Expert tips for women buying a used car and some key safety reminders

Women are more vulnerable on our roads for many reasons but there are simple ways to ensure a safe trip, whether travelling alone or with the kids. Considering 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children (25 November to 10 December) is coming up, we asked Andrea Bogner, Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) Regional Chairperson Central Region and the proud owner of Bogner Motor City, for some tips and advice for female motorists in the market for a used car and some safety tips while travelling.

Andrea’s core business is vehicle maintenance, so it stands to reason she believes a safe trip starts with a well-maintained car. Her business is proudly five-star MIWA accredited and has been in operation since 1992.

When it comes to buying a  second hand vehicle, there are certain things you need to consider before signing on the dotted line, Andrea says.

Before deciding on the vehicle you want to buy:

Do your homework about vehicle brands. Some cars are priced well but their parts and availability of parts are expensive and scarce – sometimes even discontinued.

Always take someone with you that you trust – preferably someone who knows about cars. Women are not as familiar with cars as an experienced technician is, so Andrea advises you take a technician along – with a diagnostic tool – to view the car you are interested in buying. 

Before the test drive ask about:

The year model

Mileage

Condition of tyres

Safety features like air bags and ABS

Any visual signs of an accident?

Has the engine been worked on?

Are there any oil leaks?

Condition of brakes.

Service history

During the test drive look out for:

Any noises – rattling, clanking, whining from the engine, tyres, chassis, etc.

Dashboard lights on or flashing.

“If the seller promises to do any repairs beforehand, ALWAYS get this in writing,” Andrea says.

“When you take out an extended warranty on your engine, always make sure beforehand that services were done at regular interval services and that the service book is stamped and up to date.

“Do not buy the vehicle before you get confirmation of this. To have to chase after the salesperson  for the service book after you have collected your car will be a nightmare that is best avoided.”

Andrea has seen many regrets after a car deal is done as problems start to surface, leaving the new owner frustrated and out of pocket to repair.

“Very often, these problems could have been picked up if you had a person with the right knowledge asking the right questions,” she says.

“I always advise that if you don’t have an experienced friend or relative to go with you to properly examine the car before you buy it, go to your nearest accredited workshop, pay the call-out or diagnostic fee and get an independent expert opinion.

“This can save you a lot of frustration and money in legal fees down the line.”

Andrea’s 5 vehicle safety essentials:

1.            Fully charged cell phone with a car charger

2.            GPS

3.            Emergency kit: jumper cables, tow rope, flashlight, triangles, first aid kit, water, oil, antifreeze, blanket.

4.            Always tell someone where you are going and when you will be arriving.

5.            Know how to change a tyre, refill the radiator, top up engine oil and jump start your car.

DON’T IGNORE: Warning lights

A warning light is normally and indication that something needs attention. Don’t ignore them as this is the vehicle’ way of telling you something is wrong and needs to be checked out. The dashboard indicators are all in the owner’s manual. It is advisable to immediately check if you are unsure what the light is indicating as different coloured lights indicate the urgency of the problem.

DON`T IGNORE: Noises from the vehicle

If something doesn’t feel safe, then it probably isn’t. Always listen to your gut. Rather be safe than sorry. It`s best and safest to ask rather than not ask because we think it is a stupid question. The last thing any woman wants is for her vehicle to break down in an isolated area at night.

“A well-maintained vehicle is less likely to break down. Preventative maintenance can save you money in the long run,” Andrea concludes.

“Regular car inspections and services offer peace of mind and extend the lifespan of your engine. Ensure these are done at an accredited workshop, keep the service book up to date and you will reap the rewards of getting a good resale price for your car when you’re ready to upgrade.”