Buying a new car should be one of the most enjoyable experiences but is often stressful if you’re unsure of the exact process. We are so reliant on our vehicles and spend so much time in them that we need to ensure that we get the very best – and most reliable – that we can afford to. Take the strain out of the buying process by following our useful tips below:
What can you afford?
Work out what you can realistically afford to spend on your car repayments each month. Consider things like the cost of fuel and insurance, and occasional repairs too, and be sure not to cut your budget too fine.
What do you need?
We all have a dream car, but is it really the car you need? Decide on the make and model of the car you’ll need to meet your daily requirements. Are you transporting kids and their sporting equipment, or is it just you and the occasional passenger? Choose the car that will best suit your lifestyle.
Get finance approval.
Going to a dealership with pre-approved financing will give you more negotiating power and help give you leeway to secure the best interest rate. It can also leave you with some money to spare for extras, or road fees and the like. Dealerships are also able to help you secure financing and are often able to get you a better deal than if you go through your bank.
If at all possible, try to pay your car off at the same rate that its value depreciates to ensure that the value you owe on the car is not more than what the car is actually worth.
Choose the right dealership.
Visiting the dealership can be quite intimidating. You’ll be presented with many different vehicle options, so it’s best to go prepared and know exactly what it is that you want and can afford. You’ll also want to ensure that you are visiting a reputable dealership that will offer you the best advice and recourse should you need it. Dealers should be members of either the Retail Motor Industry Association (RMI) or the Independent Dealer Association (IDA). These are accredited organisations that are regulated to ensure compliance, fairness, and best practice standards.
Take it for a drive.
Never buy a vehicle that you have not test-driven. It is critical to check a vehicle inside and out, which includes knowing what it feels like to drive. If you are unsure of the exact car you want, a test drive is a good way to determine which one will suit you best. Make sure that you feel that the car handles well and that you are confident driving it. Ask the dealer about service plans, specifications, warranties, and optional extras.
Sign on the dotted line.
Once you have decided that you have found the best vehicle at the best price, you will need to conclude the paperwork with your dealer and finance to finalise your purchase. Be sure to take your ID, Fica documents, driver’s license, and proof of insurance with you.