Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Things you should understand before buying a car


Beyond how cool a vehicle looks, auto experts say there are many other things to consider before getting a new car, SIMON EJEMBI writes.

Just like mobile phones, many people buy cars with functionalities they know nothing about. Similarly, many people go for cars just because someone else has the same type of car. According to auto experts, many people end up purchasing vehicles that are not suited to them, their environment and their lifestyle because they failed to ask the right questions and to understand certain basic things about cars.
“You don’t buy a car or vehicle just because you saw somebody buying it,” says the Managing Consultant, Newsletters Limited, Lagos, Dr. Oscar Odiboh.
According to him, it is imperative for people who want to buy cars to understand the:

Utility value
“You need to know the purpose that the car will serve for you,” he says. He explains that the first thing to understand in buying a car is the utility importance it has for you. He stresses that it is important to know the extra values that are in it and how to use them. It is not wise for you to say ‘Oh! I love that man’s Bentley’ and then you look for money and buy a Bentley.

 Maintenance demands
Is the vehicle you want to buy one you can maintain? According to Odiboh, it is easier to own a car that to maintain. He explains that before buying a car, you need to understand that it has got to be car that you are sure you can maintain.
He says, “You don’t pour all your money into buying a car and you do not consider the factor of maintenance. Various cars come with various degrees of maintenance demands. For some the cost of maintenance is very high and the price of the car is very low. For some the cost of maintenance is very high and the price of the car is very high.”

Affordability
What kind of car can you afford to buy; brand new or a used vehicle? In buying a car, you must consider the price and whether you can afford it.
Brand new cars and used cars have their advantages and disadvantage. Odiboh says brand new cars are more expensive than used cars. But even though used cars are more affordable, he warns that they do not last long and sometimes people do not know the history of the cars they are driving.
He explains, “Some used cars have been involved in terrible accidents; they bring them to this part of the world, put them together, paint them and they look very good on the outside. You won’t know what is wrong with the engine of the car, but after you drive them for maybe two to three months, you will be looking forward to befriending a mechanic.”

Reputation of the car dealership
How reputable is the car dealership you want to patronise? Many people fail to bother about this. To them, as long as they car is in ‘good condition’, affordable, and the documents are okay, they are fine doing business there.
Odiboh, however, warns that there are so many one-shot automobile companies run by people who and ‘gather cars from left, right and centre and with names like Paradise Cars or Heavenly Autos.’ But when you enter there, you will know that it is not really a paradise.
He stresses that it is important to buy cars from reputable companies.
“You’ve got to know that the company is not only there, it has been there and will be there,” he says.
According to him, by patronising reputable companies, you will be in a better position to avoid dealerships that sell grey imports. Grey imports, he explains, are brands of cars that are not meant for these shores; they are not meant for other parts of the world.

Nature of warranty being offered
Another thing you need to understand before buying a car is whether there is a warranty cover for the vehicle and the nature of the warranty.
Odiboh advises that you should be very conscious of the car company that can give you warranty for sure; not one that will tell you stories later.
He recalls, “I once had a car and I had problems with certain parts of it and I knew that those parts had warranty cover. And I went to them (the company) but they said, ‘no, no, no’. I said, ‘what are you talking about?’ I showed them the warranty and they said ‘Okay, okay’. Yet, they tried to give excuses but I made sure that I got my warranty and I enjoyed it.
“So, you have to be aware of the warranty value that they car you are buying will give. Some companies give two years’ warranty, some one year, some three years. Nowadays we even have some new cars that come with lifetime warranty for certain parts of the vehicle.”

Availability of spare parts
 Some car dealership sell cars with no back up maintenance facilities and for some of the vehicles being sold in the country, there are no spare parts available.
Consequently, Odiboh advises that before buying a car, at the showroom, you should ask to see the spare parts department. He says it is your right and duty to know their spare part capacity. If they do not have one, he explains that it is “enough warning that there is danger ahead. Because one day when something happens to your car and you need to replace a part, they will tell you ‘Sorry, we need to send a request abroad.’
Odiboh, who says dealers of used cars do not have the space, time and luxury for storing spare parts, says it is up to people who want to buy used cars to go find the spare parts or determine their availability.

Resale value
What is the resale value of the car you want to buy? This is another thing you should understand before buying a car.
Odiboh says a car with a high resale value guarantees you some kind of return on investment. But if the resale value is low, you will sell it cheap and a lot of money would have gone with the wind.
His advice is that you decide whether it is a car you want to keep or one that you want to sell after a couple of years.
He, however, notes that cars with high resale value are more likely to attract robbers and carjackers than those with low resale value.

Nature of your area of residence
This is a major factor that people need to consider before they buy cars. Many parts of the country have bad roads, yet many people go for salon cars, which Odiboh says have low ground clearance. Consequently, the cars do not last as long as they should.
“If you are living in a place that is bad; I mean with bad roads, potholes and as such is easily flooded, if you can afford a car with higher ground clearance, it would be better for you,” Odiboh advises.
“If your place is always flooded, you will probably need a jeep or a crossover car that will give you high ground clearance and ensure that there is enough space between the water and your engine.”
(culled from Punch)