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03/05/2018 12:28 SAST | Updated 03/05/2018 12:28 SAST

Why Buying A Second-Hand Car In 2018 Is A Good Idea

From generally lower costs to car perks previously associated only with new cars, there are a few good reasons.

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Used-car sales have been on a steady climb in South Africa over the past few years, with a growing interest in the market.

From generally lower costs to car perks previously associated only with new cars, the used-car market is giving the new-car market a run for its money.

If you're looking to buy a second-hand car, here's why this might be a good choice, according to Kevin Tucker, CEO of online shopping and price-comparison directory Pricecheck.

1. Instant depreciation

Perhaps the most well-known reason not to buy a brand-new car is the fact that it starts depreciating as soon as you drive it off the showroom floor. While it's a myth that it loses half its value at that moment, it is true that cars depreciate most when they're new.

On average, cars depreciate at a rate of 15 to 20 percent in a year. In the first year, the depreciation will tend toward the higher end of that range, but you will incrementally lose less and less value every year.

If you buy new, you'll end up carrying the cost of that depreciation — something you won't have to do if you choose to buy second-hand.

For example, a brand-new Hyundai i10 will set you back just under R180,000, while a 2017 model with just over 30,000km on the clock will set you back just over R136,000.

This depreciation factor also means that you can probably afford a nicer car with more features than if you decided to buy new.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, with some cars increasing in value over the years — especially if they come to be regarded as classics.

2. Second-hand cars also come with new-car perks

A number of people choose to go the new-car route, because the purchase will come with a service plan and warranty.

However, if you find the right deal, you can get a used car that's still within its service plan. And if it comes down to it, you can sometimes purchase an extension of the service plan and still save money.

Alternatively, you can put away a portion of the money you're saving every month and use that to pay for any services in the car's future.

Similarly, warranties can be extended, or added to the cost of your second-hand car.

3. Reputable dealers offer some peace of mind

While you might think you've found a great deal on an online classifieds site, you're most likely better off buying from a reputable dealer, advises Tucker.

Second-hand cars at particularly reputable car dealers are normally well looked after, well priced and almost new. This is why reputable used car dealerships are recommended over private sellers.

According to financial services group Santam, you also have a better chance of having your car fixed at an established dealership if there are future issues, compared to a private dealer.

Once you've decided on a set of wheels, however, it's worth getting the car checked out by a reputable mechanic. The Automobile Association, for instance, offers full bumper-to-bumper examinations at eleven technical centres around the country.

4. Open to negotiation

It is important to buy smart when it comes to purchasing a second-hand car, as most dealers are open to negotiating on price — meaning you could walk away with an even better deal than you thought you would.

According to motoring expert Wilmer Müller, everything is negotiable. He cautions that buyers should not just buy the first car they like and advises that if buying from a dealer, a buyer negotiates a price that includes all on-the-road costs.

5. Your wallet will likely thank you

Even if you've got enough money for a brand-new car, the savings you can get from buying a second-hand car mean you can invest the difference elsewhere — or spend more on leisure activities you may have needed to cut back on, if you had purchased a new car.

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And unless you hang around with a bunch of car snobs, chances are they're not going to notice whether your new set of wheels is a year or two old instead of brand-new. Plus second-hand cars these days come with the gifts from the dealership, the oversized ribbon on the bonnet, and that new-car smell.