What You Should Know About Vehicle Safety When Buying A Car?
When you’re looking to buy a car, you’re probably dreaming about something comfortable, affordable and that’s a little bit stylish, too. But what about safety? While all cars sold in SA have to adhere to specific standards, how well each vehicle brand and model meets these requirements can vary dramatically. In this article, we break down vehicle safety for you (no pun intended!).
What are the different safety ratings and how are they determined?
All vehicles sold in SA for use on public roads are required to meet a set of regulations, which are set out by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS). These specifications are aligned with European equivalents, and cover a range of components and systems:
Before any vehicle can be put on sale, it has to go through an approval process that requires the manufacturer or importer to provide NCRS with evidence of conformance, based on test reports from accredited testing facilities. Although the NCRS validation gives you as the buyer some assurance that minimum standards have been met, this conformance doesn’t really help you differentiate between the safety specs on different vehicles.
However, ratings from the New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) can be a huge help. NCAP is a non-legislative, voluntary programme that exists to provide buyers with key information on the safety of passenger vehicles. Global NCAP acts as a platform for all the different programmes to co-operate, and it promotes the universal adoption of the UN’s most significant car safety standards. Although it’s not legally required for cars to go through an NCAP assessment, its ratings are widely reported and well known in the automotive industry. Because more and more consumers are demanding visibility of vehicle safety ratings, many manufacturers now voluntarily co-operate with NCAP.
To determine the vehicle's safety, the following is assessed before, during and after impact:
Which safety features should you look out for when buying any car?
Modern technology has given us an array of fantastic, high-tech safety features, but there are three that you should never compromise on, no matter how young or old a car is:
Remember, it doesn’t matter what the car comes with, new or old. Everything has to actually work for it to be viable – make sure you test everything, and ask for certificates where appropriate.
Which general safety features should you prioritise when buying a second-hand car?
Check all of these yourself, don’t just take the seller’s word for it:
What questions should you ask regarding safety when buying a second-hand car?
Before you sign on the dotted line and purchase a second-hand car, there are a handful of very important questions to ask. These will give you a sense of how well the car has been maintained, and whether you can expect any big costs further down the line:
Ask the seller to provide you with proof of anything that they’ve claimed to have fixed, such as a receipt, Tax Invoice or Proof of Payment.
In a nutshell
It’s really important to do your homework on any vehicle you’re looking at buying. Second-hand cars are great, affordable options, and many more recent models have additional safety features that really do enhance the quality of the sale. Just remember to check everything and ask for proof if you need to. Never be afraid to ask the tough questions – the safety of you and your family is the priority! If in doubt, chat to a reputable mechanic and ask their advice.