Nigeria is a country where middle and low income earners make up the majority of the population. More than 70% of people in this income class are unable to afford luxuries like a brand new car and as a result, opt for used cars.
However, buying used cars is a kind of tricky business because while some are lucky enough to make good buying decisions and end up with cool, solid rides, some others are not so lucky. If they are not scammed, then they end up with ‘melons’ which prompt them to start saving up for a new ride within few months.
So how do you make the right decision and buy a good vehicle that would serve you perfectly? Well, that’s the secret you are about to read.
Where to Buy
There are quite a number of places where you can get cars at unbelievably cheap prices in Nigeria. You can even get cars for as cheap as N200, 000 (and no, it’s not a scam — they are real genuine cars). Some owners sell cheaply due to the distress sales or because they want to upgrade to a better car. Some of the places where you can find such offers include-:
- Nairaland: The Nairaland Autos section is a good place to hunt for used cars and access some cool deals from real people. There are dozens of car dealers on Nairaland as well as regular car users who need to sell off their vehicles. So whether you are searching for a Nigerian used (Registered) vehicle or an imported used vehicle, you would find it all on Nairaland.
- Autotrader: Another good place to look is www.autotrader.com. Although not a Nigerian company, lots of Nigerians have purchased vehicles cheaply on the website. There are a lot of cheap options there and after making your choice, you would only need to contract a shipping agent in the USA to help you get the vehicle down to Nigeria.
- Nigeriacarmart.com: This is another e-commerce website where thousands of car owners and buyers gather to sell and purchase vehicles.
There are also tons of websites where you can purchase used vehicles like olx.com and carxus.com to mention few.
Create a budget
It is important that you know how much you are willing to spend on your vehicle and create a budget for that purpose. You should also try to find out what regular market prices for used vehicles are, in order to prepare you for a good bargain.
Check reviews of different brands
Some vehicles have very good second hand values while some don’t. It is therefore important for you to search for reviews on the second hand value of different cars to decide which brand would be best for you. Some very rugged brands that are good for the Nigerian roads include Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Peugeot and Toyota.
Look out for vehicle mileage
The mileage of a car says a lot about the car. It shows the level of use and lifespan of the vehicle. It is usually advised that buyers of used vehicles should avoid vehicles with a mileage of more than 160,000.
Check vehicle history report
This is common with used vehicles bought abroad. You can use the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to check the vehicle’s history. This would reveal a lot to you about the vehicle’s ‘past ‘ like whether it had been involved in an accident in the past, major damages and changes to the vehicle and several other relevant information.
Talk to the seller
It is important to have a chat with the seller before making a purchase. You should ensure that you ask questions like “why are they selling?” What are the major repairs to be done after purchase? As well as all other necessary information that would prepare you for when you start to use the vehicle.
Schedule an inspection
If you are satisfied with the seller’s explanations and the vehicle’s history, you should schedule a vehicle inspection. Ensure that you go along with your automobile technician or someone else who is very knowledgeable about vehicles and engines.
Next, you should organize a test drive of the vehicle. Ensure that you simulate different driving conditions and patterns and carefully observe the vehicle’s responses. Once again, it would help to have a professional by your side to help you form an expert opinion on the state of the vehicle.
Never allow yourself to be intimidated during the negotiation process; ensure that you bring all your negotiation skills to the table and cut the most favorable deal for yourself. Never pay above the regular market price for any vehicle and don’t allow any smooth talker to sweet-mouth you into an unfavorable deal.
At this stage, you have to be extremely careful. It is advisable that you carry out all transactions through the bank to avoid being scammed.