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12 Things To Do Before Buying A Nigerian Used Car




buying a Nigerian used car

With the high foreign exchange rate, many have resolved to buying Nigerian used cars in order to cut down their purchase cost. However, there are several challenges that may occur when you buy a car that has been used in Nigeria as many of these cars are put up for sale when the current owners are tired of keeping up with their problems.

These are some of the questions and checks you need to carry out when buying a Nigerian used car:

  • Do a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) check: This will enable you to verify if it’s a salvaged vehicle as well as the type and extent of damage. It will also reveal the actual mileage to prevent you from buying a car that reads 75,000 miles on the odometer while the actual mileage is 250,000 mile.
  • How long has it been driven in Nigeria and how many users: The longer the period, the higher the wear and chances of malfunction. You will also be weary of a vehicle that has had several owners as they may have sold the vehicle due to an inherent problem.
  • Why is the car being sold: This will protect you from buying another man’s problem. Many sellers will say “it’s due to vehicle upgrade or relocation”. However, their response to this question should not be taken hook, line and sinker.
  • What problem is the current owner experiencing with the car: You need to know this because several cars are sold due to electrical and mechanical issues. You also need to know the major repair works that have been carried out on the vehicle? E.g change or overhaul of engine, change of transmission, bodywork etc.

See Also: 1 step you must never skip before you buy a car in Nigeria

buying a Nigerian used car

Pix: Jalopnik


  • Inspect the body and car components: Do a thorough physical inspection of the body, bonnet, interior cabin and boot. This will enable you ensure there are no loose parts, the AC is working, all the engine hoses and cables are intact etc.
  • Idling and engine performance: Allow the car to run for some minutes on idle without pressing anything and study the engine’s performance for stability. Repeat this step with the AC turned on and the throttle slightly pressed in order to check the performance of the engine.
  • Test drive: Take the car on a test drive on a rough road (to check the suspension) as well as the highway (to check the handling and ride smoothness).
  • Check the shafts if the car is powered by the front wheels (Front Wheel Drive): Make a left and a right U-Turn while accelerating to check the shafts.
  • Verify current ownership and documents: Verify the actual owner of the Nigerian used car by checking the vehicle papers against his or her valid ID card. You can also double-check the vehicle papers presented to you at the licensing office to ensure they are genuine.
  • Check other documents: You need check the custom papers to ensure due process was followed in clearing the car through customs. This will prevent you from buying a smuggled vehicle.
  • Second opinion: Seek a second opinion, especially from a professional if needed and make sure you only use a trust worthy mechanic for inspection as some will connive with the seller for a fee. In this case, his opinion will be biased and he will also earn more money when you start to come for repairs. Therefore, you might be better off using someone that is not your mechanic.
  • Seller’s mechanic: It is a good idea to have the contact details of the seller’s mechanic to enable you ask more questions before and after the purchase.

The more questions you ask, the easier it is for you to discover contradictions if any.

Have you ever bought a Nigerian used car? Kindly add more car check ideas in the comment section.

buying a Nigerian used car

See Also: 9 Mistakes Car Buyers In Nigeria Usually Make

If you think about cars, think AutoJosh. Ask us any car related question in our forum section and you will get a response ASAP. Check Nigeria custom import duty for 5,300 cars only on AutoJosh. Real-time automobile news, articles, driving tips and many more. ...Your mobility, our priority.



  1. SamO

    June 18, 2016 at 14:30

    Robust and very useful information. I found VIN (vehicle identification number) check very useful in particular. It has informed my decision in buying used cars and I believe it can assist anyone looking to purchase a reliable used car that can get you from point A to point B with no ‘wahala’ (headaches) along the way!
    @AutoJosh “Expect the Exceptional”…

    • AutoJosh

      July 29, 2016 at 16:56

      Thank you Sir

  2. beamzy

    June 19, 2016 at 06:52

    Thanks @Autojosh for the information!

    • Chukwudike Victor Anieze

      August 17, 2017 at 08:49

      Good day boss. Very useful info here. How do I know if the engine is in good condition or has gone down. Gearbox too.

      • AutoJosh

        August 17, 2017 at 09:05

        Get your mechanic that has a car diagnostic scan tool to scan the engine, gear as well as the entire car. You can also know when you test drive the car. Try to observe the engine response, delayed gear shifts etc. Check the idling as well (leave the engine to run for like 5 minutes with the AC on and off without pressing the throttle)

  3. Sam

    January 1, 2019 at 20:26

    So informative. AutoJosh, I am planning to get my first car and am looking to get a Toyota Avalon tok or Nigeria used 2005/2006 model. Like I said, it’s my first time, I don’t really know if there are problems that Are peculiar with Avalon cars in Nigeria. Please advise

  4. Sam

    January 1, 2019 at 20:30

    So informative. AutoJosh, I am planning to get my first car and am looking to get a Toyota Avalon tok or Nigeria used 2005/2006 model. Like I said, it’s my first time, I don’t really know if there are problems that Are peculiar with Avalon cars Nigeria. Please advise

    • AutoJosh

      February 9, 2019 at 12:56

      Sorry for the late response. I’ve been out of work and just resumed today. Toyota Avalon is an amazing car and we don’t expect you to regret buying one except you’ll have to drive it through bad roads frequently as it’s a low car.

  5. Joseph

    June 9, 2019 at 19:36

    Please autojosh, I am planning of buying a well maintained 2012 Corolla bought brand new from elizade motors 7yrs ago which signifies the car was assembled in South Africa.

    I want to know why Nigerians detest such Corollas and how the performance for that car is.

    • AutoJosh

      June 10, 2019 at 13:28

      From the feedback we’ve gotten, some people believe the Corollas that come from USA are stronger than those from South Africa. They also have issues with part incompatibility sometimes.

  6. Osb

    March 17, 2020 at 17:50

    I am planning on getting an Honda eod for hustle, Nigeria used p..pls advice..a big risk .. I would have bought Camry pencil but I hate the interior …and am not on an high budget..please advice

    • AutoJosh

      March 19, 2020 at 18:02

      What hustle do you intend to get the car for?

  7. Joseph Lanre

    May 13, 2020 at 11:35


    came across this blog and i must say it is very informative! Thanks!

    I am looking to get my first car a Hyundai ix35 but can only find Nigerian used (I have been advised to make sure i buy a foreign used car)

    Please have you got any personal advice and what’s your opinion on the durability and management of the Hyundai ix35

    Thanks looking forward to your reply.

    • AutoJosh

      May 18, 2020 at 15:29

      The Hyundai ix35 is good and reliable. We always recommend foreign used. However, you can try Nigerian used if you are well aware of the history of the car.

      • Joseph Lanre Folorunsho

        May 21, 2020 at 23:45

        Thanks for your reply!

        Really appreciate the feedback, ended up going for a Ford Edge as there were many more foreign used options as opposed to the Hyundai Ix35

        Love the blog! very informative!

        • AutoJosh

          May 26, 2020 at 20:26

          Congrats and thank you for the feedback. We also appreciate you for being a part of our esteemed audience.


  8. Nelly

    November 7, 2020 at 07:17

    My name is Mr Nelson. I have a car (Toyota Corolla 2010) I wish to buy in Nigeria. According to the car dealer. The was purchased through auction from American and he told me that the car had just a minor accident at the from and rear bumper. Am still in doubt if he is telling me the whole truth. I wish to know if you guys can help me the thorough verification about the previous condition of the car so that I don’t buy a car they will give me issues.Am looking forward to hearing from you.

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