Buying used cars can be easy | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Buying used cars can be easy

Posted: Mar 23, 2016 at 8:36 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Hazeez Balogun, Lagos

There is nothing that beats a new car. For one, that new car smell is something to be cherished while the car is still new. You are also sure that the car will at least work perfectly for some time before developing any issues. But we can’t all purchase new cars, and the economic situation in the country is not helpful as well.

The next best choice is to buy second hand cars. They are cheaper, and since they are cheaper one can choose from a wide variety. With a new car, you are bound by the money in your pocket, but with used car, any particular amount can get you a variety of cars. The only problem with used cars is the condition. Questions ‘like what happened to the car that the previous owner decided to sell it?’ comes to mind.

There are two types of used cars. We have the ‘Tokunbo’ which are mostly cars that are used abroad and are shipped to Nigeria. These cars are usually the best options. They are usually better maintained by the previous owners and since they are used on better roads, shock absorbers and other mechanisms are usually in good order. Most of these cars are brought in from the US, Canada and Europe.

The other type of used cars re the Nigerian used cars. They are usually cheaper than the ‘Tokunbo’ cars. Due to our poor roads, they could have some issues. However, there are people who have their cars in top form all the time. There are also some that requires just a little bit of repair before use. So it is usually advisable you buy used cars with a mechanic in tow.

With the variety of options to choose from when buying a used car, people are often advised to be patient and vigilant to ensure they choose their ideal vehicle. When in the market to buy a car, multiple trips to car dealers are taken or one looks out for the ‘Buy Me’ sign. These trips can be time consuming and quite stressful especially in a city like Lagos.

Today, buying used cars is now less stressful. With the advent of online marketing, goods including used cars can now be purchased with ease. Online classified platforms like OLX have made things easy.  The process has been simplified and one can view several cars for sale with information on their specs, price, brand and model all from the comfort of their home.

On such sites, used car dealers are allowed to use the site as a portal to display the cars they have for sale. Most of these sites however do not do pre-checks on the cars, so it is left for the buyers to make sure what they are buying is good enough for them. These sites have terms and conditions which absolves them from any fraudulent acts from users of the site. OLX seems to be the only site that makes pre-checks on goods.

Despite the few risks involved, online is still a very good space to buy a car. Opeoluwa, a Lagos based lawyer remembered his experience when he was ready to buy his first car. “OLX had proven to be a handy website at the time when a few friends and I were interested in taking out a lease in Lagos. I noticed then that the website had a vibrant automobile section, so I took a gander and eventually purchased the car”

Ope added that his experience using the platform was seamless. “The prices on the platform were very reasonable and the most amazing thing is that I have not had a problem with the car since I bought it”.

He also admitted that the online marketplace like other sites has had its share of scammers but noted that with the safety measures recently being implemented by the management of OLX such as physical verification, collaboration with the police, amongst others, scamming has become a thing of the past.


Things to check before buying a used car

Most car sellers are registered. Though people are free to sell their own cars, it is usually safer to buy from registered dealers.

You can should also examine the car at night or in bad weather. This will tell you if the light is good and there are no leakages. If it is not rainy, you can volunteer to pay for a quick car was for the car, this will expose holes and leakages.

Fresh undercoating can hide a multitude of sins. If the car has obviously been sprayed very recently, you might be buying problems lurking under it.

Bumpers and panels needs to line up. These can indicate a car that’s been in a collision. Look for possible signs of repair, including areas that are a different colour, trim pieces that look newer than the rest, paint overspray, or ripples in the body.

Do a road test. Don’t consider buying any vehicle that the seller won’t let you take for a drive. Be wary if the vehicle needs to be boosted or otherwise worked on before it will start, especially if you’re told that ‘it started fine yesterday.’

Puddles and smells are bad indications. Check for leaks in the engine and on the floor the car sits. Also be wary of Missing or incorrect paperwork. If you’re buying the vehicle certified, examine the safety certificate.

Check the mileage on the package with the car’s odometer. Lower mileages are better.