How to buy a Second-Hand Car

How to buy a second-hand car in 10 steps

If you’re interested in buying a second-hand car, ensure you make an excellent choice to prevent headaches for years. With the help of car journalist Wilmer Müller, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide on how to smartly buy a used car.

1. Define your budget and needs

“Be realistic about what you can afford and stick to your budget. Consider any repairs you may have to do and the increase in fuel if it’s very different to what you are currently driving. Think of your lifestyle and what you might need in terms of interior space, finishes etc. If you are doing a trade-in, find out what your car’s trade-in value is and never accept the first price. Different dealers offer different incentives like cash back. The ideal car to buy will be a demo model of 6 months to 1 year old, with mileage of 10 000 -15 000km.”

2. Keep your options open

“Draw up a shortlist of desired cars. Don’t set your heart on only one model – consider and test drive at least three options.”

3. Do your homework

“If you are interested in a certain model of car, read up about it in car magazines and online forums. Chat to friends with similar cars. Visit websites like and to get an idea of car prices at certain ages and with different mileage.”

4. Research maintenance

“Ask around what a typical service will cost if the car is no longer under a motor plan. Consider your location and whether you have easy access to service centres. For example, if you buy certain models you might only find their parts in major cities, which may be hundreds of kilometres from where you live.”

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