An expert's view
Peter Greenow, Dinedor Cross Garage: “We’ve been maintaining Land Rovers since 1983. I’d say that if you find a good Discovery 2, hang on to it. Its body doesn’t rot like the Disco 1’s does, while it has fewer electrical problems than later generations. I have one, my son has one and one of my technicians has one. Believe me, we wouldn’t if they were unreliable. The chassis rots first but, in some parts of the country, there’s a trade in replacement galvanised chassis. If you’ve found a Disco 2 in otherwise good condition, it can be worth the cost. Servicing – every 12 months or 12,000 miles – isn’t expensive. We charge £200 for a minor and £360 for a major.”
■ Engine: With the Td5 diesel, check it runs smoothly and scrutinise the coolant expansion tank for signs of leaks caused by overheating. A failed cylinder head is often the culprit and could write off a car. On the V8, overheating can often be traced to a failed head gasket or, worse, cylinder liners, the latter almost certainly uneconomic to repair. Check the condition of the injectors and smell for fuel on the dipstick caused by failed injector seals.
■ Electrics: Make sure the ABS, traction control and hill descent control lights go out after start-up. If they stay on, it could point to problems with the Slabs system. To get around the lights issue, some crooked sellers disconnect them so check they come on at start-up, too.
■ Brakes, suspension and wheels: Inspect the steel brake pipes for corrosion. Where fitted, check the self-levelling suspension works. The air bags are at the back, with coils at the front. A loud roaring noise at speed could be failing front wheel bearings.
■ Chassis and body: The steel chassis rots out, especially at the rear. The chassis legs suffer worst and a bad vehicle might need a new quarter chassis welded in. Check the rear of the body and underside for signs of damage.
How much to spend
£750-£1499: Tatty runners that could cost you dearly.
£1500-£2999: Popular price point offering some bargains but get it inspected.
£3000-£4499: Good runners start here but watch for overpriced money pits being sold by non-specialists.
£4500-£5999: Better cars with good histories, including a 68,000-mile 2002 4.0i ES auto with full service history.
£6000-£6995: The best cars, including a one-owner 2004 TD5 ES Premium seven-seater with full Land Rover service history, leather and Harman Kardon sound system for £6750.
One we found