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Family growing? Time to get a family car!

Tips to ensure the car you buy is safe to carry your precious cargo

The thought of giving up your sporty car to buy a bigger one, suited to a growing family might initially be mildly depressing, but after the initial heart-rendering thought, you are bound to find yourself feeling excited to look for a car that will cater to your growing family’s needs.

With all the other expenses that you will be facing, you might want to opt for a second-hand car.  According to an article posted by Standard Bank, the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) cautions that while used car prices can be friendlier on your pocket, some pre-owned vehicles might have mechanical gremlins and body damage issues that are undisclosed by the seller! [1]

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Safety is sure to be one of your highest priorities at this stage. This is not just a car now… this is the vehicle that will be transporting very precious cargo.  How would you know if you are buying someone else’s problems? Here are some tips to ensure you eliminate the risks of buying anything that is not mechanically sound:

 

Do some general used car research

Start by knowing what body type (shape) of car you would need e.g. SUV, sedan or hatch back.  Once you’ve decided, you can then make a list of the car models you’re targeting. Next step would be to do research on each car model to find out common defects, repair costs and maintenance costs as they begin to age.

Knowing the going rate

Mileage and added features can affect a car’s value, so cars of the same model and year may have different price tags.  A good place to start would be to find out the book value of the standard models.

Ask, Ask, Ask

When contacting a dealer or an individual seller, get as much information about the used car as possible. Find out how many previous owners there have been, what mileage the car has done and if it has a full-service history

Check check check

Check the mileage:  high mileage cars generally have higher maintenance costs and are more prone to costly repairs.

Check the tyres:  tyres that are smooth or unevenly worn could mean anything from bad wheel alignment and balancing to worn shock absorbers, to a collapsed suspension system.

Start and test drive the car: a well-maintained car shouldn’t have any trouble starting or running smoothly.

Safety check: safety systems like seatbelts, Isofix and airbags are an absolute must to check. If any of these systems aren’t functioning, rather steer clear.

Test the tech:  make sure that all electric and electronic systems are working.

When you’ve tested everything else, turn off the radio and pay attention for any odd sounds that could indicate problems.

 

 

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