THE CAR DOCTOR: Justus Visagie answers all your car questions Image: Cornel van Heerden
Johannesburg - City Press writer Justus Visagie provides useful answers to your automotive questions.
Quality spare parts
Vince Gazide: I drive a 2008 Mercedes-Benz C350 Avantgarde. The car is due for a 220 000km service. Is it advisable to buy the service kit items from a spares shop such as Goldwagen instead of going to Mercedes-Benz? I find the spares are cheaper than those sold by the agents.
However, I am concerned about the quality of the spares shop products.
JV: Most generic parts come from the same factory as the original, branded parts that are usually more expensive, so you can make a significant saving by having generic parts fitted.
Speak to the sales staff at the spares shop and ask them about the origin and quality of the generic parts. A reputable shop will sell you good quality parts of similar origin to Mercedes-Benz’s parts.
Mokoena Mmanare: I want to buy another car, preferably a BMW or Mercedes-Benz. Which option is the best between balloon or non-balloon payments? What option is more advantageous between the two?
JV: A balloon payment allows you to drive a new car without financing its entire retail price. The bank would finance, for example, 70% of the car’s value and the client would be liable for the monthly payment and the 30% (in one lump sum) when the contract ends.
I spoke to Graham Craggs of Budget Insurance, who had this to say: “Balloon payments may lower your monthly repayments or allow you to stretch to a more pricey vehicle, but we strongly advise consumers to rather purchase a vehicle that they can afford through a normal instalment sale. Putting forward a substantial deposit and structuring your repayments over a shorter term could save you thousands of rands. The biggest downside to balloon payments, or residuals, as they are also known, is that you end up paying much more for the same vehicle because of interest charges, especially with longer repayment periods.”
The car doctor: Justus Visagie helps users with their car questions. Image: Cornel van Heerden
Cash or have a vehicle financed?
Aviwe Madikizeka: Is it better to buy a car with cash or get finance? And, being a first-time car buyer, should I go for a second-hand VW Golf 6 R, a new VW Polo TSI or a new VW Golf 7 TSI R?
JV: Cash is best, but few people can afford to buy a car without financing it. Paying the biggest possible cash deposit and financing over a shorter period helps buyers save on interest.
If I were you, I’d buy a pre-owned two-year-old Polo TSI or a two-year-old Golf 7 R from a VW Mastercars dealer. After a year or two, a new car has lost a significant percentage of its value, which makes it a good buy. But, because it’s still under its factory warranty, the second owner has peace of mind.
If you still want to buy new, go for the Polo – it’s an excellent car and cheaper than a Golf.
Do you have car questions you’d like Justus to answer?
Using the words CAR QUESTIONS in the subject line, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also SMS the keywords CAR QUESTIONS and your question to 35697. Please include your name. SMSes cost R1.50. Remember to be as specific as possible – the more details you supply, the better Justus will be able to answer your question