Things you may want to consider before purchasing a used and high-end vehicle
You may have realised how accessible luxury vehicles are once they hit the used car market, and the prospect of owning something used with a premium badge for the price of a new mid-range vehicle is just overwhelmingly enticing. The numbers add up on paper, everything says you’re good for it financially, but before you’ll the trigger on that German-bred SUV or sedan, consider these few things.
This is a big one and it’s where a lot of people run into trouble very quickly. You crunch the numbers and realise that you can afford the monthly instalment of the vehicle you want, but you overlook insurance, a tracking device and other add-ons such as an aftermarket warranty or maintenance plan in the case of a used car. When you add these things up your total monthly repayments jump to a different bracket. You thought you’d be paying R8000pm and you end up paying closer to R10 000. And this is before you add fuel costs.
Maintenance & running costs
One thing that new and used car buyers have in common is the cost of fuel and tyres. Before purchasing that vehicle, it's important to have an estimate of what your monthly fuel (running) costs may be because this will add to your monthly expenses towards the car. Maintenance costs are something else you have to factor in. If the vehicle in question is out of maintenance plan, you'll have to foot the bill, and it can add up to tens of thousands very quickly.
Tyres. Most high-end vehicles are fitted with larger tyres to give them that road presence and better handling, and this is another area where people get caught out. When it’s time to replace the rubber you often don’t have a choice, it is a grudge purchase but it has to be done for your safety and as a legal requirement. Replacing all four tyres on your new BMW X5 at R5000 a pop is not child’s play. Considering the state of our roads, you may find yourself having to replace a tyre unexpectedly, thanks to the many potholes lurking around every corner. Replacing your tyres is an inevitable expense that you always have to keep at the back of your mind and possibly start putting money aside for in advance.
Now the maintenance cost for a vehicle at the opposite end of the spectrum, such as a VW Polo, will be far less. Considering that the average cost for a tyre for this type of vehicle would be around R1500, you’re likely to spend less on fuel too.
If money weren't a factor and you could afford a Mercedes-Benz S-Class would you buy a used one? Probably not. This is one of the reasons why some of these premium vehicles go for less than the expected price. The people who can afford them will almost always buy new and spec the vehicle to their preferred taste. With low demand for these vehicles in the used car market, it brings their price down. What this means for you is that you may pick up that premium set of wheels for a decent price, but remember, when it’s time to let it go the same rules apply.
Our aim here was to give you the full picture when considering a high-end used vehicle - and as you may have gathered there’s a lot to consider. It goes beyond what you can afford to pay in monthly repayments.
Words: Gugu Masuku