The Top 5 Things to Look for When Buying a Used Automatic Car in South Africa

The Top 5 Things to Look for When Buying a Used Automatic Car in South Africa

The South African automotive market has seen a significant increase in the demand for automatic cars in recent years. With growing urbanisation and traffic congestion, South African drivers are seeking the convenience and ease of use that automatic vehicles provide. 

By August 2022, the automatic cars share had risen to 55%, while the share of manual cars dropped to 45% in South Africa, and this trend is expected to continue. This trend makes it crucial for buyers to understand the essential factors to consider when purchasing automatic cars. 

This article will guide you through the top 5 things to look for when buying a used automatic car in South Africa.

1. Comprehensive Vehicle History Report

Before making any purchase, obtaining a comprehensive vehicle history report should be at the top of your list. This report will provide crucial information, such as the car’s ownership history, accident records, and maintenance data. In South Africa, services like TransUnion can offer detailed insights, allowing you to make a more informed decision.

Key points to look for in the report include:

  • Number of previous owners
  • Accident and damage history
  • Service and maintenance records
  • Outstanding liens or finance agreements
  • Odometer reading verification

2. Thorough Mechanical Inspection

A thorough mechanical inspection is essential to ensure the used automatic car you’re considering is in good working condition. Enlist the help of a trusted mechanic to inspect the vehicle’s engine, transmission, suspension, and braking system. Be sure to pay special attention to the following:

  • Transmission fluid level and condition
  • Signs of leaks or damage to the transmission
  • Engine performance and idle smoothness
  • Brake pad and rotor wear
  • Suspension components and alignment

3. Exterior and Interior Condition

The overall condition of the car’s exterior and interior can provide valuable insights into its history and how well it has been maintained. Inspect the vehicle for signs of rust, dents, or scratches indicating previous accidents or neglect. Additionally, examine the interior for excessive wear, stains, or odours, which may suggest poor upkeep.

When assessing the exterior and interior, keep an eye out for the following:

  • Paint inconsistencies or mismatched colours
  • Signs of rust or corrosion, particularly around the wheel arches and undercarriage
  • Upholstery condition, including tears, stains, or odours
  • The functionality of all interior features, such as the audio system, air conditioning, and electric windows

4. Test Drive and Automatic Transmission Performance

A test drive is vital to evaluate the performance of the automatic transmission and the overall driving experience. Pay close attention to how the vehicle shifts gears, accelerates and decelerates. During the test drive, consider the following:

  • Smooth and timely gear shifts, without hesitation or jerking
  • No slipping or grinding noises from the transmission
  • Responsive acceleration and braking
  • Steering alignment and handling
  • Comfortable and quiet ride

5. Research the Make and Model

Finally, research the specific make and model of the used automatic car you’re interested in. Look for information on common issues, average maintenance costs, and overall reliability. This knowledge will help you determine if the vehicle is a good fit for your needs and budget. Some resources to consult include:

  • Online forums and car review websites
  • Consumer Reports and other reliability ratings
  • Local dealerships and mechanic shops specialising in the specific make and model

Considering these top 5 factors when purchasing a used automatic car in South Africa, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision and find the perfect car.