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10 Tips For Purchasing Used Cars

10 tips that would help you when you want to buy a used car. If you don’t know about cars, you can be cheated by car dealers or Private seller who would be haply to let you have his or her problems, while paying for it.

1. Research About Your Car Of Choice: After you see a car you like, research about it online, ask your local mechanics (more than 2) about how much the engine, transmission, lower control arm, oil servicing, any problem to watch out for? etc. One of the mistakes prospective car buyer make, especially inexperienced or first timers, is that they see a car that tickles their fancy, their neighbor drives or some other person and voilà! That is what they want to buy. To purchase a car is one thing but the maintenance cost is to be taken to account. Chances are that you may change your mind about the particular brand you like to make another choice in the long run.
Recall that we listed 24 Cars You Should Never Buy

2. Find The Vehicle Of Choice: After you have have a general background information about the car, find where you can buy it. You may want to buy foreign used or Nigerian used (be careful when buying Nigerian used automobiles). You can find your car of choice at car stands, along the road or even travel to Cotonou (Well, the border is closed now).

3. Go With A Good Mechanic: When buying foreign used (also called direct Belgium, or tokunbo), go with a good mechanic or person who is well knowledgeable of the particular brand you want to buy and the mechanic’s workshop must be very far from where the car is sold. This is because, mechanic near where you want to buy a car may not tell you the truth, even when you are paying him to inspect the car for you because he may know the seller. Be sure that the mechanic has a car scanner to scan the vehicle for hidden faults.

4. Checks: Be sure to check under the car for rust, so that water doesn’t enter the vehicle when you drive through a water puddle. Check for oil leaks, car paint/body, and general checks.

5. Test Drive: You never can know all the hidden problems until you drive it. Start and drive it and check if the gear selects well and the suspension is ok or not. Remember, the more repairs to be done on the car further drives down the price during negotiations.

6. Inspect The Vehicle Particulars: Whether the car is Foreign used or Nigeria used, be sure to demand for its Customs papers, among other documents to be given to you to inspect. If it is a Nigerian used car, be sure that it is up to seven years since the car is registered or the seller must provide among other particulars, its Customs papers, that is, If you don’t want to run into trouble with Customs officers or have your car impounded.

7. Get the Means of Identity o f Seller: Make sure that you get a photocopy or crosscheck the name of the seller with the documents and let him sign the necessary papers, like change of Ownership agreement, receipt and so on. Where the seller’s name is not on the documents but claimed he owns the car, demand a police report or Change of Ownership agreement/receipt he got from whose name is on the car documents. You do not want to hear, “I lost that document”, etc. Beware, stolen car can land you in jail.

8. Do A Vehicle Identification Number Check: You must not pay immediately you see a car or done checks. Copy the VIN number of the car, usually imprinted on the driver’s door and go online to check (but this may not give you full history of the vehicle) or contact people that can do it for you. There are a lot of them online, especially http://www.nairaland.com .
VIN checks shows if the car was stolen, flooded, caught fire, accident vehicle and so on but it shows you the car’s report when it was used abroad, especially in the USA. When buying Nigerian used, VIN check may not show if the car was stolen somewhere in Nigeria as we do not have good database system in this part of the world.

Illustration: VIN is a combination of letters and numbers used to identify an automobile

9. Get A 7 Days Warranty From Seller: We know, it is not the seller that made the car but before you make payment, ask him to give you seven days warranty, and he should write it on the Change of Ownership or receipt that you can have your money back if you discovered that the car isn’t “sold as is”.

10. Pay For the Vehicle: When you have done your checks and convinced about the cars, faults to fix or if it is in pristine condition, negotiate and pay for the vehicle. The seller’s asking price can be negotiated down by considering the cost of the repairs to be done but be reasonable when negotiating. Collect all the keys, particulars and security codes (if any) of the car.

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