Used Cars: Purchasing Tips That Will Save You Millions

  • File photo of used cars in a yard
    File photo of used cars in a yard
  • For the last two years, the supply of new vehicles globally has been on a downward trajectory while purchasing prices have skyrocketed, forcing most people to go for used cars as the best alternative.

    Used cars offer potential buyers an opportunity to get on the road without the hefty price tag associated with brand new ones.

    But, even as the deal for used cars seem better, there are a number of things one must consider to avoid losing millions of shillings in the purchasing process. has outlined a basic checklist to help motor shoppers of used cars make better decisions and get great deals.

    Cars at a yard awaiting auction.
    An image of imported cars in a yard.

    History of the vehicle is an important factor for consideration. One should get more information from the private owner and further conduct research on the type of car and its specifications. At this stage, a shopper should run a vehicle identification number (VIN) through a recognised service provider. This enables one to know if the car has ever been involved in accident and other models of the same car that have been recalled by the manufacturers.

    Frame issues also matters a lot when looking for a car to buy. The buyer should ascertain whether the vehicle is well framed by paying attention to the undercarriage, numbers, inside the trunk, the hood and even check for bolts. This clearly indicates if the car's body is fit to hit the road.

    The engine is the most important part of a vehicle. Before agreeing to a second hand car deal, it is advisable to pop the hood and visually inspect the engine to determine if it has fluid leaks, corrosions, cracked hoses and destroyed belts. 

    Also, a buyer should check for oil and transmission dipstick for discoloration. Good oil transmission system should be light brown while the transmission fluid should be pink or red.

    Another factor to consider is the paint of the car. Any rusty spots should be well checked. Despite the fact that many of them can be repaired, totally rusted metals would end up costing more in replacement.

    A car which has racked up more mileage has a higher possibility of having high mechanical problems. Repairing mechanical components may end up costing more than the expected amount especially when the gear or transmission systems are destroyed.

    Tire condition also determines if the car is roadworthy or not. A buyer is advised to check if the four tires match as poorly aligned ones affect the steering system, suspension and even leads to frame issues.

    Interior electronics also are an important factor when buying a used car. Apart from the radio, air conditioner is more important as it helps regulate heat in the car. Faulty electronics may end up costing the buyer more.

    Upholstery in a car can be expensive to replace. A buyer is advised to check the seats and interior fabrics for cracked leather and torn parts.

    Other than the physical features of a car, before paying for a used car, one should seek advise from a mechanical inspection company to ascertain if the vehicle is in right shape. Mechanics help identify whether the vehicle has any underlying mechanical problems.

    After inspection, the vehicle should be taken for a test drive. This helps to determine the performance of the vehicle, saving the buyer from incurring other costs in future.

    A newly imported Toyota Vitz
    A newly imported Toyota Vitz.
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