Status to South Africans means buying a car more than buying a house, according to a recent report discussed by Times Live, and South Africans spend less on education and health than on new clothes. There are certainly some big spenders in the country buying expensive new cars and fancy outfits. But not everyone is the same. If your priorities lie in another direction, you can get more for your money when buying a used car. Here’s how to travel the open roads for less cash.
Check the vehicle before getting the keys to used cars
Save money buying a used car
New cars are great, but the price is out of the reach of many people in South Africa. However, many people need a car to take the children to school, drive to work, and visit relatives. A used car is a more economical option. But how do you choose the right used car for your needs?
First, check the listings of the cars for sale for the makes and models you most want. Set yourself a budget to stick to when looking for a used car and look for suitable purchases online, or in the classified section of the local newspapers. When you have seen a car that looks suitable, arrange to visit and check the vehicle.
Make a thorough check of the interior and the exterior of the vehicle. Check the oil is clean and the battery is not rusted. Look at the bodywork – be careful to check the entire car for signs of rust and dents. Look inside the car under the mats or carpets for signs of damage. See if you can discover any patches of paint that are slightly different in colour to the body of the car. If you find signs of accident damage or rust, discuss with the dealer whether you can take the car at a discounted price. Otherwise, ask that the dealer fixes the problem for you before you take the car.
Start the car and note how the engine sounds. After the key is turned the engine should sound smooth and quiet. Take a look at the engine while it is running. See if anything is leaking.
Take the vehicle for a test drive of at least 10km. You need to test the car in a variety of different situations – don’t simply drive down a city street, but practice in reverse, and making tight turns. Drive at a range of different speeds.
Things to watch out for
Check the service book and the repair history to see that regular checks have been carried out. If there is no documentation related to repairs, ask why. You should also look at the odometer and see that the mileage matches the figure written in the service book. Also make sure the seller’s name is the name on the registration documents. If something doesn’t add up, ask the seller about it or simply walk away from the deal. You can find a lot of good quality, reliable used cars in South Africa so it is not worth taking a substandard vehicle for a lower price.