spinny is offering no room for negotiation at all and saying this is fixed price.
  • Spinny says there has been no insurance claim from owner according to service history they have (I've attached what they sent to me).

This will be my first car and a beater car in which me and my wife expect to go on a few long drives too apart from doing occasional office commuting.

How can I get the service history from Hyundai? How can I find if there was a claim on insurance?

I am expecting there will be some costs I will incur so wanted to know what you think that could be from reading this.

Should I even consider this? Or walk away? Thanks a lot for patiently reading this!

Here's what BHPian poloman had to say on the matter:

When in doubt, always walk away. This should be your mantra when you are buying used car. Don't get obssessed with a car. There are thousands out there.

I will never buy a car which has been only serviced twice in the A.S.S. The claim that he does not like authorized service center is not believable. I could see some rust building up in the scratches highlighted in the car pictures. This indicates poor attention to the car. It is a general trend to highlight some minor issues to deviate the attention of unsuspecting customers from major issues. So be careful with what the owner claims. He may be tutored by Spinny. I can see huge list of work done by Spinny on the car. Now question them why would they do so when the running was only 18.6K Kms. My Polo has run 1L KM. It is still on the original clutch, suspension and steering system.

Lastly the price is too high for a 8 year old car. 3.25L should be a reasonable price if mechanicals are fine and car is accident free.

Here's what BHPian condor had to say on the matter:

Did you check wear and tear on regularly used parts like steering wheel, gear lever, door handles, scuff marks on lower part of the door frame (not door), the handles etc, pedals ? If the running is actually more, then these parts will show wear and tear.

How do the doors close > lightly, or need to shut hard ?

How do the switches behave ? Like new or well used ? Are there vertical marks on the window glass (can happen when glass is operated regularly).

Like poloman says, 3.25 approx. This is 2 generations old - you can use this as a bargain point too. Be prepared to spend a little more after that.

A check by a mechanic will help you get a better pic, esp for the observations you have shared. And if any accident as can be seen by repainting.

Here's what BHPian MotoBlip had to say on the matter:

A good friend recently bought a used i20 Sportz 1.4P auto for 3.5L-ish, the car had 25k odd kilometers on the odo. He got it serviced, some suspension work was done, and the car also required a new set of yires. He got a great deal on some used tyres and purchased them. In total he spent like 16k-17k on service and spares, so for approx. 3.75L, he had a perfectly well running car.

3.9L is waayyy too much money for a manual 1.2 Magna. If the dealer is stubborn and adamant on the price tag, I'd advice you to walk away. The earlier models 2009-11 were also prone to fuel pump failure, this car at some point might suffer from it too and that part is NOT cheap, almost 10k. Thus would advice you to consider alternatives like the Honda Brio, which in a nutshell, is a brilliant city car and light on the pocket too.

Here' what BHPian anjan_c2007 had to say on the matter:

Some alarm bells as things look fishy and translucent. There is perhaps a concerted attempt to camouflage the previous history. The broker and the owner appear to be hand in glove to promote and push this car to a new, gullible owner.

The tyres and the wheel rims are like time capsules and reveal the pattern of use or abuse by the respective driver/s. The date of manufacture should be imprinted on the tyres outer wall. And if this is a genuinely 18+ K run car, it should have the original tyres still fitted. Dents if any on the wheel rim reveal abuse.

Next is the driver's seat. Please check it for signs of usage. If camouflaged with new seat covers, just reach out to the factory fabric underneath.

And lastly, with the 15-50 year old motor vehicles facing the heat from Gadkari's Ministry, the fitness for this car will lapse in 2029 - seven more years to go! Thereafter, re-registration will cost Rs 5000/- for 5 years plus Rs 1000/-automated test fee plus other charges incl Green tax etc.

Need to evaluate all these factors before handing over Rs 3.9 L to Spinny.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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