Obviously price is a starting point, but to help you narrow down your choices further, you need to focus on the following three factors: Quality, Cost of Ownership, and Reliability.
- Decide what you can afford. …
- Decide what type of car you need. …
- Secure your financing. …
- Choose a dealership. …
- Go for a test drive. …
- Sign the paperwork. …
- Take a tour of your new car. …
- Determine What Car Fits Your Needs. …
- Get Your Credit Report. …
- Review Your Loan Options. …
- Discover Your Car’s Trade-In Value. …
- Determine Your Desired Payment. …
- Decide Whether to Buy a New or Used Car. …
- Learn About the Car’s History. …
- Consider Whether You Would Like to Buy or Lease.
Questions To ask when buying a car
- Where is the purchase agreement, and what is in it?
- What does the warranty cover?
- What does the long term maintenance look like? …
- Is the price on the paperwork the best your dealer can do? …
- What dealer fees are in the final price? …
- What are the financing terms for the deal?
General Questions to Ask Before Buying a Car
According to Esurance, there are a few questions you can ask whether you are buying new or used:
- Is the car on the lot? If you have been looking at a vehicle online, ask to see that specific model and trim level.
- What is the actual price? This goes beyond the sticker price. Ask for the cost with all of the fees and things included.
- Does it have any aftermarket equipment? This is important for used vehicles. Are there any extras added that don’t come with a base model?
- What is the mileage? How many times has it been test driven?
- What are acceptable payment terms? You want to make sure the vehicle is going to work for you financially.
- What does the warranty cover and how long is it? The warranty period often varies depending on the dealer and the manufacturer.
Write down all of the answers to these questions, so you can use them to help you make an informed final decision.
Top Questions to Ask About Used Cars
There is a difference between a vehicle that is certified pre-owned and used. Typically, used cars are not as well inspected by the lot selling the vehicle. According to Driving.ca, you can learn a lot about the vehicle with the following questions before you agree to any paperwork:
- Where did they get the car? Inquire about their source. Did they get it as a trade-in, or was it a demo from a different dealer? Perhaps it was bought at an auction. The source may determine whether you want to continue the deal.
- Can you look at a CarFax report on the vehicle? This unbiased document provides the vehicle’s history in terms of damage, accidents, and other things that may not be advertised by the dealer.
- Have they serviced the car? How long ago was it last maintained? Cars that sit for an extended period can develop unseen problems. When was the last time their mechanics looked at the car? Ask for a copy of any service records to be included in the car once you buy it.
- Can you take it for an extended test drive? You want to make sure you are comfortable with the vehicle. Ask if you take it for an extended test drive, or keep it overnight. If they agree, stick around the lot. If the salesperson doesn’t seem to agree, you can walk before a deal is even started. The reason for the test is to make sure the car fits your needs and your lifestyle.
- What are your financing options? Ask if the dealer offers in-house financing, or if are you required to secure it from a third-party such as your bank.
- Are there any discounts available if you buy with cash? Do they offer any other types of special discounts?
- Will they accept your current car as a trade-in? If you deal with a new car dealership, they’ll often take your current car and use its value as part of the final deal for your new car. Ask the used car lot if they’ll honor the same idea.
Top 10 Tips to guide you all the way from browsing to buying a new car with as little hassle as possible.
1. Decide what you can afford
It may seem like a given, but working out how much you can afford to spend on car payments every month is a crucial first step to buying a new vehicle. It’s no good deciding on the car of your dreams, and then realising you won’t be able to afford it – or worse, crippling yourself with debt in order to make your payments.
That’s why before you buy a new car, it’s imperative that you calculate what you can realistically afford to spend on repayments every month. Also make sure to budget for essentials like car insurance, and occasional repairs too.
2. Decide what type of car you need
Again, perhaps an obvious step, but another important one nonetheless. Deciding on the make and model of car you need, rather than want. If you have a family, there’s no point investing in a two-seater sports car. Similarly, if you’re an urban warrior, there’s no reason to spend more than you can afford on a giant 4 x 4.
That’s why in order to ensure you choose the ideal car for your lifestyle, first make a note of exactly what it is you need from a car. Once you have a clear idea of the necessary specs and features, you’ll have narrowed your search considerably. After this process, you’ll will have a clearer idea of which type of vehicle would suit you best.
3. Secure your financing
Some dealers may try to persuade you that securing financing is only necessary once you come to actually purchase a vehicle. In fact -walking into a dealership with approved financing gives you more negotiating power and allows you to find the best interest rate.
What’s more, having your financing approved before visiting a dealership may leave you with extra money to pay associated fees and taxes. These are costs that you might otherwise have to cover yourself after purchasing. As such, applying for vehicle finance before making an actual purchase can give you a welcome advantage.
4. Choose a dealership
Once you have a shortlist of potentially suitable vehicles to purchase, and have secured financing for yourself, it’s time to visit a dealer. In South Africa, you’ll want to make sure any dealer you choose is a member of either the Retail Motor Industry Association (RMI) or the Independent Dealer Association (IDA). Both of these associations are accredited organisations that are regulated in order to ensure fairness, compliance and best practice standards. Before you approach any dealership, first make sure it is affiliated with either of these organisations in order to protect your rights as a consumer.
5. Go for a test drive
Now comes the most important part of the purchasing process – your questioning of the dealer. Before you make a decision on which car to buy, you’ll need to make sure you know it inside and out. That means asking the dealer questions about service plans, specifications, warranties, optional extras, or any other information you may need. This is also your opportunity to take your shortlisted vehicles for a test drive. Maybe even a few, if you feel it necessary. Make sure you know how well the car handles, how comfortable you feel driving it, and how confident you are behind the wheel before ever making an offer. And when it comes time to discussing price, remember that the door to negotiation is always open – and can sometimes lead to you paying less than full sticker price too!
6. Sign the paperwork
Once you have decided on your vehicle, and have accepted the price as quoted to you by the dealer, you will need to sign the paperwork in order to finalise the purchase. Make sure that you have your valid South African driver’s license with you, as well as proof of car insurance, and sign the contract once the vehicle is ready for delivery and you are fully satisfied with it.
7. Take a tour of your new car
While you could just as easily familiarise yourself with your new vehicle at home with the driver’s manual in hand, having your dealer take you through the various features and functions of the car will allow you to ask on-the-spot questions. Make sure your dealer runs through the dashboard functionality with you, any technological features such as Bluetooth, the type of petrol your car takes, and shows you how to open your bonnet and petrol cap too. Lastly, make sure you have a copy of your car’s instruction booklet, service manual and original registration, and you’ll be ready to drive off and rule the road!