Purchasing a pre-owned car can be a challenging experience. There are many things to consider and you may not know where to begin, especially if this is the first time you are buying a car. Here are a few essential pointers that will make the entire process easier and less stressful.
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A detailed inspection is one of the most important factors when deciding on a pre-owned car. Below are a few important aspects to consider when you are carrying out an inspection on any car.
Make sure the car is on level ground
Before you begin the physical check, ensure that the car is resting on a flat and non-sloping surface. This will enable you to clearly examine the tyres and identify any visible defects under the chassis.
Carefully check the exterior paintwork for dents and scratches
Study the car surface from its four corners. Any waviness spotted in the body paint indicates new paintwork. Also, run your finger along the edges of the joints, between the panels, feeling for roughness which is created from leftover masking tape, another tell-tale sign of a recent paint touch-up.
Check the car’s odometer for mileage
This is important because mileage is a good general indicator of the car’s age. On average, a normal usage car will cover between 12,000 km to 15,000 km a year. However, this depends on many factors. Remember, cars age by mileage and over time too. So, buying a 10 year old car with very low mileage is not necessarily a good thing either. It is equally important that the owner has taken good care of the car and serviced it regularly as well.
Take a test drive before making the final decision
This is perhaps one of the best ways to understand the true condition of the car. Ensure you take the extra time to test drive the car first before you decide to buy it.
First things first, turn the sound system off, adjust your seat and mirrors to suit your driving style and choose a good route to test the car.
Certain critical points to look out for include are any warning signs on the dashboard instruments or any abnormal sounds or wind leaks? Check the air conditioning system for any noise or odour.
How does the car handle? Does it pull to one side, which could indicate alignment or balancing issues? How does the car handle around corners? How effectively does the car brake and how long does it take to come to a complete stop? What is the age and condition of the tyres? Is there any noise from the suspension when going over speed bumps? Are all cabin functions in good working order? Are there service records or service reminder stickers on the vehicle?
It is vital that you get a good feel of the vehicle before you part with any money.
Ask for the car’s service history
In most situations, the previous owner would have kept a record of the car’s service history and should be willing to share this information with you. Remember, the absence of a service history does not mean the vehicle is not a good buy, it just means that you need to be a little more cautious.
Verify if the seller is the car’s registered owner
To prevent the potential of a fraudulent deal, you should preferably buy the car from the registered owner or a recognized pre-owned car dealership like Stallion Africars.
Check if the car is free of any mortgage, fines or traffic violation
To prevent any unwanted surprises in the future, it is essential to ensure you purchase a car which is free of any outstanding finance. Also, check the car’s details online for any fines or traffic violations. Make sure the current owner clears all fines before you buy the car.
Other important points to consider
If you are the seller, transfer your vehicle at the registration office only after the transaction has cleared through the bank and you are in possession of the money. This will protect you against fraudulent cheques.
Save the receipt and details
Don’t forget to maintain a record of the transaction when buying or selling for future reference.
Beware of fraudsters
Be cautious of pre-owned car dealers who may pose as private owners of the car that is for sale. Their only concern is to sell the car at any cost, which should be a warning that something is wrong.
Check the country of origin of the vehicle. Some cars imported directly from overseas may not suit this region’s weather conditions, especially if they have not been upgraded to the correct local specifications.
Nigeria’s legal and regulatory authorities do not permit transferring an existing car loan to another individual. All car loans must be repaid in full prior to selling the car and if the new owner requires finance, they must obtain a new loan from a bank.