So the time has come to replace your old faithful - and you're opting to find a suitable replacement used car for sale.
Although the general perception is that buying a used car is a bit of a gamble, if you do your homework as a shopper, buying a used car can be a decision that you won't regret.
It's essential that you do your research carefully, take time to compare the vehicles on your short-list and get all the advice you can before signing on the dotted line and taking delivery of your purchase.
After using Surf4Cars to locate your ideal second hand vehicle, or short-list of most desirable vehicles, the obvious next step is to see the cars of interest, inspect them and test drive them.
There are many things that you would need to look out for with the vehicle that you are interested in buying - take the salesman's words with a pinch of salt, and act independently, so you're confident that you're not being taken for a ride when viewing those pre-owned cars for sale.
Firstly, confirm that the used car has passed its roadworthy test. Ask to see the roadworthy certificate. Vehicle theft is a well-documented scourge in South Africa. Ensure that you don't become ensnared in the messy trap of buying a stolen product, by insisting to check the vehicle's registration and license documentation.
Paying for a vehicle history report is an investment that will give you added peace of mind before you buy the vehicle - with such a report, you'll know if the vehicle in question has ever been involved in an accident, or has outstanding finance. Look at the vehicle's service record booklet, see whether it has been taken in for its scheduled maintenance trips, and - if it's an older used car, whether items like the cambelt were replaced when they should have been. Request to see the receipts of such maintenance jobs.
Be meticulous when you're inspecting the exterior of the vehicle. All it takes is a keen eye and proper lighting, to spot anything amiss. Look at the car's panels, see if they are properly aligned, and the paintwork is consistent throughout. Don't be afraid to get your hands filthy, inspect the wheel arches and hidden crevices where rust, or tell-tale signs of a shoddy repair job could be hiding. Look underneath for any questionable leaks.
The test drive is probably the most crucial part of the second hand car shopping experience. You'll learn a great deal about the type of the life the car has lead, during a stint behind the wheel. Ensure that your test drive is reasonably lengthy - you won't get an accurate perspective after a quick spin around the block. Leave the radio off, wind down the windows and keep an ear out for any noises that seem out of place. Also, look at the wear on the steering, gears and pedals: is it appropriate for the mileage on the odometer?
Pay attention to the way the car handles, and how it reacts to steering input. If it tends to trail to one side, that could be an indication of uneven alignment. Shift through the gearbox, feel whether changes are slick, or sloppy and indirect. Test the performance of the brakes, look for a quiet section of road to perform an emergency stop. Find an incline to test the handbrake and clutch: does the handbrake need to be raised to the roof to hold the car? does the clutch render a slipping sensation on take-off?
Finally, let common sense and gut feeling be your guide when taking a look at a used car for sale - if you feel as though the seller is being dishonest with you, or if things seem too good to be true, rather walk away than make a decision that leaves you unhappy in the long run.
Used cars go under many guises - throw in euphemisms like pre-owned, second hand and formerly-driven into the mix. Whatever term you choose, used cars represent value for money, and it's a market where many bargains can be had.
It's well documented that the moment a new car drives out the showroom, it begins to depreciate. This is why you'll find big price decreases, comparing new cars to their used counterparts - cost effectiveness is one of the most appealing points, when looking at second hand cars for sale.
When seeking a used car for sale, rather than a new one, there might be greater ease of mind: as a buyer, you will not have to wrestle with the idea that your car is losing hundreds of rands off its value, with each passing kilometre.
The used car market also makes sense for those individuals who are first-time buyers. Rather than opting for a costly new car, and experiencing the lengthy process of applying for finance and insurance, one can shop around in the vast market of cheap used cars for sale.
A big deterrent when looking at a used car for sale is often the uncertainty of its history. Potential buyers are plagued by questions like, how did the previous owner treat this car? What issues will I encounter? Am I making the right decision by buying a used car?
Thankfully, many manufacturers today have second hand car programmes, where their selection of vehicles for sale undergo verification and history checks - giving the buyer greater assurance. Luxury car manufacturers are most notable for this: you can find second hand Audis or BMWs for example, in Approved Used programmes, which still give consumers peace of mind and back up, in the event they encounter misfortune after buying their used car.
In addition, various aftermarket warranties and service plans are offered by insurance companies. So even if you are buying a used car, you still receive the equivalent back-up and surety that you would have received with a new car.
The advent of websites like Surf4Cars have made the used car trade easier, for both buying and selling parties. Where to sell my car? Will I be tapping into the right audience of buyers? How effective will my advertisement be? - these are common concerns of the vehicle trader.
Now you can sell your car online, and rest assured in the knowledge that you're targeting the masses of people who browse the world wide web every day.
As a buyer, whether you're looking for an SUV, sports car, family sedan or bakkie, you'll be able to browse through a vast selection of used cars for sale on Surf4Cars. We provide an channel between used car buyers, and sellers, that you can visit from the comfort of your computer desktop, tablet or mobile phone.
And who says you have to take what you get when it comes to used cars? We boast a unique search portal, that allows you to tailor your individual second hand car search, choosing your own bodystyle, transmission, and even instalment amount.
Forget enduring tiresome banter from a salesman, with over 17 000 used cars in our digital showroom, we give you the chance to find your own dream vehicle at your own pace.