Not all of us have people in our lives who are able to go with us when we’re shopping for a car or who can offer some sound advice. Sometimes, we’re left to our own devices. The advice is most handy when you’re shopping second-hand because you never quite know what you’re in for. To help you along, here are five things that you need to check when you’re buying a pre-owned vehicle.
A car with high mileage is more likely to have something go wrong as a result of wear and tear. Try to find a vehicle with low mileage that falls within your budget. I personally wouldn’t look at a vehicle that has over 200 000kms on the clock. Anything under 150 000kms I would definitely consider, while anything between 150 000kms and 200 000kms would need to be something I really have my heart set on.
The age of the car
This sort of goes hand-in-hand with mileage. The average amount of mileage that a vehicle would ideally do in a 12-month period is 15 000 - 20 000kms. So, if you are looking at a car that is just a year old, but has 80 000 kms on the clock, you know it's been driven a bit too much and that it’s most likely had a hard life.
The standard nice-to-have and safety features
We spend such a lot of time in our vehicles, that it really should be a place of comfort. Check what standard features the vehicle has that will make your life easier, safer and entertaining. For example, check if it comes with aircon - no one wants to be in the heat of summer without air-con. A radio as standard is a nice-to-have, as are electric windows at the front. My non-negotiable for safety is airbags - at least two – one for the driver and passenger. ABS braking is a bonus as is central locking.
The service book
All cars come with a service book when new. Check if the vehicle that you are looking at has one, and if yes, check when last it was stamped. Every time a car is serviced, the service centre stamps the book, so checking this will give you an idea of when it was last serviced. A service should happen at least once a year. If the last service on the vehicle that you are interested in was done more than two years prior, it might mean that you are likely to have issues on that car due to regular wear and tear.
The spare wheel
All vehicles come with a spare wheel and a jack in the boot. Definitely check if the vehicle has this and if not, you can actually ask the dealership to sort it out - and it should be free. You don’t want to discover you are missing this when you’re stranded alone on the road with a flat tyre.