9 things to consider when buying a second hand car

Source the Ghana Report

With Ghana’s economy in a crunch these days, buying a brand-new car doesn’t seem all that viable for most people.

Instead, many are turning to the used car market where a better bargain could be potentially struck.

Considering the process of buying a used car isn’t the same as for a brand-new one. Unlike the latter, you cannot just blindly purchase a used car and expect it not to give you headaches later on the road. Getting a good deal on the used car market requires doing lots of homework on your part.

The Ghana Report takes a look at the 9 key factors to consider when buying a used car.


1. Budget

With the country battling economic difficulties, buyers will be looking to make a maximum gain out of the money used in purchasing used cars. Buyer’s remorse is a very real thing when it comes to purchasing used cars. Our brain likes to be lazy and when faced with so many choices, tend to shut down on logic and instead become biased toward what seems to appeal to emotion. The result? A regretful overspending sometimes.

Before you set out to look for a vehicle to buy, set a budget, and adhere strictly to it. That way, you will avoid overspending and actually be able to make a much more rational decision in regard to your car purchase.


2. Ownership and Car Title

Unless the car is on a loan or lien, the seller of the car should be able to provide you with a car title if you purchase it outright. And, specifically in the case of an individual seller, it is important that you check whether they are true owners of the vehicle or not. Ask for an ID and see if it matches the name on the title or not.


3. Vehicle History

Sure, a certain car may look spotless, shiny, and almost brand-new but hidden under its hood might be a whole host of different problems. Never purchase a car based on a visual inspection alone but rather also take a critical look at its history.

Fortunately, this is very easy to do nowadays. Websites like CARFAX, vehiclehistory.gov, Ghana Automobile Market analysis, Top car automobile companies in Ghana+rentals, AutoCheck.com, www.jstor.org, and even the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority in Ghana can provide you with a detailed report of a certain car’s history, including its past number of owners, service records, and any prior damage it had sustained.


4. Lifestyle

Another aspect to consider, whether it is buying a used car or a brand-new one, is whether it can complement your lifestyle. Sure, a Ford Mustang GT is a super nice car, but it would be highly impractical as a family vehicle.

Similarly, a used Audi sedan might give off an aura of great prestige but think about the high maintenance – do you really think you would be fine with that expense? Critically assess what your needs are and stick to car types that best fit the bill.


5. Financing

Most Ghanaians pay for their car through ready cash financing, but there are many options available to you when it comes to it – you can acquire it through your bank, through a private lending agency, or through the car dealership itself.

Different financing options have different requirements. Some may just ask you to pay in full, others to make a small down payment and fill out a form while in other places you will be required to go through extensive paperwork. It is important that you do your research regarding financing before you go out looking for a car to purchase. This will save you from a lot of headaches later on.


6. Insurance

In Ghana, proof of insurance is not often required before you can close the deal on a used car. It’s not recommended that you take the lazy route and only start looking for insurance once you have reached this stage.

Short on time, in haste, you could end up with an expensive insurance premium that otherwise could have been avoided if you had more time to do your research and weigh your options properly. Looking for your insurance options should commence as soon as you are deeply involved in the car purchase.

Approach different insurance agencies and ask for quotes for the options you have selected. Compare the expected costs for each selected vehicle from different insurance agencies. Utilize that information to further narrow down the choices on what car might be the best for you.

7. Reputation

If you are not well-experienced when it comes to buying a used car, it is best that you play it safe and goes only with those car dealerships possessing a good reputation. You can look at user reviews and car rating websites to assess a car’s reputation. Some of the great online resources for the purpose in Ghana are Toyota Ghana Limited, Silver Star Auto Ltd., Accra Mitsubishi Motors Ghana, First Light Motors, Toyota Ghana Company Limited, Auto Plaza Ghana, and Erata Motors.

In addition, it is better to opt for reputable dealerships rather than private call sellers. Unlike the latter, the good dealership would want more than a car of theirs being sold off. It may be important to them for you to have a satisfactory experience so that you can leave a positive review about them or recommend them to others in your circle afterward.


8. Pre-Purchase Inspection

A pre-purchase inspection involves a trained technician critically examining the car, inside and out, to assess its condition before purchase. This is a very important step that you shouldn’t neglect. Aside from saving you from potentially a bad deal, it could also help you make a good deal even better.

If the technician finds an issue with the car that the dealership or individual seller didn’t communicate to you themselves, you can utilize the information as your bargaining chip to negotiate a lower price. A pre-purchase inspection isn’t expensive and wouldn’t take more than an hour or two of your time.

9. Warranty

You should always try to make yourself better aware of exactly what you are getting yourself into when making an expensive purchase. When it comes to car warranties, take the time to get one or read through carefully, and specifically check for the warranty labels. Check to see if the car is still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty or if it is no longer covered, whether it could be extended.

In some cases, a car may be covered by a third-party warranty instead in which case it is important to look at what is being covered and what isn’t. Some used cars are sold without warranty as an “as-in” which means that the seller takes no responsibility for any damage once the car’s ownership has changed hands.

All in all, it is better to purchase a pre-owned car with a warranty than one without. The little extra money that you pay initially can potentially save you from much bigger expenses later on.


To Conclude

Compared to a brand-new car, purchasing a used one carries with it a bit more hassle. But the process is also much more exciting and, if you follow the advice listed above correctly, the potential value for money that a used car can bring cannot be matched by a newer one.

It is estimated that a car’s value depreciates by almost 50% from the third year of purchase. The calculation for the first year is about 20%. That means if you buy a used car that was launched a year ago, you can save up to 20% on its original cost. Considering most people drive their cars less in the first year, if they are willing to sell them, you can surely grab the deal.

Mostly, the insurance premium for a new car is comparatively higher than for an old car. If you search for a good vehicle in the used car market, the previous owner has already paid hefty premiums when the car was new. Now you can easily pay lesser premiums because the car’s IDV (Insured Declared Value) is lesser than what it was before.

If you are buying straight from an individual, the manufacturer is not responsible for that. Provided the car comes with an already existing warranty straight from the manufacturer, you can get it transferred but you won’t get any warranty/guarantee if you buy from an individual. However, as mentioned above, the used car dealerships provide you with a warranty on used cars too.

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