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Second-hand car buyers warned to be vigilant

It is crucial for individuals buying second-hand cars to be extra vigilant before signing the agreement contract between them and the dealership.

Purchasing a car, especially a used one, is a significant financial commitment, so the buyer needs to be sure they are receiving the most value for their money in addition to all the features they want most from their vehicle.

Safety should always come first, but how can you be sure that the car you’ve picked hasn’t ever been in a major collision?

The South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association (SAMBRA), a proud member of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), states that this is regrettably one of the main reasons SAMBRA has been fighting so hard for an open and transparent vehicle salvage database that contains all vehicles that insurers have previously written off.

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Back on the road

Concerningly, since this campaign began numerous seriously damaged cars that were eventually fixed and put back on the road have been discovered.

These cars might appear completely fine to the casual eye, but a closer glance could reveal shocking details about the calibre of the repairs and the extent of the prior damage.

As per SAMBRA, a roadworthy certificate is included with every used car purchase. This certificate by itself cannot attest to the existence of substantial flaws.

To legally complete the registration process for the transfer of ownership of a used car or any vehicle that transports people for payment, such as a minibus, bus, or heavy-duty vehicle, a roadworthy certificate is needed.

During a roadworthy inspection, the vehicle examiner looks for visual flaws in the electrical components, bodywork, steering, suspension, interior seatbelts, and undercarriage.

It verifies that the car is roadworthy, but it won’t always detect whether it has been in an accident and has been fixed afterwards.

Currently, vehicle inspection controls, particularly periodic testing of vehicles, need to be the focus of much greater attention and discussion. This will mean retesting automobiles for roadworthiness at a certain age, even if ownership stays the same.

Informed decisions

Customers are advised to educate themselves by following these steps and take charge of their car-buying experience until they are completely certain of the condition of the used car they are buying, especially if they have seen it online.

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It’s usually a good idea to check over the car you want to buy in person.

Seek the advice of a certified SAMBRA motor body repairer if you have any concerns at all. They are skilled in identifying unseen repairs and evaluating the vehicle’s structural integrity.

Always keep in mind that it is worthwhile to conduct further inspections because all motor body repair shops and workshops with RMI accreditation adhere to the highest standards and requirements to safeguard customers.

Be aware

There is a distinction between a roadworthy test and a multi-point inspection, so it is advisable to think about doing a thorough multipoint check on the vehicle.

In essence, a roadworthy inspection examines the vehicles’ safety features in accordance with the National Road Traffic Act (NRTA) and applicable regulations; in contrast, a multi-point inspection covers both safety and quality features.

Other categories are covered by the multi-point inspection (MPI).

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It is carried out by an experienced and certified automobile examiner and will provide you with a significantly more thorough report covering more than 120 points on the car.

A nationwide MPI can be conducted at a number of collaborating VTA members. It is advisable to contact the closest testing facility in advance to find out if they provide the service.

If you’re concerned about the vehicle’s service history, you can visit any franchised dealership that belongs to the National Automobile Dealers’ Association and ask them to look up the vehicle’s service history provided you provide them with the VIN.

You can find out if there are any mechanical issues from any service establishment that has been accredited by the Motor Industry Establishment Association.

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Recall that because modern cars have so many intricate moving parts, it’s normal to have underlying issues that you might not be aware of. Being aware of a car’s health might help you avoid expensive repairs that will eventually reduce the value of the item you are purchasing.

• Information from SAMBRA

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