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A first-time buyer’s guide to purchasing a vehicle

2016-12-20 06:01

Purchasing a car can be a daunting process, with contracts, financing and various other factors all playing a role in a buyer’s final decision. With so much to consider, those on the market for a vehicle need to make sure that they are not only getting the best value for their money, but a good fit for their motoring needs.

Ensuring that you get a good deal involves more than just price, and buyers should be aware of all terms and conditions of the vehicle and contract before signing their name on the dotted line. Here is a list of simple questions that every customer should have answered when buying their next vehicle.

When you’re looking for something brand new:

Are there any additional fees I should know about beforehand?

While most buyers would ask this question towards the end of their consultation, this is arguably one of the most important factors to consider. Vehicle prices do not include extra fees like admin costs and various other charges. Know what you will be paying for upfront and why certain costs have been added.

Am I allowed to make counter-offers?

Being the one who ultimately decides whether or not a final price is worth it, a buyer needs to know how much room they have for negotiation. By asking about counter-offers, you let the salesperson know that they risk losing the sale if they are not willing to negotiate, while finding out whether or not you can structure a better deal.

Have additional parts/equipment been added to the vehicle?

You should note any additional items that may have been added which increase the vehicle’s selling price. If you feel that your car would be better off without tinted windows, make it known beforehand.

If I perform the purchase online, will the dealer deliver the car, and who will cover the risk?

The internet affords buyers with the opportunity of reviewing a range of cars from the comfort of their laptop, making purchasing online an option that should definitely be considered. While websites such as AutoTrader have made your quest for a dream car easier than ever before, some dealers only offer you the option to buy the vehicle without making provision for its delivery. Make sure you know how you will get your car and who will cover the insurance for its journey from the dealer to you.

What maintenance needs to be done to the car?

All new cars should come with a logbook detailing service intervals and what maintenance should be done. Any maintenance performed on the vehicle should be noted in the logbook to avoid breakdowns in future and ensure that your car remains in tip-top shape. Vehicles under warranty must be serviced according to the maintenance schedule, making it crucial that any repairs are revealed before purchase so that the warranty stays valid.

 What is your dealership’s and bank’s policy on vehicle returns and warranties?

When purchasing a vehicle from a dealer, find out what their cancellation policy is. Despite buyers being protected by the Consumer Protection Act, you should note what costs may be involved should you decide to return the vehicle after you’ve signed for it.


Looking for a pre-loved car:

Is the car certified? If so, can I see the certificate and find out who did the inspection?

A CPO, or Certified Pre-Owned car, is very different from an average used car, in that it has been checked according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Such vehicles would have all their parts checked and typically have an extended warranty attached. If you’re looking to buy a pre-loved vehicle, you have a right to see the car’s certification and know the validity of the inspection performed.

What is the vehicle’s full history?

Has the vehicle been stolen or written off before? Is the mileage displayed correct, and what is the car’s sales history? These are always questions that would be answered should the full history of the vehicle be provided to you. As a buyer, always make sure you know the full extent of what you’re paying for.

How do I check if the vehicle’s electronics and mechanicals are in working condition?

Looks can often be deceiving, and vehicles are no exception. Requesting a check on the car’s electronics and mechanical elements will not only ensure that the car has no hidden issues but reveal to you what repairs may or may not need to be done in future.

Were any service/maintenance repairs done on the vehicle since acquiring it?

Any additional services performed while cars have been kept in the dealership’s possession should be revealed beforehand so that you, the customer, can make a well-informed decision regarding your purchase.

What is your dealership’s and bank’s policy on vehicle returns and warranties?

Should you decide that the car you just purchased does not suit your needs; you need to know whether or not you have the option of returning the vehicle after the sales agreement has been signed. Always find out what the dealership’s and bank’s policies are and what legal rights you may be able to leverage should you change your mind.

AutoTrader South Africa has been the leading media market space for the past 24 years for buying and selling vehicles. Whether you are looking to buy a brand new car or are on the market for a pre-loved model, AutoTrader has over 65 000 cars to choose from and is guaranteed to suit your tastes and needs. Find your perfect car on AutoTrader.

 

 

 

 

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