Let’s keep one thing in mind as we scroll the new car owners 12-step guide; it is hardly ever, probably never, the car seller who gets a dose of ripped off. It is usually, probably always, the car buyer. I’ve read a few auto blogs over the past few years and there are those which give some great advice. Then there are those which turn the morally incorruptible into devious, car selling, money grabbing con artists. Reading this buyers guide is the first step for new car buyers, implementing them seals the deal on a long-term relationship with your car.
In South Africa, summer is here. It’s that time of year when we shed those extra garments, pick up a tan or explore the limitless possibilities our country has to offer. We turn our minds to fresh ideas and naughty thoughts, such as buying a new car. Feel free to comment on this article.
The New Car Owners 12-Step Guide
At Cars on Special, we believe in bringing you the best possible price on new and used cars, but sometimes you can get an even better deal if you go about buying your car in the right way. Towards this aim we have established a list – the new car owners 12-step guide – of things to do before buying and when taking ownership of your new car.
- Choice & Purpose – Your choice of car may reflect the real you, but does it reflect what the real you needs? If you have the bucks, sure, why not buy the status symbol you want? Only the envious, those who covet the goods of others, will begrudge you that. Some are not so fortunate and need to do some ground-work before buying that new car.
- Research – Compare vehicles similar to that in your interest and affordability. Sometimes you can get more car for less dosh at easier terms. Research the resale value of any car you may be interested in. I like to say that the clever car buyer is the one who buys to sell. And eventually, almost inevitably, you will.
- Test Drive – You like what you see, now drive what you see. Often looks can be deceiving. What looks great may just get in the way of elbows, knee’s and general movement. The manual gearshift may feel unnatural or the steering wheel may be too round. Lol! There are many reasons one can be put off a good-looking car simply by sitting in it or taking it around the block.
- Bargain – Drive a better deal for yourself. Search the internet for cars on special. Then when you find one, negotiate something a bit better than what you can actually afford. Take all other tips in the New Car Owners 12-Step Guide seriously! 🙂
- Take Your Time – Don’t rush into car ownership when you are not ready for it. See other tips above and below.
- Affordability – In few words. Buy what you can afford, otherwise don’t buy. Putting pressure on your budget has landed thousands of wannabe car owners in financial difficulty. Don’t become a statistic. If your budget just fits the car you want at the price and terms you can JUST afford, think twice about buying. Think about monthly petrol costs, upcoming service requirements and be realistic. Owning the car you want is not simply about having the money to buy it. The cost of running and maintaining your vehicle MUST be considered in the whole setup from the start. Add at LEAST 25% strain on your budget after the price of the vehicle, then calculate affordability.
- Deposit – A FAT deposit is your best friend. My best advice to you is this; if you can’t afford to buy a car cash, build up a big deposit and keep your monthly instalments to a minimum. Don’t make the FSP’s rich on your account. Go into the garage and attic, sell tickets to your fund raiser bring-and-braai field r pool party. Be creative if you must, but don’t stress your financial condition with high monthly instalments and a long repayment period. Low and short. As best as possible, keep it this way.
- Financing – Getting finance for your new car will always depend on what your bank says. Those statements can be telling. If you are not being financed by your bank, research the FSP who will finance the deal. NB: Try and avoid balloon payments if you are not able to save sufficiently over the payment period. Alternatively, look further or wait longer.
- Insurance – Ag nee man! Moet ek!? Unfortunately, yes. The answer is you must insure any vehicle that is bought brand new and is being financed through an FSP. But even if you have bought your car privately, how would you feel if it was gone tomorrow, or simply stopped running due to a mechanical failure you knew nothing about? One other thing, READ THE TERMS & CONDITIONS OF YOUR POLICY!! Ask questions, put scenarios you envisage could happen to your broker.
- Paperwork & Records – make copies (digital & otherwise) of your papers. Keep all receipts, invoices, license renewals and car related purchases. Keep track of your service history and keep those records safe. This will assist you in getting a better price for your vehicle when you think of selling. Restore body and working parts to their original state as soon as possible after damage is caused.
- Service, Maintenance & Restoration – You’ve heard the horror stories, surely. Breakdown and tow-truck costs alone can end up costing you a whack. Not keeping your car maintained and serviced at regular intervals WILL lead to problems. Whether it be mechanical failure, fuel consumption, power loss or safety feature compromise, the lack of maintenance and service for your vehicle will have costly and unnecessary negative effects and financial implications. For many, their car is their movement, independence, freedom and security. Don’t mess with the health of your car.
- Cleanliness – We all love to party. We travel everywhere and we taxi people around. Keep in mind that feet on dashboards will, over time, cause damage and cheapen the look of your car. Food dropped in corners and crevices rot and cause odors and degrades material quicker. Keep your car clean. Let your passengers know that you respect your car … and so should they. Cleanliness is a long term investment.
A long term relationship with your car
The New Car Owners 12-Step Guide is intended to assist those who wish to have a long term relationship with their car. Like any other relationship, if your car is not treated with care and a bit of servicing here and there, there are bound to be problems. Keep him/her serviced and well oiled. There’s nothing better than a smooth running, good looking car to keep the family in motion.
In order to help you choose your new car, it’s always good to follow the best selling cars in the country during any given month of the year. If you wish to expand this list, feel free to add to the New Car Owners 12-Step Guide by adding your comments.