Wow - I am actually alarmed by most of the comments on here!
I have owned two Ka's now - I love them!
I have never had a single problem with one, my first when I was 17 was a W reg and it was by far one of the most reliable cars I think anyone could EVER own!! My latest is a 53 plate, that I also think is brilliant, they've been a lovely car front start to finish, am even going to buy myself a SportKa next!
To be honest I think that you may be getting ripped off by Ford! My dad is a mechanic and he does any little bits I need doing and MOT's etc.
My boss is having a similar problem with Vauxhall - they are being incredibly unhelpful! He was charged £70 to get his windscreen washer jets unclogged - it was a brand new car (08) that had literally just been dropped off to work and they still wouldn't rectify the problem straight away and for free!! Outrageous!!
I've had two Ford Kas (S reg and 04 reg), and both have proved very reliable.
The only issues I've had have been.
The S reg had to have the exhaust tail pipe replaced (it had almost split in two), and the starter failed (ironically when it was being collected from the dealers where we bought it second hand)...
And the 04 reg had the car radio stolen (which is apparently a very common thing according to the garage), but other than that they are great cars.
Have a 2001 KA. It's been a fun and very reliable little motor, Considering its nearly 10 years old now, our KA has only failed 2 MOTs, and that was last year's and this year.
It failed on steering arm last year and steering rack this year. It will need new steering arms for the next MOT, and also has had a new clutch fitted, as my wife liked to ride the clutch on hills rather than using the handbrake.
Maybe we have been lucky with ours? Although I don't like paying out for it now, it's to be expected with its age. Personally I think it's a good little run about, although I wouldn't buy another of the same age now.
It's cheap to fix if you do the work yourself, cheap to insure, and fairly good MPG as that's all the rage now.
It is incredibly 'cheap' (07 plate Ford Ka) in the worst sense of the word; very thin bodywork and metal in general, lots of detail parts are unplated, and it now it looks as if the power steering pump is going AWOL. When the rack starts playing up, it will have to be the scrapyard for parts, as I cannot afford new, and certainly NOT at the prices Ford quote. Both the parts people at all levels, and the dealer garages, must be coining it in!!
Ford must have made a lot of money out of the car, it is reduced to the lowest possible build cost... Not even a courtesy light in the boot for goodness sake.
I want to like the car, it's all I can afford, but...
What also really annoyed me was the £200 document release fee at the end of the loan agreement, in addition to the last payment.
However to be fair, at 80k miles it is still a good starter, still original exhaust. Only bugs have been drop links failing, all the squeaks and rattles, and it goes through a lot of headlamp bulbs. Hint: take the wheel off for easy access.
An hour later after my previous comment re my '07 Ford Ka, and I have returned from the local Ford dealer.
I am utterly delighted.
They gave the car twenty minutes of check over and inspection, including up on the ramp at no charge. As any clever mechanic would recognise, the power steering fluid was down, it's a very critical matter. The first mechanic earlier in the afternoon elsewhere had not noticed this at all, telling me it needs a new pump fitted... I had looked at it days before, and thought the fluid level was okay. It needs a bright light shone in from the top and a level surface to get it right... NOT my sloping driveway and bad eyesight.
I am now a happy man.
I currently have a 03 plate Ford Ka, which up until this point has done me very proud.
Considering these are designed as small "town" cars, I have practically lived on motorways, regularly making journeys of around 250-300 miles one way.
The main problem I have started to experience is a loss of speed. The engine seems to lose power, and I struggle to keep up a speed of 40/50 mph - which isn't great on a busy motorway. Still not exactly sure what causes this - one mechanic reckoned it could be the idle speed control valve needing cleaning... although this has not yet been proved one way or another.
My recent problem was again the loss of speed, but this time, whenever I put pressure on the accelerator, there would be a rattling sound, which ceased when I stopped accelerating. At this point, a roadside recovery person told me it was a head gasket problem. An investigation by another garage later concluded it was actually the catalytic converter, which had a hole in it, and a coolant leak from the thermostat housing.
My mileage is currently 84991 - as I have read back on the above comments, this seems to be high.
I just wondered if anyone else had a high mileage on this type of car - and what the average lifespan (in mileage) is expected to be?
Or here is another idea. Don't buy a Ford KA; instead, buy a fairly reliable car such as a Suzuki Swift or Renault Clio.
Well, my Ka is an 01 plate, and has reached the heady heights of 99,400 miles this morning (I'm guessing the mile counter dial will go back round to 00000, as there are no more digits left!).
For its age, the last two MOT's have been excellent, with little more than new headlamp bulbs. However, the advisory notes detail rust on the sills and chassis rails, so it will likely cost a lot at the next one.
Otherwise, three suspension arms have been replaced and a shock absorber, the heater needed fixing, and the rear screen jet got blocked by a piece of grit (there is a valve hidden behind the roof trim - took the garage a good half hour to locate this as the source of the problem). Also, the speaker in the drivers door gave up the ghost a long time back.
Would I buy again? You bet, though based on other comments here, I think luck plays a significant part.