Protect yourself when buying a second-hand car

Protect yourself when buying a second-hand car
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It has been found that many cars that have been severely damaged in accidents often end up being repaired and returned to the road. To the untrained eye these cars may look perfectly acceptable but, hoist them up and take a closer look, and one may be shocked at the quality of the repairs and the severity of the previous damage incurred.

Roadworthy Not Enough?

When you buy a second-hand car, it comes with a roadworthy certificate, but this alone will not provide a confirmation of no material issues being present. A roadworthy certificate is a legal requirement to complete the registration for transfer of ownership when one acquires a used motor vehicle, or for any vehicles carrying passengers for reward like mini-busses/busses/heavy load vehicles.

A roadworthy test conducted by the vehicle examiner identifies visual defects with the electrical items, bodywork components, steering, suspension, and interior seatbelts and an overview of the undercarriage. It makes sure it is “roadworthy” but will NOT necessarily pick up if the vehicle has been in a previous collision.

SAMBRA has been lobbying hard with the South African Insurance Association (SAIA) to make information on previously written off cars deemed uneconomical to repair, available to customers. Until this information is available SAMBRA encourages all consumers who are looking to buy a previously owned vehicle to educate themselves, by following these steps and protect themselves while purchasing a second-hand vehicle.

Steps to Protecting Yourself

1. If you are at all concerned, is to insist that the car is taken to an accredited vehicle testing station i.e., any station that is a member of the Vehicle Testing Association (VTA), that will undertake a comprehensive multipoint check on the car. The multi-point inspection (MPI) covers a range of additional categories. It is conducted by a trained and qualified examiner of vehicles and will give you a far more comprehensive report on over 120 points of the vehicle. Alternatively, if the car is on sale at a NADA member franchise dealer, the dealers trained technicians will usually provide a detailed multipoint inspection record.

2. If you are worried about its service history, you can pop into any NADA dealer and request them to check the service history of the car if you give them the VIN number. Any RMI accredited MIWA service workshop will also be able to tell you if there are any mechanical faults.

3. Finally, if it’s a previous collision you are still worried about, an accredited SAMBRA body repairer will be the best option to give the vehicle a thorough once over. Remember that it is always worth doing the extra checks as all RMI accredited workshops comply with the strictest standards and criteria to protect consumers.

Find A SAMBRA-accredited Repairer

Refer to the full list of SAMBRA-accredited workshops here, for NADA (National Automobile Dealers’ Association), Vehicle Testing Association (VTA) and Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) members visit the RMI website for details here.

More articles like this can be found on the Consumer Education page, here such as Your second-hand car and why you want to know about its collision history and SAMBRA Forms Vehicle Salvage Database Task Team.