Are you in the market for a new set of wheels but not quite sure where to start? Well, you've come to the right place! From figuring out what type of car you need, to finding the best deal, we've compiled a list of our top tips to help you navigate the car buying process.
First things first, ask yourself why you need a car and how much money you can spend
Are you working from home more and you’re in need of a smaller runaround car? Or is your family growing and you need more space in the trunk? It's important to figure out the type of car that best suits your current stage of life. And let's get real, do you really need that "larney" car that society says you should have? Or can you share a car with your partner? Think about what the main thing you will be using your car for? Buying a 4x4 for that once off-road trip every three years just might not be worth it.
Once you've figured out the type of car you're looking for, take a look at the make and models that tickle your fancy. But don't forget to have a budget in mind! And remember, don't use all your "free" money on the car repayment. You should have money left over to cover fuel, insurance and those unexpected repair and maintenance costs. You can find out more about the costs of owning a car here.
Next, start looking for your ideal car online
Most car brands allow you to look at their available cars online, so you can easily gather information on various cars, compare prices and specifications, and even customise the car you want. Places like Autotrader or cars.co.za are well-known and allow you to customise your search.
But don't forget to go and check it out in person
Is the drive smooth? Are the seats comfortable? Does the size and its capabilities suit your needs? These are all things that come up when you physically see the car.
TIP: If you’re looking at a used car, don’t forget to ask questions around the service history, the dates of warranty and what the possible costs of extending the warranty is.
Most dealerships also allow you to book a test drive online and they will bring the car to you. If you like what you see, you can buy the car online, just like you would buy your new laptop. For example, you might be looking at a car online in Cape Town and end up buying one from Johannesburg. Buying a car this way also has the potential to save you money, because you won’t need to negotiate with a salesman. You are able to compare prices of cars online yourself and find the best deal possible.
If you're wanting to buy a new car, think about waiting till the start of the new year
Buying a new car in January rather than December could mean a better resale value when that time comes. Reason being that it will be regarded as a newer model as your registration papers will show a more recent year. But a higher value also means a higher insurance premium. Buying a 2022 model that has a couple thousand kilometres on the clock could come with a healthy discount – especially for cars where the 2023 model looks slightly different.
Keep in mind that some makes/models have longer delays due to production challenges during 2021/2022, so you may not get your 2023 car immediately. And many of those same cars have somewhat artificially inflated prices on their older models because of the demand, so do your research before committing.
Lastly, don't forget to grab a couple of insurance quotes to find the best premium.
Dealerships usually have partners that offer insurance, but it's best to look around and ask for a few quotes to find the most affordable policy for you and your budget. And don't forget about adding shortfall cover, especially if you took out a car loan and didn't pay a deposit.
What is a shortfall? There is a risk that if your car is written off or stolen, the amount you still owe could be higher than the amount your car is insured for, and shortfall cover will protect you against that.
TIP: With Naked, you can buy insurance on the app within a couple of minutes, while you’re in the dealership. You’ll also be able to give the dealership proof of your insurance instantly as you can grab the necessary documents straight from the app!
There you have it, our top tips for getting the best deal when buying a car. Remember to do your research, have a budget in mind and don't be afraid to negotiate. Happy car hunting!