Heels & Horsepower Magazine

Is Refinancing Your Car A Good Idea?

Refinancing your car is an option that many car owners grapple with.  In an effort to de-mystify what this means, and who should consider it as a viable option, it is important to understand what the term ‘refinancing’ means.

In a nutshell, refinancing a vehicle means replacing your current car loan or finance agreement with a new car loan to revise your debt repayment schedule. In other words, applying for another loan to repay your old debt. As the new loan is usually lower than your existing loan, vehicle refinancing may be a way to save money on your monthly car repayments.

This saving can result from obtaining a loan at a lesser amount, extending the repayment period or negotiating a lower interest rate. Some banks and lending houses also offer the option of refinancing a vehicle that is fully paid up, should it qualify.

It is important to understand what the term means and when or when not to refinance a vehicle.  One school of thought advocates that you should rather consider selling your car before you look at refinancing it.  However, the decision is not always that simple.  “If the new loan is at a lower interest rate, for example, that could save you some money in the long run,” explains Lebogang Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communication at Wesbank.

It is important to carefully consider the pros and cons of refinancing a vehicle, so it is advisable to do some research on the most favourable loan terms and interest rates, before making a final decision.


  • Lower Monthly Repayments:  Refinancing can result in lower monthly repayments, which could assist those who are struggling to cover their monthly costs or who want to free up a bit of extra cash each month.
  • Lower Interest Rates: If you qualify for a lower interest rate by choosing to refinance your car, you will save money by paying less interest over the loan term and by so doing, save on your current monthly instalments.
  • Better Loan Terms: Refinancing allows you to adjust the terms of your loan, such as the length of the loan period or the type of loan, for example, fixed or variable.
  • Improved Cash Flow: Refinancing your vehicle might enable you to access more cash it you owe less than its current value.


  • Additional Fees: Refinancing often involves fees such as loan application costs or prepayment penalties which could add up and reduce the potential savings from the refinancing agreement.
  • Longer Loan Term: If you extend the length of your loan through refinancing, you may end up paying more interest over the term of the loan, even if you have a lower interest rate in place.
  • Negative Equity: If you owe more on your vehicle than it is worth, refinancing may not be an option or may not result in any significant savings.
  • Credit Score Impact: Applying for a new loan can temporarily lower your credit score if you are approved for a loan with a higher interest rate, it could negatively impact your credit score in the long run.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to structuring a car refinance deal. By being honest with yourself and knowing how much you can afford on the vehicle repayment, you would be better informed about your options.

10 Common Driving Mistakes South African Motorists Make

We all know that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a big no-no and as such cannot be categorized as a mistake.

Drunk driving plays a huge factor in road fatalities annually but there are other causes of accidents and fender benders.  Here are just 10 of the most common bad driving practises which can be seen on our roads almost daily.

1. Speeding

Driving at a speed that is unsafe for the current road, weather and lighting conditions can make it difficult, if not impossible to control your vehicle effectively.  Bringing a speeding vehicle to a stop or trying to avoid an obstacle on the road can have fatal consequences as you may lose control completely.  Speed limits are designed to keep drivers safe and it is dangerous to exceed them. Regardless of your environment, aim to drive at a pace which allows you to safely manoeuver your vehicle through curves, down a hill or in the rain.

2. Unsafe Lane Changes

Executing a safe lane change involves quite a few essential steps such as checking your mirrors and blind spot, adjusting your speed, turning on your indicators, finding a safe gap then merging smoothly into the lane.  It is important to remember to look out for cyclists and bikers as these motorists are incredibly vulnerable in an accident.

3. Distracted Driving

Three things are critical for safe driving being: your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road and your mind on the task at hand.  Driving distracted negates these essentials, putting all road users at risk.  Multi-tasking is not something motorists should attempt to do because of the ever changing environment of the road and general traffic.  Anything can and most likely will happen without notice and you need to be ready to react immediately – something you may not be able to do if you are texting, eating or your eyes are on the radio controls.

4. Not Maintaining A Safe Following Distance

Many motorists drive distracted resulting in their following the vehicle ahead of them too closely.  The best way to ensure you have a safe cushion of space between your car and the one ahead is to wait for the leading vehicle to pass a fixed point on the road, then start counting to three.  Should you pass the same point before reaching the count of three then you are most likely following too closely.  As a general rule of thumb always increase your following distance at night, when driving behind a truck, in bad weather or when driving behind a motorcycle or cyclist.

5. Driving Too Slowly

This may surprise a few but driving too slowly for the current traffic conditions can be dangerous.  Driving too slowly forces other drivers to either slow down or attempt to pass you and the more often cars pass each other, the greater the chances of there being a collision.

6. Failing To Read/Understand Road Signs

Road signs are there to give motorists information relating to the road or traffic conditions.  It is important not to ignore them as you could find yourself driving too fast into a curve or blasting through a stop sign.

7. Drifting Between Lanes

Failure to stay in your lane is a definite way of annoying other motorists or causing an accident.  In many instances drifting between lanes is due to driving distracted but can also be thanks to poorly marked roads or unskilled driving practises.  With the exception of changing lanes always aim to steer your vehicle within your chosen lane.

8. Driving An Unroadworthy Vehicle

Sadly, driving a less than mechanically sound vehicle is common practise on our roads which leads to avoidable road accidents.  Ranging from worn brakes, faulty indicators and tail lights, to cracked windscreens, dim headlights and damaged wiper blades, driving a vehicle which isn’t in tip-top condition puts you and other road users at risk.  When you think about it, the cost of changing certain car parts is far less than the cost of repairs to a car so it’s worth getting your vehicle regularly by a professional.

9. Poor Evasive Skills

Being attentive on the road is a highly underrated driving skill, but one which could save your life.  Should a toddler dash onto the road in front of you, or if a parcel falls off the truck in front you, you need to be ready to take evasive action.  Attentive driving includes being aware of your surroundings and knowing where the open spaces are that you can escape to.

10. Driving While Drowsy

Similar to driving under the influence, there is no excuse for driving while drowsy.  A safe drive includes being alert, attentive and in control of your vehicle, all of which you cannot do if driving while drowsy.  Make sure you get sufficient rest before getting behind the wheel as tiredness can be fatal.

Avoid Your Car Getting Repossessed With These Simple Tips

Repossessing a customer’s car is the very last step a finance house wants to take. The bank would far rather have the customer keep the vehicle than to have to take it away due to missed or non-payments.

In an economic downturn such as the one South Africa is currently facing, where household budgets are stretched to the limit, consumers really feel the financial pressure. Unsurprisingly, this type of pressure could lead to some unsound decisions such as missing a monthly repayment on a vehicle or loan agreement. Such a decision could have consequences that may result in the bank potentially repossessing your car.

“We understand the true value of a vehicle and how it can represent so much more than a mode of transport to so many people, it is a means to mobility and as such, having one’s car repossessed is a traumatic experience,” says Lebogang Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communication at WesBank.

Should you find yourself in a financially compromising situation, being honest and engaging in an open dialogue with your financial lender are by far the best policies. Consumers are encouraged to contact the bank as a matter of priority to explore the options available to restructure their payments as a starting point.

“Customers who can’t meet their vehicle repayment obligations due to financial challenges are encouraged to contact the bank as soon as possible to discuss potential alternative payment arrangements. Defaults on payments will always result in a consultation between the bank and the customer,” Gaoaketse explains.

“This will also negatively impact your credit status. Credit bureaus are notified if you cannot make a payment. If legal action has been taken against you, this will affect your credit score when applying for future credit.”

Here are some useful tips for consumers to avoid having their vehicle repossessed:

  1. Make payments on time

The best way to avoid having your vehicle repossessed is to make all of your payments on time. Set up automatic payments or reminders to ensure that you don’t miss any payments.

  • Communicate with your lender

If you’re having trouble making payments, it’s important to communicate with your lender. The aim is to find a solution that works for both you and the bank as the primary objective is to ensure that you maintain possession of your vehicle.

  • Prioritise your payments

If you’re struggling to make payments on all of your bills, it’s important to prioritise your payments. Pay your essential bills first, such as rent, utilities, and car repayments.

  • Refinance your loan

Refinancing your loan may be another option to investigate, depending on your situation. This could help lower your monthly payments or get a lower interest rate.

  • Sell or ‘downgrade’ your vehicle

If you’re unable to make payments and have explored all the financial options open to you, you could consider selling or downsizing your vehicle. This will avoid having the vehicle repossessed and enable you to pay off the outstanding loan amount.

“It is important for customers to understand that creditors will only repossess a vehicle as a last resort if no other payment arrangement can be made. We always investigate and discuss all options available to our customers so they can make the repayments. It really is in everyone’s favour, at the end of the day, to keep the car in the customer’s garage, rather than on our auction floor,” concludes Gaoaketse.

BMW Group Reveals the First Alloy Wheels Made From 100% Recycled Aluminium

The BMW Group is again leading the way in terms of the circular economy with the introduction of the first ever alloy wheels produced entirely from recycled aluminium.

The BMW Group is again leading the way in terms of the circular economy. The new MINI Cooper SE Convertible will be the first series model to be produced with alloy wheels that are made entirely from recycled aluminium.

The light alloy wheels of the fully electric open-top four-seater are a prime example of sustainable resource use, and they represent an important milestone on the road to circular economy for the BMW Group.

The first use of 100 percent secondary aluminium for light-alloy wheels on a series-production vehicle is in cooperation with the wheel manufacturer Ronal. The consistent use of recycled aluminium not only conserves raw material sources, but also eliminates the particularly energy-intensive electrolysis process that is normally necessary to produce light alloys.

With the use of secondary materials that have a carbon footprint of less than 0.16 kg of carbon per kilogram of aluminium, the wheel supplier has been able to reduce carbon emissions at its production facility by up to 75 percent compared to conventionally produced wheels. In concrete terms, this means carbon emissions falling from around 130 kg to around 30 kilograms.

The MINI Cooper SE Convertible is not yet available in South Africa, however the MINI Cooper SE is, at a starting price of R742,102.

The locally available MINI Cooper SE delivers 184 PS (135 kW) and has a top speed of 150km/hr.

10 Ways To Increase Your Electric Vehicle’s Range

As uneasy as it may be to drive a fuel powered vehicle nearing empty, it is even more worrisome to drive with one eye on the state-of-charge gauge of an electric vehicle; hoping to reach the nearest charging station.

Though some of the latest electric vehicles (EVs), can run for more than 400kms on a single charge, range anxiety remains a common consideration for many owners of electric vehicles. 

Thankfully, it is possible to drive further on one charge and add a few more kilometres to your drive with these easy and realistic adjustments to your driving pattern.

  1. Drive Smoothly

Simply put, ‘driving like you stole it’, drains your EV’s battery at an accelerated rate. As tempting as it is to leverage an EV’s instantaneous torque for quick take offs, it’s more prudent to take it easy when accelerating from a standing start.

2. Slow Down

Try to keep your speed at or under 60km/ph whenever possible. You’ll not only avoid getting a speeding ticket, but you’ll bolster your battery range in the process. Engage the “Eco” mode of your EV for gentler acceleration and general driving. Of course, if you EV has “Sport” mode, you’ll have to keep that switched off until you have recharged and are ready for a more lively drive.

3. Maximize Regenerative Braking

Whenever possible, leverage your EV’s energy-recovering regenerative braking function as you come to a stop, and use the brakes only when necessary. Enable your car’s maximum regenerative setting to send extra power back to the vehicle’s batteries while decelerating.

4. Go Easy On The Heat

Running an EV’s heater, especially at full blast, puts a big drain on battery power. In cooler temperatures, dial down the climate control and rather rely on the heated seats and heated steering wheel (if your vehicle is equipped with these creature comforts) to keep things cozy.

5. Be Cool With The AC

Likewise, operating the air conditioning consumes battery power at a quick rate. Try running only the fan, and not the compressor whenever possible; driving with the windows open is an obvious alternative. Unfortunately, the latter will take a toll on your vehicle’s aerodynamics at higher speeds and, in turn, reduce its operating range slightly. That’s because the more aerodynamic “drag” that’s placed on a vehicle, the more energy it takes to run it, especially at higher speeds. Still, operating the AC at full chill will drain the battery far quicker than will driving with the windows down. Again, pre-cool the car in summer months while it’s charging to help reduce the need to run the AC once you hit the road.

6. Tend To The Tyres

Sources suggest that over 25% of all vehicles on the road have improperly inflated tires. As with a conventional vehicle, driving an EV with under-inflated tyres will not only increase its energy consumption, but can lead to uneven and/or premature tread wear. Check the air pressure frequently using a simple tyre gauge, as it can vary by an average of one PSI (pound per square inch) with every 10-degree (Celsius) change in air temperature. Have the tyres properly inflated according to the PSI recommended by the automaker. This information is usually noted on a sticker that’s affixed to the driver’s side door frame or within the fuel cap.

7. Travel Light

As any automotive engineer will tell you, reducing a vehicle’s weight is the easiest way to boost its efficiency. To that end, get the junk out of the trunk, as carrying an additional 45kg of luggage can increase a vehicle’s energy consumption by 1-2% percent.

8. Keep It Slick

Avoid installing exterior accessories like roof racks and cargo carriers on your EV. Again, the aforementioned aerodynamic drag such items create will cause added energy consumption at higher speeds.

9. Plan A More-Efficient Route

It may take less time to get to a given destination by driving on the highway, but you can help maximize your car’s operating range by opting to choose a route that allows you to drive steadily at lower speeds. Avoid high traffic areas, steep gradients and hilly or mountainous areas whenever possible. If your EV has a navigation system that can suggest energy-efficient routes, be sure to use it.

10. Time Your Charge

You may not want to keep your car plugged into its charger whenever it’s in the garage. That’s because most EV batteries will slowly self-discharge when they’ve finished charging. You may be able to recover a few extra miles of range by timing the charge so the battery pack is at full strength just before you hit the road. This can also be advantageous to the battery’s long-term health.

You Might Not Think You Need Car Insurance Until Its Too Late

Let’s be honest; no one gets excited about insurance and having to pay for it.  It is a necessary ‘evil’ which all motorists should have because like it or not, the day will come when its desperately needed.

When you consider the state of our roads and the reckless behaviour of most drivers in South Africa, coupled with the high occurrences of car hijackings, vehicle theft and frequency of road accidents, vehicle insurance is something all motorists should invest in.

In the event something happens to your vehicle, it is comforting to know that you have insurance to fall back on. Comprehensive car insurance is the most recommended option to protect both you and your vehicle, and is usually mandatory if you have a vehicle finance agreement in place. However, if your household budget does not allow for comprehensive cover, then the minimum insurance you should take out on your car is third-party insurance that includes fire and theft. Bear in mind though, that third-party vehicle insurance only covers the damage that your vehicle causes to other people’s vehicles or property.

According to the AA (Automobile Association of South Africa), between 65 and 70% of the estimated 12 million vehicles on South African roads are uninsured, and this percentage is growing annually. If you are involved in a crash, you only have a three in ten chance of the other driver being insured and able to cover any damages. If the accident is your fault, it is even more important to be covered comprehensively.

“It’s for this reason, among others, that, if you are considering cancelling your car insurance to cut back on expenses, to rethink this. If something were to happen to your car, knowing you are covered is one less thing to worry about,” says Kutlwano Mogatusi, WesBank Motors communications specialist.

Car insurance is a way of protecting your car – and yourself – against the harm and the costs if your vehicle is involved in an incident such as an accident or theft. By paying a monthly insurance premium, your personal return on investment is knowing that your vehicle is covered by your insurer. If your vehicle is comprehensively insured with a reputable insurer, you will be covered for a vehicle accident, a natural disaster, fire, or theft. If the unfortunate incident is your fault and damage is caused to another vehicle, driver or passengers, or a pedestrian, your insurance would cover you for that too. Having car insurance is similar to having a safety net should something go wrong.

“Knowing why you need car insurance is one thing, but making sure you choose the policy that will best safeguard your vehicle, is another. The right policy ensures that your vehicle is safe from natural disasters, the threat of theft or fire, third party cover, damages, or even a total write-off of the car resulting from an accident,” explains Mogatusi.

“The best car insurance policies include vehicle repairs and replacements, reimbursement for damages to the other party or parties from an accident you cause, car hire while your car is being repaired and even roadside assistance. When you report a claim to your insurance company, a representative will manage the claims process and assist you with any questions you may have. Shopping around for a policy that suits both your needs and your pocket is advisable. Be sure to read, and understand, the terms and conditions within the fine print too – you don’t want any nasty surprises if you need to make a claim.”

Understanding the factors that can affect the amount you pay on your monthly premium will also help you make an informed decision on which insurance policy to invest in. This starts with the type of vehicle you drive – a luxury car will attract a higher insurance premium, while an older vehicle or a second-hand car with a lower market value will cost less to insure. Even the colour of the vehicle can impact the insurance cost, with white or lighter-coloured cars attracting a lower premium, as will other factors such as your age, where you live and work, and the length of time you have been a licensed driver.

If you are a recent graduate or young professional, and have been driving for less than five years, you are considered to be an inexperienced driver to the insurance company, no matter how competent a driver you may be. The insurer considers an inexperienced driver to pose a greater risk, which will affect your monthly premium amount. How you manage your personal finances, and your credit history will also be considered as the insurance provider needs to ascertain your risk profile when determining your premiums.

While the monthly premiums for insurance may seem like a grudge payment, it is important to consider the alternative: if you are involved in an incident and have no insurance cover, you will have to pay for the damages to your car and the other vehicle from your own pocket, if it is your fault.

“There are many insurance deals for vehicles on the market, so shop around. Also consider the extra benefits on offer such as roadside assistance, discounts for good driving or lowering your premiums annually as your vehicle depreciates in value. Look for the best deal to suit your pocket,” concludes Mogatusi.

naamsa Responds To The National Budget Speech

The auto industry welcomes the balanced pronouncements made by the Minister of Finance, but has expressed concern over the lack of support for New Energy Vehicles.

The Automotive Business Council has welcomed Minister Enoch Godongwana’s highly anticipated budget speech which addressed several important national topics affecting the country today.

As a responsible corporate citizen, the auto sector understands and welcomes the focus given to the energy crisis, tax cuts for households and businesses, increases in various social services, including health, education, and social grants, and the R903 billion earmarked for infrastructure spending.

Minister of Finance, Mr Enoch Godongwana

As it relates to the automotive industry, naamsa welcomed the announcement of a 25% tax rebate, up to R15,000.00 for residential solar installations and the rebate guarantee scheme for businesses that have been hit hard by ongoing power outages and rising energy costs. This relief bodes well for the energy needs of many local auto specific businesses who are impacted negatively by the systemic energy supply challenges.

However, while the Minister was progressive in his announcements generally, the automotive industry was particularly disappointed that no solid commitment was made on the support programme for the manufacturing of NEVs and NEV components in the country.

The Minister did not provide any policy guarantees for the South African automotive industry’s inevitable transition to New Energy Vehicles notwithstanding South Africa’s commitments to transition and decarbonisation strategies covered by the $8,5 billion allocation. The industry further reiterated that the delays with the promulgation of the NEV White Paper continues to pose as one of its biggest risk towards investment and retention of jobs in many of our local production lines.

As outlined in the recently released naamsa Thought Leadership Paper, the country’s policy makers must demonstrate tangible and deliberate intent to create and stimulate a competitive environment for the NEV market through various government support schemes for NEV production in order for the South African automotive industry to remain globally relevant, competitive and strong.

7 Basic DIY Motorcycle Maintenance Tips

Motorcycle maintenance can be intimidating, especially for those of us who didn’t grow up tinkering with bike engines. 

The thought that you could do something wrong such as not tighten a screw sufficiently or forgetting where a particular bolt came from can be a huge deterrent to DIY maintenance.   Although we highly recommend having your motorcycle looked over by a professional, there are a few basic things you can do to ensure a safe ride

Use this motorcycle maintenance checklist to help keep yourself (and those around you) safe on the road.

Change the oil
Just as you need clean fuel, you also need to change the oil and replace the oil filter before you take your bike out for your first ride. Neglecting this step can affect the performance and longevity of your motorcycle.

Check the battery life
Some riders disconnect their motorcycle batteries and only recharge them every month or so; but once you reconnect the battery, you’re probably ready to roll. However, if it’s been sitting for a few months, you might have a dead battery. If it’s a fairly new battery, charging it is fine, but if it’s three or four years old, you may find it doesn’t keep a charge, or you might have a hard time charging it. In that case, you’re probably better off purchasing a new battery and playing it safe.

Check your tyres
Tyres are an important part of any vehicle, so they deserve your time and full attention. Check their air pressure to make sure it’s at a safe level for riding. You’ll also want to check the tread to determine if the depth offers you sufficient traction. If your air pressure and tread are all set, then your next step is to look for any cracks or bulges in the sidewall of the tyres before straddling your metal horse and revving down the road.

Inspect your chain
Your bike’s chain is one of its most critical components, but constant exposure to the elements can cause it to deteriorate or become loose. Check to ensure it’s still tight and well-lubricated. You may need to clean the chain and reapply lubricant.

Get plenty of fluids
Oil and gas aren’t the only fluids your motorcycle depends on. Brake fluid and coolant are important for motorbike maintenance, but they can sometimes leak if your bike is left standing for a long period of time. Double-check your levels and refill or top them up. Or, flush out the old fluids and replace them with fresh fluids.

Don’t forget your cables
Oil and grease in your cable housing can dry up over time and that can affect the performance of your clutch and throttle. Inspect your clutch, brakes, throttle, choke, and any other cables to ensure they’re still responsive and not frayed.

Make your bike shine
As a final step, make sure you give your motorcycle a thorough cleaning. Not only does it protect your paint and make your bike look fantastic, but cleaning your bike frequently keeps it in better working condition.

8 Frequently Asked Questions About Pregnancy Car Safety

Why is it important to wear a seat belt when I travel during pregnancy?

Although your fetus is protected inside your body, you should wear a lap and shoulder belt every time you travel while you are pregnant for the best protection, including in your final weeks of pregnancy. You and your fetus are much more likely to survive a car accident when you are buckled in.

How should I wear a seat belt while I am pregnant?

When wearing a seat belt, follow these rules:

  • Buckle the lap belt below your belly so that it fits snugly across your hips and pelvic bone.
  • Place the shoulder belt across your chest (between your breasts) and over the mid-portion of your collar bone (away from your neck).
  • Never place the shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back.
  • Pull any slack (looseness) out of the belt.
  • If you are in an accident, seek medical attention right away, even if you are not injured.

What should I know about air bags when I travel in a car?

Follow these tips if your car has air bags:

  • Keep 10 inches between the steering wheel and your breastbone.
  • If the car has an air bag “on/off” switch, check to be sure it is turned to “on.”
  • As your belly grows, you may not be able to keep as much space between you and the steering wheel. If the car has a tilt steering wheel, make sure it is angled toward your breastbone, not your belly or head.

If I am pregnant, when should I buy a car seat for my baby?

You cannot take your newborn home from the hospital without a car seat. Plan to have the car seat at least 3 weeks before your due date so you will have time to install it correctly and learn how to buckle the baby in safely.

Where should child car seats be installed in the car?

All car seats for children should be used in the back seat of the car—never in the front seat. Air bags in the front seat can cause serious injury to children. Until they reach age 13 years, children should always ride in the back seat.

What types of car seats are available for infants, toddlers, and school-aged children?j

  1. Rear-facing car seat—In a rear-facing car seat, the baby is turned to face the back windshield of the car. Infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight and height allowed by their car seat’s maker.
  2. Forward-facing car seat—A forward-facing car seat faces the front windshield of the car. Toddlers and preschoolers who have outgrown the height and weight limit of the rear-facing seat should use a forward-facing seat.
  3. Booster seat—A booster seat raises and positions your child so that the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts fit properly. Your child should use a booster seat until the car seat belts fit properly. This usually occurs when the child is between the ages of 8 years and 12 years and is at least 4 feet 9 inches in height.

What should I keep in mind when choosing a car seat?

  • Know whether your car has the LATCH system. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. Instead of seat belts, special anchors hold the seat in place. If your car and car seat do not have the LATCH system, you will need to use seat belts to install the car seat.
  • Try locking and unlocking the buckle while you are in the store. Try changing the lengths of the straps.
  • Read the labels to find out the seat’s height and weight limits.

What should I know if I am considering buying a used car seat?

  • Do not buy a used car seat if you know it has been in a car crash. Also, used car seats may be missing parts or instructions.
  • Avoid a used car seat that looks old or worn or is missing labels with the model number and maker’s name. Keep in mind that car seats have expiration dates.
  • You can check the expiration date for any car seat on the maker’s web site.

New or used? Guide to buying your next car

Buying a car, new or used, is a big commitment, but with proper planning it does not have to be a daunting one.

There is a vast selection of cars available from a large variety of sellers, making it difficult to find the one that’s right for you. The first thing to do is to ask yourself how much you are prepared to spend on a car and to be realistic about what you can afford.

New or used, that is the question

Which of these is the correct choice? There is no right or wrong answer, but understanding the pros and cons of each is vital for making the best decision for you.

Benefits of buying a new car

The upside of buying a new car is the certainty of knowing exactly what you are buying. No one else has ever owned it, and there’s a guarantee that it has no hidden secrets from previous owners.

You also get the advantage of a full manufacturer’s warranty and in most cases, a service or maintenance plan. These plans can vary from brand to brand in terms of length of validity periods and what’s covered, so do your research and compare what’s on offer from different manufacturers.

Benefits of buying a used car

Choosing a pre-owned car or an earlier year’s model might be more prudent for your purposes. Some used cars, including dealer demo models, are often in almost new condition and still benefit from lengthy aftersales warranties and service plans, with reasonably discounted sticker prices depending on mileage and age.

Most car brands also offer approved pre-owned programmes, meaning these cars come with some added benefits such as extended aftersales plans and guarantees. They also undergo thorough checks by certified workshop technicians in order to get the stamp of approval for ‘approved’ status.

While depreciation is an unavoidable reality of owning a car, used vehicles almost always suffer less depreciation from purchase price than a new one. In other words, the original owner, who bought the car new has already incurred a significant amount of depreciation simply by taking ownership. When buying a used model, you’re starting off from a lower initial outlay and the effects of depreciation are felt less in your wallet.

There are some excellent deals to be found in older model used vehicles, but it can also be a riskier purchase as vehicles’ histories get cloudier as they age. Try to identify cars with full service histories, and even better are those with full histories at official franchise dealers. Also, try to take a trusted mechanic with you to view an older car to make sure there are no major issues before taking delivery.

It’s also worth considering buying extended warranties, either from the manufacturer itself where applicable or from a third party.

Start with a budget

The most important part of the car-buying journey is compiling a list of all current expenses and income. It is important to shop around and compare car prices to find a sensible and affordable car that fits within your budget. Don’t forget to budget for fuel, insurance, tyres, service costs and more – and remember that these costs can change over time.

It is also advisable to build some leeway into your budget to accommodate for rising fuel prices, interest rate increases and unexpected costs associated with driving.

Choose a reputable dealer

If a deal seems too good to be true, it normally is. It might be tempting to buy a newer, fancier car advertised at a low price by a small independent dealer or private seller, but you must let common sense prevail. There is probably a reason why that car is priced the way it is, and you might run into issues with it down the road.

It’s safer to do business with reputable dealers who will go to great lengths to protect their reputation through quality products and customer service.