Some tips for buying your first car as a student or intern fresh out of varsity in South Africa

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student tips for getting a cheap car in south africa

Not all students can afford to buy cars while still studying and not all interns can afford to buy cars especially if they live in the city earning meager trainee salaries, but for those with parents who are willing to buy them starter cars, or if you have a little cash left over after paying your rent, buying groceries and paying your clothing store credit cards this post is for you, to give you some things to think about while searching for the perfect starter car.


Things to look for in a perfect starter car

1. It must be cheap and have an affordable installment
2. It must be fuel efficient so that your petrol tank lasts you
3. it must be reliable and not break down a lot which would add extra costs
4. even though it must be cheap it must also be good looking, most people do not want to sacrifice aesthetics of the vehicle for function

Why you should buy a second hand car instead of a brand new car

If you don’t have a lot of money lying around, I would suggest that you buy a second hand car. Firstly because it’s a lot more affordable so that will save you some money. Secondly if you already have a specific model in mind, if you do your research properly you can find a demo version with low mileage, or the same model from a previous year with low mileage  and it will be up to R60 000 rand cheaper or more depending on the seller.

When you buy a car second hand, you will be able to afford a car with better specifications, whereas if you bought that car brand new you would have been able to afford only the entry level model. For example let’s say your budget is a maximum of around R200 000 and you want a brand new ford fiesta, with that money you would only be able to afford the fiesta with the old school 1.4l engine, no fog lights and cruise control and no electric passenger windows (you would get manual windows in the back seats), but if you searched in the used car market on for example for less than R200 000 you would be able to afford the top of the range current model ford fiesta ST and put about R20 000 in your pocket.

If you buy some cars second hand they still have service plans and warranties in case they break down so you do not have to worry about reliability.

Another advantage of the second hand market is that it gives people who would not normally afford luxury vehicle brands the chance to drive fancy cars, for example buying a BMW 1 series would usually cost over R400 000 but in the second hand market you can get it for around R180 000, yes that is the pre-facelift model but its 95% the same. You can also find an Audi A1 for around R150 000, mini coopers and the sexy Alfa Romeo Giulietta all for under R200 000. And those cars come with sweet powerful but fuel efficient engines that are better than what you will find in the market for cars costing around R200 000 brand new.

Also finally when you are a student no one cares whether your car is brand new or not, people will be impressed by the very fact that you have a car and are their new driver. I have some friends from wealthy families and most of them bought nice second hand cars, those who buy brand new cars do not drive expensive cars over R200 000, they drive polo vivo’s.

Warning!! If you risk searching for used cars on sites like gumtree, do not pay people deposits for a car you have not seen with your own eyes without the proper documentation. There are a lot of scam artists out there who will use your excitement to get a new car and naivety against you (this happened to a person I know).

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