9 Things You MUST Know Before You Buy a Car

Thinking of buying a car? Read our top tips first

Buying a car is a big decision and with so many choices it can be confusing. Rather than to just name tips on what to look for when buying a car, we have spoken to some people who have recently purchased cars and asked them what factors played the biggest role while making this decision.

We discovered that there were many things potential buyers considered when making this decision. Some of these important factors are make and model, price, fuel efficiency, colour, engine, features, safety features and service plan.

It’s also clear that there’s a big difference between how women and men buy cars. For men, a vehicle has an image aspect. The vehicles can be tied in with their ego. There’s a certain amount of status that is tied to the car. Men also tend to make the choice faster and they would rather follow their own head than to speak to a sales person.

One male buyer and owner of a Ford Fiesta stated that he is very non-chalant when it comes to purchasing a car. “This is my second car. Even though I have a budget, I didn’t really worry about the price as I am paying it off. The engine and the power of the car is what made up my mind.”

“I only wanted it because my best friend just bought one and I have to keep up with the current status. Haha!” said a male buyer of a Porsche 911.

On the other hand, all the women we spoke to stressed the importance of the relationship between them and the sales person. Women want to know every little detail about the car – inside and out. One of the women has even remained friends with the person who sold the car to her. It also takes women longer to decide on a car.

‘’This was the first car I had bought, so I found it stressful. For me the most important factors were the safety, fuel efficiency and the service-plan. Also, what plays a role is the look of the car. As a young professional, I chose the best compact car for me that my budget could afford,” said a female buyer of a new Kia Picanto.

“I tried to find the best car for me within my budget. After consideration I was looking at Mazda, Volkswagen and Hyundai. But, I have owned two Hyundais before and I guess I am just loyal to the brand, plus the saleswoman gave me R5 000 off when I bargained with her,” a female i20 owner stated.

Overall, buying a car isn’t an easy task. It can get confusing and really daunting, especially when you are indecisive and the sale person is trying to convince you why that specific car is the one you need.

Here are some quick tips for buying a car:

1. Price: Before you even think of what car you are going to buy, you should work out your budget first. Some people need a loan before they can buy a car. If you figure out how much you are able to part with – whether all at once or on a monthly basis – stick to it. You don’t want to put yourself in a tough financial situation. And don’t be afraid to bargain with the sales person. Sometimes they really want to sell the car to you and they may throw in a service plan or some other nice-to-have features for free.

2. Features: Manufacturers offer just about every feature imaginable on its newest models. Some will make your car more comfortable, others make it more attractive and some will make it safer. Depending on your price range, figure out what features are the most important for your lifestyle and work around that. And like we said before, don’t be afraid to bargain to get the features you really want.

3. Fuel efficiency: You can save a lot of money if you buy a car that consumes less fuel. Diesel or hybrids are also a more economic option in the long run because these burn less fuel, but keep in mind that these cars are often more expensive than their petrol counterparts. Small petrol engines can sometimes be as fuel-efficient as the diesel ones, if not better.

4. Service/maintenance plan: Check out which service or maintenance plan you will get with the car. A lot of the times there are great service plans included in the price, but be sure to check that out. Sometimes there’s a short lifespan on it. See if you can get an upgraded plan included in your price.

5. Warranty: Your new car isn’t going to run perfectly forever. Eventually, you’re going to experience some sort of mechanical breakdown – and that’s when the quality of your factory warranty will really be tested. All new cars come with factory warranties these days and these, ideally, cover any mechanical breakdown that your vehicle may experience as a result of bad workmanship on the manufacturer’s side.

6. Drivetrain: The drivetrain or power train is the term applied to the system of components that makes a vehicle move. This includes the engine and transmission. Since every new vehicle comes with several options for its drivetrain, it’s important to consider how each of them will function before you make your decision. Think about things such as power and torque. These will help you if you want to get anywhere quickly or if you want to conduct quick overtaking maneuvres. Also make sure you know if you want a manual or automatic car beforehand. Research the benefits of both and see which one suits you. Keep in mind, an automatic costs more.

7. Safety: It is important that your car is reliable and safe. We’d recommend that, at the very least, you get a car that has airbags and ABS brakes.

8. Manufacturers: It is best to research the manufacturer you are thinking of first. Not all cars are the same and different car brands are known for its strong and weak points. Also, check how many service centres are in your area. The bigger the manufacturer, the bigger the dealer network, so the better your chances are of being able to get an issue sorted out really quickly.

9. Timing: It is best to wait it out than to buy a car on your first visit. First get quotes from a few different dealers before you make the decision. And find out if the model you are interested in is perhaps due for an update any time soon, it may affect the price.

If you have any tips from your experience of buying a car please share them with us in the comments section below or our our Facebook page.