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Used Vehicles - Replacing the Old

Updated on May 29, 2015
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Nice People To Do Business With
Nice People To Do Business With
Nice People To Do Business With

A blondes view on Used Vehicles...Learning the difference

Ok, so I started this job as PA to the dealer principal at a used car dealership called Approved Auto. What I knew about cars was that they were simply four wheels with a body that would take you places. The rest so to speak was Greek to me up to a point. I have had several used vehicles over time and each one had its little problems that would give you a bit of grey hairs. End of the day a person learns with each vehicle. The sounds, the creaks, the squeaks and the overall grunts of the engine becomes part of us in a way. Think about it when you driving you just know something is wrong. Its like this feeling you get that somewhere something is not what it should be and when you tell others that you get this strange look as if you have no idea what you talking about. But time teaches us all. We learn as we drive.

But there is a huge big difference in driving a vehicle and selling one. I have never sold a vehicle in my life and yet here I am working in the car sales industry. Well I am learning and its amazing what you can learn if only you give it half a chance. For instance did you know how they tell the difference between a short wheel base and a long wheel case on a bakkie?

What's a base you ask? Well its the bin on the bakkie and you tell the difference by counting the ties on the side. Five or more and you have a long wheel base (LWB) vehicle. Less then five and you have a short wheel bin (SWB) vehicle. (See the photos).

Together we will learn a little at a time about vehicles and what to look for when you buying a used vehicle. Remember though that used vehicles have there problems.

This is a Short Wheel Base Bin as shown in the picture. 4 or less show SWB..
This is a Short Wheel Base Bin as shown in the picture. 4 or less show SWB..
This is a Long Wheel Base Bin as shown in the picture. 5 or more show LWB.
This is a Long Wheel Base Bin as shown in the picture. 5 or more show LWB.

Approved Auto

Used Vehicles

Used vehicles are just that, USED! They are not new vehicles so Don't Expect the vehicle to be brand spanking new with low mileage and not problems. My dad always use to say when you buying a used item you are buying some one else problems and in a sense that is true. Used vehicles are older and have been on the road. The may need a little TLC at times, but they still have lots of spunk in them so don't turn your back on them just yet.

Working for a used car dealership in Umgeni Business Park Durban called Approved Auto I have learnt a great deal about used vehicles and the people who buy them. Don't get me wrong most customers come in choose a vehicle, pay and they are gone. There are however a select few that will be very demanding about what they want the vehicle to be. Problem is that a used vehicle can never be new again.

Don't get me wrong, I know the feeling when you spending your hard earn money on something that will have a huge impact on your life you want quality and value for your money. With South Africa's new CPA dealerships are often hard press to deliver, but in the end is it worth it for them to be in business? Think about it, the vehicle is advertised as used and sold as used, yet we as buyers demand a problem free vehicle. In the end the over heads on small businesses become so high that its just nor worth being in business so doors close and more people lose their jobs.

However if you go in knowing you are buying a used vehicle and that at some point there may be a few problems then you have a better understanding of the word used. I know there are some dealerships that are shady when dealing with used vehicles and while you thinking you are buying a dream you end up with a real lemon, but not all dealerships are like that. You simply have to pick the rights one.

When dealing with any dealership always remember that they do have an ethical obligation to inform you of any problems with the vehicle before you purchase it. This is a way for them to protect themselves as well in case you return later saying they never told you about this or that. Sometimes you are lucky to get a vehicle in mint condition with low mileage at the perfect price that truly is what it is, however those are in very short supply. Vehicles today are transport and with public transport not always at hand when needed people do tend to use there vehicles allot. This means high mileages, but if the vehicle is well cared for and looked after then there won't be many problems with it. Just age does play its toll so remember the old vehicle may have the spirit of a new born, but the heart of an old timer. Drive with care and take care of you vehicle!

Used Bakkies
Used Bakkies

Cab Styles!

Bakkies are however an everyday vehicle that one finds on all the road. Being useful in business and personal pleasures a single cab or double cab bakkie can be fun. But what about a Extended Cab? or a Super Cab? or a King Cab? More confusing words for the average blonde out there that don't know the back wheel from the front wheel. Well simply put there are not much difference between them. It just means that with one you have an extra small space with a door and with the other you have a small space behind the seats without a door. A big deal if you need some space for one extra or if you carry items you feel safer having in the vehicle with you rather then in the back.

I don't think I need to explain the difference between a Single Cab or a Double Cab as those are very clear. Single Cab is 2 door and a Double Cab has 4 doors. Easy to understand.

King Cab
King Cab
Extended Cab
Extended Cab
Super Cab
Super Cab

A View things to Remember

Now that you have learnt some of the differences in the vehicles let talk about what to look for when you purchasing a used vehicle. These are a few facts you never think of when you purchase a vehicle as most people just trust the salesman. A salesman is there to sell a vehicle and he is trained to be honest and upfront with you, but some may hide a few small facts to get that sale.

It is only honorable to disclose to a customer whether the vehicle in question has been in an accident. Its your right to know what repairs were done to the vehicle and what extend the damage was to the vehicle if it had been in an accident. The problem here is that at times the dealership buys the vehicle into stock from an owner who is not upfront with them. Some people don't tell dealerships that the vehicle had been in an accident or that there has been serious changes done to the vehicle.

Believe me I have learnt this as a fact. We had the best looking bakkie ever in near mint condition with low mileage brought in here that most would just say here is the money I want it. We very nearly did purchase the vehicle, but a little closer inspection of the vehicle and a few choice questions made us very suspicious. We asked the owner if the vehicle had been resprayed at any given time and was told no, but checking the bumper, the mud flaps, the space between the light and the bonnet and the inside of the door it was very clear that the vehicle had been resprayed. The owner finally admitted that he had resprayed the vehicle due to scratch marks. He would not have told us if we had not checked and seen the very fine over spry on the vehicle itself.

Being a dealership we have access to this amazing system call NATIS, its linked to the Department of Transport and nearly every insurance company out there. Dealerships are able to pull up reports on the vehicles showing it as stolen, under finance, been in an accident and so much more. This information helps them determine whether this vehicle is a good deal or not.

So next time you go to a dealership you can ask them to show you the Natis report if they have one. Most dealerships do one when the vehicle comes in and keeps it on file.

Also always check the vehicle properly. My dad ones saw a dream of a Golf that he wanted to buy for me at a very good price from a private owner through Gumtree. From the outside it looked perfect, but looking under the vehicle, tapping the sides and looking inside the bonnet showed the vehicle had been rebuild with mainly body putty. Not such a good buy at all.

Now that is a lesson I have learned. Its easy to check a vehicle. You can tap the sides and if the body has places that sound different then the rest chances are its been to a panel beater. You can also check inside the engine as when vehicles are resprayed they don't always clean off the small bits of over spray on the inside of the engine cap or the grill in the front. Always check under the vehicle for any signs of repairs. Another spot to check for respray is the inside of the doors. Allot of panel beaters tend to leave small bubbles on the inside of the doors. You can also see if the door is flush with the rest of the body or slightly standing out. A damaged door is never 100% the same again!

Body damage. This is clear to see as you will notice scratch marks and dents on the vehicle if you walk around it at a slow pace and look at it from all sides. Remember a used vehicle is likely to have scratch marks and even a few small dents. Nothing to bitch about and the scratch marks should be easy to remove with a little buffing. I have yet to see a used vehicle without a small dent in the side. Trolleys at shopping centers tend to leave their mark.

Basically used vehicles are just that used! So don't give the dealerships to much hassles when you purchase a used vehicle. You are after all purchasing something that was used by people not under their control. They have no idea what the previous owner did to the vehicle so you can't blame them for the faults. I would say if purchasing a used vehicle expect to spend a little money on fixing it up, in the end its worth it as you will have the vehicle of your dreams at a much lower price. Spending a little to make it perfect in your mind will be worth it.

So yes GO USED with an open mind!

© 2015 Linda Strydom

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