The decision to buy a used car is a smart, economical choice, but also one that must be entered into with your eyes wide open. Just like buying a shiny brand-new vehicle off a dealership floor can spell trouble for your future bank balance (if not budgeted accurately), so can the decision to buy second-hand. Too often, pre-owned car buyers are looking to purchase the most stylish, impressive brands without doing sufficient homework concerning their budget, lifestyle needs and maintenance costs.
At Weelee, we want our used car buyers to have all their ducks in a row to make the most prudent, practical decision. That’s why we have put together 5 key factors for consideration before entering the used car market:
#1 Be price savvy
It’s easy to get carried away in search of your dream vehicle that you forget to factor in the bottom line.
Setting a realistic and achievable budget before taking on a major investment is always wise. Whether you need to calculate the amount of savings you can afford to pay for a vehicle in cash or work out what your monthly repayments will amount to should you require financing, these are essential considerations before embarking on the journey to buy a used vehicle.
Remember to check up on the vehicle’s potential insurance costs, which will also factor into your monthly budget. (There’s no use allocating R200 000 for the purchase of a VW Polo with less than 35 000 kms on the clock, only to run into trouble later on when you forgot about the costs of your monthly insurance premium). 🙈
#2 Be lifestyle smart
A classic sexy Ford Mustang may be the ideal car for a single business person who enjoys indulging their need for speed on the weekends, but it is not the ideal vehicle for taking your partner and teenage daughter on a trip to the Kruger National Park.
And while a low-kilometre, nifty Kia Picanto is a suitable runaround vehicle for a retired couple in the city, it is not going to fit in all the camping gear (let alone luggage) for a family of 4 on a road-trip to the coast (unless you plan on roughing it without a tarpaulin).
Similarly, a Nissan Patrol is not ideal when buying a used car for a single student looking to keep their fuel costs down and navigate tight parking spots in the inner city.
Our seasoned advice is to always choose the vehicle that best suits your current lifestyle needs.
Consider the following questions before deciding which vehicle segment to traverse:
- What kinds of driving will you be doing? Is it a quick trip to the shops on tar roads or a long-haul journey on gravel terrain that you need to take?
- Do you need lots of storage space or is room for a few groceries sufficient?
- Are you planning on starting a family or will the nest soon be empty?
#3 Be open-minded
Keeping your head in the clouds when it comes to buying a used vehicle can only ever result in disappointment. It’s vital to do your industry research on what the vehicle you want is likely to cost new and how it will depreciate over time.
Sometimes, when you have a tight budget, it’s best to keep your eyes off the more prestigious car brands (if they are not within your reach). It’s not a savvy decision to opt for a 200 000 km BMW or Audi to impress your friends, when an equally safe Kia or Suzuki could meet the same needs and allow you to access a lower mileage vehicle.
Be willing to consider less well-known brands that offer good reliability and safety. (Read this article to better understand vehicle safety ratings).
Take the time to do your due diligence and read reviews by other car owners before signing on the dotted line. Make yourself aware of common issues with specific models or brands and avoid used vehicles with a history of major problems.
#4 Be future-proof
A key element that many people fail to recognise when buying a used car is ongoing maintenance. While a second-hand vehicle may be cheaper upfront, if maintenance is not properly accounted for, it could end up costing you more than a new vehicle in the long run. Many pre-owned vehicles are not still covered by a service plan or warranty, so it is vital to factor in this expense before making a final decision about a particular model.
Remember to consider the following:
- Mileage – the greater the number of kilometres on the clock, the more likely that the car will require costly maintenance and services. (Expensive parts – like cambelts and turbochargers – will need to be replaced after a few years of wear and tear and must be factored into this equation)
- Research typical maintenance and service costs. (Consider requesting an extended service and warranty plan, if possible)
- Calculate the cost of fuel for the vehicle, bearing in mind its fuel economy and your average number of kilometres per month.
#5 Be Weelee sure
There are, of course, multiple ways to buy a used car, but not all of them are equal.
While a private car sale can promise the world online, it can be a risky business in reality. Fraudsters and online scammers often lurk in the realm of private sales with offers that appear to be too good to be true. They are usually not worth the risk, with some private sellers failing to disclose issues with the car, leaving you high and dry, with little opportunity for recourse.
Despite some sweet deals and the number of cars on the floor, there are also a few unethical used car dealerships selling stolen or damaged cars. It can be overwhelming to narrow down the options of reputable dealers that are looking out for your best interest. This is where Weelee swoops in to save the day.
Our Megastore is a place where you can relax and take in the excitement of buying a quality used vehicle. We offer:
- Low mileage vehicles in excellent condition
- Transparency regarding each vehicle’s service history
- Detailed condition reports before purchase
- A specialist customer service team that’s ready to serve
- Wholesale prices to the public!