Don’t Get Fooled: 5 Tips For Buying A Good Used Car

Cape Town – Prices of new cars are exorbitant, at least for some, but that’s not the case for 36 794 fortunate South Africans who registered their new cars in January 2017.

Over the last five years during January, new car sales in SA remained steady around the 35 000 mark and annually, 547 442 units were sold in 2016 compared to 617 648 in 2015. That’s a considerable difference in sales of 11.4% and pundits say it’s unlikely to improve this year.

Buying a used car in SA

According to WesBank, statistics indicated that 38 343 new cars were sold in May 2016 compared to 89 390 used cars which clearly shows new vehicles sales don’t even come close to used cars.

Who doesn’t love the new car smell or the fact that you are the first owner but second-hand cars simply offer better value for money especially feature-for-feature. Used cars are also likely to ease up on your bank balance with a much lower insurance premium than a new car.

On the flip side, there is that niggling feeling of breaking down in a used car and sometimes sellers don’t really help either. Anyone can get an ‘OBD2 code’ reader and shady sellers can clear codes without fixing any problems.

Rest assured, following these simple steps will help you choose your new (used) car carefully without anyone taking advantage of you.

Step 1: Use your head, not your heart

We’ve all been there and know how hard it is not to fall in love with what seems to be a bargain. Whether it’s your dream car as a child or a reminder of your first true love – be smart and make the right call. Used-car dealers thrive on infatuated customers as they are easily convinced and could end up with an absolute dud.

When you’re looking to buy a car, the secret is to search far and wide and here the internet can be extremely helpful. Consider all your options and be careful buying the first car you see. Give yourself a realistic chance of scouting around and to see what’s out there. Use the first three cars as a point of reference to weigh-up all the pros and cons going forward.

Step 2: Avoid exotic cars

If you’re buying a new car, you can buy almost anything you want as the parts are available and the car will be under warranty. Buying an exotic second-hand car is not so easy mainly because no factory warranty exists and any service or maintenance costs are out of your pocket.

A good example is parts for a Toyota Corolla or a VW Golf versus a Renault. An oil filter can cost as little as R60 but for a Renault in excess of R200. This easily escalates when you own a high-performance or exotic car.

It is more than just considering the price of parts though. You also need to find a service station that can confidently maintain your car. If your engine is more complex than that of a fighter jet, expect to pay premium rates.

In terms of performance, you should ask yourself this very important question; ‘If this Golf GTI, Type R or BMW M3 is so good, why are they selling it?’

It may not always be the case but more often than not, high-performance cars are likely to have been pushed to the limit before they are sold. Steer clear of these unless you are knowledgeable about cars, have a decent mechanic and prepared to pay a premium for parts,

Step 3: Read the seller, not the price tag

There is no hiding from subconscious cues unless you’re a trained spy. Watch the seller closely while you talk about the car and walk around the vehicle pointing out parts. Shifty or nervous behaviour is usually a sign that there’s something wrong with the car.

Keep a close eye on the seller’s body language. If they seem uncomfortable just follow your gut and walk away. Rather this than being stuck with a lemon.

I once viewed a great-looking car for sale but the private seller seemed rushed. Fortunately, I had a good mechanic with me and he pointed out a soapy residue in the oil. For those who don’t know, that’s a tell-tale sign of a blown head-gasket which can be very expensive to repair.

Step 4: Thorough inspection is vital

When the seller asks how much you know about cars, act as if you don’t know much. This means they will only focus on the good points of the car which leaves you with a great opportunity to check the things they didn’t mention.

Specifically, check brake discs for uneven wear; the colour of the oil should be golden brown and not a dark colour. Battery terminals should be clean, tyres in good condition with even wear and the body should be straight. Check the body seams in the engine bay and the boot to identify any signs of accident repairs.

Also, give the car a mighty push with the handbrake up. It should of course not move but if it does, you’ve already identified one problem.

When a car is advertised as having a “new” battery, it could mean there is something wrong with the loom or alternator. Realistically, why would someone sell a car and give you a battery worth R1000? Same applies to new tyres. They’re expensive to just ‘giveaway’ so be careful and keep in mind faulty suspension or problems with the steering.

Lastly, look for body panels where the colour seems a different shade. This could be an indication that the car was involved in an accident and a purchase not to complete.

Step 5: Give it a good test drive

Don’t just jump in and get going. Instead, get the seller to switch on the ignition and let the vehicle idle. Test the wipers, lights and listen to the engine noise. Walk around the car and once it’s been idle for a while, switch it off.

Start the car again leaving the headlights on. If it doesn’t start immediately there may be an electrical problem. Check all lights, aircon, radio, electric windows and mirror switches.

During your test drive, be sure to test all the gears and find a decent incline on your route. Feel for any “flat spots” in acceleration as this could indicate ignition or injector issues. Flat spots are where the acceleration stops momentarily and then picks up again.

Listen for strange noises. Some people are just poor drivers and the old saying comes to mind, “If you can’t find it, grind it” so check for grinding sounds when you brake or change gears especially. This may indicate a serious mechanical fault and it’s best to walk away.

High-pitched squealing noises from the V-belts are also unacceptable under any circumstances and another reason to simply walk away. After the test drive check to see if any fluids have leaked onto the ground. Oil or coolant could indicate serious problems with oil seals, engine or the cooling system.

Last on the checklist is to trust your gut. Does the vehicle “feel right” to you? If the answer is yes, it’s time to sign on the dotted line and happy motoring until the next buy.

Tips to Buying Custom Sports Kits

When it comes to buying custom sports kits, there are a number of things you should take into consideration before you shop around and place an order. Remember you are buying for a number of people, depending on the sport and the team size, everyone is a different size and has different preferences, which is why you want to put a check list together to ensure that you have all the information that you need before you start.

One of the first things you need to do is identify the need. Are you looking for a complete kit or do you have certain items that you want, such as tracksuits, hoodies, shirts or even bags? Knowing what you want can help you identify the best manufacturers that will meet your particular needs with ease.

From here you will want to have all the sizes that you need at hand Get each member of the team to give you their size, this way you know how many you will need of each size, this will help you when it comes to securing quotes and ensuring that you can find what you need within your given budget.

Your next step is to identify how many of each item an each size you want. For tracksuit bottoms, shirts, jerseys and hoodies, you may want to give each team member two, so when one is in the wash, they have another to wear. With bags you can order one per team member, as they can use this item over and over without it having to be washed..

When you have all the information that you need, you will need to start searching for a company that can meet your needs and provide you with the finest quality custom sports kits that you can count on. But where do you start?

The best place to find information on any company these days is the internet. The benefit with the internet is that you aren’t restricted to your local area and you can purchase from a national company, the difference is that rather running around to fetch your order once completed, they will simply ship it to your door.

Never pick the first company you find. You will want to choose at least three companies that can provide you with the custom sports kits you are looking for. Check the reviews on each of the companies to ensure that they have a good reputation for the services that they provide and that their garments are of the very best quality.

Choose a company that will provide you with complete design flexibility so that you can get the custom sports kit that you want with the colours of your team and your team logo placed where you want it, the size you want it and more. You want to ensure the company enables you to make the choices for your team. Some manufacturers these days enable you to design your own custom sports kits on their website and they make it to your exact specifications.

The final step of the process when buying custom sports kits is to check the items on arrival. As they arrive on your door check each one to ensure that you have the right colours and that everything is as per the order. Go over reach item with a fine tooth comb, look at the stitching and look for any defects which could result in the item not lasting as long as you wanted. In the majority of cases you will be completely happy with your order, you can hand the items to your team and boost their team spirit for the next game.

Master the Craigslist – Used Car Buying Tips

  • Why buy used?

A used car (be it 1000 miles or 100,000 miles) is much cheaper than that same car when bought brand new off the lot (obviously). Craigslist, aka private party, lets us find these cars for the best price. Read on to learn how to become a master of the used car buying and selling process.

  • Finding the right car

First, find a budget that you are willing to work with. If you do not have the cash, and if the car qualifies, a bank or credit union may offer a loan.

Always refer to KBB (Kelly Blue Book) for the current private party value of the car you are purchasing. This will give you a better idea on how much you should be paying for the car, as well as potential negotiating power to lower the price.

If not familiar with cars, we suggest finding a shop to do a Pre Purchase Inspection. That way you know the mechanical condition and can use it as negotiating power. The thing to remember with all used car buying tips, you must always negotiate the price.

Pro Tip Most people expect to get lowballed, so they set the price much higher than what they would really like to get.

A Note on Smog

If you live in a state that requires a SMOG check, make sure that the seller has a smog certificate included. Verify that the smog was completed within 90 days, otherwise it is not valid for transfer of ownership (CA).

Double check to make sure the registration is current. A lot of times, people sell their car for a cheap price only because they cannot smog it due to a Check Engine Light, or other issues.

  • Setting up for finding the right deals

On the Craigslist page, navigate to your location’s web page, then click Cars and Trucks by Owner. In the search settings, set the range from $0 – (Your Max Limit). I like to add about 20% to my max limit to allow for cars that can be negotiated within the budget.

After you save your search settings, and refresh your page, you will see all the vehicles in your area that are for sale.

Pro Tip Save this Craigslist page to your home screen on your phone and your computer, that way its quick access and you do not have to mess with the settings again.

If you have this on your home screen you will see it more often, reminding you to check the listings and therefore increasing chances of finding the killer deal.

  • Contacting the seller

Remember, these used car buying tips apply for all private party car buying platforms, not just Craigslist. When I sell a car, the biggest thing I hate is when people ask “is the car still available?”.

Be polite, but do not waste anyone’s time. Contact the buyer through phone call when possible. If it’s a smokin’ deal, it will NOT last on Craigslist. The phone is the quickest and most direct method. Do not dilly dally around and have the sweet deal scooped up by a car dealer!

When buying a car, I look at the person selling me the car just as much, if not more, than the car itself. Mainly, it shows me what kind of treatment and service history the car received. If the person was older, spoke intelligently, and looked wealthy, we found that most times the car was in great shape to match.

Most Important Questions to Ask

  • “How long have you had the car?”
  • “What kind of maintenance have you done with the car”
  • “Why are you selling the car?”
  • “Are there any leaks or major mechanical problems?”

Ask these questions over the phone, and try to get a general understanding of the car’s shape before going out to see it, especially if its a long distance.

Saving time is key, you would be surprised how often people say “The car is flawless” on the ad. Asking these questions lets you determine if they are honest.

Set up an appointment to see the car if you feel like the information you’ve gathered about the car matches what you’re looking for.

  • Getting Ready to Meet and Test Drive

When meeting with a seller, I always bring:

  • Scan Tool for Monitors / Codes
  • Powerful Flashlight (I recommend Streamlight flashlights)
  • Pivoting and extendable mirror to check for leaks
  • My Drivers License / ID
  • Cash (I bring cash with me, but leave it in the car. I only do this if the amount is under $3000. Anything past that I just go to the bank with the seller and get them the cashiers check or cash when the deal is done).

Anti-Lemon Used Car Inspection Checklist

Before the meeting

  • Verify the sellers has the necessary paperwork, aka Pink Slip, proof of registration, and smog certificate (if required by state). Although not necessary, print out a copy of the bill of sale form.
  • Use CarFax or Autocheck to run a VIN background on the vehicle. This is key!
  • Set up personal guidelines to the maximum amount willing to spend on the car.
  • Make sure you have the funds ready, or instant access to them in the payment form the seller prefers.
  • Advise the seller you want the car to be COLD for your test drive. We want a cold engine to get a complete analysis. This is a key part to the used car inspection checklist!

At the car

  • Engine Inspection – Use the combination of the pivoting mirror and flashlight mentioned above to peek behind components and around the valve cover, checking for leaks. Inspect everything carefully, pay special attention to the serpentine belt area and leaks around the valve covers.
  • Check for Codes – Connect the scanner and make sure there are no engine codes. Make sure the monitors for smog are all completed – if not, be suspicious.
  • Check the body panels and paint, does it all look even? Is the texture the same everywhere? Look for panels that are a slightly different color or hue, which may indicate a sign of collision that was already repaired.
  • Check all the paperwork before starting the drive – make sure they own the car and that they have a pink slip with their name on it.
  • Check tires. Are they a matching set? Good Tread? Any signs of uneven wear? Could mean bad alignment or an accident in the past that prevents proper alignment.
  • Check brake pad thickness through the wheels if possible.
  • Check maintenance records (see if big service items have been done, like timing belt and water pump if the engine is a timing belt engine)
  • Check condition of oil. Open the oil filler cap and look under for any foamy, milky substances, which MAY indicate sludge or head gasket issues.
  • Upon vehicle start up, check the exhaust pipe for smoke. Listen to the engine for any uneven running aka “misfire” and try to smell for coolant or oil burning off which would indicate a leak.
  • Look over the serpentine belt(s) and all other engine components for any signs of damage, wear, or leaks.
  • Peek under the car to check for leaks, rust, and damage.

During the Test Drive

  • Engine Check – Make sure to use some power and get the engine to a high RPM (don’t redline someone else’s car). Have the windows down and constantly monitor for noise from the engine, as well as the suspension. Note how the vehicle idles, it should be smooth for the most part. Keep checking the instrument cluster for warning messages as well as overheating. Be keen to any burning oil or coolant smells.
  • Brake Test – Come to some stops at different speeds/intensities and try to listen for screeching or grinding noises
  • Alignment Check – During the test drive, while on a somewhat even road, let go of the steering wheel for a few moments and see if the vehicle drifts to one side. Keep in mind, most roads have “road crown” and will slightly cause all cars to drift to the right, but a barely noticeable amount.
  • Transmission Check – Make sure the test drive takes at least 15 minutes, ask the seller for permission first. This will allow the transmission to fully warm up. For automatics, issues could potentially arise online when hot, and not be present when cold. You will feel jerkiness when the auto transmission is malfunctioning. For manuals, do a clutch test by engaging 4th gear at a slow speed and go wide open throttle – see if the clutch slips (the rpms will climb extremely fast like you are in neutral).
  • Wiggle Test – At about 30 mph roll down your windows do a few quick left to right steering wheel maneuvers. Listen to the suspension and chassis – it should not make ANY noises while doing this.
  • Suspension Check – Go over some bumpy roads, and take some angled driveways / turns. Listen for any binding suspension components which will present itself with a loud knock. Also listen for failing wheel bearings by rolling up all your windows and checking for a loud whirring rotational noise.
  • Interior and Features – Finally, check all the features. This means A/C, reverse camera, navigation, etc. Check all window motors by rolling up and down the windows. Make sure everything is working to your desire.

During the Test Drive, DO NOT:

  • Drive the car like you are taking a hot lap around the Nurburgring
  • Go on an extended period test drive unless agreed upon with seller
  • Do anything that would put you or the car at risk, cosmetically or mechanically.

Remember – an honest seller will often also have a car that is in fairly decent shape. Verify that the story they tell you matches the clues you see with the car.

Ask one of the previous questions to see if the answer remains the same this time around. If something doesn’t match up, chances are the seller is hiding something, and I would investigate further.

“Gut Feeling” plays a big role in this game. Be alert to your senses and you will not buy a lemon. This is one of the key used car buying tips.

  • Inspecting the Car

If inspecting yourself, print out and follow our Inspection Checklist

Make sure to find a professional shop to do a Pre Purchase Inspection if you are not mechanically inclined. Anything wrong with the car, especially when NOT told about by the seller, can be potentially used to reduce the selling price or to save you from thousands of dollars in losses.

One of the used car buying tips I want you to take away from this is that any car can be a “good deal” so long as the issues within the car are discovered and price lowered to compensate.

Seal the Deal

First, before anything else, make sure they have the pink slip, as well as the smog certificate. Verify they are the owner by asking to see their ID and matching it to the name on the pink slip.

Make sure the smog certificate states that it has been completed within 90 days, otherwise its invalid for title transfer. Other states may have more paperwork so get familiar with your states requirements.

Reach a price that both parties can agree to.

Do NOT be afraid of throwing out an offer. They just spent their time showing the car, and people hate to lose time. Most times they will take a substantial amount below asking value as long as you show them things they have left out in their ad.

Sellers usually prefer cash money, but if the car is more expensive you should pay with a cashier’s check. Since there is a lot of check fraud going on, sellers are typically sketched out.

Invite them to come to the bank with you while you have the cashier’s check made out. If both seller and buyer have the same banking company, an instant transfer can also be arranged.

After completing the transaction, make sure to save the sellers phone number for any further questions. Also ask them for any sets of spare keys, and service records they have.

Thank you very much for reading

Tips to Buying Etizolam

Etizolam is a benzodiazepine analogue which is an effective ingredient for those suffering with insomnia and anxiety disorders. The product is a sedative, anti convulsant and helps relieve anxiety and panic attacks. Etizolam is also a legal product which is sold to research facilities and educational institutions for research purposes.

Buying the product can be done legally online. Etizolam is sold in the United Kingdom as a legal product, though most suppliers will only supply to chemistry students, research scientists and educational facilities. It is not for sale to the general public.

It is imperative when purchasing a product of this nature for research purposes that you ensure you are buying a high quality product. While this may sound obvious, there are so many “fly by night” companies that promote the same products, but they are made of poor quality, which will compromise all the research you are doing.

This is why it’s advisable to choose a few companies that you find online and then start your homework, reviewing each one and comparing them against each other, narrowing down your list to find that perfect supplier that you can build a long lasting working relationship with.

When you buy Etizolam online, you need to ensure you are purchasing from a reputable supplier with a good name in the industry. You want them to be reliable, supply a large number of different research products and provide outstanding customer service. These are just a few of the boxes you may want ticked, you may also want fast delivery and affordable prices to be part of your “must offer” list.

The internet is brimming with companies for you to choose from, so it’s worthwhile picking a handful of companies to start going through. With your list in hand, you will want to spend some time going through each one’s website, seeing what products they supply, their delivery times and prices. This may help you narrow down your search somewhat, as you may have a budget you are working to.

When it comes to price, remember to take everything into consideration before deciding. While an affordable price may be a huge benefit to you, the quality of the product is more important, especially to aid your research. In some cases, it’s worthwhile paying slightly more for a higher quality product than paying less for a poor performing one.

Once you have some indication on what each company has to offer, along with their delivery times, you may want to pick up the phone and give them a call. It always provides some peace of mind when you phone and speak to a real person on the other side of the phone. It also gives you an opportunity to determine their professionalism and customer service, how easily they answer any questions you may have and how they ensure you are given the best customer experience.

With this accomplished, you may now be down to two companies to choose from. Now is the time to find out what past customers have to say. The best place to do this is online. Type in the company name and go through the results. You are looking for review sites and forums where you can read up on real customer opinions, this may help you complete your search leaving you with one company that can supply you with the Etizolam you need moving forward.

Ensure you register online and make your purchase. It’s advisable to choose a credit card, this way you are offered added protection, especially on your first order.