Congratulations! You’re about to buy your very first car – this is such an exciting time! Our advice? Don’t let the excitement get to your head and cause you to make one of these common first-time car buyer mistakes.
- Not doing your research. Buying a car is a huge purchase, and isn’t one to take lightly. If you were going to purchase a home, wouldn’t you do some research first? While cars may not cost nearly as much, they are still up there in terms of large life purchases and you will want to be prepared. Do some research on the best brands and models for your lifestyle needs, fuel efficiency, reliability, and cost.
- Not having a budget. Just like you would have a budget for how much you can afford on a home, you will want to have a budget in mind before purchasing a car, too. There are many hidden costs involved, like monthly gas costs, insurance, and yearly maintenance, so you will want to ensure you can still afford these things after you fork out the dough for your chosen ride.
- Not considering second-hand cars. Shiny new models are appealing, we totally get it! But did you know that cars depreciate in value by 10% just by driving them off the lot? This goes back to point #1: do your research first. You may find you can get better bang for your buck by considering a well-kept second-hand vehicle.
- Not going for a test drive. Photographs and even a quick in-person look from the outside can be deceiving. Make sure you hop in and take your potential new ride for a spin first to ensure all gears, breaks, gauges, heating, AC, lights, etc. are all in good working order. You do not want to be surprised with a trip to the mechanic in week one.
- Only focusing on style. Having a vehicle that looks cool to ride in is great, but that can sometimes come at a cost. Heated seats, a touchscreen GPS, or rear-view cameras might be appealing, but these are a great added bonus, not the be all and end all. Other factors like fuel efficiency, cost and availability of replacement parts (brands that do not have manufacturing plants in SA may have to ship special parts in which can cost a fortune), and safety ratings should definitely come first.
Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find a ride close to home.