buying second hand car

Purchasing a second-hand car is something that most South Africans experience at least once during their life. It’s becoming more and more popular to purchase secondhand cars as many South Africans can’t afford purchasing off the shelf.

Let’s be honest purchasing a secondhand car is extremely stressful because we aren’t mechanics and it’s hard to see if there is something seriously wrong with the car. Is this car is just going to be a money pit? If you don’t know a lot of cars it can be even more difficult. How much do you know about your car insurance? Use our 5-minute online car insurance quoting here:

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It’s a common occurrence to buy a car that looks fine, the person selling the car tells you that it’s fine and then it breaks down a day after you buy it.

As buying a car, other than buying a house, will be the most expensive thing a South African will purchase it’s important to make the right decision.

WeBuyCars and AutoTrader has given some great insight on what to look out for so that you do not purchase a secondhand disaster. Here are some tips to look out for when looking at buying secondhand cars.

Dirk van der Walt, CSO of WeBuyCars says, “You cannot afford to buy a second-hand vehicle purely based on passion and impulse. It takes a good deal of time, preparation, homework, and mindfulness to buy a vehicle,”

It’s also important to consider all the expenses of owning a vehicle after the actual purchase of the car. There are maintenance costs, repair costs, insurance costs and more. You need to make sure that you have savings to cover these or have things in place such as maintenance plans and car insurance.

“Likely, you never serviced the gearbox of your previous car, and neither did the guy whose vehicle you are buying now. Roadworthy only tests for basic performance specifications like braking, oil leaks, and lights. The vehicle will pass, even if the brake-pads only have 2% of their lifespan left. This is just one example of an unforeseen expense,” he said.

There are also other costs such as fuel consumption, brake-pads, tyres, clutch replacement, shocks etc. The biggest cost of ownership is depreciation, which can be worse on some cars than on other cars.

 “People are usually ignorant of the rate of depreciation directly after purchasing a vehicle. In some cases, it may be as much as 25%–30% within the first year.”

So just to recap on things we suggest you consider when buying a secondhand car:

1. Taking it to get a roadworthy test before you buy a secondhand car

2. Look up the depreciation that is typical for that certain car

Here are a couple of other tips to help you in buying a secondhand car:

3. Make sure that there isn’t a clear contrast when it comes to the mileage of the car and the appearance. Normally the car’s grill, mirrors and the texture of the steering wheel will be a good indication of the age of the vehicle.

4. Check out how much car insurance would cost you for a certain car, use MoneyPanda’s free car insurance quoting platform:

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5. If there was any previous damage ask for photos of the damage and proof of repairs.

6. The car must look as if it sits well on the wheels and not hanging (it will look as if the car has a flat tyre).

7. Open and close the doors a couple of times and look at the door hinges, if this has had damage and was repaired you would pick it up there. Look at the hood and trunk hinges as well.

8. Be very wary of cars that have scratches on the plastic engine covers, this is usually a bad sign.

9. If the lip of the wheel rim looks damaged it’s normally a sign the driver was not a very careful driver

10. Switch all electric functions on and off, one by one to make sure they all work.

11. Make use of Google: google the cars make and model along with the words “common problems” and “why you should not buy”. This will give you a couple of things to look out for when it comes to that particular car.

George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, said that purchasers should always make use of tools to conduct background checks on a particular vehicle.

“AutoTrader’s Vehicle Check is an example of one such tool, that can give some comfort as to the history of the vehicle. However, if the car is illegally registered on eNatis then it may slip through this check.”

Buying a car is an emotional purchase for many people but we still need to make sure we are objective when it comes to purchasing a car.

Van der Walt said that buying a car can be a very emotional purchase, and you should be objective when making a purchasing decision. You need to find a balance between perception and reality.

You may be interested in our article:

Best & Worst Vehicle to Buy In SA 2019

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