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Dear Morgan , I cry every week because of the cost of petrol . I drive a Pajero, but think maybe I should trade it in or sell it for something smaller. Do you think this is wise? - Khutso

By unknown | Aug 08, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Dear Khutso

Dear Khutso

If you drive one of the previous generation Mitsubishi Pajeros, then I am not surprised. Fuel saving was one thing they certainly did not do well.

If you are going to go for something smaller, I would suggest opting for a diesel vehicle.

Yes, I know that diesel fuel prices also go up and down, but the benefit is that you are still likely to get twice as many kilometres out of a single tank of diesel compared with the closest petrol equivalent. Another thing you can start doing is altering your driving style as this really has an effect on overall fuel consumption. If you are a late-braker, tailgater or like to pretend you are on a racetrack by accelerating and decelerating more often than you should, then your car is going to use a lot more fuel a lot quicker.

Driving on our roads these days requires patience, alertness and a smoother and a more graceful driving style.

Avoid redlining on the rev counter before changing gears. Rather change to a higher gear as soon as possible. If your car has an aircon system, use it rather than opening windows to let in air from outside. Your car is designed to be at its most efficient as one solid moving device with all windows and doors closed, so why change the design and mess with the airflow.

Those are just a few simple tips to help save fuel. My final piece of advice is to plan your next car purchase very carefully - even if you intend downgrading to something smaller and cheaper. It sounds ridiculous, but too many would-be buyers decide how much they can afford to spend on a new car, but end up forgetting to cater for additional weekly and monthly costs such as fuel and insurance. Don't fall into that trap.

Dear Morgan

As a first-time buyer and a woman, how can I make sure that the dealer is not ripping me off?

I have been looking around for an entry-level car, and don't know if I should go for new or second-hand.

I am confused by all the different things that salespeople are telling me. Please help. - Pearl

Dear Pearl

My rule of thumb is that if the deal sounds too good to be true, it must be nonsense.

Remember, sales consultants are trained to win you over with wonderful tales and impress you with details of the car so a sale can be made.

What you need to do is distinguish between all the facts and fiction and keep in mind your end goal: to buy a reliable, entry-level car at an affordable price.

Firstly, decide on what you can afford to spend every month, inclusive of insurance and fuel costs. Do you have bank finance? Do you have a deposit saved?

Pre-approved finance is always a good thing as it saves time and hassle, and you don't need to apply for it through the dealership.

Once you have established your affordability scale, start looking at your options and keep in mind what it is you need.

Then also think about the features that would be a bonus.


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