10 Essential Tips for Buying your Next Pre-Owned Vehicle

Buying a used car is a multi-faceted decision making process that requires both time and money. If you are in the market for pre-owned cars for sale, follow these 10 tips to help simplify your search and find the best value to give you the most satisfaction!

If you have been wondering about the process behind how to buy a car, these 10 tips will set you on the fast track to find a used car like a pro.

1. Establishing your budget

Before buying a car and picking out that new colour, it is essential to first set a budget range for what you can afford. With a price range, you can negotiate within your means to get the best value for your money. Do you have a car that you could trade-in? Are you eligible for a car loan? Consider your options before you set a price point.

consider your budget

Conducting your research on Auto Mart is easy… Auto Mart’s easy-to-use facet search makes it easy for you to select a desired price range and then search according to your budget. You can even take it a step further by sorting the used cars advertised from the lowest price to the highest or vice versa within your selected price range.

2. Know what matters

Understanding what’s out there can be a valuable asset when searching pre-owned cars for sale. Knowing your priorities – what you want vs. what you need – can help save you hours of searching amongst a sea of options. Do you need that 210 kW horsepower 4 x 4 Jeep for just your daily commute? Take into account the specs that matter from car make to drivetrain and more.

Chevrolet Spark and Toyota Corolla are legendarily reliable cars but if you’re looking for a vehicle to take out on the back-roads, look to see what kind of horsepower and torque you may need before your next search. If you are thinking of buying a used car, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Toyota all are great reliable brands that stand up to the test of time. These may be safer models to go for if you’re looking for a pre-owned vehicle you can trust.

buying pre-owned cars for sale

3. What? Where? When?

Even if you aren’t entirely sure of what you want, you still have some choices to make when thinking of buying a car!

Buying a more common car can give you more options in terms of sellers. Will you buy from an authorised private dealer or a private seller? Other cars may be harder to track down and you may have to expand your search to auctions as well.

Are you ready for those pre-owned cars for sale now? Where you buy from affects your timeline. Private sales can mean lots of competition for the same vehicle. If you need time to shop around, dealerships may afford you this luxury without pressure from sellers eager to move their car.

Auto Mart has a wide selection of used cars for sale from both dealerships and private sellers. Another awesome feature on Auto Mart to help speed up your research process is the alert feature. Instead of having to search around, you can tell us what you’re looking for, whether it’s one specific make or more than one, and we’ll find relevant matches for you.

Set up your free alerts on Auto Mart.

buying a used car

4. Ask around

When it comes to advice on how to buy a car, some of the best advice we can give is researching your car of choice, looking at blogs like the Auto Mart Blog, or forums. This can give you a real and honest look at not only the car that you want but of a particular dealer or seller from any car buying site. Word-of-mouth can be a powerful tool for insight when it comes to buying a used car, but always check the facts!

5. Watch out for scams

No matter where you buy from, searching for used cars online can present several pitfalls if you are not careful. Look out for ads with vague language or multiple ads with the same phone number or name. Some deals are too good to be true- because they aren’t. Don’t put your time, money, or safety in jeopardy.

6. Test it out!

Once you’ve tracked down the pre-owned cars for sale you would like to pursue, it’s time for a test drive. Testing a car should be a realistic experience not a short spin around the block. If the seller is not willing to let you test out the vehicle for at least 20 minutes, you may have to keep looking.

inspecting a used car and taking it for a test drive

Take the car for a diverse ride; residential areas, stop and go traffic, highways if you can. Look out for shaky performance or odd noises. Drive it as you normally would and bring a friend for measure. This is a test- make it count!

7. Detect defects

When thinking of buying a car, check both the interior and exterior as thoroughly as you can before you enter the vehicle for your test drive, during the test drive, and once more before you walk away. Pre-owned vehicles can be precarious but by asking for the car’s service history as well as having it inspected by a trusted mechanic, you can identify key issues early on to help you decide whether or not to pursue your list of used cars.

8. Name your price

Now that you have all the facts it’s time to buy… or not. Consider the results of the inspection; safety related issues (steering issues, unresponsive breaks, etc.) cannot be ignored.

setting the price

Taking into account your price range, the test drive and inspection results, try to negotiate a fair price when buying a used car. Dealerships may jack up the prices of the used vehicles in their fleet. They can come down on the price; you just need to be willing to start the discussion.

With any negotiation, be respectful but be confident in your price point. Present the facts and take your time. If you cannot reach a fair negotiation, do not be afraid to walk away.

9. Get on the same page

When buying a car, there are some important documentation to keep in mind. Before you give over a single Rand, be sure that you and the seller have a mutual agreement on the terms of the sale. Confirm the price and method of payment, any repairs discussed, and any extras or warranties that may be included. Always get a receipt detailing the date, amount, car details, contact information, and anything else that you would like down in writing.

10. Make it official

The final piece of advice when it comes to how to buy a car is to ensure that the necessary paperwork is filed promptly. According to the Traffic Department, all changes in titleholder or vehicle ownership must occur within 21 days at your local registering authority. Follow-up with the seller as needed to ensure that no one gets an unnecessary fine.

buying a car on auto mart

Auto Mart’s simple and easy-to-use search feature can help you narrow down your search to find used cars that are right for you. Auto Mart combines the convenience of a dealership with the flexibility of a private seller.

The Auto Mart App has changed the way that South Africans buy and sell cars, as you can now do all the research you want, find bargains and create alerts all within a couple of swipes on your phone. Gone are the days of making several trips to the dealership… With Auto Mart’s informative blog reviews and easy-to-use app, finding your next car is easy! Download the Auto Mart Android App now!

Armed with these tips on how to buy a car, why not start looking for pre-owned cars for sale on Auto Mart?

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