The Vauxhall Astra is one of the most easily recognised cars from this popular manufacturer on UK roads. It started life in 1979 and was the first Vauxhall to utilise front wheel drive, making it an excellent alternative to the VW Golf.
Available in hatchback and estate versions, the Astra is a durable car that has the power to last through the years and is not too money hungry when it comes to servicing. It’s a great choice for a second hand car, but make sure you do the due diligence and go through some of the checks listed in this article:
EGR Solenoid and Starting
If the second-hand Astra you’re thinking of purchasing takes time to start before engaging the full power of the engine, or if there is a clicking sound when you turn the key in the ignition you could be looking at a problem with the starter motor or solenoid. This can be solved by simply cleaning the contacts in some cases, but will often require you completely replace the motor.
Air Mass Meter
Is your potential purchase spluttering and not providing you with a smooth and easy ride? One potential culprit could be the mass airflow sensor, which is known to be one of the weak points in the Astra. It supplies information to the ECU, which in turn controls the fuel and air mix in the car. If this is faulty it means that the engine’s performance will be affected.
Another problem that occurs on starting in the Astra is a fault with the top camshaft sensor. This could be responsible for slow starts or the car failing to start completely. Again, the sensor can be cleaned to restore full functioning and allowing the car to start smoothly.
Thinking of purchasing a 1.6 or 1.8 litre Astra? Check the ground where it has been parked for a serious oil spillage. If you see a large patch of oil then it may be suffering from a problem with the crankshaft seal, which will also cause a severe juddering throughout the car when you engage the clutch. The part is quite simple to replace, but the damage caused to the engine from a poorly lubricated crankshaft could be extensive.
If the seller of your Astra insists on leaving the car in gear when parking with the handbrake, then this is a sure sign that there is a problem with the car’s brake, which is known to fail.
Pay attention to your position on the road and handling when taking your Astra for a test drive. If there is any kind of wobble or problem with holding your road position, then this could well be down to erosion in the front suspension bushes or the corrosion in the top turrets. These will need replacing to regain full control of the vehicle.
The Astra’s electrics are notoriously problematic. It’s always good to check absolutely everything around the car from the operation of the internal lights and electrical window systems through to fuel gauges and headlamps. Problem parts can be replaced, but be aware of the costs involved.
The Astra is a car that will hold its value reasonably well over the years, providing you with many miles of solid motoring. It’s a good first choice for a new driver or for a second family car.