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A guide to buying MG TF cars

The MG TF was the last of a long line of classic sports cars, including the MG TA, MG TC, and MG TD models produced by what became the MG Rover group. Blessed with fine handling, good looks and that MG badge, they ticked many peoples' boxes when new and still do now.

The history of the MG TF

First produced in 2002, MG TF cars were an updated version of the extremely successful MGF (the best selling two-seater convertible in the country at one point). Many, in fact, looked upon it as the spiritual successor to the MGB car of the 60s and 70s. Features The car was available with a range of engines to suit most buyers. The entry level 1.6 was a late arrival, and boasted a mere 115 bhp. The MG TF 135 had a 1.8 litre motor, with 135 bhp and good performance. Top of the range was the 1.8 litre VVC (variable valve control) MG TF 160, with a powerful 160 bhp and acceleration to match. The final model rolled off the production line in 2005, but the model has been recently resurrected by the Chinese SAIC car firm, and is back on sale in the UK.

What to look out for

Many of the problems inherent in the previous MGF model had been resolved in the TF. The K-series engine
The K-series engine, used in all the cars, still had a tendency to blow head gaskets, but stronger replacements have been available for some time, and most should now have one fitted. Reliability issues
The VVC units on the TF 160 also had reliability issues, so make sure that you use the engine hard on a test drive to ensure that these work correctly.
Cambelt change It's well-worth checking for a recent cambelt change, while you're at it. Being a mid-engine layout, there are long coolant pipes running front to back. These need to be checked for rust, as replacement and bleeding are
time-consuming. On the subject of cooling, the radiator can be damaged by over-zealous speed bump negotiation, so check under the front of the car.
Body-work Body-work should not be an issue, as these are fairly new cars. Hence, serious corrosion may indicate accident damage. Soft-top Finally, check the condition of the soft top, as they are very expensive to replace.

Parts and running costs

Despite the demise of MG Rover cars, MG TF car parts are still easy to find, and servicing is not a difficult proposition. The ability to insure it as a classic and the reasonable fuel bills mean that there has never been a better time to take advantage of the large number of used MG TFs for sale. Hence, you can treat yourself and certainly enjoy the MG motor.

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