What you need to know when buying a used car

There is one giant gadget I’m terrified of. Automobiles. Cars scare me. In part, I think, because I’m not nearly educated enough on how they work but also because they cost SO MUCH money. When I purchased my current car I didn’t sleep for weeks. I even wrote about the experience on my personal blog.

Social media is regularly filled with horror stories relating to car services, purchases and dodgy salesmen. I’m a firm believer that to avoid disaster education is key. So here’s what you need to know when buying a used car:

  • Find your inner journalist and get digging. If you find a used car you like start investigating its history. Check the service manual in the car and make sure it has a regular updated history. Check how many owners it has had, how old the car is and also total mileage. These facts will give you a better overall idea of the car you’re keen to buy.
  • Take a car genius along. Find someone passionate about automobiles and take them along with you when you go to look at a potential vehicle. While most accident history isn’t shared, someone who has a love and better understanding for a car will be able to take a good look at the body and underneath the car to see if it has had any body work done to it and whether thus determine if it has had any past prangs or bumper bashings.
  • Once you’re armed with the above knowledge you’ll be in a better position to determine the car’s market value and if it is priced fairly. Be VERY wary of a car that is far cheaper than similar models on the market. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
  • If the car is listed as “code 3” – run a mile. Do not visit the dealer, do not pass the gates with it. STAY AWAY.
  • Factor in your fuel consumption and costs to run the vehicle. Find out if it is still under warranty or on a service plan. If not, find out if you can purchase extended plans with the car. Do some cost comparisons on the replacement of tyres or breaks. Sometimes it isn’t the cost of the car that hits your purse hard, it’s all the extra bits and bobs!
  •  Make sure you use a reputable and approved dealer. WesBank, who provide vehicle and asset finance in South Africa, always suggest you should make sure your dealer has RMI membership and is bank approved. That way you’re less likely to buy a lemon (which conviently is the English translation of Citroen…. Just saying).

images (1)




I'd love to chat to you some more.


I usually send out a weekly mailer with a recap of blog posts but also some personal anecdotes. If you want to know about competitions or just catch up in a more personal setting then you might like to receive the mailer.

Enter your email and get the scoop first: