10 Top Tips To Make Car-Buying Easier

10 Top Tips To Make Car-Buying Easier

motomatch / 13 April 2022

There could be so many reasons why you want to buy a car. Maybe, you no longer want to rely on public transport in South Africa. Maybe, you feel that your old car is not reliable to use anymore. Or, maybe you got a salary hike and want to buy a new set of wheels for your family.

Regardless of the reason, buying a new car is a fun, exciting and proud feeling. By browsing the latest models, and selecting the right one, then you’re ready to hit the road in style! But, most often, buying a car can be a daunting experience for many buyers.

Whether you are in the market to buy your first car or simply want to replace a vehicle, you need to make a purchase carefully. So, we’re going to share some tips on buying a used car in South Africa to make the process easier for you.

Let’s get started:

#1 Decide What Type of Car You Need

First, you need to focus on your needs for a car and the features you want in it. Maybe you require a giant 4x4 vehicle or you’re looking for a family sedan car. Or, you want to buy an easy-to-drive vehicle for something more frugal for the daily commute.

No matter what your needs are, create a list of car models according to necessary specifications and budget to finalise one from them.

#2 Finalise Your Budget

The budget is the most essential part of the car buying process in South Africa. Start by making a list of all your current expenses and income. After this, work on how much credit loan you can afford. You need to keep in mind the interest rate of loan repayment and monthly installments that you pay back to the bank or lenders.

Also, consider your budget for fuel, car insurance, and services. Accordingly, you have to finalise an amount that you can easily afford.  After this, create a list of cars that falls within your budget.

#3 Improve Your Credit Score

Knowing your credit score before seeking financing for  buying a new or used car will give you an idea of the amount you are likely to qualify for. So, it is better to get a copy of the credit report from the bank and make sure it is correct. Having a good to exceptional credit score makes it easier for you to qualify for the desired loan amount.

If your credit score does not fall in the required range, and you are not in a hurry to buy the car, consider postponing your purchase. In the meantime, you can work to improve your credit score with the following tips:

  • Complete financial commitments: Timely pay your debts, which will affect your credit score. Ensure there is no late or missed payment, as this may put a negative image of you in the creditor's mind. If you fall behind the repayments by any chance, try to cover them as soon as possible.
  • Pay your regular debts: High unpaid debt will negatively affect the credit score while paying it off will improve it. In addition, regular debt repayments show that you can manage finances.
  • Limit your expenses: Try to reduce your expenses so that you can increase your credit limit. Do not waste money on unwanted things, rather save it to pay the initial amount when buying a car.
  • Keep old accounts open: The age-of-credit account can improve your credit score. The older the account is, the more you may get from lenders.

#4 Try for Pre-Financing Options

Once you maintain a good credit score, start looking for the pre-financing options to buy a car. For example, you can go to different banks and dealers to know how much they can give you and what their interest rates are.

Most of the time, interest rates offered by dealers are typically much higher than the banks and credit unions. So, you should first inquire with them about car loan rates. Get multiple financing quotes so that you can easily compare which benefits you and suits you better. Having preapproval of finances can be very beneficial when you are in the market to buy a new or used car.

#5 Compare Prices of Car Models

Once you have secured financing and shortlisted the car model, it's time to visit dealers to compare the prices. In South Africa, make sure the dealer you choose is either the Retail Motor Industry Association (RMI) or the Independent Dealer Association (IDA). This is because both these associations ensure fair prices and best practice standards.

Shop around for a better price and see the difference in the charges offered by different dealers in your area. Don't be in a rush to close the deal, but think, compare and buy from the shop that offers you the best price for your dream car.

#6 Avoid the Add-Ons

Buying a new car is a major purchase, and you might be paying its loan amount for the next few years. When you finance the car in South Africa, overall costs for accessories will put a hole in your pocket, so it is better to avoid add-ons. For example, you do not need to spend extra on heated seats, portable GPS navigation, or rust-proofing.

In addition to this, there are many more add-ons that you do not need in your car. Yes, once you pay off the loan amount and have enough money to spend, you can modify the car as you want.

#7 Consider Buying a Used Car

No doubt that the new car gives you a luxury feel, but you can get amazing deals with used cars. When you are tight on budget and want a specific model, you can opt for used cars. Here are the tips on buying a used car in South Africa:

- Do your research

Buying a used car needs a lot of research to find a trusted person. In South Africa, RMI - Retail Motor Industry can assist you in finding the local pre-owned car dealers that are registered with NADA. Also, you can check the reviews on the internet for a dealer before you buy a used car from them.

- Check the car's history

The most important thing for anyone when buying a used car in South Africa is to check the vehicle's history. Make sure the car you are planning to buy is not stolen and has a good history of saving you from any future problems. Also, make sure that the car is free from accidents and legal complications.

- Consult a mechanic when buying a used car

Get your used car inspected by your mechanic before you buy it. They will check the car for any signs of wear and tear. Also, the mechanic will inspect the engine, interior, and exterior of the car properly. This will help you determine whether or not to buy the car. Further, a mechanic's report with leverage will help you negotiate a lower buying price.

#8 Test-Drive the Car

Whether you are planning to buy a new car or a used vehicle, a test drive is a must. It is the best way to get an idea of the car's features, dynamics, and comfort levels. Also, a test drive makes you familiar with the interior and exterior of the car you are planning to buy. Here are some car test driving tips for you:

  • Schedule an appointment for a test drive. Having an appointment makes the process easy for you, and you do not need to wait for the car to arrive for test driving.
  • Take time to check all interior parts of the car. Also, make sure you and your family fit best inside the car.
  • Check if the controls are easy to use or if the child seat fits best or not. Also, do not forget to check the air vents of the vehicle.
  • Don't feel shy to ask a question that comes to mind to the dealer before finalising the deal.

#9 Don't Be Afraid to Negotiate

After doing all the research, securing finance, and test driving, it is time to negotiate the final price of the car. You can start negotiating with the car dealer or pre-owned dealership. When you give them a good reason with knowledge of the price from other dealers, you might get a good offer for your car.

When negotiating the car price, make sure you have professionally tested it and have a quote from more than three shops. This will help you to skilfully negotiate the price using pre-collected data.

#10 Sign the Paperwork

Once you have accepted the price for your car, you will need to sign the paperwork to finalise the purchase. Read every document carefully before you sign and make sure you understand everything written. Also, bring a valid South African driver's license with you to sign the contract.

Final Word

Buying a car, either new or used, is a major purchase, so make sure you do good research to buy the best car for you and your family. Educate yourself to buy a new and used car so that you can prepare yourself well for negotiations. Also, by following the tips on buying a used car in South Africa or tips on buying a new car, you'll get the best price possible on your next vehicle.