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Struggling with car debt? Take action now!

Aug 23, 2021

Struggling with car debt? Take action now.According to the Experian Consumer Default Index, repayment of car debt has shown a marked deterioration as the extended Covid-19 lockdown puts South Africans under more financial pressure.

Marc Friedman, CEO of car sale platform Weelee.co.za says that to avoid a repossession, cash-strapped vehicle owners need to react promptly.

“If you think that you might struggle with fulfilling your car instalment obligations, be proactive and start making a plan now.”

Weelee.co.za provides the following tips for car owners who are struggling with their car debt.

Put all your cards on the table

Compile a detailed budget with an accurate reflection of your income and expenses. Be realistic about whether you can afford your car’s repayments, running costs, maintenance costs and insurance.

Be as lean as possible

In addition to trimming items on your household budget, try to make your current car more affordable.

Examples include shopping around for a good RMI-accredited provider to service your car professionally, but more affordably, with OEM parts; buying more affordable, but still good-quality tyres; and making sure you use all the benefits offered by your maintenance plan and other value-added services.

Consider all plans

If you are in good standing with your financial services provider, try to negotiate different terms, such as extending your loan duration to reduce repayments. This may incur more interest, but you’ll be able to keep your car.

If you’ve been retrenched, consider using your credit insurance or income protection plan, if you have one, to carry you through times of crisis.

Sell it now, buy something better later

Sell your car and scale down to alleviate the financial pressure, saving any surplus for a future deposit or using it to settle other debts.

Don’t accept the first offer

Be savvy when selling your prized possession. Research the going rate for your car properly. Don’t simply settle for the first offer, and make sure you get maximum cash for your wheels.

Consolidate multi-car households

Consider letting go of one or multiple cars to either scale down on the number of vehicles, or to buy something more suited to your financial and lifestyle needs.

Be vigilant

There are many criminals, who often pose as buyers, ready to pounce on unsuspecting sellers. Only use screened, trusted dealers and properly secured platforms.

This article first appeared in City Press.

2 Comments

  1. Good morning

    Thanks for the article. My situation is different. I took car finance in January 2021 for a Hyundai creta, to repay over 72 months with no deposit. I have just revised my priorities and I want to return the car and buy a smaller one. What kind of penalties will I face with the bank?

    Regards

    Reply
    • There are no specific penalties because you car settling the car debt. However, you are still fully liable for the current outstanding amount. As you took a 72 month repayment period it is most likely that you owe more on the car than it is worth (due to depreciation). So there may be a shortfall on what you can sell the car for vs what you owe. That shortfall will be added to your new car finance. So important to run the numbers. Keep in mind the lower fuel and insurance costs on the smaller car when doing the calculation.

      Reply

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Maya Fisher-French author of Money Questions Answered

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