Not everyone can afford to buy a new car. For many of us, the only option is to buy used cars. If you’re thinking about selling a car and are on the market for a second hand car, make sure you keep an eye out for mechanical problems, body damage and parts that may need replacing. It is always important for second hand car buyers to do their research, but it’s especially important if you want to buy used cars. Make sure to watch out for the following:

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#1 Compare prices

The first thing to do when looking to buy car is to compare the prices of similar vehicles to the one you are considering. Don’t set your heart on a specific car until you’ve explored all your options. Scan online classifieds, visit dealers and try to determine the car resale value for each option. Find out what's there and weigh-up each vehicle's pros and cons. If your budget allows it, some of the best used cars are demo models. If you can find one with low mileage and from a reputable dealer, they’re a great deal.

 

#2 Understand your budget

Are you able to buy the car outright, or will you need vehicle finance? If you do need a car loan, how much can you put into a deposit? Determine your car affordability budget using CarZar’s Car Affordability Calculator. If you’re going to buy used cars, don’t forget to consider the maintenance costs for each model: go for something mainstream - this will make repairs easier and replacement parts will be cheaper and easier to source. Try to get an idea of which independent service stations will be able to look after your maintenance needs.

 

#3 Check for problems

Check the interior for any obvious faults such as ripped material or leather. For any second hand car, the wear on the rubber of the brake, clutch and accelerator should be consistent with the age of the car. Externally, check excessive smoke from the exhaust may mean some sort of engine damage. Check the brake discs for uneven wear. Check that the tyres are in a good condition - replacement tyres may be expensive, so factor this into your budget. If the wear on the tyres are uneven it may indicate bigger problems. Look for signs of touch-ups - the body colour should be even throughout the used car. If it's not, it may mean that replacement bodywork has been done following an accident. If you think this is the case, don't buy car if it hasn't been disclosed.  

 

#4 Test drive the second hand car

Ensure that you test drive the second hand car before you buy car. Before the drive, turn the used car on and let the car idle while you check the wipers, lights and listen to the engine. Leave the headlights on, turn the car off and turn it back on: if it struggles to start, it may indicate an electrical issue. When test driving, make sure you check the used car’s handling, brakes, and look for any signs of mechanical problems such as overheating. Turn off the radio while you test drive, and check that there are no knocking, grinding, squealing or rumbling sounds. Once you’ve finished the drive, park the second hand car and wait a few minutes to see if there are any leaks.

 

#5 Inspect the paperwork

Try not to buy used cars unless the car’s paperwork and service record are available. Keep in mind that a roadworthy certificate doesn't guarantee that the car is in good condition - it simply means that it meets the minimum safety requirements, and could still have a mechanical problem.

To sell your car through CarZar, all you need to do is:

  • Select your car details and receive your free online quote instantly. 
  • Book an obligation-free inspection at one of our DEKRA or KwikFit Car Buying Centres in Cape Town or Johannesburg. 
  • Accept our final cash offer and receive instant payment! We also take care of all the paperwork for you.