JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Planning to buy your first car – exciting, hey? Especially for university or college graduates heading out to look for their first full-time job but unsure which wheels will best suit.
Reality might bite! There are many things to consider, according to WesBank Finance, before making such as budget-impacting purchase decision. starting with new (unlikely!) or used (be careful!).
Lebogang Gaoaketse, the bank’s head of marketing, sent The Corner some serious advice to pass on to out readers, so here goes…
First, having only recently or about to enter the jobs market, could be your lack of a credit score. This, under normal circumstances, could be a negative consideration when seeking vehicle finance. However, thanks to finance offerings such as WesBank Graduate Finance, this is one less thing to worry about.
”The application,” the bank says, ”can be done online in just a few minutes.
KEEP TO YOUR BUDGET
Gaoaketse adds: ”Affordability might be the most important factor to consider when deciding which car to buy but will it be new or ”pre-owned” (a favourite description for car dealers!)?
”Reality is that you need to buy within your budget.”
Also remember, there are more costs than just the sticker price and monthly payments.
”The right time to buy your first car could be now,” Gaoaketse says, ”but affordability is key. Make sure you take into account all the expenses that come with independent mobility and act responsibly when making the financial commitment.”
If can consider buying new, focus on value for money. You’ll also need to also ensure you understand the details of your finance contract. Using a licensed and approved dealer is recommended.
”You’ll likely be offered an extended motor plan, service plan, or warranty, as part of the purchase agreement,” Gaoaketse says. ”These are insurance-related products designed to protect you from unforeseen costs such as a breakdown. And don’t forget vehicle comprehensive insurance.”
These options can take some burden off your wallet when the time comes to pay for the car’s services and general vehicle maintenance after any standard maintenace plans and/or warranties expire.
TAKE SOME ADVICE
Fuel will be an ongoing cost. You might also consider a vehicle tracking device as an additional security measure and, although this comes with a monthly payment, it could also mean a reduction in insurance premiums.
All the above costs need to be managed and included in your budget.
If you decide on a pre-owned (there it is again!) vehicle in good condition here’s some advice from WesBank…
CHECK THE CAR’S service history. Such cars should have a comprehensive service history in their logbook – it’ll show the kilometres the car has covered since new, whether the previous owner took the car to a licensed service centre, whether it was serviced on schedule. Be warned! – a car without a service might be cheaper but also risky in the long run.
THE VEHICLE IDENTITY (VIN) IS the car’s fingerprint. The VIN found on the licence disc must match that on the car (usually stamped where the windscreen meets the dashboard). It’s a long number but inspect it carefully and, and if anything doesn’t match, ask why. Even better, walk away.
FIND OUT IF THE CAR car has been in a major collision. if it has then it could present costly problems down the line. WesBank recommends you ask someone knowledgeable – perhaps a trusted mechanic, to inspect your chosen vehicle before you buy.
A TEST DRIVE IS the only way to get a solid impression of a car’s driving dynamics, features, and comfort.
Gaoaketse again: ”Don’t just drive around the block. Take time to check comfort and size, how it handles on a variety of roads. Listen closely for strange noises – if there ask the salesperson if the seller is willing to investigate/repair any issues before paying the deposit.”
If you’re unhappy with anything feel free to move on. A test drive does not come with any commitment to purchase. Finally, don’t feel pressured or obligated to buy the car the same day – take time to think about it.
BREATHE IN THE SMELL!
“Nothing beats the smell of a new car,” says Gaoaketse, ”except perhaps the smell of a perfectly valeted pre-owned car that fits your budget. Ultimately, however, the choice is yours.
”Either way, take your time, do your homework thoroughly, ask as many questions as possible. How you tackle this big decision-making process will determine the overall experience of buying and owning your very first set of wheels.”