What to Look Out for When Buying a Secondhand Car

 “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.”

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sports car
The image in front of the sports car scene behind as the sun going down with wind turbines in the back, DigitalPen/ Shutterstock.com

Why do so many South Africans opt to purchase secondhand cars rather than new cars? It simply comes to price! The price of cars in South Africa is extremely high especially compared to consumers’ salaries and expendable cash.

With all the financial stress of COVID-19, most purchasers are having to apply for loans and financial help to buy not only new cars but also used cars.

Buying a secondhand car is extremely stressful and because the average Joe isn’t a professional mechanic it’s difficult to see when there is actually something wrong with your potential baby. How much do you know about your car insurance? Use our 5-minute online car insurance quoting here.

Many people go through the pain of buying the car that looks fine but just happens to break down a week after your purchase. Buying a car is usually the second biggest purchase in your life, other than buying a house of course. That’s why it’s so important to be as cautious as possible.

We have looked into some tips and areas of concern to look out for when buying a secondhand car.

“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,” Dirk van der Walt, CSO of WeBuyCars said.

It is of utmost importance to consider all the costs before buying any car as it’s always more expensive than just the purchase price. You need to consider repair costs, costs of insurance, maintenance plans and more. Make sure you have enough in savings or expendable cash to at least cover the cost of car insurance every month as this is something you don’t want to go without.

“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,” said Dirk van der Walt.

Vehicle buyers can also be ignorant when it comes to the rate of depreciation of cars. It’s possible that your car has depreciated as much as 30% in just the first year.

Here are some things one can do to minimize your risk when buying a secondhand car:

  1. Research the depreciation of the car before even considering the purchase of that specific vehicle.
  2. Get the vehicle through a roadworthy test, this can tell you a lot.
  3. Get car insurance quotes online, as if the car was already yours to see how much you would be paying.
  4. Ask for photos and proof of previous repairs.
  5. Open and close all doors of the car a couple of times to see if any hinges are damaged, if the car was in an accident, things may not line up perfectly.
  6. See if there is any paint/ colour discrepancies on different parts of the car, this will normally be able to tell you if the car was resprayed and damaged.

For more tricks and tips when purchasing a secondhand car click here.

“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.”

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