Owning a car is a big step and there are many downsides first time car buyers need to be aware of, such as damage to the body of the car, mechanical problems, and the cost of car parts – some may be harder to source, depending on the brand.

Here are a few things you should consider:

  • Look at a demo model with low mileage from a trustworthy dealership. If you can increase your budget, these cars are usually well priced and well looked after.
  • Check the warranty on the vehicle. Does it expire sooner?
  • Check if the tyres are in a good condition, and if not, that replacements are both available and reasonably priced. Also ensure that your budget will cover the cost of replacement tyres.
  • Check handling, brakes, and look for any signs of mechanical problems such as overheating, when test driving.
  • Check for strange sounds while you are test driving.
  • Check the interior of the vehicle properly, for example torn material or leather, or other wear-and-tear, bearing in mind the age of the car.
  • Ensure that the battery terminals don’t have any build-up.
  • Check if there is any smoke coming from the exhaust – this could mean possible engine damage.
  • Check if body work has been done – this could indicate that the vehicle was involved in accident. If the vehicle has been in an accident, this may not always be detrimental to the deal. A minor bumper-bashing may not indicate structural damage, but always ensure that you are happy to pay the price they are asking for the vehicle.
  • Insist on the vehicle’s paperwork and service history, as this will give you some idea of how well it has been looked after.

By Wanita Wallace