Are you buying a used car?
Yao wanted a new car, one that could send him to work and back without closing his bank account. He went to one of the showrooms on the Graphic Road, the hub of new automobiles in Ghana, to hunt for one.ut just three months after using the car, he regretted not sticking to his trotro, taxi and Uber service.
However, he left disappointed because the new cars were beyond his means. Then a friend suggested he checked out the second hand garages at Achimota. He did and got a nice looking saloon car that met his budget.
He has suffered the worse embarrasments of his life, including getting late to appointments because the car almost always broke down in the middle of the road.
Buying a used car is an unfamiliar territory for many people, but that should not be the case.
Buying a new car is the dream of many but the biggest challenge remains the financial demands that accompany the venture.
It is for this reason that the used cars industry has seen a tremendous growth in Ghana. But separating second hand diamond cars from decorated heaches require a lot of tact and vigilance that spare the buyer the pain that comes on the heels of a purchase.
Here are steps devoted to help you to select, finance, locate and test-drive the used car that best meets your needs.
In today’s crowded automobile marketplace, many consumers have difficulty keeping up with all of the vehicles available and tend to choose cars either because of styling or because such cars are in vogue.
Research your choice
Research your choice
Most often at the beginning of the car-buying process, many people already know the car they want. But it is ideal to stop and test your decision with this question: will it meet my current needs and financial strength? A few questions also need to be answered.
Should it be a manual or automatic transmission?
Should it be a four-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive?
What safety features do you want?
Do you require a lot of cargo capacity?
Build a target list of three different cars. You might want to think of vehicles in the same class. For example, if the choice is a KIA Picanto, you should also be on the hunt for a, Hyundai i10 or Daewoo Matiz. These cars were built for the same market, but they have different features and sometimes lower prices.
Pricing and financing
A used car’s value is based on its condition, mileage (number of kilometres it has been driven), reliability, performance and popularity. The ideal second hand car is one that is reliable and performs well.
Establishing a realistic monthly payment that fits into your budget is fundamental. A rule of thumb is that your total monthly car payments should not exceed 20 per cent of your monthly income.
While in Ghana most used car dealers do not accept instalment or hire purchase, a few banks, including the Unibank and Societe General, have auto loans which can finance a purchase.
An ignored fact of car ownership for many people is a car might be cheaper to buy, but more expensive to own. The reason is that even if two cars cost about the same, one can depreciate at a different rate or cost significantly more to insure or maintain.
Before you commit to one car, you should estimate the long-term ownership costs of the vehicle you have eyes on. These include depreciation, insurance, maintenance and fuel costs.
Take a look
Second hand vehicles can present a few challenges to buyers. Daily wear and tear, as well as warranty periods that have run their course mean that while used car shoppers can save money, they do not necessarily have the safety net that new car buyers get when they drive away from the garage.
While many used cars look classy on the outside, it is super important to examine the entire vehicle. Make sure all the wheels look aligned and face forward. The tyres should match, and their sidewalls intact.
Remember to check the wipers, horn and lights. A few bumps and scratches are normal but major cosmetic problems indicate that the car was not probably well maintained by its previous owner.
The buyer’s careful scrutiny should be aimed at general condition of the car, the interior and exterior.
Look out for rust, scratches, cracks on the windscreen.
Give the engine a lot of scrutiny.
This is the heart of the car buying process. A well done test drive should replicate the conditions the car will be used daily after you buy it.
The test drive is your chance to evaluate every aspect of the car, from how it feels on the road to making sure all its features work correctly.
During the trial, drive the car in both stop-and-go traffic and at freeway speeds. If your destination is usually mountainous, try to find some steep grades to climb. Drive over bumps, take tight corners and test the brakes in a safe location.
Get in and out of the car several times and be sure to sit in the backseat, especially if you plan on carrying passengers. The bottom line is ask yourself if you can live with this car for years to come.
In the process, don’t drive with the radio on, this should be done separately. Your new car is a big investment; make sure you spend enough time really looking it over.
Draw a chart that covers major areas, including interior wear, ride, seat comfort, noise, steering feel, tyres, maintenance, sound system, brakes, bodywork, and anything else that’s important to you.
Look for expert opinion
In order not to end up with a decorated killing machine on wheels, it is best to have an expert opinion. A qualified mechanic will provide the best diagnosis and opinions on petty functions that you may be ignorant of.