Heels & Horsepower Magazine


Much has been written about the topic of balloon payments. Should a balloon payment be considered as an option when finalising the instalment deal on a new car, or is it something to avoid and steer well clear of?

Factoring a balloon payment into the finance agreement of your next car purchase may come with some appealing benefits, but make sure you fully understand these, and that you use these benefits wisely. Responsible budgeting is key with such payments and you’ll need to act sensibly during the repayment period to maximise what it offers.

Balloon payment deals require discipline

– Kutlwano Mogatusi, WesBank Communication Specialist
What is a Balloon Payment?

A balloon payment allows a buyer to take an amount owing on the purchase price of a car and set it aside, meaning the monthly instalment amounts are calculated on a lower value – in turn making repayments more affordable.  

To put it simply, with a balloon payment, you’re essentially paying off a loan for most of the car, but not all of it. The amount set aside at the onset remains the buyer’s responsibility and will need to be settled in the long run.

Being responsible with your money and keeping within your budget are key to managing a balloon payment option.


“Being responsible with your money and keeping within your budget are key to managing a balloon payment option. It should not be used as an end to a means to buy a car that you can’t afford to maintain,” says Kutlwano Mogatusi, WesBank Communication Specialist. “Balloon payment deals require discipline. If a buyer is not financially savvy enough to manage cash flow and continue to save during the finance term, then a balloon deal is probably not the best option for that person.”

It is important not to view a balloon deal as a means to purchase a car you simply cannot afford


Vehicle owners considering a balloon payment deal should familiarise themselves with the term ‘breakeven point’. The breakeven point occurs when the financed car’s trade-in value matches the amount still owed to the bank.

When calculating the breakeven point, it’s important to include the amount outstanding in the balloon debt at the end of the loan period. 

What you should know when considering a balloon payment

It is important not to view a balloon payment as an alternative to an upfront deposit. A healthy deposit on a new or used car will always reap returns further down the financial road. Not only will it bring your breakeven point forward, but it will also lower the monthly repayment costs and the deferred debt held in the balloon. You also won’t be liable for additional debt at the end of the finance period.

As an example, if a vehicle purchase price is R300,000 and a buyer defers 10% of this into a balloon payment, then the monthly repayment amount will be calculated on a price of R270,000. The deferred balloon sum of R30,000 will need to be settled at the end of the contract term.

This example illustrates how a balloon payment deal is similar to putting down a 10% deposit on the vehicle. However, the difference is that the buyer needs to save the R30,000 while paying off the loan to reimburse the bank at the end of the finance term.

“While the benefits that come with keeping monthly costs down may be extremely appetising, it is important not to view a balloon deal as a means to purchase a car you simply cannot afford. A looming lump sum payment, after years of driving a vehicle, is easy to ignore and forget. But settling that debt ultimately remains the responsibility of the buyer,”says Mogatusi.

June fuel forecast: Good news on Petrol but not such good news on Diesel

The Automobile Association (AA) is forecasting that petrol users are set for some month-end relief at the pumps.

The Association is predicting that petrol will be 11 cents a litre cheaper in June. Diesel, meanwhile, is set to increase by about 22 cents a litre and illuminating paraffin by 21 cents.

“The Rand continued to strengthen against the US dollar throughout May, while international oil prices remained mostly flat. But the sharp spike in oil at the start of the month is still spilling over into the data, with the prices of refined diesel having seen a bigger impact than petrol,” notes the AA.

The AA says this will be disappointing news for transport companies who rely on diesel to power their fleets.

“It will also not be welcomed by citizens who use illuminating paraffin for cooking, lighting, and especially heating during the winter months,” says the AA.

Spikes on the Road: A Sharp Edge to Driving

Here’s what you need to know about the latest threat to road users.

Various reports have emerged recently where criminals throw spikes across the road to immobilise and rob motorists. This new tactic seems to be most prevalent on the N4 highway towards Eastern Pretoria, making it the latest threat to the lives and property of road users.

The nature of the crime, makes it difficult to completely safeguard oneself from the criminals however, there are a few tips that can assist motorists.

If you are driving on any highway at night:

  • Ideally, ensure you are off the highway before traffic quietens dramatically.
  • Avoid driving over anything in the road including plastic bags as spikes can be concealed in these.
  • If there is another vehicle present, drive six seconds or more behind so their driving style can alert you should anything be amiss.
  • If the circumstances allow, travel straddling two lanes as it may help you miss spikes being placed in the lane.
  • When passing under a bridge, change lanes just before you pass.
  • Reduce your speed in order to increase your chances of seeing obstacles on the road.
  • If you spot an obstacle before you reach it, move into the emergency lane or onto the grass if that section of the highway allows for it.
  • If you do hit a spike, reduce your speed to approximately 40km/h and continue drivingto the nearest place of safety.
  • If you do not make it to a place of safety but do obtain some distance between yourself and the criminals, get out of your car and find a place to conceal yourself. Do not panic or engage with the criminals.
  • In addition to spikes, criminals also use concrete lintels. If you cannot avoid them, slow down and carefully drive over them.
  • Once you have safely moved past the spikes, contact authorities to prevent any other motorists falling victim.

 Source: MasterDrive