The 12 best cars to flip for a profit

What are the best cheap cars to buy when you’re looking to make a quick profit? With tons to choose from we pick out our top 12 and offer some general advice on what you should be looking for in car your looking to make a profit on.

When you are just starting out flipping cars it can be hard to know which cars to invest in. Our advice would be to start small and focus on smaller more affordable cars with low running and insurance costs. The sort of car that would appeal to a first time driver, senior or someone just looking for good reliable transport. This type of car is usually easier to appraise for a novice car flipper, and if you do miss something repair costs are normally lower. So if you make some mistakes you shouldn’t get any big bills. These kind of cars are generally also fast moving and easy to value.

Your ideal flip should look something like this…

  • ​​Small cars with low running and insurance costs – Small cars with low running costs are normally easier to sell and sell quickly. So they are a great place to start when you just getting into flipping cars.
  • Retailing between two & three thousand pounds, with a £1000 margin – Losing money is understably a concern when you are just starting out. So sticking to a lower price point is a good idea.
  • In either Grey, Black, Blue or Silver – We would always advice sticking to traditional colours whether you are an experienced trader or not, with darker colours and silver being among the obvious choices.
  • In the appropriate trim level and interior colour – The same advice applies to the interior colour choice. Stick to dark colours and avoid cars with excessive ware and tear.
  • It should have a manual gearbox – Automatic gearboxes have never been so good and with electric cars being the future they will soon become the only option. But they are expensive to replace and repair, with faults not always being obvious on a short test drive. So we recommend sticking with manual gearboxes until you have more experience.
  • It should be Petrol powered – Generally petrol engines suit smaller cars better and are cheaper to fix and diagnose than a diesel engined car. The also have a better reputation given all the recent scandals. So stick to a petrol engined car and keep the capacity below 1.5.
  • Having covered under 80,000 miles – Mileage is always important and in most cases the lower the mileage the better. So look for cars with a low average mileage and stick to car the are sub 80,000 miles.
  • Have full service history – Having a solid service history is important for a car. But at this price point recent history is much more import that a few dealer stamps from ten years ago. So make sure the recent history is good and look for recent expensive work and the all important cam belt changes has been carried out if required.
  • ​With no major bodywork or mechanical issues​​ – Bodywork is expensive to rectify and any large panel damage should be avoided. Plus it’s also time consuming and can add weeks to the flipping process. So only small work should be considered, such as a small bumper corner that needs painting or a scuff to an alloy.
  • and be HPI clear – Regardless of what someone may say and where you buy a car from it is important that you carry out a hire purchase check on the car you are buying. NEVER SKIP THIS STEP!

So now you know what you should be buying check out our 12 ideal car flips below:

1. Nissan Micra (2003 – 2010)

When I stared out flipping cars the Nissan Micra kept me afloat. The Micra was and still is a no brainer. They appeal to all ages, are reliable and always sell quickly if you price them right. Some models are also very well equipped for a small hatchback.

2. ​Citroen C3 (2002 – 2010)

Getting a little old now but a good flipper if you can find a good one. Lots of silly little issues but normally nothing major. Long service intervals so make sure its not in need of attention.

3. VW Polo (2005 – 2009)

The VW badge always helps with sales and is popular in every age group. So another good easy car to see on. However these cars are not that reliable and often have lots of silly problem. Plus they are expensive to fix. It’s unusual to find a car without a warning light on. So make sure everything works.

4. ​Vauxhall Corsa (2006 – 2014)

I have been selling these little Vauxhalls since they were new and they are easy flips. Stick to the sportier looking models and special editions with the small engines. Easy to sell as first cars or cheap runabouts. But price them to sell as you will have lots of competition.

5. ​Toyota Aygo ​(2005 – 2014)

This is my number one flip. I have never had one stick with most selling in a matter of days. I even do well with the 3 door variant. Avoid the auto at all costs and watch out for clutches on early cars. Rust can also be an issue but people seem to love them. The perfect place to start. Citroen C1 Peugeot 107 cousins are both worth a look, but lack the badge

6. Citroen C1 & Peugeot 107 ​(2005 – 2014)

Cousins to the Toyota Aygo. With the same issues but minus the badge. But still an excellent flip but don’t normally make as strong money, so buy accordingly. Stick to five door models if you can.

7. Fiat 500 (2008 – Onwards)

The most fashionable car on the list and the only 3 door I recommend. Sadly its also one of the least reliable. Make sure everything is working and that its had all of the many recalls. But priced below 3k it will fly out! 

8. ​Suzuki Alto ​(2009-2015)

Good little flip the Alto. People seem to like the size and they seem to be 100% reliable and everything looks easy to fix. Sister car to the Nissan Pixo which is also worth a look. 

9. Renault Clio (2005 -2012)

I have lost count of how many Clios I have sold. Not always that reliable but fined a well maintained example and you can’t go wrong. Stick with the small engines and you can sell them to all age ranges. They are also plentiful and easy to fix.

10. ​Mitsubishi Colt (2004-2013)

Bit of a sleeper the Colt, and they are good to drive. It may not have the curb appeal of its rivals but can be a good flip. They offer good space and Mitsubishi has a reputation for reliability. Dealers don’t seem to value them so you can make a good margin. Just price them to sell and check the belts have been done.

11. ​Suzuki swift (2005-2010)

I have done really well with these cars over the years, and never had any mechanical issues. Both the engine options are chain driven so no issues with belt changes. But the 1.3 is the one to go for. They can rust and the metal can dent easily so lookout for parking dents. 

12. Honda Jazz (2002 – 2008)

The perfect car to sell to an older client or small family on a budget. Super reliable normally has great history and is well equipped.  Sometime the age puts people off but a great car. The only flipper I recommend buying in automatic. The later cars didn’t have a proper auto box so you can ask a premium. 

Conclusion

You can flip any kind of car providing you follow the car flipping basics. But all of the cars above are good sellers with very few drawbacks or potential pitfalls. Just make sure you do your homework and you should be well on your way to car flipping profit.