The quick guide to buying a used car in South Africa

Muamer Hodzic October 23, 2013


The quick guide to buying a used car in South Africa

Car workers in South Africa recently ended a three-week strike and returned to work following the acceptance of an altered wage offer from car giants including Toyota, Ford, and Volkswagen. Workers were asking for wage increases up until 2015, plus allowances for night shifts and transport. South Africa now faces strikes by car dealers and dealers of spare parts. The strike affected the supply of new cars in the country, with carmakers finding it difficult to keep up with demand after the action cut off the supply of parts. If there is a shortage of new cars on the forecourts, there is a solution – buy a used car. Here’s a quick guide to finding the right used car in South Africa.

Find attractive car deals

It can be useful to first narrow down your search to concentrate on the car makes and models you are interested in. Otherwise, you could be checking the details of every type of used car on the market today. Think about your budget – and stick to it. Include the cost of insurance and other costs down the line, and where you will use your car. If you need a car to take your children to school, a sports model is not going to be suitable. And if you are driving in the country, a small hatchback will probably not suit your needs. Once you have decided on a range of cars to look at, find deals advertised online, at used car dealers, and in the classified section of the local newspapers – also look at AA publications and Autotrader.

Check the car

Check the general condition of the car, inside and out. You should also consider taking the car to a mechanic or trusted dealer in order to get it looked over. Take the car for a test drive, making sure to test the car in different conditions and by using different driving techniques, for example by reversing and by making some tight turns and braking sharply.

Get the key to quality used cars by checking the vehicles thoroughly

Check the documentation

If the car meets your requirements and you’ve checked it over for faults and other issues, you now need to check the car’s documentation. Unfortunately many people skip over this part, resulting in a few nasty surprises when they get the car home. Specifically, you need to check the service book and the repair history, if there is one. Make sure the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is the same on the chassis as it is in the car’s registration documents. Look at the seller’s name and ensure it is the same name as written on the registration document. Check that the mileage matches between the odometer and the number written in the service book. You need to make sure that the car is not stolen, and the seller is authorized to sell you the vehicle.

Your instincts as well as your ability to check under a car’s hood are your best allies in the search for used cars – if the car seems too good to be true, it probably is. If the price is too cheap, there is most likely something wrong with it. If you hear noises from the engine when taking a test drive, these will get worse as soon as you drive off the forecourt. If you don’t like the look or feel of the car, walk away. There are plenty of other cars out there that will better suit your needs.



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