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Top 12 tips to follow when choosing the right family car

Is your family growing? helps break down the most important things to consider when looking for a vehicle for the whole family.

Is your family growing? helps break down the most important things to consider when looking for a vehicle for the whole family.

Published Mar 23, 2022


By Sheryl Thiel

Is your family growing? Are you in market for a family car?, supported by Motus Toyota (previously Imperial Toyota), helps break down the most important things to consider!

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1. Do some general used car research

Before you go to the dealer and start looking at cars, you will need to decide on what body type (shape) of car you would need eg. SUV, sedan, or hatch back. Once you’ve decided, you can then make a list of the car models you’re targeting.

TIP: Compare cars easily on to find your dream car!

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Next step would be to do research on each car model to find out common defects, repair costs and maintenance costs as they begin to age. With your research in hand, you will feel more confident to enter the market with some bargaining power and a keen eye for the weak points in each car model.

2. Knowing the going rate

Mileage and added features can affect a car’s value, so cars of the same model and year may have different price tags. A good place to start would be to find out the book value of the standard models.

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3. Ask, Ask, Ask

When contacting a dealer or an individual seller, get as much information about the used car as possible. Here’s a list of recommended questions to ask the seller during your search:

• How many previous owners have there been?

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• What is the condition of the car?

• What is the mileage on the odometer?

• Was the car involved in any accidents?

• Has the car had any electrical damage?

• Does it have a full-service history?

• Does the car have an existing warranty or maintenance plan?

• Does the car require new tyres?

4. Check the mileage

High mileage cars generally have higher maintenance costs and are more prone to costly repairs. While it might seem like a saving in the short term, the long-term costs could hit your wallet dearly.

5. Check the tyres

Tyres that are smooth or unevenly worn could mean anything from bad wheel alignment and balancing to worn shock absorbers, to a collapsed suspension system.

6. Cabin check

Be sure to look out for any chips, cracks and tears in the interior panels, roof lining and seat fabric. Normal wear and tear consistent with the age of the car is acceptable, but a cracked dashboard, or missing panel, for example, could indicate a much bigger problem.

7. Start and test drive the car

A well-maintained car shouldn’t have any trouble starting or running smoothly. It shouldn’t smoke excessively, and the ride should be smooth and free of stutters, gear problems, vibrations, brake noises, turning noises and excessive rattles.

8. Safety check

Safety systems like seatbelts, Isofix and airbags are an absolute must to check. If any of these systems aren’t functioning, rather steer clear.

9. Test the tech

Make sure that all electric and electronic systems are working. Test the lights, the wipers, the heating and cooling system, the GPS system etc. to make sure that everything works and check the instrumentation panel for errors or abnormal gauge readings.

When you’ve tested everything else, turn off the radio and pay attention for any odd sounds that could indicate problems.

10. Get a history check

Accident-damaged cars, or those that were impacted by a crime, like theft, are a high-risk buy. This is especially the case if the car’s engine or electronic components were compromised. Your dealer can ensure that reliable checks are done for you, to confirm that the car is accident and incident free.

11. Find the best deals dealerships will have the widest selection of used cars available. They also often offer extras like new tyres, a second key, and floor mats. dealers can an also do history checks on the car for you.

12. Use your instincts

A little common sense can go a long way when purchasing a used car. Ask yourself if the dealer seems trustworthy. Know about techniques that are used to hide flaws, such as using air fresheners to mask strange smells and tampering with odometers.

Avoid making an impulse buy just because you finally found a car that looks nice from an outward appearance. Finally, as the adage goes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is!

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