What to look for when buying a used car

buying a used carbuying a used car
buying a used carbuying a used car


What to look for when buying a used car

Following a list of basic aspects to look out for in a car can help immensely in choosing a car that is both affordable and in good condition. So, before you go out and explore the dealerships offering a huge variety of cars, read the list below for tips on what to look for and how to prepare for choosing a car.


How to prepare for buying a used car


Define your budget and needs

Before you even start researching used cars for sale in Gauteng, Cape Town or Durban you will need to ascertain your budget. Setting your budget will help you to be realistic about what you can afford to spend, and you will avoid falling in love with a car that is out of your price range.

Defining your needs will slim down the searching and make it easier to make a decision. If you know you will need a vehicle that can handle a long road trip, look for a 4x4 model. If you need a small, zippy car for town driving then look for a hatchback. Defining your needs and budget can go a long way to making the car buying process an easy one.


Keep your options open

You should draw up a shortlist of your desired cars before visiting any dealerships. Have at least five different vehicles in this list and be sure to ask the dealer if you can test drive each one before making a decision.

By having different options and not setting your heart on one car, you will not be disappointed when looking for one specific car. Having variety also opens you up to different options, and you may find a car that fits your every need at an affordable price. Sticking to one car will also show some of the less savoury dealers that you are willing to spend more money to find a specific car, and they may use this against you when it comes to pricing.


Do your homework

If you are interested in a specific car or vehicle brand, it is important to read up about it either online or in popular car magazines. Be sure to scrutinise reviews and ratings carefully, as these often reveal faults with the car and what maintenance is required.

You could also visit the websites of the dealerships you will be visiting, paying careful attention to their social media ratings and reviews. A dealership with many positive reviews is a good choice to start with on your quest to find the perfect car. Research the models they have available so you are not bombarded by salespeople when you arrive.


What to look for when choosing a used car


Check both the interior and exterior

Before making any decisions, you should perform a thorough check of both the interior and exterior of the vehicle. Be sure to check the exterior for any rust spots, open the hood and examine the engine carefully for any evidence of repair work or damage.

Look at the interior too, and be sure that all repairs or reupholstering have been performed by a professional. This is not to say that buying a used car that has been in a minor accident is a negative, but should this be your option then be certain that all repairs are not glaringly obvious to the eye and are long-lasting.


Go for a test drive

This is the most important aspect of choosing a used car. Be sure to choose a route that has both smooth roads and hilly areas to test the braking and take-off capability of the vehicle. Also, choose a road that has some sharp turns to test the turning circle of the car.

When on the test drive, turn the radio off and listen carefully to the engine when you reach a difficult hill or are in traffic. This can tell you a lot about how the car idles and handles tough terrain. Test the electronics too, and if you hear any strange noises, ask the dealer what they are. A repaired used car that emits alarming noises is often not a good option to choose.


Perform a leak test

It is important to ascertain whether or not any part of the car is leaking before purchase. Any car that is leaking fluids should raise a red flag, as it may need significant repairs in years to come.

While on the test drive, take time to park in a lot clean of stains and dirt, and let the car run for 30 seconds, then move the car and do a complete inspection of the area for any fluids. The colour of the fluid will tell you if it is an oil leak, a transmission leak or an antifreeze leak.

Before taking the plunge into buying a new car, follow the above list to make the experience easier and smoother. You do not have to go into being a car owner with blinders on, so be sure to do your research first and always take a friend or family member with you when choosing, so they can help you stick to a budget and not be swayed by salespeople.

buying a used car