In the article below, we will tell you the 8 things you have to know before buying a used car, and these tips will reduce the risks involved, and also help you save significant amounts of money that you otherwise might have paid.
The used car (or “second hand”) industry in South-Africa is huge, with tens of thousands of cars changing hands each month. The main reasons for the market being so big are the lower prices of second hand cars, the potential bargains that can be found and the obvious fact that not all of us can afford to buy a new car. In regards to finding bargains, it is a known fact that new cars lose a lot of their value in the first few years on the road. This means that buying a used car that has been just 1-3 years on the road can save you a lot of money whilst still driving a car that is safe and well maintained.
But despite these obvious benefits of buying a second hand car, the experience can sometimes be a risky one. There are a lot of ‘not so friendly’ or ‘not so honest’ sellers out there who will have no problem selling you an unworthy car, or a car that is worth a lot less than it is being sold for – this unfortunately goes for some of the dealerships as well – and there is nothing worse than buying a used car only to later “share” your car and your savings with the garage in order to fix it.
1. Know what you are looking for.
When buying a used car your price range provides far more opportunities and this might be tempting. Therefore, before even starting your search, clearly define the type of a car you are after, or even narrow the search to several specific models. The below factors can help you do so:
a) Availability – if a particular car model has been sold a lot, the likelihood is that you will be able to get a better price on it (simple rules of supply and demand).
b) Performance and key features – performance might not be important to many of the buyers, but features definitely are. If you need a 4WD for example, immediately exclude all that are not. Similarly, if you plan to use your car on short city runs and park it in the city centre, you might want to exclude fuel-guzzling SUVs that are difficult to park. If you have kids, the boot space and safety will be of importance.
c) Price range – although this is self-explanatory many people seem to forget this part. Buy what you can afford and always remember to leave some money for unplanned repairs, car insurance and other surprises that might come along. This amount should be about 10%-15% of the car’s value.
d) Maintenance – every car, new or old, needs proper and regular maintenance and the costs can vary greatly. Ask around and try find out how much a regular service costs. Additionally, regular service intervals differ between various models – some cars need a service every 10,000km, while others every 20,000km – so knowing this can save you some money as well. Don’t forget to ask the seller which services were done, when they were done and where.
e) Research – even if you are not a huge car enthusiast, it is important that you do a quick Google search about the car models you are thinking of buying, just to see that there haven’t been any serious issues with these models. You can even read what other people thought in our Car Reviews section.
2. Sometimes you can get the same features and similar design, but for a lot less money
Many car manufacturers own numerous car companies around the world. They use the additional brands to expand the market and produce cheaper cars but also to cut their expenses by using the same production platforms as the ones used for their own brand. Maybe the best example is the Volkswagen Group that consists of about ten various brands. One of the most popular cars in South Africa is the Volkswagen Polo Vivo and its success means that the Vivos depreciate slowly. However, the Vivo is built on the same platform as the Seat Ibiza which is a lot cheaper. They share a lot of features and even parts and offer similar driving experience, but the Ibiza is cheaper because the Seat brand is less popular. Moreover, the Ibizas get stolen far less often than the Vivos. This is not the only example so, if you like a specific car make, ask around and you might get a far cheaper alternative that still has everything you need.
Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t rule out checking the offers available at dealerships:
a) It reduces the risk of buying a bad car that has been damaged in an accident, or even a stolen one – so long as you get this is writing from the dealership.
b) In most cases you will probably be able to get a warranty with the purchase. Be sure to check, and understand, what this warranty includes.
c) You can opt for financing. Dealers give you easy access to various financing options on the market. Be sure to compare these options with other organizations such as your back for example.
d) The dealers need to worry about their reputation, so it is actually in their best interest to sell you a good car and give you a competitive price. Well established dealerships are not very likely to risk their hard-earned reputation just to sell one bad car. Nevertheless, do a Google search with the name of the dealership to be sure nothing bad appears about them. One bad review doesn’t mean much, but if there are a whole lot of them, then perhaps you should try a different dealership.[a1]
4. Bring a friend who knows cars
Having a sound-thinking mechanic next to you, or at least someone who knows his cars (really knows them and not just says he knows them), can save you lots of money and aggravation. Ideally, the friend/mechanic should be an expert in a particular brand, but even more importantly, he should be a person you trust.
5. Take your time
Try to look for a car when you are not stressed and in urgent need for a new one otherwise you risk unnecessary compromises. Also, take into account that many dealerships offer significant discounts just before the holidays.
6. Get car insurance
Almost 70,000 vehicles were stolen or hijacked in South Africa just in 2013 which adds up to one stolen car every eight minutes. We are sure that you don’t want get that car you have been waiting for only to have it stolen that same night. So, don’t think twice – get car insurance. Fill in the below form and get up to 9 Free car insurance quotes.
7. Make sure you have the necessary documentation
There are several different documents that you will need in order to complete the transaction:
7.1 Notification of Change of Ownership/Sale of Motor Vehicle which you can find Here.
This form needs to be filled in by both you and the seller, but the seller is the one who needs to hand it in to the traffic department. Remember to keep a copy just in case the department loses it or the seller doesn’t send it in.
7.2 Application for Registration and Licensing of Motor Vehicle which you can find Here.
The above form (the second form) needs to be sent by you (the buyer) along with these two documents:
7.2.1 A Registration Certificate which you should get from the seller. This certificate is also proof that the car has been paid off in full. If the car hasn’t been paid off, then the seller needs to give you the ‘settlement letter’ from the organization that gave him the loan proving that the car has been paid for in full.
7.2.2 Agreement for the Sale of a Motor Vehicle which can be found Here.
8. Make sure the car is roadworthy (Roadworthy Certificate)
This must be done before the car changes ownership and is registered in your name. Although sometimes the seller chooses to obtain the Roadworthy Certificate, the buyer is required by law to have it. This can be obtained at any testing station. All you need is the Registration Certificate and your ID (and your car of course). You will get all the forms you need to complete in the testing station and the application is usually processed on the same day. You can read more about this Here.
If you have any other tips to add, feel free to do so in the comments section here below.
main subject: 8 Things You Have to Know Before Buying a Used Car
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