3 tips to help you plan better before buying a car

Purchasing a new car is always an exciting venture! Especially as a young professional, it shows that you’re kind of doing this ‘adulting’ thing right. Aside from the thrill that comes with a new purchase, buying a car gives you independence over your mobility, it marks personal financial growth, and let’s be honest, it’s always a great feeling to say - “I just bought myself a new car!” 

However, it’s important to remember that with great investment also comes great risk. That’s why we have put together 3 tips to help better equip you as you navigate your car ownership journey.  

  1. Verify your mileage to avoid being scammed

When it comes to buying a car, most people recommend you shoot for something with lower mileage. Lower mileage means less wear and tear, which in turn contributes to a longer life expectancy for your newly acquired car. 

However, what you see is not always what you get.

Sad to say, some car dealerships may tweak the mileage of a car in order to upsell you a poorer quality car.

Is this scary? Yes. 

Can it be avoided? Also, yes.

In order to avoid overpaying for a poorer quality car that might cost you more on maintenance in the future, it’s important that you confirm that the mileage being advertised on your car-of-interest is indeed its true mileage.

Turns out you don’t have to be part of an F1 pit-crew to do this. Instead,  you can simply just cross-check your car’s chassis number on the  Kenyan Car Bazaar site. 

A car chassis number is essentially your car’s fingerprint, also known as it’s ID number. It’s a unique code used in the automotive industry to reference individual motor vehicles. When cars are imported into Kenya, they undergo rigorous inspection where important data on each vehicle is collected. By entering your car chassis number on the Kenyan Car Bazaar website, you will be able to verify if the mileage being advertised on your car-of-interest is indeed its true mileage. 

From there, you can make a more informed purchase without worrying about surprise maintenance costs from false advertising!

  1. Saving for future maintenance costs: make sure you can afford your car now AND in future 

Before embarking on purchasing a new car, it’s important to ask yourself, “I may be able to afford this car right now, but can I keep affording it in the future?”

While most people usually budget towards a big purchase, quite a number of people don’t budget for the future maintenance of said purchase. If you decide to buy an iPhone 10 over a Nokia 106 and your iPhone screen breaks, replacing the iPhone screen will be more expensive than replacing a Nokia’s. The same rings true for vehicles, if you buy an expensive car, it’s important to be prepared for expensive maintenance costs. 

Experienced Mechanic and Owner of Sam Otto Garage, Samuel Githinji, recommends integrating a targeted savings-plan into your financial planning that goes towards your dream car’s upkeep. He advises that working to save about KES. 500,000/- or $5,000 would put most people in a comfortable position to afford replacements on most spare vehicle parts and generally cushion most unplanned maintenance costs.

  1. Do your due diligence to avoid unplanned spending

You’ve finally hit your saving goal and you’re all set to buy your new car. In fact, you’re planning to go to the dealership tomorrow to get everything sorted within the day.

Firstly, congratulations on hitting your goal!

Secondly, where is the rush?

When making large purchases, it’s crucial to ensure you’re not making hasty decisions out of excitement. After all, you took the time and effort to save all your hard-earned cash, it’s okay to take a little bit more time and confirm you’re making the right decision. 

Assuming by this point, you’ve already done all your research on your car-of-interest, before finalizing your purchase it’s recommended that you get your car fully checked out by a mechanic. This is to safeguard that all your car’s functions are working as advertised and that you’re not trekking to the mechanic and buying a new gearbox (with a hefty price tag of KES. 150,000 {$1,500}) 1 month down the road.

There you have it!  While this advice is just the tip of the iceberg, hopefully, it can start you off on a more informed and financially organized car ownership journey!

To learn more about this topic, check out our Car Ownership Course, which retails for only KES. 3,500 or $35 which is about the cost of 1 week of fuel.   

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