READER LETTER OF THE WEEK
YOUR MONEY: How to calculate your best used car price
It’s not just a case of which car to buy second-hand that baffles customers, but how much to pay for it. Here’s a nifty calculator to see if you’re getting a bargain
I’m in the market for a second-hand car, with a maximum budget of R140,000, and though I’d really like someone to tell me what car to buy for that money, I know that’s a hard ask. Instead, as I’m now well acquainted with the offerings of AutoTrader, WeBuyCars and Weelee, I’d like to know how to work out what a reasonable price would be. This is because there seem to be fairly wide discrepancies in my target market, given mileage and age.
There is no perfect science to buying a used car, but there is a formula I have used with some success.
First, what mileage and age are considered old for a car? Not dead, just old? I think 150,000km or 10 years. The cars are still fine, but they’re definitely old. Then ask what sort of mileage you expect to do every year.
Say it’s 10,000km. Now, when you find a car you like, take the age of the vehicle subtracted from 10 years, and take the number of years’ driving until you hit 150,000km.
In other words, if the vehicle is six years old and has 120,000km on the odometer, you get four and three respectively.
Use the lower number (three) and divide that into the selling price, say, R140,000, which gives you an answer of R46,666.
If you do this on enough cars of the same make and model, you’ll soon see a trend on the pricing, all around the same answer. Then one day you’ll see one that is suddenly lower and hence cheaper; assuming there are no cons, buy that one.
— Simon Brown, JustOnelap.com
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