21 things to check when buying a car!

2015-01-29 12:37

You’ve done your research and have short-list of cars you’re interesting in buying. All that’s left is the test-drive, which is where many people become unstuck.

Do you know what to look out for when behind the wheel of what could be your new - perhaps very expensive - car? Knowing what to look for during a test drive could mean the difference between a good car and a lemon.


According to Martin Janse van Rensburg, for Budget Insurance, there's a number of things you should watch for during that vital test-drive. He explained: "We can be so impressed with how a car looks and in the gung-ho excitement that we can be side-tracked and not look for the necessary things on the test drive.  

“You definitely don’t want to suffer buyer’s remorse so it’s essential to test-drive the car properly before buying. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because a car is brand-new, that it’s the right car for you.”

Here’s 21 things to check before you buy your next car:
1 - Make sure to drive the particular model you intend to buy.
2 - Once behind the wheel, review how well the primary controls are laid out. Ergonomics can make or break a good car.
3 - Observe how certain features might become an irritation over time, for example inadequate storage or a boot that’s difficult to operate.
4 - The driver's and front passenger doors may be large and easy to open but don't forget to check the size of the rear doors. Examine access for rear occupants - and if you intend to install a child seat.
5 - Make sure the rear seats are adjustable, comfortable and large enough. Can they be folded to enlarge the boot space?.
6 - Review safety features, such as air bags, active-safety electronics and adjustable seat belts.
7 - Make sure the primary controls are easy to use and that the clutch isn’t too hard or steering too heavy. Look for adjustable controls – adjustable steering wheel and pedals can be a great benefit.
8 - Ensure that the seats are comfortable and supportive.
9 - Make sure there are sufficient gauges and display screens.
10 - Bring your iPod/Smartphone along to check the audio system, ease of use, connectivity.
11 - Does the car have Bluetooth connectivity and voice activation; how well does it function with your mobile device.


12 - If you opt for satnav, make sure it is intuitive and accurate.
13 - If possible, take the test drive alone. Experience the car on multiple road surfaces and at varying speeds. Don’t be pressured into a quick jaunt around the block.
14 - Make sure that the vehicle has enough power for its intended use.
15 - Ensure that its brakes have a solid and reassuring feel.
16 - Take several corners to evaluate the vehicle’s composure when changing direction over a rough surface as well as how smoothly the transmission operates when driving.
17 - Check its manoeuvrability during parking. Take note of the vehicle’s ground clearance.
18 - Visibility is important. Observe how well you can see in all directions, particularly through the rear window and blind spots.
19 - Listen out for noise levels inside the vehicle – how much outside noise and wind enters the cabin and whether the tyres drone.
20 - If you’re buying a second-hand vehicle, the first test-drive is not only for your evaluation but also offers a chance to jot down the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), so you view a report of the vehicle’s history.
21 - The second test-run for a used car will be to take the car to a trusted mechanic for a second opinion.

Janse van Rensburg concludes: "Make sure you drive your potential car candidates back-to-back on the same day for a proper comparison. Take time to reflect on each vehicle and which one suits better. This preparation will make you more confident in your final decision for this major purchase."


  • WollieVerstege - 2015-01-29 13:17

    Make sure the spare tire is easily accessible and that changing said tire does not require a varsity degree.

      Bertus Pretorius - 2015-01-29 17:02

      Ugh, Wollie, that is IF it comes with a spare at all. These runflats are just unpractical for SA.

      WollieVerstege - 2015-01-29 17:13

      Agree Bertus. When Run Flats are offered, I tell them to take it off or I don't buy. They are always full of excuses as to why they cant, but when you stand up and start walking to the door, those excuses evaporate very quickly.

  • James Rademan - 2015-01-29 13:35

    Or just buy a Merc, and dont worry about any of the above...

      Sabs Mzuku - 2015-01-29 13:50

      Mobilo jumps to mind..

      Freddie Jones - 2015-01-29 14:58

      In the case of any Mercedes Benz, all of the above are much more important as the cost of repair will be much more than for any other make of car.

      Blane Blandon - 2015-01-29 18:31

      Unless the Merc has a service plan dont touch it , cost of servicing it will require a loan from JZ

  • Daniel Mah - 2015-01-29 15:08

    Happy with my Golf 7 - nothing to complain about. Spend most of the time hustling for discount and low interest rate

  • Hein Smal - 2015-02-02 06:12

    And surf the net visit sites like hellopeter and find out if the company you are buying from can give after sales service and if there are any reliability issues with the vehicle you intend purchasing as it may be a new model here but might have been sold overseas for 3 years already also compare parts prices - dinkum

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