Bakkie Buying Advice You Never Thought You Needed

Toyota Hilux

Before diving into the bakkie market, here’s everything you need to know!

Car buying, regardless of the type, is one of the biggest purchases people can make. And buying a bakkie is not only a big purchase, but it requires more research. You need to have sufficient knowledge on the bakkie you’re interested in as this may be your daily driver for at least five years (no one wants to be stuck with a lemon car, or a bakkie in this case).

Buying a bakkie, especially a second-hand one, isn’t as simple as buying a used car. For starters, bakkies don’t wear and tear easily, so people aren’t inclined to sell their bakkies. You need to be vigilant during this process. But no worries, there is still a huge market for bakkies for sale in South Africa. You just need to be aware of what considerations you should have when buying a car. So, before you make any purchase, keep reading.

Always do your homework

Whenever you read a car buying article, you’re encouraged to do your homework. But, it is one of the most helpful pieces of advice that you need to take seriously. Doing research isn’t only about searching for the car you like; it’s about finding out what the price range is so that you can work out a budget. For instance, you need to find out whether the previous owner had any issues, complaints or any worth-mentioning recalls that may have come up in the past. This will help you get an understanding of what you’re getting yourself into.

Once you’ve done your extensive research, you can decide on what interests you; either it’s a single or double cab bakkie. But, this is more of a personal preference. And, if speed is important to you, you may need to find out “which bakkie is the fastest?” and “what brand do most bakkie buyers prefer?” Knowing what bakkie other bakkie fanatics love can help to narrow down your search and give you an idea of what you need to look out for.

When doing your homework, try and make an essentials list. An essentials list is all the things you’re looking for in a bakkie. When you have penned down exactly what you want, it is easier for you to understand what you want, and you won’t be swayed by sellers.

Decide whether you want a diesel or petrol engine

At the end of the day, this too is about preference. But, if you’re wondering “which bakkie is the most fuel-efficient?” You first need to understand how diesel and petrol engines differ.

Diesel engines will cost more than petrol engines, making diesel pre-loved bakkies more expensive. However, there’s a catch: petrol bakkies will have a lower book value, and their depreciation goes at a rapid rate. So, when making your decision, keep in mind that although you’re paying less for petrol, you will be getting less money back when you choose to sell it. So, ask yourself if you want a bakkie that is cost-effective now or a bakkie that has a low depreciation rate, giving you back a large sum of what you spent when purchasing it.

Choosing between an automatic and manual transmission

Are you aware that an automatic transmission, apart from a few latest models, wastes more energy to friction than a manual transmission? Well, they do. However, manual transmissions do require a replacement for the clutch unit at least every four years. It may be difficult to choose from the two, but it does depend on your driving habits. Keep in mind that auto bakkies have a longer lifespan if the transmission fluid condition is monitored regularly.

Another advantage of automatic bakkies is that there is no lugging. When the transmission of the vehicle changes to a lower gear, the engine will immediately feel the additional stress and kick into energy-saving mode. However, bakkies that have spent the majority of their time on rocky terrain or off-road adventures, then automatic may not be of the best quality. But still, the answer lies solely on you, but both transmissions have their benefits.

One more thing to remember: avoid bakkies with dual-mass flywheels. Rather opt for a bakkie with a single flywheel and clutch. The reason for this is that dual-mass flywheels are expensive and have a poor service record. So, rather get one with a better service record.

Be smart when test driving the car

So, you find the bakkie of your dreams for sale; it ticks all your boxes and seems to be in good condition. But, as we’ve all come to discover, looks can be deceiving, and that’s why it’s crucial to be smart when taking a car for a test drive. For instance, you need to:

  • Prepare for your test drive and make notes of what you want to ask and check during the test. For example, make a note to check the air conditioning, the brakes, radio, power steering and media player. This helps you to remember everything, so you can be certain after the test drive.
  • Bring a friend with, and if you know or are friendly with a mechanic, you may want to ask them to tag along. Having an extra pair of eyes can help, especially when you’re excited. You may overlook big telltale signs that will make you regret it.
  • During your test drive, ask to see the vehicle history report. It’s always helpful to have someone you trust also look at it; they may be able to pick up peculiar things.
  • Test drive the car for more than 30 minutes so that you can get a good enough feel about the car that’s for sale. This will also help you to see how you feel about driving the car, and if it fits you and your personal style well enough.
  • Take note of the engine and see if it’s running smoothly. Watch out for any jerking, inconsistent acceleration, performance or any noises that shouldn’t be there.
  • Check how quiet the vehicle is when you’re driving it. Are you hearing or smelling anything unusual? If you hear or smell anything strange, flag it with the seller or dealership to find out what the issue is.

Final thoughts

Although the bakkie purchasing process is a lot stricter, it is worth it. Once you have done your research, you will be able to enjoy the bliss of having your own power machine. So, when planning on purchasing a second-hand bakkie, make sure you do all the necessary research first, and understand what it is that you need. In the long-run, buying a second-hand car won’t rob you of any experience; instead, it may even be better.

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