Your Pre-Buying Checklist

When purchasing a secondhand vehicle, it’s easy to get confused and overlook certain factors that could end up costing you extra money in the long run. Use our simple checklist to make sure you cover all the basics and possibly save yourself thousands of Rand.

Before deciding what car you want, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What brands and models are my favourite?
  2. What car can I afford?
  3. What size car do I need?
  4. How much can I afford to spend on fuel each month?
  5. Do I want a manual or an automatic car?
  6. What extras do I want in my car?
  7. What dealers do I know with a trusted reputation?

Once you have answered these questions and found one that ticks all the boxes, be sure to look at the following when going to view the vehicle:

  • Pay attention when starting the vehicle. Does it start easily without making any alarming noises?
  • Check the steering. If there is excessive steering wheel play, there could be serious steering issues.
  • Be sure that the Air Conditioning, heater and any other features are in good working order.
  • Have a look under the floor mats as it could be used to cover damage on the floor.
  • Look for oil leaks as this could indicate serious mechanical problems.
  • Make sure the tyres are all in good condition and not worn.
  • Inspect the paintwork to make sure the car hasn’t been involved in an accident. The paint should be smooth. If retouching has been done, there might also be slight mismatching of colours, so be sure to look out for that.
  • Take the car for a test drive with a trusted friend or family member in the passenger seat.
  • When taking the car for a test drive, be sure that it doesn’t pull slightly right or left when applying the brakes.
  • Check that the clutch and gearbox is working properly.
  • Check the car’s age, the odometer reading and ask if there is a warranty left on the car, or if there is an option to extend a warranty.
  • Compare the odometer reading to the car’s age to ascertain how much it has been driven. A good ratio will be:
    • Per year – 20 000 to 25 000 km

Ask your dealer to show you the vehicle’s health check, any repairs done will be noted for you to see.

These are just a few things to look out for when buying a pre-owned vehicle. If you’re uncertain of anything, ask a friend or relative with knowledge of cars to help you out.