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How risky is a cheap 172?



  Fiesta ST
Hi there, circumstances have called upon me to buy a car quickly and for cheap under £1500. One of my neighbours is selling their clio 172 for just over £1000.

Its done 140k miles and has some minor interior problems, nothing un-fixable.

Looking over the past sort of 8 years MOTs, pretty much every year it failed on multiple things, not major things but fails nonetheless. But it has an almost full year left of MOT which is good.

I am after a cheap to run car as my daily driver and 100,000+ mileage french cars doesnt say "reliability" in my head. But that being said if too much goes wrong i'd just get rid of it again.

What are peoples experiences of high mileage slightly "worse-off" examples?

Thanks!
 
  2005 Fabia Vrs
I’ve had two cheap 172’s. Both required little bits. First one was better than the second one but still great. As said above if belts have been done and there’s not loads of rust etc then go for it. It’s a Clio at the end of the day so apart from belts most bits are cheap and easy to do even for a novice (I know!)
 

Louis

ClioSport Club Member
Hi there, circumstances have called upon me to buy a car quickly and for cheap under £1500. One of my neighbours is selling their clio 172 for just over £1000.

Its done 140k miles and has some minor interior problems, nothing un-fixable.

Looking over the past sort of 8 years MOTs, pretty much every year it failed on multiple things, not major things but fails nonetheless. But it has an almost full year left of MOT which is good.

I am after a cheap to run car as my daily driver and 100,000+ mileage french cars doesnt say "reliability" in my head. But that being said if too much goes wrong i'd just get rid of it again.

What are peoples experiences of high mileage slightly "worse-off" examples?

Thanks!
I'm on 145k now and take the car everywhere. Don't judge it on mileage, judge it on maintenance.
 
  Fiesta ST
if the belts have been done and its not rust city, yeah good to go.
There is no proof of when cambelt/dephaser was done unfortunately. Seller says the previous owner told him it has been done, but no receipts, so it is doubtful. That said, he has had a look at the cambelt and reckons it looks quite new. So... yeah I simply dont know how old the cambelt/dephaser is, unfortunately.

That being said I am not buying with intention to run for years. Might have it for under a year, i just want something cheap to tide me over until I can save for a car I actually want - as last week I wrote off my car which was a car I really desired for (civic Type R) :( . And at this price point theres not many "fun" cars and I've always liked the look of the mk2 clio rs.
I would hope it is not gonna suddenly go bang within a few months.

As for rust, I couldn't see any rust yesterday when i looked at it. Seller has a lift so will let me look underneath if i want to buy. I din't think rust was a particular concern for clios anyways. unlike japanese stuff lol.
 

Archtronics

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 182
If its got a standard cat in it then its worth £5-600+ in scrap alone so well worth the risk imo.
 
  Fiesta ST
How handy with the spanners are you?

What mk / age civic did you write off?
I can do a few things myself but I don't have too much knowledge, i'm 24 so only been driving 7 years and haven't had much experience of old car maintenance, the longest i've had a car was a brand new car and warranty fixed everything.
Although I have a friendly cheap mechanic near me, my best mate is a plane mechanic and helps me with stuff, and I am fingers crossed hoping to soon start an apprenticeship to train to be a mechanic.

Civic was an EP3, awesome car, I was just driving like a cun7 totally my fault for crashing into a wall in the rain. oops :D
 

leeds_182

North Yorkshire & Humber
ClioSport Area Rep
I can do a few things myself but I don't have too much knowledge, i'm 24 so only been driving 7 years and haven't had much experience of old car maintenance, the longest i've had a car was a brand new car and warranty fixed everything.
Although I have a friendly cheap mechanic near me, my best mate is a plane mechanic and helps me with stuff, and I am fingers crossed hoping to soon start an apprenticeship to train to be a mechanic.

Civic was an EP3, awesome car, I was just driving like a cun7 totally my fault for crashing into a wall in the rain. oops :D

I still don’t class 172s as old cars.

I’m old.
 
  Fiesta ST
How risky is a £1000 172?

I’d say the risk is about £1000.

Considering most people spent that on three months pcp payments these days I’d say the risk is pretty low to be honest.
I can't really argue with that. That is my thinking too, it is not too much money. That being said, I don't have a lot of money (currently have less than £1,000 total in my bank accounts) so i would really rather avoid throwing money away!
 

Bankrupt_drunk

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
I'd say a grand for a solid 172 is pretty good value. They're not the fastest, best built or best equipped, but they're huge fun.
Parts are cheap and easy to find. They're easy to work on and there is lots of on line support. The only job that really need a specialist is the cambelt and dephaser, which is a £600+ job.
Apart from the dephaser things to look out for are suspension components and bushes as they're all at an age where the various bits will need replacing. Rust can occur on the sills and rear beam. And watch out for any crunches from the gearbox.
 

R3k1355

ClioSport Club Member
Do you have the £1000 to risk?

cos if money is tight the bangernomics thread shows there's plenty of decent cars out there for a few hundred quid.
 
  Fiesta ST
I'd say a grand for a solid 172 is pretty good value. They're not the fastest, best built or best equipped, but they're huge fun.
Parts are cheap and easy to find. They're easy to work on and there is lots of on line support. The only job that really need a specialist is the cambelt and dephaser, which is a £600+ job.
Apart from the dephaser things to look out for are suspension components and bushes as they're all at an age where the various bits will need replacing. Rust can occur on the sills and rear beam. And watch out for any crunches from the gearbox.

This car has a bit of a crunchy 4th gear. What would that indicate?
Like when you put it in 4th, there's a slight jolt/crunch half way between neutral and 4th when the lever moves.

Hope this does not mean gearbox is about to die?

Suspension should be fine, seller uses it as a track car so suspension is upgraded and should be sorted, plus it had a proper geometry setup.
 

Bankrupt_drunk

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
This car has a bit of a crunchy 4th gear. What would that indicate?
Like when you put it in 4th, there's a slight jolt/crunch half way between neutral and 4th when the lever moves.

Hope this does not mean gearbox is about to die?

Suspension should be fine, seller uses it as a track car so suspension is upgraded and should be sorted, plus it had a proper geometry setup.

It's not a good sign. Best case is a strip and replace 4th gear synchro, worst case is that bits of swarf have been circulating in the oil and damaged the bearings.
You can get a box (with no guarantees) from a breaker for 150-200 then it's a 4-5 hr job to replace. It's worth doing the clutch at the same time. From what I've read @NorthloopCup is the go-to gearbox specialist on here.
 

NorthloopCup

ClioSport Moderator
This car has a bit of a crunchy 4th gear. What would that indicate?
Like when you put it in 4th, there's a slight jolt/crunch half way between neutral and 4th when the lever moves.

Hope this does not mean gearbox is about to die?

Suspension should be fine, seller uses it as a track car so suspension is upgraded and should be sorted, plus it had a proper geometry setup.
If it’s crunching, then unfortunately it needs to come out for a rebuild mate. You could try refreshing the oil, but it will only help for a while as the damage has already been done.

They all end up doing the crunching eventually mate, and ultimately it’s a hot hatch so they’ve all seen a bit of hammer.
 
  Fiesta ST
Thank you very much for the advice.

Its annoying as I had effectively decided in my head today that I would buy it! :(

Rough estimate, how long might a gearbox last once it's got a crunchy gear? The seller says it's been like this since he's owned it (1 year) and car has been fine. Although, he's only done 5k miles or so in that year.
And when the time comes, will the gearbox just give up?

I have some experience with gearbox failure.. my gearbox went on my Fiesta ST when the car was just 20,000 miles. In that car, it came very suddenly, from the day the gearbox started playing up to the day it went bang, was just 1 week. This is obviously a lot longer so i'm not sure what to expect.

My intention with whatever car I get, is to own it for around 6 months, save some money, and then in 6 months, flog it and get something nice.

By the way, @dann2707 is that picture your current car? Up until I saw this cheap 172, I had been thinking I would buy a MR2 mk3. What do you think of it? As a cheap runaround how would you say the Clio 172 and the MR2 compare?
I certainly would expect Toyota to be more reliable :p but the clios are really nice driving cars and when I've driven an MR2 i was unimpressed.
 

dann2707

ClioSport Club Member
Thank you very much for the advice.

Its annoying as I had effectively decided in my head today that I would buy it! :(

Rough estimate, how long might a gearbox last once it's got a crunchy gear? The seller says it's been like this since he's owned it (1 year) and car has been fine. Although, he's only done 5k miles or so in that year.

My intention with whatever car I get, is to own it for around 6 months, save some money, and then in 6 months, flog it and get something nice.

By the way, @dann2707 is that picture your current car? Up until I saw this cheap 172, I had been thinking I would buy a MR2 mk3. What do you think of it? As a cheap runaround how would you say the Clio 172 and the MR2 compare?
I certainly would expect Toyota to be more reliable :p but the clios are really nice driving cars and when I've driven an MR2 i was unimpressed.

Have a look in there mate as mines a bit different to the standard mk3 mr2. Grab a cuppa and a pack of hob nobs as it's a decent read.

Handling wise its on another level compared to any clio with it being mid engined, rear wheel drive and having a decent LSD. Power wise I'm not too sure on the difference as mines 234bhp,i would like to put them side by side to see how they compare but I built the car to handle fast around corners and not for outright speed. It does this very very well. Easily the best handling car I've had and I've had many!

I never drove my mr2 standard so can't say how it compares to the 172 sadly, everything is easy enough to work on though
 

Big Toe

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio Campus
If you’re struggling for the money then I’d say it’s best to avoid. Your insurance is going to go up too
 

NorthloopCup

ClioSport Moderator
Thank you very much for the advice.

Its annoying as I had effectively decided in my head today that I would buy it! :(

Rough estimate, how long might a gearbox last once it's got a crunchy gear? The seller says it's been like this since he's owned it (1 year) and car has been fine. Although, he's only done 5k miles or so in that year.
And when the time comes, will the gearbox just give up?

I have some experience with gearbox failure.. my gearbox went on my Fiesta ST when the car was just 20,000 miles. In that car, it came very suddenly, from the day the gearbox started playing up to the day it went bang, was just 1 week. This is obviously a lot longer so i'm not sure what to expect.

My intention with whatever car I get, is to own it for around 6 months, save some money, and then in 6 months, flog it and get something nice.

By the way, @dann2707 is that picture your current car? Up until I saw this cheap 172, I had been thinking I would buy a MR2 mk3. What do you think of it? As a cheap runaround how would you say the Clio 172 and the MR2 compare?
I certainly would expect Toyota to be more reliable :p but the clios are really nice driving cars and when I've driven an MR2 i was unimpressed.
Well it all depends on how you drive it mate tbh. If you change gear slower going into 4th you’ll find it’ll last longer. But if you start Larry lead foot and rushing the synchro, it’ll reach a point that 4th is no longer useable.
 
  Fiesta ST
If you’re struggling for the money then I’d say it’s best to avoid. Your insurance is going to go up too
Insurance isn't an issue, my insurer says because I had 10 months left on policy when I wrote the car off, when i buy another car they'll re-activate the policy and cover me for 10 months at no extra cost. (this car is lower INS group than previous car)
If i bought the car it would almost certainly be gone before my insurance renewal so i'm not concerned about that.


Well it all depends on how you drive it mate tbh. If you change gear slower going into 4th you’ll find it’ll last longer. But if you start Larry lead foot and rushing the synchro, it’ll reach a point that 4th is no longer useable.

Thanks for the info. So at some point it is going to kill 4th gear? But not the whole gearbox? Does that mean it is repairable? Although I have always assumed any gearbox repairs are expensive.
 
  Fiesta ST

Have a look in there mate as mines a bit different to the standard mk3 mr2. Grab a cuppa and a pack of hob nobs as it's a decent read.

Handling wise its on another level compared to any clio with it being mid engined, rear wheel drive and having a decent LSD. Power wise I'm not too sure on the difference as mines 234bhp,i would like to put them side by side to see how they compare but I built the car to handle fast around corners and not for outright speed. It does this very very well. Easily the best handling car I've had and I've had many!

I never drove my mr2 standard so can't say how it compares to the 172 sadly, everything is easy enough to work on though
That's brilliant! I have just binned my civic ep3 and I am really going to miss that K20 engine, what a fantastic piece of engineering. Do all MR2s have LSD standard?
 

Big Toe

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio Campus
You’re correct that the policy won’t go up until renewal but at that time you’ll want to be prepared
 

SiC

ClioSport Club Member
Well it all depends on how you drive it mate tbh. If you change gear slower going into 4th you’ll find it’ll last longer. But if you start Larry lead foot and rushing the synchro, it’ll reach a point that 4th is no longer useable.

Is it just the syncros that fail or is it a bit more than that? Wondering if its still possible to double-declutch into gears when you've lost one.
 

SiC

ClioSport Club Member
They tend to destroy the dog teeth on the gears and selector hubs as well mate. All depends how long you leave them crunching really.

I managed to get mine to crunch in 3rd when the box possibly wasn't quite fully warmed up by rushing into gear. I did it again by shifting into 2nd and then back to 3rd quickly to confirm. However trying the same action again later when fully warmed didn't seem to get it to crunch. Like the OP on this thread, the Clio that I (did actually) purchase has done 150k on the clock. It has no record in the extensive history file of clutch or fluid change, so I'm going to empty, measure and replace the fluid soon as a precaution.

However I'd rather not be changing the box anytime soon, so I'm hoping it's just giving me a warning. So my intention is to slow the shifts down and prolong it further. Its a road car, so I have no real need to slam it into gears really. Also thinking if it was synchros going on 3rd for mine, I can carry on driving it by double-declutching until I get a free slot next in the garage for replacing/having the box rebuilt...
 

NorthloopCup

ClioSport Moderator
I managed to get mine to crunch in 3rd when the box possibly wasn't quite fully warmed up by rushing into gear. I did it again by shifting into 2nd and then back to 3rd quickly to confirm. However trying the same action again later when fully warmed didn't seem to get it to crunch. Like the OP on this thread, the Clio that I (did actually) purchase has done 150k on the clock. It has no record in the extensive history file of clutch or fluid change, so I'm going to empty, measure and replace the fluid soon as a precaution.

However I'd rather not be changing the box anytime soon, so I'm hoping it's just giving me a warning. So my intention is to slow the shifts down and prolong it further. Its a road car, so I have no real need to slam it into gears really. Also thinking if it was synchros going on 3rd for mine, I can carry on driving it by double-declutching until I get a free slot next in the garage for replacing/having the box rebuilt...
Redline mtl is the oil i would suggest you choose mate. 👍🏻
 


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