Tips for buying a used car Photo: File
DURBAN - During the festive season if you are thinking of buying a car, a used car may be the better option.

According to Pieter Niemand, the Director of the Motor Industry Workshop Association, "Buying a car in South Africa is often the second biggest financial commitment a consumer makes after buying or renting a home".

He added " Unfortunately emotions are generally the key to purchasing a car with little clear thinking and research done ahead of the purchase. In these tough economic times making the wrong decision on a car purchase can be a costly mistake".

Niemand believes that it is really worthwhile to do research and get a professional opinion before any contracts are signed or handing over payment.

"A contract needs to protect you, the buyer, so make sure that when you signed you are not waiving your consumer rights".

He advises that consumers should check what guarantees are in place. If there are no guarantees, the seller needs to be clear about the reasons why there are no guarantees.

The Consumer Protection Act of 2008 is very clear about the minimum guarantees on transactions.

Niemand advised " If the deal hinges on additional work being done to the car, do not conclude the deal until the work is completed".

He also said that be very transparent timelines for the finishing of the work.

"When you are ready to move forward with a deal, it is advisable to pay a deposit first. Then, when you're satisfied that all the work needed and agreed upon is concluded, pay over the balance".

An key point to think about is building a portfolio of evidence, that is decreasing all the agreements and undertakings to writing.

Niemand said "This way, should you need recourse through a body like the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) Organisation, you will have tangible proof to back up your case. Verbal agreements and contracts are often difficult to prove".


Niemand had the following fast tips and key questions to ask before buying a vehicle.

Here are the tips:

1. If you are purchasing privately give more time to the detail.
2. Before paying the deposit make sure that all the checks and balances are done.
3. Does the car have a current licence disc and registration papers?
4. Is the car roadworthy?
5. Has the car been altered?
6. Are there any warranties or guarantees still usable on the and will they be carried over on the transfer of ownership?
7. Is the car being sold for a reasonable price (research available on the internet)
8. Does the car have a service history that can be confirmed?
9. Take the car for a test drive and a maybe a car specialist too.
10. Has the car been involved in an accident?
11. Is the mileage accurate and can the be verified?
12. When was the last time that the car was serviced and when last was the cambelt replaced?
13. Do a mechanical report before finalising the deal?
14. Inspect the condition of the tyres.

Niemand also reminded consumers that there a professional people that are accessible to help you before you buy the car. MIWA and RMI are available across the country and will gladly help you if you are seeking advice".


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