5 tips to get the best deal when buying a used car

August 28, 2017

Are you thinking about buying a pre-owned car? You’re then likely to look for the advantages to buying a used car instead of a new one. Many jump at the chance of buying a brand new car without conducting proper research. And because they’re in such a hurry to find a new car, they don’t explore the option of finding the best quality used cars at affordable prices.

Not everyone can afford it to buy a brand new car. Besides, there are many good reasons for you to buy a pre-owned car. Affordability is the biggest one of all, of course. Everybody loves the smell of a new car but little do they know a secondhand car can offer better value. And for insurance, used cars are likely to attract a lower premium. It’s clear you can save thousands of rand when buying a used car instead of a new shiny one. This is especially true when you’re on a tight budget.

Here are a few things you should do to get the best deal when buying a secondhand car.

Think before deciding

The first step in the car buying process is usually the most difficult one. It’s important not to fall in love with a car right away. The dealer will likely see you love the car and you’ll immediately become a smitten customer. And that will make for easy pickings, which will cause the dealer selling you a rolling disaster. Whether it’s the car you wanted as a child or that sports car everyone love, you shouldn’t think with your heart. When looking for a car, it’s important to conduct proper research. And don’t just search for cars in your area. The trick is to search far and wide and consider all your available options. The internet is also a popular place to shop for cars these days.

It’s best to stay mainstream

If you’re searching and looking for a car in the secondhand market, it’s safer to mainstream. Also, remember the cost of maintenance will come out of your pocket. For example, an oil filter from one pre-owned car will differ from another. It’ll basically escalate if you own a high-performance model. But it’ll be much more than just thinking about the cost of parts. Once you found a car, you should explore independent service stations to keep your car in good shape.

Watch the seller instead of the car

This is a strategy that has worked well for many buyers. You should watch the seller while you talk and ask questions about the car. If the seller acts weird or shows shifty behaviour, it’s usually a sign that there might be something wrong with the car. If possible, walk around the car and point out certain parts. While doing that, watch the seller’s body language and look for signals that the seller is uncomfortable with what you’re asking. Remember that you’re the buyer and can walk away at any time.

Check out everything

If you know everything about cars, good. But don’t let the seller realise that. Instead, rather have the seller talk about the car’s good points. And be sure to look at the things they don’t talk about. Take a look at the brake discs for uneven wear and also the colour of the oil. Make sure the battery terminals are clean and that the tyres are in good condition. It’s important to look at all these things. And if it’s your first time buying a used car, it might be best to take someone who went through the process before with you. Every car should have a roadworthy certificate, ask for it. If you see something’s not right about the car, it’s important to ask the salesperson about it. That way you can ensure you buy a reliable vehicle.

Do you know how to test drive?

Many jump in the car and drive off when they test drive the car. Never begin your test drive like that. Instead, you should allow the seller to switch on the ignition and let the car idle. While doing that, walk around the car and take a look at the wipers and lights. That along with the noise of the engine. And once it has idled for a while, switch it off. That should give you a clear sign of the car’s condition. Try to start the car with the headlights on. If it doesn’t start right away, there may be an electrical problem. While test driving, check all the gears and include some kind of incline on your route. After your test drive, spend a few minutes checking if any fluids have leaked onto the ground.

So, once you went through all these steps, does the vehicle feel right for you? If yes, sign the deal. And if it’s not what you’re after, go to the next dealership.

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