What you should know before buying a used car.

This article was posted on 25 August 2016

Posted in Car Finance


Buying a used car can be a very tricky situation. Most people, especially younger folks tend to go for a second-hand vehicle because it is so much cheaper than buying a brand new one. The risk involved in purchasing a used car is exceedingly higher and depending on how you go about purchasing your car, there are a few things to look out for before you make a final decision.

You don’t have to go through a horrifying experience (as people frequently do) when buying a second-hand vehicle. By doing the below checks you can be sure to walk away with the best deal on the market.


What should I look out for when viewing the car?

Inspect the vehicle

Even if you don’t know a thing about cars, there are certain things that you can check to see if the vehicle is in a good enough condition for the price that you are paying. Start by checking all 4 wheels individually. Make sure that the car is standing on levelled ground so that everything is aligned. Check for scratches, dents and rust. Check that the interior is still in an acceptable condition and that there is no damage or odours.

Look under the car for leaks

Check if there are any leakages when the car is on as well as when you switch it off.

Doors and windows

Check that all the doors is in perfect condition to open and close as well as lock from the inside and outside. Check the boot and the hood as well. Check that for scratches or chipped windows and mirrors

Operating systems

Check that the controls for and all of the operating systems such as the air conditioner, radio and stereo etc. is in perfect condition.


Firstly, without starting the car, check beneath the oil cap if there’s any white liquid – that will indicate damage to the engine. Use the oil dipstick to check if the oil is golden and clear. Start the car from cold to see if it starts easily and if there is excessive smoke. Check the levels of brake fluid as well as the battery.


Test drive the car

This is perhaps the most important part of the whole buying experience. It is imperative that you take the car for a test drive to get the feel of the car. When doing this there is no need for you to be too gentle and it’s best to drive the way you would normally drive. Roll up the windows and turn off the stereo so that you can hear if there are any funny noises while driving. Accelerate hard enough, take sharp corners and break rapidly (in a safe environment) so that you have an idea of how this function. If youre on the road long enough taking the test drive, have a closer look at the temperature and battery indicators as well as the oil pressure.



Be firm and request all the documentation such as roadworthy certificate and records of services that the vehicle underwent so that you can have a better understanding of what the car has been through- any repairs, problems and overall performance. The Automobile Association warns that even though the roadworthy certificate claims that the vehicle meets the minimum statutory requirements in terms of safety, it doesn’t mean that the car doesn’t have mechanical issues.


Also, don’t forget to take out Car Insurance because you never know what might happen and as mentioned above, a used car is a huge risk that you are taking and I am pretty sure that you wouldn’t want to put any financial burden on your pocket.

Never, ever be hasty when making the decision to buy a used car. Make sure that you are buying from a reputable dealership and always do some research on the dealership itself. Compare quotes on MisterCompare.co.za for the most affordable Car Finance quotes in South Africa and go and get your hand on that steeering wheel

FYI: The price of a used car is negotiable, always!

- Enzo Leigh Botes

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