Apart from working from home, our immediate needs and wants have changed. You may have been thinking about buying a new car, but with the current state we're in, it may not seem like a good idea.
At the moment, life is quite difficult to navigate; however, buying a car in South Africa is still possible. In fact, there are a number of vehicles that are still in high demand. Continue reading this article to find out safety tips you can use when buying a second-hand car in South Africa during a pandemic. You will also find out what vehicles you should look out for in your car search.
Top-selling vehicles right now
Despite the outbreak, pre-owned vehicle sales in South Africa have been doing well. Here are popular used cars you need to consider when looking for your second-hand car.
Volkswagen Polo: it has been a favorite among car buyers for several years. This vehicle remains popular, mainly because of its quality. From the exterior to the interior, this vehicle allows you and your passengers’ comfort and visibility when traveling. The Polo is quiet on the road and has an impressive fuel economy. Although this is a small car, it has enough legroom for you and your passengers.
Ford Ranger: if you're looking to purchase a big car that is fit to ride even in the roughest terrain, then the Ford Ranger is your best match right now. But it's not only the size that makes it great, but the Ranger is also a luxury style SUV with a great engine. Those two things make it a recommended vehicle to buy with proven longevity for the future.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class: this is ideal for those who have always loved a German luxury car. The C-Class is stylish with a luxury interior and exterior. It has high tech features and is a fun ride for people looking for sleek vehicles with excellent power.
Toyota Hilux: if a big car is what you're looking for, then the Hilux is the way to go. The vehicle is known for its off and on-road capabilities, it is efficient, has a great fuel economy, and it is user-friendly. These elements make it suitable for everyone.
BMW 3 Series: this vehicle is an ideal entry-level luxury car. It has a top of the range engine, great performance, and is an impeccable ride-and-handling balance.
Toyota Fortuner: much like any other Toyota, the Fortuner has a powerful body and reputation. The maintenance costs are low, it's durable and it's big enough for families that love going on off-road adventures.
Volkswagen Golf: similar to the Polo, the Golf has a beautifully modern design. It drives well, is durable, and has all the convenience features a driver needs.
Ford Fiesta: this car is also a popular car among vehicle owners. It has a compact, lightweight design and is a durable choice. The Fiesta performance is impressive and can handle most types of terrain.
Ford EcoSport: This beast is great for local driving, as well as rough terrain. It is easy to drive, although the engine is underpowered, it still works efficiently and will ensure you drive in comfort. This is another favorite for people with families as there is enough space for passengers and cargo.
Keep your options open
Much like any other tips for buying a used car, you need to keep your options open. Before contacting a dealership or private seller, browse a few online classifieds and see what type of vehicles are available, and what you are looking for. Assess your lifestyle, currently, and post-pandemic. For example, don’t go for a vehicle with a high fuel economy if you aren't going to be able to afford it under the new “normal” circumstances. Yes, the price of petrol has gone down, and you won’t be traveling as much, so you might not feel the pinch of owning a car that uses too much petrol. However, when the COVID-19 outbreak ends, and life returns, you do not want to be left with a vehicle that uses too much petrol and ends up being a financial burden to you. Choose a vehicle that you will be able to afford and maintain now and post-pandemic.
Opt for online research only
Social distancing and self-isolation are key in curbing the spread of the virus. This is why it is safer for you to stick to online research right now. Luckily for you, car shopping online has improved over the years, and you can find a great deal. One key benefit of online shopping is that you can complete the entire process in the comfort of your own home. The internet has made buying a car in South Africa so much easier. This goes from seeking financial assistance to finding a second-hand car for sale, both those two important aspects of finding a car are still attainable during this time. Lenders have online websites where you can apply should you need to, and many online classifieds have used cars for sale.
Find out what safety precautions car dealerships are applying right now
As much as we would like the entire process of buying a second-hand car to be done online, you still need to go see the vehicle. But, before you head out, contact the dealer or private seller and find out what safety precautions they have put in place to protect themselves and their customers.
With the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to ask the right questions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. This is still part of your buyer's journey, and if you feel like they are not sufficiently trying to keep everyone they come in to contact safe, you can take your business elsewhere. Call a few car dealerships and find out what they are doing before going to ensure you will be safe.
Be careful when it’s time to test drive the vehicle
Once you find the right vehicle, there will come a time when you have to test drive the car. Keep in mind that you will be meeting someone who has been around different people trying to sell the car. You will be touching a vehicle that has been tested by several other car seekers. So, to ensure you are safe and fully prepared for your test drive, do the following:
- Disinfect the door handles, steering wheel, indications, gear sticks, dashboard, and mirror.
- Wear gloves and a mask.
- Bring your sanitizer.
- Be careful not to touch your face as you will be exchanging keys with the dealer or private seller.
- Don’t go out if you’re feeling sick.
- Bring your pen, in case you’re happy with the vehicle and want to purchase it immediately.
- When done, throw the gloves away, and wash your hands, clothes, and the mask you wore during the test drive.
Avoid touching as much as possible
When you find a vehicle you like, excitement can get the best of you. Try and avoid touching, for example, shaking hands once the deal goes through. If you mistakenly shake hands out of habit, make sure you sanitize or wash your hands right after. As mentioned in the bullet points above, make sure you bring your own pen so that you don’t have to share one. Lastly, keep away from anybody who is showing flu-like symptoms. If you have the urge to cough, make sure you cough into your elbow and keep a safe distance from the seller or sales agent at the dealership.
Wash the car
Once all the paperwork has gone through, and the vehicle is yours, make sure you take your vehicle to the carwash. Although it would be safer for you to wash it, it may be safer to have it washed by professionals, especially the interior. That way you know your vehicle is clean, disinfected, and ready for you to use.
This is a challenging time, and safety is vital. As long as you practice social distancing when able to and protect yourself when around dealers and sellers, you should be able to get the vehicle you want.
Remember that you can find almost anything online, so use that to your advantage and only meet people when you need to. Happy driving!