What to look out for when buying a second hand car

Man inspecting a second-hand car for purchase, evaluating its condition before making a decision

Buying a used car can be an exciting endeavor and a newfound freedom on the open road. However, it’s crucial to approach this process with a keen eye and a healthy dose of skepticism. The South African used car market can be a maze of hidden pitfalls and potential scammers, but fear not! In this guide, we’ll walk you through what to look out for when buying a second hand car and the key factors to consider when on the hunt for your perfect pre-loved vehicle.

Set a Budget:

  • Before you even begin looking at listings from private sellers and visiting dealerships, establish a clear budget. This not only narrows down your options but also helps you avoid the temptation of overspending. Consider not just the purchase price, but also ongoing costs like insurance, maintenance, and fuel.

Research the Model:

  • Once you’ve identified your budget, start researching the makes and models that fit within it. Look for reliable brands and models known for their durability. Online reviews, consumer reports, and forums can provide invaluable insights into the performance and common issues of specific cars.

Mileage Matters:

  • In general, a lower mileage indicates less wear and tear, however this isnt always the case. Do not allow the high number of miles to discourage you from purchasing a pre-owned vehicle. Well-maintained vehicles can run smoothly even with higher odometer readings. 
  • Aim for a balance between age and mileage that aligns with your usage expectations.

Check the Vehicle History Report:

  • Obtain comprehensive vehicle history report using the vehicle identification number (VIN). This report provides crucial information about the car’s past, including accidents, title issues, and odometer readings. A clean report doesn’t guarantee perfection, but a red flag should prompt further investigation. Besides checking the car’s previous records, it’s important to have a record of its full service history.

Inspect the Exterior and Interior:

  • When you find a potential candidate, conduct a thorough visual car inspection. Look for signs of rust, dents, or mismatched paint, which could indicate past repairs. Inside, check the condition of the upholstery, dashboard, and controls. An Interior that is in good condition is often a good indicator of overall care.

Test Drive:

  • Take the car for a spin to assess its on-road performance. Listen for unusual noises, pay attention to the transmission’s smoothness, and evaluate the brakes and steering. 
  • Test driving a car helps you understand its character and find any possible problems. These are issues you may not be able to pick up when the vehicle is stationary. By taking the vehicle for a test drive, it insures that you make an informed decision before making a purchase. 

Verify Ownership and Documentation:

  • Before sealing the deal, ensure that the seller has clear ownership and provides all necessary documentation. Verify that the VIN on the documents matches the one on the car. This step is crucial to avoid potential legal and financial complications down the road.

At RVM, we understand that the process of buying a second-hand car can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to make it a seamless and trustworthy experience for you.

1. Trustworthy Dealership:

We take pride in being one of the most trusted dealerships in South Africa. Our commitment to transparency and integrity sets us apart. With RVM, you can be confident that you’re dealing with a reliable partner in your car-buying journey.

2. We Take Care of Everything:

Say goodbye to the hassle and stress of purchasing a used vehicle. At RVM, we handle all the details, from thorough inspections and documentation to negotiations and paperwork. Our goal is to make your experience as smooth as possible. 

3. We’re Here to Help:

If you have any questions or concerns, our dedicated team is here to assist you every step of the way. We can assist you with selecting the right model, understanding inspections, and navigating paperwork. Your satisfaction is our priority.

4. Go Through Us for Peace of Mind:

By selecting RVM, you’re not simply making a car purchase; you’re gaining peace of mind. Our reputation for excellence and customer satisfaction speaks for itself. Let us be your trusted partner in this exciting journey of finding the ideal second-hand car.

5. Quality Assurance:

At RVM, we make sure every car we have is of the highest quality. Our skilled technicians thoroughly check vehicles to ensure they are reliable and well-maintained, fixing any problems they find. 

6. Diverse Inventory to Suit Your Needs:

We understand that every driver is unique, and so are their needs. That’s why our inventory boasts a diverse range of makes and models to cater to various preferences and lifestyles. Looking for a small car or a spacious one for your family? 

You can trust RVM to guide you through the process. We ensure that you not only find a great car but also enjoy the journey of buying a used vehicle that suits your lifestyle. Your satisfaction is our success, and we look forward to being your trusted partner in your car-buying adventure.

We have choices that match what you need, like a fuel-efficient Kia or a roomy Toyota. Explore our extensive inventory to find the perfect match for your budget and driving preferences. View our current promotions by clicking here.