More South Africans are looking for used cars for sale

The Covid-19 pandemic, and the resultant lockdown, has dented the pockets of many South Africans, forcing consumers to reassess their budgets. Many are visiting websites that list used cars for sale, looking to downgrade their current vehicles for something that is more affordable to drive and maintain.

According to used vehicle websites Autotrader and Drive360, searches for second-hand vehicles up to R200 000 have recently spiked on their platforms.

Popular downgrade options, whether bought new or previously owned, are smaller vehicles with locally built engines such as the Toyota Corolla Quest, Etios, Kia Picanto and VW Polo Vivo. The maintenance and parts for these vehicles are often more affordable, and they also provide a more economic fuel consumption.

It might be wise to downgrade your vehicle for a pre-loved vehicle during these difficult times, but good judgement and thorough research are required before making the purchase. The risks of buying used cars are different to those of a new vehicle. Maintenance may have been skipped or minor accident damage may not have been repaired. In this respect, the vehicle’s servicing history becomes critical.

Did you know you can access 1000s of used cars for sale through MotorHappy’s website? We have thousands of previously loved cars listed on our online marketplace. All our vehicles undergo a stringent 116-point quality assurance check and come with a proven service history. We can also assist in arranging finance and car insurance for your new vehicle.

Arming yourself with knowledge will prevent regrets later on. When working out your budget, keep in mind car insurance costs as well as the potential maintenance and fuel. Prospective buyers should target their budgeted price range, and research what is available in terms of car manufacturers and models. Once you’ve narrowed down your needs and budget, inspect these vehicles at different dealerships. A physical inspection of the car you choose is vitally important, as it will tell you what the paperwork does not.

Enlist the help of an expert if you have access to one. If not, use this list of things to check when inspecting your prospective vehicle:

  • Check the car’s service history against the manufacturer’s maintenance period recommendations.
  • Open the bonnet and look for oil leaks below the engine, inspect the electrical wiring in the engine compartment for burnt wires, inspect the radiator for leaks and cracked plastic tubing. Also inspect the radiator fluid. This should be a clear, coloured liquid.
  • Check the body for misaligned panels, uneven gaps, or mismatched paint. These are signs of potential accident damage.
  • Inspect the tyres. Uneven wear is a sign of unbalanced wheels, misaligned suspension, or worn shock absorbers. If possible, turning the tyres all the way to one side allows you to look at the brake pads. Check or question if these still have an acceptable life.
  • Start the engine while listening (and feeling) for any “out of place” noises when starting it up, when it is idling, or when it is revved.
  • Look at the wear and tear on the carpet, pedal rubber and gear stick.  These should match the mileage of the car.    
  • Test drive it. Not just around the dealership, take it onto a highway as well. Make sure you concentrate on the sounds the engine makes (so turn off the radio), the “feel” of the clutch, whether the basics such as indicators, wipers, radio, air con, hazard warning lights, windows and doors, fuel gauge, odometer, speedometer and seat belts all work properly.
  • Get advice from people you know who may have the same car your heart (and wallet) is set on.

Do you want to sell your car? You can also sell your car through the MotorHappy website. Click here to receive an evaluation before you get started.

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