Don’t feel spare about checking that tyre – and other must-ask questions of a used car salesman


As thrilling as it is buy a “brand new car”‚ most South African motorists simply can’t afford to‚ or see more value in a used car — sales of financed used cars outstrip those of new cars by more than 2 to 1.


In the first four months of 2018‚ 91‚290 people bought what some in the industry term “pre-loved” cars‚ versus 43‚601 new ones‚ according to Transunion‚ which tracks data relating to financed car deals.

And no doubt very‚ very few of those used car buyers would have thought to open the boot and check that the spare tyre was in a good condition‚ much less that it matched the car.

Fumane Molefe‚ 26‚ bought her first car‚ a “pre-owned” Hyundai i20‚ from a Hyundai dealership in Pinetown‚ outside Durban last November after “doing all my homework”. It worked out well for her until early April‚ when she got a flat tyre.

“That’s when I realised that the spare tyre that came with the car was not only used and patched up‚ but the wrong size and wouldn’t even work on my vehicle‚” she said.

“I’m told this is a common problem.”

When she reported this to the dealership‚ she says‚ the salesman was “baffled” as to how the car had passed its pre-sale checks with the offending spare.

“But eventually I was promised that a new spare wheel would be delivered to me by close of business the following day.”

Six weeks of failed promises and fruitless visits to the dealership followed.

“I am extremely furious now‚” she said. “I stay in Umlazi and work in central Durban so going to Pinetown is covering a bit of distance‚ using my own petrol — it’s been costly and a huge inconvenience.

“And I’m worried that the next time I get a flat tyre I won’t be five minutes from home and I’ll be stranded somewhere without a spare wheel.”

Molefe was supplied with a new‚ correct spare wheel this week‚ after TimesLIVE took up the issue with the dealership.

“We have apologised to the customer for any inconvenience caused to her and assured her that this won’t occur again in the future‚” a spokesman said.


*It’s essential to check the spare wheel when buying a used car‚ and note the make and size on the sale paperwork.

That way‚ you’ll not only avoid discovering that it’s not a fit when the car gets a flat tyre‚ but the dealership won’t be able to claim that the car was sold with the correct spare‚ insinuating that it was switched at some point after the sale.


– Does this car have its original service book?

– Do you have its spare key?

GET IN TOUCH You can contact our consumer columnist Wendy Knowler with your queries via email: or on Twitter: @wendyknowler.

Wendy Knowler – TimesLIVE

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