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.
- 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.