So you’ve been eyeing a certain high-end car model and because you’ve seen it in the used car market at a lower price than expected, you may be enticed to pull the trigger. On paper, everything suggests that you can afford it but it’s not uncommon for people to get caught out in the affordability trap when purchasing high-end vehicles.

These are the things that you need to consider before purchasing a premium high-end car.

Monthly repayments

This is a big one and it’s where a lot of people run into trouble quickly. You crunch the numbers and realise that you can afford the monthly instalments of the vehicle you want, but you overlook insurance, a tracking device and other add-ons such as an aftermarket warranty or maintenance plan in the case of a used car. When you add these things up, your total monthly repayments move to a different bracket. You thought you’d be paying R8000pm and you end up paying closer to R10 000. And this is before you include fuel costs.

Maintenance

In the case of a reasonably new car, you may not have to worry about service costs etc, but one thing that you will not be able to avoid is the cost of fuel and tyres. Before purchasing that vehicle, it’s important to have an estimate of what your monthly fuel (running) costs will be because this will add to your monthly expenses towards the car. 

Tyres. Most high-end vehicles are fitted with larger tyres to give them that road presence and better handling, and this is another often overlooked expense. When it’s time to replace the rubber you often don’t have a choice, it is a grudge purchase but it must be done for your safety and as a legal requirement. Replacing all four tyres on your new BMW X5 M Sport at R5000 a pop is not child’s play. Considering the state of our roads, you may find yourself having to replace a tyre unexpectedly, thanks to the many potholes lurking around every corner.  Replacing your tyres is an inevitable expense that you always have to keep at the back of your mind and possibly start putting money aside for in advance.

Resale value

Imagine that you were well-off and could afford a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Would you buy it new or second hand? You would want the new car with fresh paint and an unused interior. This is one of the reasons why some of these premium vehicles go for less than what they should be sold for. The people who can truly afford them will almost always buy a new unit and spec it to their preferred taste, meaning there’s hardly a market for the used unit, bringing its price down. Supply vs demand. What all of this means for you is that you may pick up that premium set of wheels for a song, but when the time comes to let it go, the same rules will apply.

As you’ve probably gathered from this article, there’s a lot to consider when deciding to purchase a high-end vehicle, and it goes beyond the purchase price and monthly repayments. Shop wisely and don’t get caught flat-footed.