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News Room

5 Factors To Consider When Choosing A New Car

Jason Snyman
2020-01-20
As the second biggest investment you’ll make during your lifetime, buying a car needs to be a well-thought-out plan. Other than the obvious aspect of price, here are five crucial factors to consider when choosing a car.

Generally speaking, the biggest investment you’ll ever make is in your home, and buying the perfect property. The second, of course, is buying a car. It stands to reason, then, that you'll want to invest in a vehicle that will offer a good return in value, is affordable to maintain, reliable, safe, and brings a smile to your face. 

So, without further ado, here are five crucial factors (other than the obvious aspect of price) to consider when choosing the right car.

1. Resale Value Of The Car

South Africans are generally in the habit of hanging on to their cars for a long time. We drive it until the wheels come off. 

But, some people will still buy a new car every 5 to 10 years, and if so, it's definitely worth considering the resale value of whichever vehicle you choose to get, because new cars can depreciate by up to 60% of the original purchase price in only five years. 

It's also worth noting that the original purchase price of a hybrid car may be higher than that of your traditional petrol or diesel variety, but the resale value of that car will also be far better. 

Of course, this isn't the only contributing factor to a car's resale value. Others inclue the brand, the history of reliabilty, current fuel efficiency, mileagea, aesthetic or performance add-ons and upgrades, the age and level of wear and tear on the car, and, naturally, whether or not you've chosen to purchase the car through private sale or a car dealership.

2. Safety Features And Add-Ons

Before beginning the search of your new car, you may find it helpful to create a checklist of all the essentials you really want in a good vehicle, and rank them by importance. 

This checklist should probably include vital safety features such as airbags, seat belts, anti-lock braking systems, etc. and even a few nice-to-haves, like a sunroof or fog lights or whatever else may tickle your fancy. What you choose put on this checklist is entirely up to you, and it should consist of what you deem crucial or non-negotiable.

It helps to do thorough research on vehicles that are renowned for safety, or that have gained notoriety as unreliable death-traps, before beginning your search. This way, you know exactly what to avoid, and what to look for.   

In terms of bells and whistles, you could consider adding body kits and other add-ons, but seeing as these mostly come in packages from the dealers, it’s worth considering whether or not you’ll actually be utilizing each and every feature. 

3. Consider Fuel Efficiency

With the price of fuel as volatile and ludicrous as it is these days, it may be worth opting for a fuel-efficient car as opposed to a high-performance, petrol-guzzling road-warrior. 

It’s also worth noting that with increased efforts the world-over, the motoring realm’s future certainly seems a lot greener. More and more people are turning toward hybrid or electric vehicles these days, and if this is something that you’re interested in, it’s absolutely crucial to do your research. Many parts of South Africa still lack the infrastructure to fully support a nation of hybrid motorists, and if your car is dependent on electricity in a country without a whole lot of that to go around these days, well…  

4. Insurance

Once you outright own a car in South Africa, it isn’t mandatory to get car insurance. With over 70% of the drivers on our roads completely uninsured, and with the rate of road accidents as staggeringly high as it is, however, it’s wise to have the most basic form of car insurance, at minimum. 

Third Party Insurance, a legal requirement in many other countries, for instance, will protect both you and other drivers from financial liability. 

With that in mind, you have to take the following into account:

  • The higher the value of your car, the higher your premiums will be. This is because it costs a whole lot more to repair or replace it.
  • Insuring a newer car will also be more expensive than insuring an older car, because the market value is higher.
  • The make, model and engine capacity of the car also affect the cost of the premiums, and so does the age and experience of the driver, among many other things such as where the car is stored – street or garage, for instance – and the area you live in. 

These are things worth considering when shopping for a new vehicle. Thorough research, or speaking to a knowledgeable insurance Guru, will give you a far better idea of which cars cost more to insure, and why. 

5. Warranty and Maintenance Plan

Having your car completely break down on you isn’t only inconvenient, but could also be incredibly costly. Without a warranty or the right insurance in place, repairs could easily run into the thousands, which you’ll have to pay out of pocket. 

Now, most new cars will come with a warranty plan, which generally expire after 3 years / 60 000km or 5 years / 100 000km. When shopping for a used car, however, looking for one with the balance of the warranty intact is always a smart move. 

(Take note of what is included and excluded in that warranty, as several expensive components may not be covered). 

Whether you’re buying a new car or a used (not very old) car, always keep an eye out for one with a dealership-approved maintenance plan. By keeping the maintenance up-to-date with the car’s brand dealership, you’ll also increase the resale value – proving that the vehicle has been well-loved and well-looked-after. 

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