Most people base their decision on price when it comes to buying a car. This is a mistake! You need to look beyond what the car costs. You need to look at what it will cost you to own the car, not just purchase it.
The first question you should ask yourself is whether you want to buy new or used. There are pro’s and con’s to either.
BUYING A NEW CAR
There are still many costs you need to consider even if you are buying a new car. Things such as fuel and insurance costs come to mind. Your fuel cost will be determined by how many kilometres you generally do in a month. Do you need something for around town or will you use the car for long distance driving? Insurance costs are obviously higher the more expensive the car is, so make sure you can afford the monthly payments.
When it comes to the finance side of things and financing a car, be sure that you have read and understand every single term and condition of the contract. Balloon payments make it easy to buy a car you would not necessarily be able to afford, but that does not mean you should buy it. You might be able to afford the repayments now but at the end of the loan, you will have a lump sum that you will need to cough up. Only consider a balloon payment if you really know what you’re doing and you are certain you will have that money when you need it.
BUYING A USED CAR
Buying a car that is pre-owned, although cheaper than new, has its own set of criteria to consider. You need to do a lot more homework when it comes to buying used cars. The most important of which is to find out what the market price is of the car you’re interested in buying, whether or not it is still under finance, and what its full history is. You always want a car with a full service history! It can be the difference between loving the car you drive or hating the piece of rubbish you bought.
TransUnion is a very handy site that will be able to provide you with a lot of answers to your queries. The best place to get all the information you need on a car is through TransUnion’s FirstCheck app. Try it, you will be thrilled with your choice!
MAINTENANCE IS KEY
Another huge mistake South African’s make is overlooking the maintenance costs of a vehicle, especially when it comes to buying the more premium and performance models. It is all well and good to be able to afford the price tag of a 10-year-old BMW M3, but can you afford the R2 000 oil change or the costs involved in servicing such a car? Give it a LOT of thought!
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
This is a huge purchase you’re about to make. And it is not an investment like many people think. You will not make your money back on the car you buy. So make sure you have done all your homework. Run the numbers again and again until you get to a point where you are truly comfortable with making the purchase. There are always unforeseen costs that creep up, it is inevitable. So be prepared.
If you are in the market for a car, whether new or used, I know the perfect place to find it.