Two days before our wedding, my car was written off while I was having a pedicure (details upon request). Not a fun experience let me tell you. But one wedding and a magical honeymoon later it was time to get back to reality and start looking for a new car. Even though this is not the first car I have ever bought, it is my first ‘adult’ car. You know, the type where you have to get vehicle finance and approval from the bank, and where you have to understand all the jargon that goes along with buying a car! But, I am happy to report I have found my dream car and managed to get through the experience without a hitch. If you’re lost on what to do before buying your first ‘big girl’ car then you’re welcome to live vicariously through me – here’s what I wish I knew before buying my first ‘adult’ car.
I’m no car-buying guru and have only done this once, however, I was so overwhelmed by the process and there are a few things I wish I had known before diving in. I truly hope these tips give you some insight and understanding.
1. Identify key things you want in a car: safety, fuel efficiency, electric windows, airbags, Bluetooth, hatchback. Once you know this, the search will be MUCH easier.
2. Buying a car is not an emotional decision, but a financial one: You get amazing cars, and you get mediocre cars, and believe me, every time you see a new model you’ll change your mind. However, understand that this is a huge purchase and making an emotional decision will leave you with buyer’s remorse.
3. Understand what you can afford, and stick to it: A car is not an investment, but a luxury – treat it that way. There’s no such thing as “You Only Live Once” when buying a car for practical reasons. Of course, when you can afford to buy a Porsche cash; go for it and #Yolo all you want!
4. Don’t forget insurance: In order to get an accurate monthly cost for your new car, get an insurance quote to add to your instalment. Get a few quotes, and ask them to give you options of extras as well.
5. Talk to someone that you trust: May it be a recommended car salesman, a business manager, your husband or parents. They’ve been down this road before and understand the procedures, downfalls and final purchase.
6. Be critical of everything when buying a used car: There will be a few scratches, some touch-ups required and KMs on the clock, but it is your right to point these out and ask them to be repaired before purchase. However, from what I have learned, any dealership worth their salt will hand over the car to you in tip-top condition and if anything goes wrong, just send it back to them.
7. Consider an extended maintenance plan: If you are buying a used car, chances are, the maintenance plan will be depleted, however, you can extend a maintenance plan at an additional cost. If you’re not the type of person who is organised enough to save each month for your car maintenance then this option might be a great choice for you.
8. Don’t forget the additional costs: There are a few additional costs involved when buying a car. For example, your initiation fee as well as a service fee every month when you’re approved for financing. Ensure this is also calculated with your monthly instalment so there are no surprises when your debit order goes off.
9. Before you drive it off the lot: In order to even receive your car, you need your insurance ducks in a row. Ask the dealership to send your insurance broker the purchase invoice, in order for your broker to generate and confirm your insurance which he will send back to them. Once they have this, you are on your way in your new wheels!
10. Have fun! Enjoy this amazing milestone in your life: it’s something so special. Scary as anything, but special nevertheless. Don’t forget to enjoy the process!
What did you learn when buying a new car? This adulating thing is interesting; I’m learning every day and would love to hear your thoughts!
Born and raised in Cape Town, Jana loves the outdoors! She is happiest with her dogs and husband, while having a braai; waiting for friends to visit. She classifies herself as an intro-extrovert who loves socialising, but enjoys a good book all by herself, too. Being from Cape Town, good wine is at the top of her list of must-haves with good food being a very close second. She is overly passionate about the media and communications industries, allowing her to live, learn and play in this very exciting social field.