Pick up a Picanto ?

Timing is everything especially when you spot a low reserve price with seconds counting down for your bid to be accepted.

I hadn’t planned to buy another car but I calculated a profit margin even though I hadn’t viewed it. Photos were analysed showing the exposed chassis leg on the damaged offside that had been missed in the impact. Luckily, the interior photo showed two keyfobs with a document wallet in the door pocket – good signs.

Internet research was done before bidding to find that there was a MOT in place with advisories centred around handbrake issues. Most importantly, this Kia with its 998cc engine was tax exempt as it emitted only 99g/km of carbon dioxide.

The category S marker confused me though as the damage didn’t seem to be that severe; my hunch is that the line dent across the passenger-side sill was indicative although the proof would become clear on collection.

Prior to collection, I sourced an offside headlight for £72 from the same salvage yard as the purchase of the Kia and had even managed to haggle money off as well. Crucially on collection, the Kia’s oil and water were checked to find that levels were appropriate with no signs of loss. The headlight had indeed been smashed and remnants of it along with debris of windscreen washer bottle, wheel liner and front bumper corner were found in the boot. Wiring to the horn, washer bottle, and foglight had either been severed in the accident or cut off afterwards. It started and drove with no steering issues or wheel wobble after the newly-bought headlight was fitted into the gaping chasm.

Later that evening, I drove it home but noticed the speedometer needle vibrate around 50 mph and resigned myself to ditch the Kia at the side of the road for recovery. Later, it felt as if one brake was binding so hopefully only that and not ABS problems as that warning light had lit on the dash.

Happy with my purchase ? A definite yes and I bought a matching wing from a rival company for £54. I only need to source a front bumper and wiring and hope to salvage the windscreen washer bottle but surprisingly found out that they cost less at Kia main dealers than online. A 2012 car bought for less than £600 is cheap when undamaged ones sell for around £4000 which shows there’s a clear profit margin and more importantly, my Picanto is the ‘2’ trim level which has indicators integrated into the mirrors with all electric windows.

Contrarily, a similar damaged example sold for over £1500 excluding auction costs.