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Discussion Starter #1
As per the title really. Alfa 159 tbi but no service history. The service booklet is missing and no invoices at all. If anyone has any information on this one reg CU10 BDF would be much appreciated. Only lead is CU10 suggests registered in the Swansea area. Thanks.
 

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Well I'm not drawing any conclusions here, so take my advice with some salt. I'm not saying this also applies to the UK;

Missing booklets and no receipts can mean a couple of things.
  1. Someone just didn't care about their €40.000 purchase and threw them out.
  2. The car has had a couple of owners, and the booklets got lost during one of the transfers.
  3. There are no receipts, meaning it lacks a bit of maintenance or DIY. ( I DIY but I save all the material and parts receipts)
  4. One of the previous owners didn't save the receipts, might indicate lack of interest and thus maybe lack of maintenance
  5. there is something showing in the receipts or booklets the seller doesn't want you to know.
All of the above are not really nice, and take the "shine" of that nice car you just saw. Usually shops put the mileage on the receipt for warranty purposes, thats sometimes a reason they're "missing". Also if the price is too good to be true, it probably is.

On the mainland, and specifically in the Netherlands there are a few things I always take to mind when purchasing cars;
If it is imported (recently, 24mo), and has no history, walk away. Probably something fishy. (It is usually only worth importing a car if it is well maintained and has a documented history, or it was really cheap and you're hiding something)
If it is being sold with new MOT but no history or papers, there is probably something on the car that will fail the next MOT.
if it is being sold with expiring MOT and no history, it probably didn't get a lot of love and there is probably something on the car that will fail the MOT (or get a note at least).

In all cases it isn't really conclusive, talk with the seller and see what he is willing to tell you. Try to verify what he says, or ask him about things you might already know or are able to verify. If the price is right, go for it. Expect some work on it though.
Check if you can read the car computers, I believe the mileage is stored on a few ECU's in the 159 ( cluster, engine, body computer). If they don't match its either a rebuild or there is something fishy. The seller should know. If they won't let you check there is probably something to hide.
If he is a trader and says he knows nothing about the car, get a warranty. If he refuses, there is something wrong with the car. Traders don't buy cars they know nothing about unless there is some money to be had (like trade-ins or whatever). And they will give a three or six month warranty if they don't expect you to use it.

In the Netherlands there is a publicly accessible database that shows some historic information about the vehicle that is gathered during MOT (like mileage and if it is "logical"). Is something similar available in the UK? Try and get the chassis number from the seller. If he's not willing to give it he might be afraid you run it through some databases. Sometimes you can run it by an insurance company or run it through a VIN checker and see if the car still has the options and color it came with. If he doesn't know where it is, it's in the windshield and on the floor in front of the passenger (Uk drivers?) seat. there is a small cover that will pop out. Compare them whilst you're at it.

Then again a cheap buy with no papers can be a steal, maybe some work on it but worth it if you can do it yourself. It will in any case affect your sale value, so don't get it if you're not planning on "using it up" or not able to do most of the work yourself. Don't buy a moneypit.


Found this, don't know if it is usefull;
https://vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk/
Maybe the UK people on here have some nice databases for you.

All I can find it is SORN "Statutory Off Road Notification"
Maybe it's been in an accident? or off road for the winter? I don't know how the UK system works.
 

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Has to be said..it has a spotless MOT history, with no advisories at all and a steady increment of 4 to 5k on the mileage each year since 2013. That at least sounds promising?

What is odd is that it shows the car last had an MOT In March 19 but the MOT expires in September 20. How does that work?
 

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Agreed on the MOT history, mileage is constant. How many owners has it had? Did you talk to the seller? What is the asking price like? Why is it being sold?
Maybe someone with a decent car got hit by all the corona nastiness and needs some quick cash. Still weird about there being no papers or history whatsoever.
 

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I think kid1988 has covered all the major concerns with no papers/history. Clear it’s got a good MOT history and low mileage. I think it comes down to a gamble - play the odds - speak to the owner - see how willing they are to disclose info to you. Anything that doesn’t really add up and I’d be tempted to walk away. However, if you’re willing to take the risk then go for it but it’s your risk to weigh up. Are you willing to put in money/time/effort to address any problems and is the lack of papers reflected in the price? If you’re getting the car for a steal and willing to address any problems then maybe it’s worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for all the comments! Yes the MOT history does look good. What I've found out so far is:
1) seller is third owner.
2) purchased last year but was then put on SORN.
3) it was intended for a member of family to use but insurance quote very expensive hence reason for sale.
4) Didn't get service history from second owner but has all the other books such as owners manual etc.
5) price is £6,750 which seems a bit high without history.

Does seem strange that anyone would purchase without service history. I suppose vehicle check for any accidents etc may be worthwhile but a bit reluctant as it does all seem a bit strange! Facts known so far don't seem to add up to anything I would do! And as I said the price doesn't seem right. It's a private sale but that is virtually a retail price from a dealer!
 

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Give the car a good check over if you are interested. Probably worth doing a compression check to just make sure the engine is not on it's last legs.

There are some reasons why cars have no service history. Perhaps the car was traded in and when trading in the owner did not bother taking the pile of receipts. Perhaps the owner never wanted to be reminded of the money spent on keeping a car running so quickly burns all the evidence. Or just like a home free of clutter and receipts. Some people just lose stuff, like the number of cars that are sold with keys missing. Yes it does seem odd that not even the service book is included, as that hardly clutters a home. Surely a service book with even one stamped service in it is better than no service book with nothing I would think? Taken out the car and lost? Taken out the car and left at a mechanics once?

Depends on price, overall condition and how much you can tackle yourself if problems arise. All that regular servicing helps to ensure really is, engine condition and life due to oil changes. Brake system life and ABS if brake fluid is regularly changed, which I think most people don't even bother with even when cars are dealer serviced. I've seen many dealer stamped books where the brake fluid goes unrecorded as being changed for 4, 5 or 6 years.

Is there any service sticker in the windscreen, engine bay or door jamb etc to at least indicate something?

I've bought a car recently with zero service history. It is one of those cars that people say 'you need 100% a service history'. It's been fine so far considering age/mileage. It might be a little harder for me to sell it when the time comes but the price to buy, and sell reflects that.
 

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I've bought some great cars with no (or near none) service history....my current 159 for instance. And bought a couple of lemons with a wad of bills and FSH......mainly when i was young with not much car tech knowledge. To me, as long as the price reflects the lack of history, it's all about how the car is now to me and I inspect them well. Service histories (especially non dealer history....and not many cars our age have main dealers history as enthusiast owners want it done properly! Lol) is really easy to fake anyway. Ive done lots to my car...not much proof I can provide though...up to the new buyer whether that puts him off when the time comes...Will be near worthless by then anyway!
 

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Another reason for receipts not being kept is the GDPR ?
Quite possibly. I've heard dealers won't give copies of the service invoices out as it breaches GDPR in disclosing names/addresses of former owners. I think the DVLA has also stopped putting the name of the former keeper on the V5.
If the car was ever a company vehicle it's likely that repair invoices just got processed through the company records and not kept with the car.
At the end of the day all you have is a stamped service book (if you're lucky) and your own eyes and ears when checking it over.
You could try the main dealer to see if they know any history of the car or spend some hard earned cash on an inspection by the AA/RAC.
If the owner declines the inspection walk away.
 

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Been looking at this Ti also, looks really nice tbh. In normal times it would be worth a punt but at the moment its difficult to sell anything as nobody wants to spend decent amounts of money. I personally wouldn't spend no where near that much on it. Its a buyers market!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Been looking at this Ti also, looks really nice tbh. In normal times it would be worth a punt but at the moment its difficult to sell anything as nobody wants to spend decent amounts of money. I personally wouldn't spend no where near that much on it. Its a buyers market!
Yes it does look nice but the high price and private sale with no history is a turnoff. Shame really.
 

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Who in their right mind would keep a ton of invoices? And why? That would be someone who is already planning on selling the car at some point. A pile of receipts doesn't add any value at all, nor does it give you any guarantee on what you are buying 2nd hand. There is this guy on YouTube who has a channel called Hoovies garage. He always buys the cheapest cars. They always come with a ton of papers and always end up terminally broken, so..there you go. You go, have a good look at the car. Test drive it and have it inspected by your mechanic and go for it.
 

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I guess given it's a ten year old car now that you buy with your eyes and how it drives. TBis hold their value but this one seems priced high. There is a black 09 plate TBi Ti for sale near me with 70k on it and FSH for £6000. It's been up for sale for months now. Even has a new subframe on it. If you do buy that one just make sure you get a decent bit off to do a belt change then take it from there. Buyers market as someone else on here pointed out.
 

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Why do the TBis hold their value so well. The 2.0 diesel offering from the time seems pretty solid so I'm surprised you pay that much more for the petrol
 

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Who in their right mind would keep a ton of invoices? And why? That would be someone who is already planning on selling the car at some point. A pile of receipts doesn't add any value at all, nor does it give you any guarantee on what you are buying 2nd hand. There is this guy on YouTube who has a channel called Hoovies garage. He always buys the cheapest cars. They always come with a ton of papers and always end up terminally broken, so..there you go. You go, have a good look at the car. Test drive it and have it inspected by your mechanic and go for it.
mot doesn’t give any guarantee on what you are buying 2nd hand but a stack of invoices does at least show the owner has spent money on parts/services etc so clearly looks after it. Again no guarantee It will be a fault free car as there is no such thing any car can develop a fault.

I do all my own maintenance and keep invoices for everything dated and with mileage on it just to show that whenever something was needed I didn’t ignore it and got it sorted.
Granted does not really affect sale price but could make it more desirable. If there were 2 identical cars for the same money both on face of it faultless then it’s a no brainier going for the one with invoices showing it’s been looked after.
 

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Who in their right mind would keep a ton of invoices? And why? That would be someone who is already planning on selling the car at some point. A pile of receipts doesn't add any value at all, nor does it give you any guarantee on what you are buying 2nd hand. There is this guy on YouTube who has a channel called Hoovies garage. He always buys the cheapest cars. They always come with a ton of papers and always end up terminally broken, so..there you go. You go, have a good look at the car. Test drive it and have it inspected by your mechanic and go for it.
Bills don't prove the car is in good condition. It proves the seller is not lying and the car has had some attention (the amount of bills can also say something about the owner). If someone is methodical about saving bills and takes care of things that pop up that's a good indication they are taking care of the car.
Squeeky serpentine belt and some parking scuffs with no maintenance history except for MOT, might indicate the opposite.
Rule of thumb is, if the seller says he had something done on the car, it didn't happen if there is no receipt or obvious proof of new parts.

A friend one bought a car with a new timing belt, no more than 500km ago. There was a sticker on the cover and all. One of the tensioners made a funny noise, he came to me after he bought it. I took the cover off, there was hardly anything left of a belt, for sure it wasn't replace 500km ago.

Rule number 1 is; verify, don't assume.
Rule number 2 is; if you can't see it, ask for proof.
Rule number 3 is; if there is no proof, it didn't happen. (unless something bad happend, assume it is worse than the seller told you).
Rule number 4 is; if it is to good to be true, it is.
Rule number 5 is; don't forget to "inspect" the seller, his answers may speak volumes.

Extra's:
Buying a car is as much about the seller as it is about the car.
Never pay the asking price, unless the car is better than advertised.
Check where you need to look (for that specific model) before you start looking.
Accept any defect you want, but don't pay for it.
Give the seller a change to be honest. (upfront, or during inspections). them fessing up might lead to a guilty feeling, whilst confronting might lead to defensive behavior.

Now go buy that car. (for a better price than asking price). If they really need to get rid of it in these tough times you should be able to get a steal out of it. Too bad it is SORN, in NL that would mean it's not costing the current owner anything (tax, insurance) so less incentive to sell.
 

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Bills do not prove anything, that is my POV. One can easily fake them, or, if there is something to hide, he can provde you just the part of the bills he wants you to see. For instance, there is a guy here who changed turbos 3 times on his TBi in no time at all. If this guy decided to screw someone, he can easily sell the car with one of the bills and claim that the turbo is brand new and you will not have to worry about that for a long time. He can even charge you a bit more, because of that fact. And you will think that you are getting something in great conition, while the grim truth will reveal itself shortly, for you to find it out.
If the previous owner has been in possession of the car for 10 years, this speaks more of the car than the invoices, for example. If I intend to resell a car, I will surely not be looking it after in the same way as the one that I intend on keeping until the end of time.I will illustrate that with an analogy here - if you know that a gal will be just a 1 night stand for you, will you buy her a ring and take her to meet your parents?
If the timing belt is squeaking, you do not need no invoice to know that this is due to be changed. As a matter of fact I would go on and change it to any 2nd hand car I buy, regardless if it claimed to be recently changed or not. Belts, tensioners, water pump, thermostat, sparkplugs, Oil, filters, battery. Those are parts that have to be considered by default.
Almost noone is selling their car just out of sheer boredom and vanity. You will be very lucky if someone is selling you a car that is all sorted out and perfect. It is a frickin 10yo used car, for crying out loud.
The things that need to be changed are being changed so that the car can continue to operate adequately. Otherwise they tend to manifest the need of changing.
The price is the main factor. If the price is high, this should be based on something. An in-dept inspection of the vehicle by a decent mechanic will tell you far more than a pile of papers.
 
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