Purchasing a second hand car? Here's what to look out for

Resale value is one of the most important factors anyone should take into consideration before buying a car.
Resale value is one of the most important factors anyone should take into consideration before buying a car.
Image: Gumtree/Supplied

Although purchasing a brand new car would be first prize, the truth is that reality does not always allow for it.

If you are in the market to buy a car second hand your concerns may include how to go about negotiating a good deal, how to ensure the car is a worthy purchase and will go a long way, as well as how to cut out unnecessary charges to ensure you get value for your money.

According to Imperial Auto, these tips can make your decision a little easier, especially if you are a first time buyer of a second hand car.

Do your research

When buying any car (whether new or second hand), research is key. Getting a good deal on a second hand car can be done by conducting thorough research online, checking out cars and test-driving them, as well as comparing prices.

Be vigilant while test driving

Once you have done your research and decided what car you want as well as the price it goes for, it's time to actually check out the car and take it for a ride.

This is your chance to confirm that everything the seller says about the car is true. When test driving, check that the handling brakes are working properly and be on the lookout for any signs of mechanical problems such as overheating.

It is best to not turn on  the radio when test driving so that you will be able to check if the car makes any funny sounds. Check the interior for obvious faults such as ripped leather or the wear on the rubber of the brake.

Set emotions aside

Ensure that the choice you have made is not an emotional one. Sometimes our emotions can really impact the purchasing behaviours and decisions.  The fact that one particular car appeals to you more - may be for any number of reasons. But, step back and look out for alternatives there are to the car you have set your sight on.

Know your numbers

Having a good idea of what you should pay for a car will grant you more bargaining power. If, for example, the dealer says an SUV costs R318 000 but your research found the current price to be R300 000, you can confidently negotiate a better deal.

Research your key numbers and that knowledge will guide you through the negotiation. It will also depersonalize the interaction since you"ll be relying on data rather than opinion or emotion to establish the sales price.

Only take essentials

The seller will most probably offer you a variety of add-ons such as paint protection, additional security systems, additional insurance and warranties. Be sure to think about these offers before adding them on to your deal.

All these will affect your repayment amount, and although nice to have - not all of them are essential. So for a start, it is best to stick to the essentials to avoid unnecessary costs.