About 200 000 young South Africans are starting university in 2019 and many of them are on the hunt for a car to get them around.
Nunben Dixon, Head of Operations at Gumtree Auto, offers six valuable pieces of advice for students and their parents, who are in the pre-owned market for a student vehicle:
1. Do they REALLY need a car right now or would Uber suffice?
Do some analysis on whether your child actually needs a car. If they’re going to be living close to lectures and there’s a campus bus service and Uber is also available, buying a vehicle might not be the smartest move economically, especially if on-campus parking is seriously restricted.
2. Budget properly
Set the amount you can afford to spend and then hunt for the best value in that price range. Remember to budget for insurance, registration, running costs and servicing.
Search nationally online because the cost of transporting the ideal vehicle to where you are might outweigh the savings.
3. Never compromise on safety
Get the brakes, shocks, lights, mirrors and wipers checked out. Budget for replacing tyres and wiper blades if necessary, and for repairing any flaws in the windscreen.
4. Buy reliability
Colour and looks are not as important as a vehicle that will start first time, every time. Check the service history and question the current owner about any recurring issues. Purchasing from someone you know, who can vouch for the vehicle’s performance, is ideal.
5. Think security
Expensive sound systems and trendy mag wheels might be desired by a student driver but those luxuries are also thief magnets. Vehicles, especially when parked where students often park them, are vulnerable to crime and expensive accessories up the risk. If the vehicle doesn’t have good electronic security, then invest in a gear or wheel lock.
6. Choose a solid brand with good resale value
Look for solid brands that will bring you good re-sale value. The 2018 Gumtree Pre-Owned Car Awards acknowledged the Volkswagen Take Up! 1.0 3-door and the Tata Bolt 1.2T XMS 5-door as the best two-year-old vehicles under R130k, and the VW Polo Vivo GP 1.4 Trendline and Toyota Etios 1.5 XS Sprint as the best under R160k.