Tips for when buying a second-hand car

Don't be stuck in this scenario after purchasing a second-hand car. Photo: Pixabay

People are often left stranded after buying second-hand cars that give them problems after some time. These problems can be avoided or rectified by law.

We contacted the Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa and asked how consumers can ensure that their purchases do not leave them regretting their decisions.

When buying a second hand vehicle:

  • Strictly deal with reputable dealerships whether small, medium or large dealerships.
  • Shop around and compare prices for the best deal.
  • Ask the selling dealership if that vehicle has its original engine and ensure that it has police clearance if the engine is not original. Do not purchase the vehicle if this cannot be provided.
  • Any manufacturer can give you a manufacturer’s letter that confirms the build date, first warranty inception date and even the warranty history.
  • Ensure that there aren’t outstanding amounts owing to any financial institution.
  • Insists on a current roadworthy certificate (valid for 60 days) and inspect the service history; this will tell you a lot about the vehicle.
  • Enquire about a spare key. If the selling dealer promises to deliver it at a later stage, make sure that a record is made on the delivery note so that they do not renege at a later stage.
  • Familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions of sale before entering or concluding the sale agreement.
  • Do not waive your consumer rights to the benefit of the selling dealership.

In terms of the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008, you have six months warranty on goods purchased. Should a consumer experience problems with the vehicle within the first six months, the consumer has the following options, by law:

  • Give the selling dealer a chance to correct the fault, to replace the defective component.
  • To ask them to refund you the money paid for the vehicle.

Dealerships can be checked if they are certified.

Contact any of the big franchises or manufacturer to verify or you can inquire through the office of the Motor Industry Ombudsman to verify if that particular dealer is registered with them.

Lastly, the office of the Ombudsman advised consumers to give the service provider 30 days to resolve their complaints.

Only once this period has passed and no progress has been made can the consumer approach the Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa.

Consumers can download an Assistance Request from the Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa’s website, or log their complaint on the same site.

To contact miosa email them at, [email protected]

Andile Dlodlo

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