A few days ago we welcomed Sabelo Nxele to our contributor’s list (you can read that article here). Nxele is known as The Car Guy on Twitter and has gained an audience for his no-nonsense, forthright advice when it comes to car shopping in SA. In his first submission Buying A Car: Where to Start he tells us how to begin this daunting proposition.

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Daunting task

Buying a car is supposed to be an exciting exercise but in most cases it is shadowed by feelings of anxiety. Wondering whether you’re making the right decision, where to buy, what to buy and from whom? Whether to buy new or used, do you have enough spend to cover all the costs, what about insurance and warranties?

Two months ago, I was car hunting for my wife. Even with my experience in the industry, the thought of it all sent a little shiver down my spine. Now this shouldn’t take the wind out of your sails or take away the fun and enjoyment of car shopping. One needs to treat car shopping a little bit like holidaying: a fun time.

Starting point

Where does one start? The clue lies within us: what do we do when we take a vacation/getaway. Before we can even choose a destination or accommodation we look at budget versus wants/needs. How far will my budget carry me, how many nights, what activities can one do, what about the food, is it self service or not? 

Similarly, we ought to ask ourselves honest questions about our needs when it comes to car buying. Earlier on I mentioned I was car shopping for my lovely wife. We had a set budget that could be slightly flexible if the need arose. However, she wasn’t compromising on the transmission; it had to be automatic. We need room for our newborn, so safety and baby accessories had to be considered. That was the assignment and I needed to stick to it. 

Problem solving

In mathematics you’re always given a problem, one aspect of an equation is known to help solve the unknown, in this case we don’t know what car it would be. However, the known factors were outlined: our requirements were safety, space, automatic, car seat (isofix), etc.

Once you know what you want it gets easier to find something resembling your needs. In my next installment I will outline where to find what we are looking for, brand reliability, market research and how to identify where you’ll be making your next buy…