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Virgin car-buyer's guide to buying a ride

2015-04-17 11:57


GET YOUR OWN WHEELS! Ditch the hitch-hiking and get your own wheels today! Image: Shutterstock / Ser Borakovskyy

You're finally done hitch-hiking, taking the bus, bumming a lift, or being part of a car-pool. Yes, it's time to declare your independence or perhaps your newfound status as an up and coming professional. AutoTrader gives some fun tips on how to go about it.

New or used?

It's been said that a car depreciates the moment you drive it from the show room floor. While a new car may not be an asset, apart from the street cred it may bestow, resale value is a huge point of consideration.

Perhaps you have your mind set on a cost-effective brand but if you grow weary of it three years on, you might take a hit when you trade it in for something different. After five years any vehicle is worth less than you paid. There is sensibility therefore in sticking to the Polo Vivos and  Toyota Fortuners of this world.

A good tip would be to buy a one-year-old top-seller of the previous year, such as a VW Polo Vivo.

Taking it for a spin

Once you've narrowed it down, it's time to test-drive a few options. Make sure you don't just drive it down the road and back. You should at least take it out on the open road, possibly over a few not-so-perfect road-surfaces, to see how it performs.

Private Seller or a Dealer?

When it comes to a private seller, what guarantees are there that the vehicle's in decent shape, or if there were any accidents, for example? Reputable dealers usually have the skinny on the car in question's previous life. However, you can take a private seller's car to be properly checked by the pros.

If you're an AA member you qualify for a 15% discount on roadworthy tests, multi-point checks or a more thorough technical inspection, which takes two to three hours. Or do an instant online Vehicle Check by AutoTrader to verify that the VIN, year, make, model, and variant (along with many other vehicle features) matches the original factory specifications.

Rand signs?

Once you're seated in the dealer's office and it's time to talk money you don't have to feel like an abattoir lamb. Nobody can afford to pay cash for a car but putting aside the equivalent monthly repayment for your car for several months and using this as a deposit is a wise thing to do.

And the bigger the deposit, the stronger your finance application will be.  So what options are there?

1. An instalment sale agreement. The car is in your name but in actual fact it belongs to the bank until you pay the final instalment.

2. A lease/rental agreement. You get to drive the car to your heart's content until the end of the contract. Then you have the option of retaining ownership or giving the car back and leasing a new car.

Visit autotrader.co.za to read the full article The Virgin Car Buyer's Guide to Buying a Ride, complete with in-depth advice and further detail.

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