Tips to help you buy a used car of your dreams

You’ve been thinking about getting yourself a used ride for a while, and now you’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to turn the thoughts into action because you feel ready. But the problem is, you don’t really know where to begin or what’s involved in the process of buying a used car in South Africa.

Because you’ve earned it, we think it’s only fair that you get a car you deserve. There are many second-hand cars for sale to choose from, but we can help narrow the whole process down. We’ve compiled a list of tips for buying a used car on a budget.

Do thorough research

The first step is doing thorough research. Collecting useful information will help you make the best decision that you regret later. Start with reading more about the car you’re interested in owning. If you are keen on more than one car model, narrow it down to at least three or four cars. That way, you can really get into the nitty-gritty details of the cars. Read up on the reviews of the cars, what people who already own them love and dislike about the cars. Also, do a search on the standard going prices for the cars you’re interested in.

Define your budget

It’s no secret that buying a second-hand car can be easy on your pockets when compared to buying a brand new car. However, preparation is key in this regard. After doing your research on the typical prices of your desired cars, define your budget. Look at your savings, draw up a table of how much you can realistically afford to pay including for monthly instalments and car insurance. Then look into used car finance options to see which one matches your needs. You should also keep in mind finance for maintenance and repairs.

Search for a reputable car dealership

A dealership can give you peace of mind because you’re dealing with a company that you can hold accountable should anything go wrong during or after the sale. The last thing you want is buying a car and finding out after signing a deal that your new car is a stolen car. So, be a diligent detective when looking to buy a car. Car dealers also handle a lot of the paperwork, which will help ease the process for you, unlike if you had been dealing with a private seller. It’s also easier to verify whether a dealership is reputable; all you have to do is check for online presence and people’s reviews. Another advantage with car dealerships is they list available cars for sale on their websites, which makes it easy to compare prices and other details. Car dealers can help you with history checking for any details you might need clarity on.

Initiate a conversation with the car dealership

After confirming that a dealership is trustworthy, it’s time to initiate the conversation with them to analyse whether they can help you out with your car needs. In the first stage, you will just speak to them over the phone or email or both. During this stage, make sure to ask all of the right questions, even questions you might think are not that important. Find out everything you can about the car, including the car mileage, service history, repair history, roadworthiness and more. Ask for images for both the interior and exterior to be sent to you if possible, so that you can take a look at the car before making the trip to go inspect it in person and test drive it.

You can also enquire about the previous owners, nothing personal but questions related to the car. These are questions such as why they’re selling the car, and their experiences with the car while it was under their ownership. Find out about the car model parts, if they’re easily accessible or if they have to be imported elsewhere first. All these questions will give you an idea of what you’re getting yourself into.

Go for an inspection and test drive

When you’re satisfied with the conversations with the dealerships, you will want to go inspect the car yourself and give it a test drive. Bring along a family member or a friend to help you tick the boxes of everything you’re looking for in a used car. To help you confirm that the quality of the car is exactly what you were told it was. It helps to have a second pair of eyes to pick up anything you might miss. When you do an inspection do ask more questions about the condition of the car so that you are not blindsided and find things out after the sale has gone through. Go for a test drive to get the feel of the car and to check if the parts are working as they should or if they indicate any issues. Make sure that the car features and technology all work as they should. Additionally, you can have the car checked out for roadworthiness should you feel the need to do so. Dekra is such a company that does car inspections to validate if it is roadworthy.

Negotiate like a boss

At this stage, you’re certain about the car you’re looking to buy. You’ve done all of the necessary leg work to verify the car’s condition and confirmed that you’re ready to make it yours for better or worse. It’s time to negotiate a favourable deal with the car dealership. Use all of the information you’ve collected about the typical going price, and the condition of the car etc. to your advantage t negotiate a suitable price. Try not to rush the process to give the negotiation enough time to be more in your favour. Be careful not to be tempted to take an offer that seems rather too good to be true, because the chances are that it may be too good to be true and in the end, you’ll pay for that mistake.

Do not allow yourself to be pressured into making a decision you’re not comfortable with. Should the negotiation process seem to be too difficult and not meet your expectations and needs, you have the right to walk away before signing anything. When it does go your way, sign the offer and do all of the follow-up processes to secure the car in your ownership.

Enjoy the ride

Once the sale has been finalised and you have signed all the necessary paperwork, the car is now yours. Remember that you’ve worked hard and endured an emotionally and physically demanding process. So, go ahead and enjoy the ride with pride.

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