Purchasing a vehicle may need time and a keen eye to detail in order to make a cost effective choice in the long run as Philemon Nabetta, 28, found out after buying a Mazda. “I am comfortable with my car because it is spacious. However, it has high fuel consumption of about 2.5 liters and the spare parts are rare and expensive.”
Bilal Saed Lali, sales executive of Yuasa Investments Limited, says it is important to consider the spare parts when buying a car. “Look out for cars with available and affordable spare parts.”
Zepha Matovu, a senior sales executive at Spear Motors Limited, advises that one should consider checking with car workshops about the availability of spare parts of their dream car on the market to avoid inconveniences later.
Matovu tips buyers to ensure that their car has resale value sales support within Uganda and can easily be purchased. Bilal agrees saying cars, such as, Toyota Premeo and Toyota Spacio have a high resale value. “To be on the safe side, look out for the daily sales of a car brand to see which one can easily be resold.”
Ahmad Chatha of Chatha Motors, insists that one purchase a car that can be accommodated within their budget. “Looking at the economy of Uganda, the average person may be able to afford approximately between Shs15m and Shs20m for a used car.”
Do not focus on the beauty of the car without considering whether the choice suits your budget. “Some car brands are cheap to buy but expensive to maintain,” Bilal says.
“Make sure you test drive your new car and feel its handling while on the road,” Matovu emphasises. He says one should sit in the car to feel if their height fits perfectly behind the wheel.
Things to consider when test driving a new car include legroom, entry and exit, seating and driving positions, gauge control and visibility.
Your checklist for a used car test drive will have a few more items, such as, from listening for problematic noises to checking for strange smells.
The condition of the road on which you always drive is an important issue. Micheal Lukwita, a finance manager, says he had to resell his Mark X a few months after its purchase. “During traffic jams, I use shortcuts to save the time I spend on the road. However, the Mark X does not function well on dusty, rugged roads.”
According to Matovu, there are specific 4x4 cars which can be used for trips on rugged roads, and also low ground clearance cars that are suitable only for drives around the city.
The purpose of a vehicle should be highly considered depending on its sitter capacity. Your goal may be to have space big enough to accommodate a big number of people or to transport commercial goods.
“For family outings, one can opt for a Noah, Toyota Wish, and Total Alphard as it is spacious enough with large sitting capacity for big numbers,” recommends Bilal.
Fuel consumption/engine capacity
Some cars have a high fuel consumption. Matovu says buyers should look out for both the mileage and fuel consumption of the vehicle they want to buy.
There are a number of safety features a buyer should concern themselves with. “Ask for the vehicle specifications and look out for a car with an ABS component, which keeps your car safe whenever you have to brake suddenly. Also, be on the look out for the traction control because if you sway off the road, you can easily get back on.”
The head rest is a must have as it reduces the chances of breaking yourr neck in case of an accident. “Avoid purchasing a car with only one lap-belt because it will not save you from hitting your fore head in the event of an accident,” Matovu says, adding, “Instead, opt for 3-point seat belts for a firm hold while in your seat.”
Buy a car which has air bags, curtain bags, and knee bags. All these should be available for all car occupants and not just the driver.
Do not use middlemen
Chatha cautions buyers to avoid dealing with car brokers who may misguide them. “Middlemen are simply looking to make a commission so they will not genuinely look out for your car needs as you are buying the car.”
Examine the exterior. Before the car moves, do a thorough walk-around. Turn the car on, switch on the headlights and emergency flashers, and then circle the car looking for lights that are not working or that have water in them.
Look closely at the paint. Make sure it is the same hue from panel to panel. Paint that does not match can be an indication that the vehicle has been in a collision.
Glance under the car. Do you see anything hanging down? Do you see any fluids dripping? Look at the tire treads for wear or damage, and see if the tire and wheels all match.
Test out the interior features. Can you find a comfortable position where you can see everything you need to see? Make sure they are all working. Are all of the dashboard lights working? Thoroughly test out the heating and air conditioning systems. Check the operation of all the power windows and door locks, plus any power tailgate, sliding doors, or moon roof. Make sure the seat belts are in good shape and the latches confidently click into place.