Buying a car: the need-to-knows

buy a car

Top 5 things to know before you buy a car

So you’ve made the decision to take the plunge and get a new, even if it’s new-for-you, car. Well done, congratulations, bravo, and yeehaw! Whether you’ve started saving from today (it totally counts as being prepared), got your deposit ready and waiting, or financing your new wheels in its entirety, buying a car can be a daunting task.

Never fear. King Price is here to help you avoid making a bad decision with these top 5 tips. They’re what we think of as “inside information,” which we only give out to special humans whom we like.

Like you.

  1. Google is your friend

As a rule, never walk into the first dealership and take a gander at what they’ve got. Not to besmirch the dozens of salespeople that do a wonderful job, but there are a few that won’t be able to see much more than the potential to make a sale. And it won’t matter much what you need or want.

Before you head out, go online. Research the makes and models you’re interested in, read up on each one, and do the legwork so that you’re prepared to make that big purchase you’re going to entrust your life to every time you drive off for a McFlurry.

  1. Wheeling and dealing

Look, adventure is a wonderful approach to life… But let’s be honest. A car dealership is not the place to go out on a whim and let your inner crazy side out for that magical unicorn of a car that is, “such a steal for what you’re buying.”

Once you’ve done the research, you’re ready to actually look. You have your mental list of what you need, like automatic vs. manual, sedan for the kids vs. hatchback for you around town, and whether your new beauty should be cherry red or bombastic blue. The point is, your list will help you keep calm and prevent the charming and helpful salesperson from steering you away from what you need in a car.

  1. Spanking new or charmingly used

More and more people are choosing to buy a used car primarily because of its affordability. It’s important, though, that you consider the trade-offs when it comes to buying new or used.

If you buy a used car, you’ll get a more expensive option for less money, but you can’t always know for certain what the car’s history is (depending on where you buy it from, of course). You also will get a shorter warranty period during your ownership, and often end up with higher interest rates.

Now, if you buy a new car, you might only be able to afford the basic model, meaning that you’ll get less bells and whistles for the same money. Of course, you do get the benefit of knowing that you’re the only driver, as well as the full warranty. You might also get special inclusions like free maintenance and roadside assistance, and more often than not, lower interest rates.

  1. But can you afford the tyres?

So you had a budget, thought that you’d be able to get a reasonable deal, and low and behold… You found the mother of all specials. The mileage was super low, the make and model far superior to what you had in mind, the year younger, the colour… You just can’t understand how a car like this landed in your lap.

The only thing that you had no clue about was that the tyres and services would cost you so much more than the car you had originally budgeted for. Do yourself a favour and make sure that you check out how much a “fancier” car will cost you in the long run before signing on the dotted line.

  1. Check the parts

We really hope that your car lasts forever, runs like a dream, and never needs anything repaired or replaced.

We also want our very own office unicorn and to indulge in cake every day without facing the scale’s haughty glare as our weight climbs towards Everest.

The fact is that somewhere along the line something will need to be replaced. Now, you wouldn’t necessarily think to check this (which is why we’re telling you), but not all car brands manufacture their parts in South Africa. Some are fairly inaccessible, driving up the prices of parts and causing major delays in delivering these to your mechanic or service station. You could end up waiting up to 6 months for the brand specific (but tiny) bolt that costs R13,000, which you need so that you can keep your warranty. And get your car back from the garage, of course.

It’s important that you ask around and see for yourself what the cost of parts would be and how accessible these are to the South African market. It’ll save you a bunch of hassle in the long run.