MOTORING NEWS - Buying a previously owned vehicle is much more affordable than buying brand new, but there are obvious traps to look out for.
Where to buy
• The ideal is a reputable pre-owned dealership that has been in the business for some time.
• Purchasing a vehicle from a private person is also an option, but bear in mind that financing through a bank will be difficult, although not impossible. Make sure there is no existing hire-purchase agreement with a bank and if so, follow all the steps to have it settled. It is illegal to purchase or sell a vehicle and keep the original financing agreement in place. The outstanding loan has to be settled before the vehicle can change owners.
• Purchasing through online platforms is popular but the big danger here is paying any money upfront. Never pay any money, not even a holding deposit, before you have actually seen and secured the vehicle. Many people have lost money through bogus adverts.
Choosing the best one
• Look at as many options as possible and compare prices and quality.
• Beware of being impulsive. There are many stories of people who see the "perfect car" days after they purchased what they thought at the time to be "the perfect" one. Take your time, do your homework.
• When inspecting the car, look out for obvious signs that it has been resprayed or body parts that don't quite match in colour. Look for panels that might be slightly out of line and make sure there is no rust.
• Be careful if there is no full service history. A well-kept service history will tell the story of the vehicle and even if a car has high mileage, the fact that it was regularly serviced might make it a good buy.
• If you have any doubts, ask the seller to allow you to take the car to a reputable service centre for a mechanical evaluation.
• Look at the condition of the interior and the luggage space. This will also be a good indication of how well the car was maintained.
• Ask for the previous owner's contact information to verify certain issues. While it will not always be possible - because dealerships often purchase vehicles at auctions or through third parties - it is still a good idea to find out where the vehicle was purchased.
Do this before you pay
• Insist on a roadworthy certificate.
• The vehicle must also be registered in your name by the seller before finalising payment. Financial institutions will not release funds unless the vehicle is registered in the new owner's name.
• If the dealer promises to repair faults which might have been overlooked within a specific time after purchase, let them put it in writing.
• Do not take possession of the vehicle before you have added it to your short-term insurance. Stories abound of people involved in accidents or vehicles stolen hours after purchasing and before the insurance kicks in.
• It might be a good idea to take out insurance against mechanical failure. Be aware though, that many of these plans cover the vehicle for only a year or two, but the installments are spread over the duration of the HP-agreement, which might be as much as 72 months.First do the math.
Can I afford it?
Stay within your budget. Decide beforehand what you can afford and then find the right vehicle; not the other way round.
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