Remember to ask these 8 important questions when buying a pre-owned vehicle

Buying a pre-owned vehicle can save you a lot of money, but there are certain things that buyers should look out for

Reuben Van Niekerk
Pre-owned cars
car shopping
buying a pre-owned vehicle

Buying a new vehicle is a huge financial commitment so shopping around for the best deal is imperative. Very often pre-owned cars, even those with low mileage, can be found for quite a few rands less than their new car equivalents, but there are a few questions you need to ask before signing on the dotted line.


Here are 8 important questions to ask when buying a pre-owned vehicle:

1. Who am I buying from?

Who you buy a pre-owned vehicle from is by far the most important consideration for any car buyer. While many websites advertise cars that are being sold by private sellers, buying a pre-owned vehicle in this manner has its risks. Vehicles sold privately or through stand-alone dealerships are largely voetstoots.


TIP: Be sure to do research about sellers by having a look at their website, social pages and Google ratings.


Dealing with a national dealer group such as Motus, who owns all the vehicles that are listed for sale, affords the consumer peace of mind and recourse as well as a larger variety of vehicles to choose from. is a convenient online platform offering endless variety, seamless navigation and access to the widest dealer network in South Africa, all in one place. On, South Africa’s leading and trusted dealer network since 1948 is now available on one convenient website.


2. What should I buy?

Filters on websites such as aid shoppers in narrowing down the search  according to the parameters that are important to each individual buyer such as budget, model, specification model year or mileage and create a short list of vehicles worth viewing in person.


TIP: The age and mileage of pre-owned vehicles will affect the price but anomalies to watch out for include cars with high mileage in comparison to their age. A good average is 20,000 – 25,000km per year.


3. Is the vehicle as advertised?

Visiting the dealerships on your shortlist allows you to physically inspect the facility and the vehicle, and to ask more specific questions.


“Consumers often browse for choices online but affirm their decision from the touch and feel moment. Fortunately when shopping on, whatever consumers select is exactly what they will get upon delivery,” said Venter.


4. Is the warranty and service plan still valid?

Warranty and service plans are time and mileage based, and expire when one of those parameters are reached.


TIP: If you are considering a vehicle without a service plan, you need to be more aware of the technical condition of the vehicle or have it checked by an independent expert.


5. Does the car have a full service history?

A full service history means that the car was well maintained and will have a direct bearing on the warranty of the vehicle.


TIP: A service history should be a serious consideration for any buyer as it can eliminate surprise costs in future


6. Has the car been in any accidents?

An accident history that includes a minor bumper bashing that has been correctly repaired is nothing to worry about, but buyers should look out for any signs of serious damage during the car’s life.


TIP: An easy way to spot a repaired vehicle is via uneven body panel gaps and alignment


7. Can I take it for a test drive?

A buyer should insist on taking the car for a test drive. This will allow you to get a feel for the vehicle, check that everything works as it should and allow you to identify any apparent issues.


TIP: turn off the radio to be able to hear any strange noises and take note if the vehicle veers to either side.


8. Have any major components been replaced?

If major components like the windscreen, tyres or brakes have been recently replaced, this could save you extra money in the medium term. Conversely if any of these items will need replacing soon, that could mean extra costs on the horizon.


TIP: Take note of the tyre tread as replacing tyres can be a costly exercise.


“In this day and age consumers are looking for partners they can trust, Motus takes the guesswork out of shopping for a pre-owned vehicle and ensures a peace of mind shopping experience from start to finish,” concluded Venter.