5 Key checks before buying a used car for sale in Gauteng

5 Key checks before buying a used car for sale in Gauteng

Investing in a used car for sale is an ever-popular, savvy and environmentally friendly move, but knowing that you’ve picked the right one can be challenging. How do you know if your chosen vehicle is reliable, safe and ready to serve you for thousands of kilometres? 

Having a checklist of non-negotiables can help assure you that you are making a sound decision. You don’t want to spend additional funds fixing up the vehicle later on.

Before you sign on the dotted line and walk away with the keys, ensure you’ve done your due diligence on the vehicle as follows:

#1 Check the vehicle history

Every used car for sale in Gauteng has a track record, having spent at least a couple hundred kilometres on the road (whether those were incident-free is the question).

A thorough examination of the car’s history can help you avoid vehicles that have been in serious accidents, are stolen, or have outstanding financial obligations (read this blog if you’re looking for tips about selling a used car).

Here’s how:

  • Check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This number can give you a detailed car history, including accidents, etc. Search the number on TransUnion or eNatis websites to ascertain these details.
  • Request access to the car’s service records to ensure the car has a good maintenance history behind its badge. Well-maintained vehicles are less likely to have hidden issues.
  • Do a physical inspection for signs of chipped paint, gaps between body panels, and unusual welds, indicating that the second-hand car for sale may have been fixed up following an accident.

#2 Inspect the vehicle’s interior, exterior and under the bonnet

A thorough vehicle inspection (perhaps alongside a trusted mechanic) can reveal a lot about a vehicle. Signs of wear and tear and potential damage can give you a lot of information to help in your decision making.

Man examines the tyre tread on a used car for sale

  • Exterior checks include examinations of the bodywork (such as rust, dents and scratches), tyres (examine tread depth and uneven wear, which may indicate an alignment issue), lights and windows.
  • Interior checks on a second-hand car for sale involve inspecting the seats (for tears, excessive wear, or stains), assessing the functioning of components on the dashboard and electronics, and checking for foul odour (a smell could indicate that the car has been previously flooded, which may lead to electrical problems).
  • Examine under the bonnet, assessing fluid levels, condition of hoses and belts and car battery (preferably alongside a trusted mechanic).  

#3 Do a test drive

Getting behind the wheel can reveal a lot more than an examination of the vehicle alongside a convincing salesperson. 

Pay close attention to the following:

  • How well is the engine performing? Do you hear any unusual noises? How does the car accelerate and idle?
  • Is the steering and handling tight and responsive? Does the car pull to one side when you turn?
  • How responsive are the brakes on this used car for sale? Do you hear strange sounds or feel any unusual vibrations when you hit the brake?
  • How well does the vehicle handle a speed bump? Does the suspension absorb shocks? 

#4 Check the paperwork

Proper documentation is essential to ensure that the second-hand car for sale in Gauteng (or Johannesburg) is legal and safe.

Ensure that you have the following backup:

  • Registration papers (make sure the car is registered in the seller’s name and the paper trail matches the vehicle in question).
  • Roadworthy certificate (ensure the certificate is valid).
  • Financial clearance (if the vehicle was bought using finance, ensure that all payments have been completed and the used car for sale has no outstanding debt).
  • Sales agreement (this should be drafted to include all the Ts and C’s of the sale to protect the seller and buyer).

Woman is pleased with her chosen second hand car dealership

#5 Choose a trustworthy dealer

With used car dealers on almost every street corner, knowing who is trustworthy and reputable is difficult. 

Make sure your chosen dealer aligns with the following criteria:

  • A wide selection of cars to peruse
  • Finance options are available with trusted financial institutions
  • A track record of success and positive reviews (check out independent reviews on a platform like Hellopeter)
  • Negotiable pricing
  • Transparency in all aspects of the sales process
  • Independent condition reports available on request
  • Wholesale prices to the public.

Buying a used car in South Africa can be a smooth process if you follow the abovementioned checks. Ensure your desired second-hand car for sale ticks all the boxes to save on future headaches and promise a more reliable and satisfying motoring experience.