What should I look for in a used Citroën Xsara hatchback?
Many new Xsaras were bought cheaply by owners strapped for cash and it's quite possible that servicing has been skimped.
Patchy work early on accelerates engine wear and probably means a clogged-up radiator and worn brakes. Buy a Xsara only if there are good service records, backed by bills for work.
Don't be tempted into buying a neglected car because it's cheap. A cared-for one costs little more and promises to work out cheaper in the end.
Citroen's poor showing in JD Power Customer Satisfaction Surveys warns would-be owners to expect trouble.
Clutches are a weak point, so expect to buy a replacement if the car you're looking at has the original one. Chances are that the suspension will need repairs, too - unevenly worn tyres are a sure sign of problems. Check also that all the electrics work properly, because faults are common and repairs can be dear, even for minor jobs.