In the market for a set of wheels? Never bought a car before? Don’t stress, these tips from Ford Motor Company will help you navigate the decision-making and buying process to avoid costly mistakes.
Once you’ve decided on the best type and size of car for your needs (hatchback, sedan, SUV, pick-up truck, manual, automatic, diesel, petrol), you need to do some thorough research (manufacturers’ websites, motoring reviews, word-of-mouth), and narrow it down to a handful of options. Also keep your eyes open for any specials or promotions, like the exciting range of Ford Offers on selected vehicles. Dealerships (which buy their new stock wholesale from manufacturers) often run their own campaigns, so look out for those too.
If you’re considering second-hand cars, The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) warns against rushing into the first good deal you come across. “Buyers need to be aware there are also pitfalls; there may be mechanical problems, body damage, replacement parts may be harder to source, and warranty benefits will expire sooner,” says Philip Purnell, HOD Public Affairs, AA.
- Specs and accessories
We know it’s tempting to only look at the fun stuff, such as entertainment features and cool wheel options, but it’s best to start with safety and comfort features. If you choose a car that already has excellent safety features as standard, you’ll have more room to play with accessories. The e-Brochures on the Shopping page of Ford’s website give you a comprehensive overview of the features on each car they’re currently selling, and can be downloaded and printed for your convenience.
- Maintenance / warranty
Even if you’re on a very tight budget, it’s worth paying a little extra for a car which comes with a decent maintenance / warranty plan, as it could actually end up saving you money in the long run. For example, if you opt for the all-new 2018 Ford Figo (R181 300 for the entry-level manual, up to R205 700 for the top-of-the-range automatic), it comes with a segment-defining four-year / 60 000km service plan included in the price.
- Mileage / fuel consumption
Don’t forget the impact that (rising) fuel costs will have on your pocket. If you tend to do a lot of driving, you’ll need to be very conscious of fuel consumption figures whilst car shopping. The new Ford Figo, which is available as a compact four-door sedan or five-door hatchback, is powered by a very economical 1.5-litre petrol heart, with average fuel consumption of 5.7 – 6.5 L/100km.
It’s a good idea to visit more than one dealership near you in order find the perfect fit, as these are the people who will be looking after you and your car for many years to come. There are over a hundred Ford dealerships from which to choose nationwide.
- Test drive
A test drive is the only way to get a solid impression of a car’s driving dynamics, features, and comfort levels. Take note of all the details so you can do a proper comparison between the cars on your shortlist afterwards. Make sure the seats are comfortable, the controls are easy to reach, and all the instruments are clearly visible.
You can apply for finance directly with your bank, but working through a dealership is often quicker and easier, and you may also get a better deal. You’ll need to take along a certified copy of your ID book, a valid driver’s licence, proof of income, and proof of address. Once the dealer has done an affordability assessment with you, they will submit a request for finance on your behalf, and then come back to you with an offer.
It is imperative you run through all the terms and conditions with your dealer, to avoid any surprises later on. They should advise you on the best options in terms of repayments, finance term lengths, interest rates, deposits, and balloon payments. Do not be afraid to ask questions, and make sure you fully understand the fine print before signing on the dotted line.
Insurance on a financed vehicle is required by law. Remember, your car still belongs to the bank until you pay the final monthly instalment, or balloon payment, and a letter of settlement has been issued. Only once you have provided proof of insurance can the dealership allow you to take delivery of your new car.
The dealer may suggest an insurance provider, but you can work through your own insurance company to get the best rate. Vehicle insurance is not a one-size-fits-all product, so you have to find a policy that best suits your needs. For example, some policies will cover smash-and-grabs, while others won’t. And if you regularly park your car on the street, or outside office buildings, make sure you’re covered for all types of theft.