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Buying a Car New vs. Buying a Car Second-Hand in South Africa 

Buying a Car New vs. Buying a Car Second-Hand in South Africa 

Decisions, Decisions  

Do you turn left, or do you turn right? Do you choose the road less travelled, or do you stick to the highway? These small decisions are made every day, billions of times a day. But they aren’t that small, are they? Turning left could mean getting stuck in traffic and taking the road less travelled could leave you stuck in a ditch! There are consequences for every decision, and the same goes when you are deciding whether to buy a car new or buy a car second-hand. This is a daunting choice, totally dependent on your end-goal, financial situation, personal preference and of course, the pros and cons of both options! This article will explore the processes of buying new, and second-hand vehicles in South Africa, to help you on your journey. 

What to Expect When Buying a New Car 

First off, you need to know what you want and what you need, and then decide on a car that meets those two criteria in the middle. If you’re buying a new car and know your daily life involves a lot of driving, factor in if it is fuel efficient. If this car is going to be used to cart your growing family around, things like boot space, number of seats, and safety factors are what you should be taking into consideration. If it is speed you want, or off-roading that you’ll be doing, steer your decision towards a car type and model suited to that. Once you know which car would suit you best, find a dealership. Now, what you need to look at when searching for a dealer can be summed up in one word – reputation. You need to do your research, scour the Internet for reviews on the establishments you’re considering, talk to people who have had personal experiences with them, and then judge the dealerships yourself by talking to the managers and staff upfront. Make sure that you are buying a car from a dealership who puts their customers first, and that are reputable beyond a doubt.  

Once you have found a few suitable dealerships, you need to look for an actual deal. The market is extremely competitive and by exploring what is out there, you’ll save money. Once you’ve found your deal, and taken the car for a test drive, remember to ask the right questions. The devil is in the details, so make sure you have clarity on additional extras, the roadworthy certificate, warranty plan available, the dashboard settings, the registration paperwork, the guarantee, and the service plan in place. It may seem obvious, but read through the contract carefully, and remember that there are no stupid questions.  

What to Avoid When Buying a New Car 

Although there are many benefits to buying new, such as the guarantee, included service plan and the fact that there shouldn’t be any surprises down the line, things can still go wrong! Always make sure you are only spending what you can spare. It may be exciting to buy a snazzy new car, but don’t be dumb struck by the shiny paint job and put your financial well-being on the backburner. Also, consider the future, and how easy or difficult it would be if you require parts. Finding parts in South Africa for say, a Toyota, is an easy feat. But when it comes to less common cars like a Lada, acquiring parts could be a costly and tedious process. 

Things to Remember When Buying a New Car 

Firstly, remember that whichever dealership you are going through needs your sale more than you need their car. Don’t be afraid to bargain! Once you’ve settled on a price, keep in mind that there are going to be hidden costs, and you need to be aware of them to properly plan your purchase. Ask questions about delivery charges, your specific payment plan, administrative charges, and insurance – these things all add up! 

Second-Hand Cars – Risk vs. Reward 

There are many benefits to buying a used car, the main selling point being that it is a lot less expensive! New cars lose up to 20% of their value after being is use for just one year but are still highly efficient and trustworthy, so if you can get your hands on a second-hand car that has only been on the road for a few years, at a great price, why not? You’ll also save money on any additional features already installed, get a first-hand account of how the car runs, and even possibly be able to roll-over or extend the warranty! 

Buying second-hand does come with risks. The main thing to consider here is vehicle history and having a complete service record. If the car has been in an accident, it can cost you down the road. Here, you must rely on the integrity of the dealership or person you are buying from but there are a few ways to be sure you are getting what you pay for! Always get the car inspected and check that it passes all the roadworthy requirements. Next, check on the insides of the doors, bonnet and boot, on all the linings that meet the rubbers to see if it has been resprayed. If a car has been in a prang, you’ll see definite signs of overspray on fittings and rubbers, and this is a huge red flag if the accident or incident hasn’t been disclosed to you. 

 When it comes to milage on a second-hand car, 20 000 km a year on the clock is what you should accept as a maximum, so if the car is 2 years old, it shouldn’t have done more than 40 000 kilometers. Remember, the lower the milage, the better. Now, with buying second-hand comes the headache of registration and transfer of ownership. If you decide to go this route, make sure that you get all the information you need to follow the legal procedures.  

What Will it Be? 

If peace of mind is your most important requirement, new is always better. That being said, if you are on a tight budget and second-hand seems like the only way to go, you can still ensure you’re getting a good and reliable car if you follow the necessary steps. The important thing is to know exactly what you’re looking for and then follow these guidelines to ensure that you make a successful long-term purchase, whichever way you choose to go. So, turn left, or turn right? What will it be? 


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