Before you think about which new car  to buy, you&rsquoll need to work out how much you have to spend.
&bull Work out how much your current car is worth, and whether you will sell it privately or part-exchange it with a dealer
&bull Decide on whether you need to take out car finance
&bull Calculate how much your fuel and car insurance costs are likely to be
It&rsquos crucial to choose a new car which fulfils your needs, but doesn&rsquot leave you out of pocket
Often the best way to work out if you can buy a new car  is to think of its cost per month. Once you have found an example of a new car you are interested in, add together the following figures
&bull Divide the price of the car by the number of months you will be paying for it (if you&rsquore taking out a loan or finance)
&bull The cost of car insurance per month
&bull The cost of your expected fuel usage per month
&bull The cost of expected maintenance per month (include servicing and replacement tyres)
&bull The cost of repairs (if expected) per month
If you&rsquore taking out car finance, there&rsquos plenty you can do to get lower payments
&bull Shop around for personal loans &ndash you could get more money and pay less for it
&bull Push the dealer hard for a better deal on finance (and try and haggle more money off the car&rsquos price)
&bull Consider a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)
The value of your current new car could also have a big affect on your budget. Getting a car valuation can tell you how much your old car is worth, whether you&rsquore selling privately or trading-in your car as a part-exchange.
If all this is more than you can afford, search for the same new car model with a smaller engine, as this will usually reduce, fuel, insurance and maintenance costs.
The most important thing to check before agreeing to any loan is the total amount you will pay over the loan period.
&bull Study the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) &ndash the lower the rate, the less you&rsquoll pay in interest
&bull Understand additional payments such as setup fees or early repayment charges
&bull Compare the total amount you&rsquoll pay back &ndash a lower APR over a longer period may sound appealing, but it could cost more in the long run
&bull Work out if you need Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) &ndash many lenders will offer it, but it can be cheaper to arrange it through a standalone provider
Unsecured Personal Loans
This is a loan which is based on your ability to make monthly repayments. No assets, such as your house or car, are used as security for the loan.
&bull The monthly repayments and loan length (term) are fixed
&bull A new car bought with an unsecured personal loan is owned outright by you and can be sold at any time, but the repayments will continue regardless of whether you still own the car
&bull Most unsecured personal loans cannot be repaid early without incurring a penalty payment
&bull If you choose a flexible loan it may allow you to take a break in repayments or to repay the loan early, free of charge
&bull Choosing a deferred loan may permit lower monthly payments, but with one large payment at the end of the loan contract
You can secure a loan against assets such as your home, which allows larger amounts to be borrowed over a longer period.
&bull Lower monthly repayments than equivalent unsecured personal loans are usually available
&bull If you cannot make repayments, the assets used to secure the loan can be repossessed
Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)
A PCP allows you to pay a deposit and lease a car for a fixed time with lower monthly repayments.
An example PCP plan for a R200,000 car could be
&bull A large deposit     R60,000
&bull Monthly payments     36x R2500 (Totalling R90,000)
&bull A final payment     R50,000
The final payment &ndash sometimes known as a balloon payment &ndash is calculated at the beginning of the agreement and is based on the predicted future value of your new car. At the end of the agreement, there are three options
&bull Pay the balloon payment and keep the car
&bull Hand the car back and walk away from the deal
&bull Use the guaranteed value as a deposit for your next new car
&bull PCP payments are usually lower than Hire Purchase (HP) payments
&bull You don&rsquot fully own the car until the balloon payment is made
&bull You can&rsquot sell the car until the balloon payment is made
&bull Going over the set mileage will incur extra costs
&bull Some PCP contracts can include maintenance of the car
Hire Purchase (HP)
Many dealers will offer you Hire Purchase to buy your car over a set period, with fixed monthly payments.
&bull An initial deposit may be required
&bull A bigger deposit reduces monthly repayments
&bull You only own the car when the last payment has been made
&bull You must settle the finance debt before selling a car
Whatever type of car finance you&rsquore offered, always shop around and haggle hard for the best deal on a new car
&bull Use internet loan search engines to find the most competitive car deal
&bull Know your best deal before going to a new car dealer  &ndash they may not match the offer
&bull Haggle with dealers to get the car finance repayments down &ndash taking out car finance with a new car dealer can mean a bigger discount on the car
Visit www.imperialselect.co.za for new, used and demo cars
Leather interiors in cars always add an air of sophistication and luxury that fabric upholstered seats simply cannot compete with. If you&rsquore fortunate enough to have a car with leather seats, you&rsquoll surely want to take care of your interior so that you&rsquoll have that rich, opulent look and feel for many years to come. Taking care of your leather interior is important but fortunately not a very difficult or costly exercise. If you keep your seats properly cleaned and conditioned, you&rsquoll be able to enjoy the same level of quality that you had when you first got your car.
A car with leather interior also has a much higher resale value, so keeping yours in good condition will ensure that you get a decent price on your car if you ever decide to trade it in or sell it. We&rsquove compiled a few tips and simple instructions on how to maintain you used car&rsquos leather seats and keep them looking good.
Cleaning Your Seats
Start off by vacuuming your car seats and use a soft brush attachment to prevent damaging the leather. Once that&rsquos done, it&rsquos time to condition your seats. Be sure to use a specialised leather polish and apply it with a soft cloth. Use circular motions to apply and polish the leather and don&rsquot press too hard a firm but gentle level of pressure is perfect. Leave the polish for a few minutes and let the leather absorb it, then buff your seats with a clean, soft cloth to clear any residual polish.
Keep Away From Direct Sunlight
Leather needs to remain supple or it will become dry and start to crack, which is also why keeping your car away from direct sunlight is a good idea &ndash not only do the UV rays damage and fade your paintwork, it&rsquos very damaging to your dashboard and leather interior. If you can&rsquot avoid parking in the sun, use screens to cover your windows and keep your seats protected.
Avoid Sharp Objects
Although leather is strong and quite resilient, pressure from sharp objects can do serious damage to it. If you&rsquore transporting anything with jagged or sharp edges &ndash especially heavier items that put more strain on the seats - always cover your seats with a blanket or another type of buffer to keep your seats safe.
As always, repairing or replacing anything is always more costly than simply looking after it as a  precaution, so give your used car&rsquos leather interior the love and attention it needs to stay in great condition.
If you are in the market for a previously owned vehicle, there are many extra things you should check out in order to make an informed and responsible decision. Used cars obviously come with a history and for the most part, you won&rsquot ever know all the details about where it travelled and who owned it in the past. For maximum security and peace of mind, you can request to see a full history report on the car.
Whether you are looking at buying from a dealership or private seller, you are fully entitled to the background information of the car as you will be taking over responsibility for it if you buy it &ndash and this could potentially be a very costly decision if the car turns out to have been stolen or involved in any other illicit activities, not to mention the risk of buying a car that is clearly not likely to last you very long due to previous accidents or engine failures.
Every cars entire history is officially recorded based on its engines VIN number &ndash this number is used to track where the car goes from first sale all the way to the point where it is written off as scrap. The information provided on a cars history report can vary, but you may be able to find out several extra details about the car, including
This information will be very useful if you know what to check when reading the report. Here are a few things to look out for
Many New Owners In A Short Span Of Time
If the report shows that the car has moved from owner to new owner a few times in a matter of a few years or even months, it&rsquos a big warning sign. Chances are good that there is something very faulty with the vehicle, that either cant be repaired or would cost far more than the actual value of the vehicle to correct. Conversely, if you see the car has only had one or two previous owners in its history, consider it a positive sign.
Check For A Recent Emissions Testing Report
With changes in global policy concerning the legal limit of carbon emissions a vehicle can produce in order to be roadworthy, you need to make sure that the car has undergone an emissions test and has passed. In some regions, it is not only illegal for you to drive a car that fails this test, but it is also illegal for someone to sell it to you.
Check If The Car Has Lived In Coastal Regions
Something often overlooked when checking out a used vehicle is where it was parked and where the owner lived. This is important because if the car spent years in a coastal town or city, the salt content in the air will have caused additional corrosion and damage to the vehicle. If you&rsquore still willing to take on the car if it has been near the ocean for many years, be prepared to take on additional costs for maintenance and corrections if the previous owner did not get rust protection for the car in the past.
Cross Examine Private Sellers
There are many risks involved with buying from a private seller. You wont have any fall back if anything goes wrong with the car after you have bought it and most sellers will not be willing to assist you once they have got their payment. Another big issue to look out for is to check whether the seller is actually who they say they are. There is always a risk that the car may not belong to them or that it has been stolen. Ask them as many questions as you need to be completely reassured that they are legitimate. Some of the questions you should ask are how long they&rsquove had the car, was there ever an issue with the battery, which components gave trouble or had to be replaced in the time that they had the car. They should be able to comfortably answer any of these questions. In addition, double-check the report to validate that they are in fact the last owner of the car.
Check The Odometer Reports
Quite often sellers will roll back the odometer of the car to make it look like its travelled far fewer kilometres than it actually has. The history report should have logs of odometer readings over the years, typically logged whenever the cars licence is renewed or whenever the car was sold off. If the numbers dont add up to the current reading, there may well be more than just a false odometer reading to be worried about.
While it may be a time-consuming job to go through all of these checks of a used cars service history, we strongly recommend you take a bit of time now to be sure, to avoid having to take a lot of time in future to deal with oversights you had when buying the used car.
If you have ever taken a look at the price boards at petrol stations, you&rsquove probably noticed the variety of fuels available and how they range in price. Unless your vehicle has a diesel engine, you have got a choice between 93 and 95 unleaded. Most of the time you wont be asked which you prefer and we will explain why in a moment. There is always a price difference between these two, with 95 always being a bit more expensive per litre than the 93 type. If you have ever wondered why that is, or why we even need two different types of unleaded petrol at all, read on.
It&rsquos All About Performance
Although there are many different makes and models of used cars, for this analysis there are only two types regular, everyday cars, and supercars. For most cars, performance requirements dont vary too much but a supercar or a turbo not only gulps up a lot of petrol, it also needs a higher quality of petrol to perform at its best. If you drive a sedan, a hatchback or any standard car, 93 octane petrol will work perfectly. Should you own a veritable speed demon, however, you&rsquoll need to fill up with 95 octane.
What Happens If I Fill Up With The Wrong One?
Nothing, really. Your car will still run and it wont destroy the engine or do something terrible that requires repairs at a reputable car repair workshop. If your car runs on 93 and you filled up with 95, the only harm would be to your bank account as 95 is costlier. On the plus side, 95 fuel will give you better mileage than 93 if you drive a regular car. If you have a supercar and fill up with 93, you&rsquoll find your car underperforms as the fuel quality isnt quite as good. Again, there wont be any permanent damage. If you want to be completely sure what petrol you need, check your cars handbook.
While the general rule is that you wont need better than 93 octane, where you live or the environment in which you are driving impacts your cars performance. Factors such as environmental conditions (like the weather) and the altitude you are driving at may mean that a different octane petrol could be more beneficial. We hope this knowledge will help you save a few extra Rands when you fill up your used car from now on &ndash happy driving!
From time to time the unexpected happens in life and its no different when it comes to owning and driving a car. Luckily there are ways to be better prepared for those moments when circumstances are not in your favour and you feel like it&rsquos just not your day. We are here to cover three of the many essentials for a car emergency kit to always have in your used car so that the next time will be as painless and simple as possible to get through.
Being stranded on the side of the road when a tyre fails you is never pleasant but it would be even more of a headache if you didnt have a spare wheel to swop it with. Most new vehicles come standard with an extra wheel for emergencies but if your car doesnt have one or yours isnt in usable condition at the moment, make it a priority to get a backup spare. Making sure its always ready to use is also important, so check if the tyre is still properly inflated and that the tread on the tyre is in good condition.
Whether your car battery is getting a bit old and unreliable or if maybe you forgot your lights on and headed out on a long shopping excursion, there will be times when your car just wont start all of a sudden. Its a frustrating experience and can instantly leave you feeling like you are stranded alone on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, jumper cables can help to resolve the problem fairly quickly, with the help of a friendly bystander to help give your car the boost it needs. Jumper cables dont come standard when you buy a new car but should be one of the first purchases you make as an essential add-on to your car emergency kit. Whether it&rsquos you, your co-worker, neighbour or a random stranger who finds themselves in need of help, jumper cables will be a very appreciated lifesaver in a tight spot.
Having a 'go bag' with anything you may need in case of an emergency is always a good idea. Put together or buy a medical kit so that you have what&rsquos needed in case of injuries or just a headache. Once that is sorted out, add extras like a raincoat, flashlight, extra batteries, a few bottles of water, some energy bars and an extra charger cable for your phone or power bank.
With these three essentials loaded and ready for use wherever you go, you will drive around with a lot more peace of mind about those 'what if' situations. Remember to always check on all of these items before you head out on a longer trip or holiday break in your used car, as it tends to be even harder to sort out a situation when you&rsquore nowhere near home.
You know the spot check you do before you leave the house or work, just to be sure you&rsquove got everything? Wallet, phone, car keys. We tend to be so preoccupied with daily life that we forget the same spot check should be done on the cars we drive around in all the time, to be sure that everything is still looking and working as it should. A big part of that routine check should be your used cars&rsquo tyres &ndash after all, those bands of rubber are what keep you on the road safely. Incidentally, the advice in this blog could be applied as a tip for test driving a used car as well.
To help you out, we&rsquove put together a simple list that you can use in your tyre check routine to make sure they&rsquore in good shape and that the check becomes second nature each time you need to do it
Keep your tires properly inflated
The wrong air pressure can wreak havoc with the control you have over your car and can make the chances of blowouts or premature wear and tear a lot bigger. Do a weekly check when you fill up with petrol.
Have your tyres rotated from time to time
And without being funny, we&rsquore not talking about keeping them turning. Instead, rotating your tyres refers to changing their position on your car from time to time. Front tyres being moved to the back and vice versa. This will help keep your tread evenly distributed, especially if you didn&rsquot replace the entire set at the same time.
Keep to the same brand of tyre when it&rsquos time for a new set
A car with different tyres can badly affect your car&rsquos handling and make the car unbalanced, all of which are safety concerns.
Inspect your tires often
Look out for any odd bubbles, changes in the shape of the tyre or signs of cuts or objects that may have become stuck in the tyre. If you come across anything suspicious, take the tyre to a service specialist as driving any further with it could be very dangerous.
Always carry a spare tyre
From time to time you may run into a tight spot and you don&rsquot want to be stranded on the side of the road with no backup plan. Keep a spare wheel with a tyre that is still in good condition and remember to check that the tyre is still properly inflated every so often.
These few simple checks and good maintenance habits will not only save you money and help your tyres to last longer, but it will also give you peace of mind that you&rsquore driving around safely.
As always, if you&rsquore looking for some help with maintaining your car, stop by one of our car repair workshops anytime and let our team of pros give you a hand.