Essential Safety Features for Used Car Buyers

In today’s tough economic climate, many of us can’t afford a brand-new car. Whether we call them used, second-hand, or pre-owned cars, the market for these vehicles is steadily growing in South Africa. In this guide, we’ll help you, the used car buyer, find quality and affordable vehicles that are also safe on the road.

Benefits of Buying a Quality Used Car

  • Affordability: Used cars are significantly cheaper than new ones. High-end or vintage cars may retain their resale value.
  • Reduced Depreciation: Used cars have already undergone significant depreciation, so they don’t lose value as rapidly as new cars.
  • Lower Insurance Costs: Older cars with lower values come with lower insurance premiums, and you can even buy a warranty for peace of mind.
  • Warranty Options: Certified pre-owned cars often come with extended warranties, which are not guaranteed with new cars.
  • Variety: The used car market offers a vast array of options, unlike the limited choices available for new cars.

Risks of Buying a Used Car

  • Existing Problems: Sellers are legally required to disclose any issues, but this isn’t always guaranteed.
  • Mechanical Issues: While dealerships may fix problems initially, issues can reoccur over time.
  • Compromises: You may need to compromise on specifications like colour and mileage, and you may need to consider other options if the dealership doesn’t have what you want.

Making Informed Decisions When Buying a Used Car

Factors to Consider When Buying a Used Car

Consider more than just the car’s appearance. Use the Trans-Union Auto Dealers’ Guide to determine a fair price for the vehicle before making a purchase.


  • Investigate the vehicle’s history, mileage, and roadworthiness.
  • Check fuel consumption and running costs using Kinsey reports.
  • Compare prices and features of various models.
  • Pay attention to odometer readings, service history, accident records, and the availability of spare keys.

Where to Buy a Quality Used Car

Consider the source:

  • Buying from a trusted dealership can provide peace of mind, as they often inspect and refurbish vehicles.
  • Check if the dealership is a member of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
  • Seek recommendations on social media platforms.

Vehicle Verification:

  • Ensure the vehicle’s status (e.g., stolen or recovered) using the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).

Service Plans, Warranties, and Maintenance

  • Some used cars come with service plans and warranties, and you can inquire about extending them.
  • Consider depositing a monthly instalment into your savings account for future servicing costs.

Financing Options When Buying a Used Car

  • Create a budget and determine how much you can afford.
  • Use TransUnion’s Car-Value-Report to assess the vehicle’s value.
  • Negotiate the final price, including on-the-road costs.
  • Don’t forget to check for reputable organisations like the Automobile Association.

Car Insurance for Used Cars

  • Protect your investment by purchasing car insurance.
  • Ensure your vehicle’s valuation aligns with your policy’s basis of settlement.
  • Shop around for quotes and consider different insurance levels.

Roadworthiness and Safety on the Road

  • Have the selected car independently inspected by a reputable garage or organisation like the Automobile Association.
  • Investigate the vehicle’s safety features and safety rating.
  • Consider fuel consumption, maintenance, and service costs.

Checklists When Buying a Used Car

  • Important Documents:
    • Verify registration details and documentation.
    • Confirm VIN consistency and integrity.
  • Mileage Details:
    • Ensure consistency with service records.
  • Evidence of an Accident:
    • Inspect for signs of extensive repairs.
  • Safety Factors:
    • Check the condition of tyres, seatbelts, airbags, and other safety features.
    • Confirm the functionality of locks, lights, and other controls.
  • The Test Drive:
    • Ensure you have the right keys.
    • Evaluate the brakes, ABS, lights, and minor controls.
    • Assess steering, windows, and the engine for any issues.
  • The Engine:
    • Check for abnormal noises, oil warning lights, and exhaust emissions.
    • Inspect the clutch, oil, and cam belt according to the service schedule.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Arrive Alive

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