5 Things to look out for when buying a second-hand car​​

Buying a second-hand car is the most viable option when it comes to owning a car for many. Especially in the current economic climate, buying a second-hand car is an attractive option for many as it costs less than purchasing a new vehicle. There are, however, many pitfalls to look out for when choosing a reliable, value-for-money pre-owned car.

It’s important that buyers conduct proper research, compare prices, and not rush into the first good deal they come across. In the second-hand vehicle market, there are, unfortunately, many people looking to take advantage of unsuspecting clients. If one buys a pre-owned car that turns out to not be in the best possible condition, the consequences could be costly and in some cases, the buyers have very little recourse towards the seller.

We had a look at what some of the most important things are that buyers should look out for when buying a second-hand car. By keeping these factors in mind when browsing the market, you will ensure that you get value for your money and peace of mind.

1. Take the car for a test drive

Test driving a car before you buy it should be obvious. It is the best way of knowing how the car performs on the road and what you can expect from it. If a seller is not willing to offer you a test drive, that should raise suspicion. A reputable dealer will not have anything to hide and should actually encourage you to test drive the car you have in mind.

When taking the vehicle for a test drive, you should keep a number of factors in mind. This includes how the car reacts when you apply the brakes, how it handles and if all the indicators in the car work properly. Other than that, we suggest that you turn the radio off and listen to the sound of the engine. We recognise that not everyone is a car expert, but even an untrained ear should be able to hear a mechanical fault with the engine. So listen carefully to what the car sounds like and if something sounds off, it probably is and we recommend you walk away from the deal.

2. Check that the body colour is consistent

When buying a second-hand car, you don’t always know what the true history of it is. The car might have been involved in an accident and if you are not dealing with an honest seller, you may only realise this after you already bought the car and spent some time on the road with it.

One way of seeing whether a car has been involved in an accident is by checking the car’s exterior to make sure that the colour on the body is consistent. A change in the consistency of the colour of different panels (even if it is only a slight change) can indicate that the car was in a crash and that parts had to be replaced on it.

Of course, in less serious road incidents, it might not be necessary to change the entire part on a car. You can also check the inside of the car’s body panels for overspray. If you notice some, it means that some work has been done on the car.

Not all work that has been done on a car is a bad sign, however. So if you notice anything, be sure to query this from the seller. But if something sounds fishy, the car probably isn’t worth it.

3. Have a look at the tyres

One can easily overlook one of the most essential parts of a vehicle: the tyres. If a car’s tyres are worn, it might be very expensive to get them replaced. If you are not aware of the car’s tyres being at the end of their lifetime, you might also run the risk of getting a burst tyre while on the road which is not ideal for obvious reasons.

If you notice that the tyres are worn, do your homework on what replacement tyres will cost. This way, you can easily see if the car AND new tyres fit your budget. In some cases, you might also be able to negotiate a better price from the seller, seeing as you will have to incur an expense to get them replaced. In other instances, the seller might offer to replace them for you without an added cost.

When checking the wear on the vehicle’s tyres, be sure to take note of any uneven wear. This may indicate bigger problems, not easily resolved with tyre-alignment machines. Although uneven wear is not necessarily an indicator of unfixable issues, it is something you need to be cognisant of.

4. Check that the car isn’t stolen

The unfortunate reality is that over 83 000 cars get stolen in South Africa each year. In the second-hand car market, there is thus a very real risk of buying a stolen vehicle. If this happens to you, you might find yourself having your vehicle confiscated by the police, without any recourse available because in all likelihood, the seller will be long gone with your money.

Whether you’re buying from a private person or a dealership, you have a right to check whether a vehicle is stolen, or has been stolen and recovered in the past. A vehicle verification will help you to see the status of the car you’re considering buying. All you need is the car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).

There are many third-party companies that you can approach to check the status of that vehicle. There are also online services where you can do this for a small fee. It might end up saving you a lot of money, so we really recommend you do this whenever buying a second-hand car.

5. Buy from a trusted seller

An easy way to avoid any of the pitfalls listed above is by buying from a trustworthy seller. Usually, when buying from an established company or a franchised dealer, you can rest assured knowing that their second-hand vehicles have been checked by car experts and that they are approved pre-owned cars. As the buyer, you also get better after-sales service, seeing as you can simply go to the dealership if you have any issues. You also have a form of recourse if you notice any problems after using the car for a while.

From which dealership should you buy?

Fury William Nicol is an approved Ford dealer and part of the Fury Motor Group. We’ve been in the automotive industry for many years and have seen thousands of clients drive away happy in the car of their dreams.

We are proud to have a wide selection of pre-owned vehicles at our premises. All of the vehicles that we sell are quality checked by our workshop and car experts before we decide to put them on our floor. We also perform thorough background checks as to the car’s status and service history to further ensure that we only sell reliable vehicles to our customers.

By choosing Fury William Nicol as your go-to destination for second-hand vehicles, you WILL be satisfied to know that we only sell cars that have been approved by our technical team. So for ultimate peace of mind when in the market for a second-hand car, be sure to make Fury William Nicol your first choice.