When it comes to selling a car, everyone wants the best price possible. Offers to purchase can often differ by about five to eight thousand rands. There are numerous factors that determine the value of a car and no two vehicles are alike. You could have 10 vehicles of the same make and model and each of them would have a different price.

Besides the make and model, the general condition and mileage of the vehicle have the next biggest influence over its value. Then, smaller variables such as accident damage history and service history also affect a car’s value.

Whether you are buying or selling a car, here are some of the variables to consider when assessing the correct value. Remember to be realistic about the price; if you’re selling, don’t set your expectations too high. If you’re buying, be sure that you’re getting your money’s worth.

Pay attention to the details of the vehicle

When valuing a car, it’s important to look at the small details. Read through the service history book to see if accredited service stations have been used. This usually means that quality parts are fitted to the car and that no shortcuts have been taken during services.

The service booklet can also show you what cities the car has been in, which can be an indication of the conditions of roads on which it has driven. There may also be receipts and invoices contained in the service booklet for broken windows, new tyres and panel beating repairs.

You need to determine what work has been done to the car and whether it has been in any accidents before. Check the door hinges for signs of bending and straightening, or look at the quality of the paint on each door panel to see if it matches the rest of the car. These are indications of panel beating work and can be a sign of minor accident damage.

Check the tread on the tyres and look at the condition of the engine bay. If you’re buying the car, these can give you clues as to what costs will be coming your way if you agree to purchase the vehicle. If you’re selling the car, these details will influence the price at which you are able to make a sale.

Consider the value of depreciation

On average in South Africa, a vehicle will depreciate by about one percent every month. A R200 000 car can lose around R24 000 in value in its first year. Valuers will take into account this natural depreciation and then look at the total mileage and condition of the car before making a final valuation.

Use this depreciation as a starting point for new vehicles, but remember the older the car, the less it depreciates per month. Do some online research into similar makes and models with similar mileage and see what price range you can expect. Cars in good condition will depreciate less but beware of online private auction sites where owners determine the own value of their vehicles. It is best to ask an expert or get advice from a specialised vehicle trading website.

How to look after a car and hold its value

Although all vehicles depreciate over time, there are still a number of things you can do to look after your car and keep its value. Firstly, keep it up-to-date with all its services. Replace and repair any damaged item a soon as possible. Investigate any funny noises such as squeaks, rattles and clunks. Use an authorised service station to ensure genuine parts are fitted to the vehicle.

Replace the tyres once the tread is wearing thin. Perform wheel-alignment as required – this will prevent your tyres from wearing out too fast or unevenly. Clean the interior and exterior often. Upholstery on the chairs and the carpets should be vacuumed often. If the headlights start to develop a yellow tint, rub some toothpaste on the glass with a clean cloth to remove the gritty build-up.

Avoid smoking in your car at all costs; the smoke can damage the interior and the smell is difficult to remove when it comes time to sell. These small tasks can really improve the condition of your car. They may seem like chores but they will allow you to sell your vehicle for more when the time comes.


Formex Industries is a metal forming and assembly company that supplies a variety of complex products to the local automotive industry and export market. The company is based in the Nelson Mandela Bay metropole, South Africa’s foremost region for automotive manufacturing and export.

Formex specialises in producing components for the catalytic converter industry, as well as metal components and assemblies for the various vehicles. Formex aims to become one of the foremost suppliers for the South African automotive industry by 2035, aligning itself with the South African Automotive Masterplan (SAAM) which takes effect in 2020.

Formex is a Level 2 B-BBEE supplier with over 80% black ownership, of which more than 40% are black women. The company is owned by Deneb Investments Limited – a subsidiary of Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (HCI) – one of South Africa’s biggest true B-BBEE companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

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