Buying a car is no easy task, especially if its a second-hand vehicle. Fortunately, one thing you don’t have to worry about is getting finance to purchase it. Used car finance in South Africa has become a very big business for the providers who facilitate the loans, and there’s no shortage of people needing those loans to help secure their favoured car.

Many used car dealers make a huge chunk of their revenue by helping you apply for the loan you need for a second-hand car; thereby extending finance from the banks to buyers. Used car finance in South Africa is dominated by four big players, namely, Absa Vehicle Finance, WesBank Vehicle Finance South Africa, and MCF (the Motor Finance Corporation which was purchased by Nedbank to better their offering). You’ll also notice that these are the same big retail banks we’re so familiar with.

Purchasing a second-hand car requires great vigilance. We trust the big shops when we go buy something off the box, but can get very sceptical when those same products come unpackaged. Thus, we ask many questions, and that is the most important thing you should do. Ask! In the case of used cars, and the financing thereof, it’s best to know how well (or not) the car has been maintained by its previous owners and current seller. This requires inspection of the vehicle itself, and its Service History book. Not only will this help you see if there are any technical issues with the car, it also gives you an idea of what it’s really worth. This way, you can judge fairly if you should really be taking up a car finance loan for this.

Luckily, if you go to a reputable dealer, you’re almost guaranteed that it’s a good quality four-wheeler sitting in the showroom, waiting to get a new owner.

Don’t buy a lemon! That’s what you should consider when you visit the showroom. That’s also what you should consider when you’re negotiating used car finance. You don’t want to be stuck with repayments that you cannot afford. You don’t want to have sleepless nights with the bank knocking at every chance they get. The major finance providers are quite reasonable in fact, as long as you communicate with them your difficulties. It’s not uncommon to re-negotiate your repayment amount or your repayment term so that you meet your obligations. So don’t stress. However, the better prepared you are for both the car purchase and the loan applications, and commitments thereafter, the more peace of mind you’ll have to focus on what’s really important – enjoying driving your car.