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Navigating the Second-Hand Car Market

The second-hand car market in South Africa is a thriving and dynamic segment of the automotive industry. According to the 2023 AutoTrader Mid-Year Car Industry Report, in the first six months of 2023 alone, over 263 million vehicle searches were conducted on AutoTrader, indicating a robust interest in used cars. The leading brand is Toyota, selling 28,061 passenger cars with a 17% market share, but the Ford Ranger, with an average price of R433,371 and average mileage of 90,659km, is the top-selling model.

The pros of buying a second-hand car

Buying a used car is generally more cost-effective due to depreciation, as cars lose almost 65% of their value by the fifth year of ownership. Used cars from dealerships are usually thoroughly inspected, certified as roadworthy, and may come with extended warranties and special financing options. Some still carry part of their original warranty, especially newer models.

The cons of buying a second-hand car

However, buying a second-hand car also comes with certain risks. Potential issues range from mechanical difficulties, undisclosed damage, expired warranties, to trouble finding replacement parts. Before committing to a purchase, it is advisable to inspect the interior and exterior thoroughly, check the vehicle’s paperwork and service record, and be aware of your rights under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) in South Africa, which ensures that used vehicles are safe, of good quality, in working order, and free from defects. To minimise risks, your best option is most likely to spend a bit more on a low-mileage demo model from a reputable dealer.

Know what you are buying

When considering buying a second-hand car, it’s crucial to approach the process with caution and thorough research. Some essential steps include checking for leaks and fluid levels in the engine, assessing the gearbox and clutch, inspecting bodywork for damage, evaluating the condition of wheels and tyres, and testing all interior electronics. A comprehensive test drive is also necessary to identify any unusual noises or handling issues.

What to watch out for when buying privately

When buying privately, it’s important to be extra cautious. Private sellers might not disclose all issues with the vehicle. Ensure to check the car’s history, verify its service records, and consider a professional mechanical inspection.

Dealing with mechanical faults from a dealership purchase

If you encounter mechanical faults after purchasing from a dealership, the Consumer Protection Act in South Africa protects you. This Act ensures that you can demand repairs, a replacement, or a refund if the vehicle doesn’t meet the stated quality standards.

Insuring Your Second-Hand Vehicle

Securing insurance for your second-hand vehicle is a crucial step. Insurance provides financial protection against accidents, theft, and other unforeseen incidents. It’s advisable to compare different insurance plans to find one that suits your needs and budget. Remember, the insurance cost can vary based on the car’s make, model, age, and your driving history.

Buying a second-hand car in South Africa is a viable option, offering financial savings and a wide range of choices. However, it requires careful consideration, thorough inspection, and an understanding of legal protections and potential drawbacks. By being well-informed and cautious, buyers can navigate the used car market effectively to find a vehicle that meets their needs and budget.

Reference list

While every reasonable effort is taken to ensure the accuracy and soundness of the contents of this publication, neither the writers of the articles nor the publisher will bear any responsibility for the consequences of any actions based on information or recommendations contained herein. Our material is for informational purposes.

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