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Old 18th November 2012, 17:03   #1
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Exclamation Buyers Guide: Looking for a Saxo, read this!!

these threads seem to pop up quite often now so i thought id write this up

mods feel free to move it to the most relevant section (thinking poss not the sales section as lots of new members wont be able to access it)

basically most saxos are at minimum 9 years old now, so most of them wont be spring chickens anymore!!


As you can imagine...lots of Saxo's WILL have seen at least a minor bump in their life, but lots more may have taken a bit of a whack! so check around the body and look for things like panels not lining up right, lights sticking out etc etc (standing back a bit helps).

The price your looking to pay will usually dictate what sort of condition you're looking to buy, but remember..things like wings/bonnet/bumpers etc can be picked up fairly cheap if one or two marks are putting you off.

Dependant on what your buying, small engine/vtr/vts/furio etc, the obvious things all apply, leaks (especially cam covers and cam ladders on the 16v) knocks/taps/whines etc..are never good! if its an 8v it will probably be a little tappety, this isn't a hard job to sort provided its not daft loud etc.

Check for coolant and oil levels and conditions of these (the fresher looking the better) make sure there is no oil in the water and vice versa!

Ask for PROOF of last cambelt change and servicing..if none are present then factor this into the price you pay and don't be afraid to put your foot down on the price.


Check for leaks, rattles, knocks and selection of gears (most Saxo's crunch into reverse so don't let that worry you too much) Check for how high the clutch bites. if you can get underneath try and check the condition of the driveshaft boots (can see from in the bay too) Rock all wheels HARD and check for play and creaks when doing work out the condition of the bearings and so on.


Again.. Price will depend what sort of condition it's in, but interior's can be picked up for pennies so if its a decent car don't let a shabby interior put you off.
There aren't a great deal of electronics on a Saxo so, just have a scout about and makes sure things work like blowers and windows, stuff like that.

Check for lights on the dash. Some should on come on with ignition, then all go out again bar the handbrake until you let it off of course!!

If you have any lights, will normally be the likes of airbag or ABS if you have it, not a massive problem, it is usually the wire under one of the front seats, the ABS light can get expensive to factor this in as lights on dash are MOT fails as of next year.

Play in the gear selector is also something that plagues Saxo's, so check for that too.


Where to start Saxo's have their fair share of common problems, main ones being leaky roofs...if its not raining your not going know so ask, if they lie to you, you have something to come back to them with.

Rear Beam: Rear axle bearings are a very expensive repair! The rear wheels will have play or look like they are leaning in at the top... will look like this /---\ Not necessarily on both sides. The best way to check is rock it hard from the top, any movement and it is best to just walk away. Ideally if you can jack it up, place your hands at 1 and 7 o'clock and rock the wheel then do the same at 11 and 5 o'clock. Even the slightest play means new bearings or at worst a replacement/refurbished beam.

Rust: The main areas are behind the headlights, under the ECU tray and passenger side fuse box in the engine bay, along the chassis legs in the engine bay, and the sills. They also tend to eat the boot floor on either side of the wheel well. Pull the carpets up and check about in the boot for any damp/signs of rust.

Stuff like demisters and things not working will normally be fuses and a relatively simple fix.

I've tried to cover the main points but feel free to add any more people

Just remember, DONT BE AFRAID TO WALK AWAY, pull the car to bits and ask lots of questions, don't be afraid to haggle and have a look at a few before you pick the right one. The worst thing you can do is rush into a sale and buy the wrong car! Lots of people are willing to rip you off but, these days most things on a Saxo can be replaced fairly cheap.

A few pictures of rust areas to look out for:


Damaged rear axle:

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Old 18th November 2012, 17:36   #2
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Nice writeup May also be worth mentioning about doors and panels. Doors tend to sag over time and can be pinched up on their bolts to put them back. I worried that my first Saxo had been in a crash when I saw the door wasn't perfectly alligned, but 10 minutes work sorted it.

Same applies with lower parts of doors on the VTRs as these are just clipped on and come away from the door quite easily. Again, nice simple fix.

Knocks and bangs over bumps can be a bit of a problem too when you take it out for a test drive - suspension is fairly cheap to sort out on these though.
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Old 18th November 2012, 22:09   #3
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Thanks Blackie, I've edited it slightly to read a bit better and to add photos of rust and camber. If anyone has any more info the would like to add, please PM me with how you want it added and I'll add it into the thread.

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Old 21st August 2014, 09:19   #4
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Some useful info there, cheers
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Old 25th September 2014, 16:51   #5
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Good read, going to look at one tonight.
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Old 25th September 2014, 23:38   #6
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Originally Posted by Blackie_No1 View Post
Good read, going to look at one tonight.

Not sure if trolling with that username
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Old 26th September 2014, 07:20   #7
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Trolling?? Anyhoo, turns out the West Coast version I looked at last night was rotten!

Looked lovely from the outside, Morettes fitted and all, but both front inner wings were rotten, right rear inner arch was rotten too
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Old 16th January 2015, 04:21   #8
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Thought it worth mentioning the dreaded rocking seat issue that is caused by the mounts cracking/failing in the front floors at the centre (happens both sides too)!
Also front corners of floors I have had problems with but you can't really tell unless you have a good poke around under the wheel arch at the bottom ... I have had 3 of late where the boot floor looked like it had minor rust in the seams at the edge, only to later discover that they are totally rotten!

This is how bad they can get and still be covered by rust proofing from the outside with the wheel off you can see how bad it had gotten (this was a 106 quicksilver 2000 reg but essentially the same car)

and this is how that same side was from the inside

This is how bad under the ecu and fusebox can get ..

as you can see right on top of the strut top mounts ... fun

And here is some of the chassis leg rust that is mentioned in the original topic

This was my last saxo and as you can see, the carpet can hide some nice horrors which is why I would suggest a good poke around down there from the outside as it's well hidden

Also if your 8 valve engine sounds like there is a bell in there it's most likely this

which should look more like this

This is after I had welded the timing belt guide back onto it, If you are puzzled it's the bottom pulley and left unchecked can result in timing belt damage or timing belt snapping. Also causes this kind of damage to the block at a speed you could never imagine!

You can see where the belt wore a groove in the block both sides!

Just thought these bits would be good to share as a few of my friends have been stung badly recently and I am also looking for a vtr or vts because life is boring without tie wraps in it
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