Every dealer nationwide will offer a short used car warranty of 30 days or 2000 kms ( whichever comes first) on any retail quality car. Cheaper vehicles are sold cash as they stand (or Voetstoots) and will carry no warranty. This is normally clearly stated on the invoice. This warranty has been around for a very long time and covers the main mechanical components only. Generally labour costs or for the customers account, although in my experience this is rarely enforced and most dealers will go far beyond the written conditions of warranty to keep a customer happy.

Most people only look at the last column of figures in the book. What do all the numbers represent?

Most people who get access to the Auto Dealers Guide don’t understand the numbers and columns, nor do they read the the guidelines at the beginning of the book, which are actually very important. There is a general misunderstanding of what the columns of figures in the book mean: The Trade/Retail values in the 'book' are meant to indicate the following: 

How can I protect myself from being “caught” by a fraudster? 

This subject could be a whole book, but I will keep strictly to the point. 

Don’t do business with someone that you don’t know or have not been referred to by a reliable source. Easier said than done of course. Use your common sense and err on the side of caution.

In South Africa every car that is sold must pass a roadworthy test before it can be registered and licenced in the new owners name. In the past only municipalities and local authorities were allowed to perform this test. A few years ago the government expanded the programme to include private firms. Their charges are a bit more expensive than the government testing stations, but the service is far superior. One of the better and bigger companies is AVTS (Airport Vehicle Testing Station). There are many new firms all over the country and this has taken a lot of strain off the old municipal stations.

The inspectors have to undergo training with the SABS (South African bureau of Standards) who run regular inspections on all these stations to ensure that they are complying fully with the legislation.

Let's look at resale values a little more closely and I will try to explain how the market forces affect each and every product on the market. Some vehicles, like Volkswagen, Mercedes & Toyota for example, have excellent resale values - yet other vehicles don't hold their value as well. Why is this?

Who determines the book values we all hear about?

It is a mixture of SUPPLY AND DEMAND, product quality, and public perception. Supply and Demand is the primary driving force in every free market economy. It will ultimately override any 'book value guide'; government intervention, price fixing, or market manipulation.

Within each manufacturers products there are further anomalies. For example, just because it is a Toyota does not necessarily mean it will have high resale value. Certain of their model ranges are not good sellers - for example the new Camry.