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By Motoring Reporter

Journalist


First time buying or selling a car? Avoid these mistakes

There are many things to consider when you have never bought or sold a car before.


Anyone buying or selling a car for the first time will have many concerns.

There are many red flags to look out for and unless you rely on expert advice, you could easily be in for a ride… no pun intended. The Citizen Motoring is often approached by concerned buyers or sellers.

The car buyers at getWorth, a Cape Town-based company dealing in pre-owned cars, have come up with a few tips to answer commonly asked questions when it comes to buying or selling a car. These should go a long way in helping buyers and sellers navigate what can easily feel like a minefield.

Should you repair dents before selling your car?

Don’t bother. Most buyers will do an inspection and factor the condition into the price that they pay.
The dealer will bring the car up to showroom condition. As they have relationships, so you can normally get the work done at a lower price.

If you do decide to repair scoffs, chips and dents you might actually spend more on repairs than the difference it would make to the price. And you’ll have to go through the trouble and inconvenience.
Quality is also a factor. The worst of all would be if your repairer does a poor job and the dealer has to repeat the work.

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If your car is out of plan, should you keep servicing it?

Absolutely yes. Services are there to keep your car running smoothly. If you miss them you risk reducing the mechanical reliability of your car. For the same reason, it can also affect the price you get for your car when you sell it.

If you are doing little mileage and you miss an annual service, make sure you still hit your mileage services, normally every 10 000 or 15 000km.

What if you buy a car and you don’t like it?

Normally you are stuck. If you financed the car, you might be able to use the National Credit Act’s seven-day cooling off period, but the fine print makes this a long shot.

The other alternative is to buy from a dealer that offers a money back guarantee. getWorth offers a seven-day/700 km grace period. It means that if you are not satisfied with the car you can return it for a refund, with terms and conditions applying.

If something goes wrong, what protection do you have?

If you buy from a dealer, the consumer protection act gives some protection, but it is legally debated and difficult to apply in practice.

Cars are complex machines and used cars are naturally higher risk than new cars. One also needs to distinguish between consumable and permanent components. It is not straightforward.

ALSO READ: BEWARE: Tips to avoid buying a stolen car

Your best way forward is to buy from a dealer with a clear and solid aftersales policy. The first month is the most important – if there was something wrong at the time of purchase, it normally shows up soon.
It is also recommended to take out an extended warranty to provide peace of mind if things go wrong.

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