A vehicle’s value starts dropping from the moment you drive it out of the showroom. As the years go by, it is more prone to wear and tear and it will need more repairs and parts. If you are unable to afford a new vehicle, you might think that it would make more sense to get a used vehicle. This might be more practical and pocket-friendly, but at the same time you do want to get the best value for your money. And you definitely do not want to make frequent trips to the nearest service center because you need to get repairs done.
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind if you are considering buying a used car
#1 Carefully Examine the Exterior of the Car
The condition of the exterior will give you an idea of how carefully the previous owner has maintained the vehicle. A paint job can point to coverup of accidents that the seller has failed to mention. Roughness of the paint caused by leftover masking tape can be the sign of a recent touch-up. Running your finger between the joints and the panels can give you an idea of how smooth the paint is. Check the surface for any scratches, rust, fading and dents. While one or scratches are fine, you do not want to end up with a car that has had a major accident and has had repairs to the engine or the chassis
Hamid Moaref, Marketing Manager of Orange Auto says, “It is never advisable to buy a vehicle that has experienced any damage to the chassis as it is unlikely to be passed by the car registration and inspection authorities in the UAE.”
#2 Check for rust in all areas
It is important to carefully check for rust in all areas of the vehicle, especially in case the vehicle is more than five years old. The weather in the UAE is quite extreme and if the vehicle has not been maintained well, it is quite likely to have rust in a few spots. The key areas to look for rust are below the front and rear bumpers, along the side sills, the bottoms of the doors and at the top and rear of the front wings. Even a tiny amount of rust can mean that there is more severe corrosion elsewhere. If there is a cracking noise when you press a panel, it means the car is just not worth buying.
#3 Check the mileage
This is a nobrainer. The odometer, unless it has been tampered with will tell you a lot about how the car has been used. In general, a car will cover between 25,000km to 30,000km a year. In addition to the mileage, the age of the car also matters. So, if it has not been driven much, but is quite old, that might be one purchase you want to skip. The way the previous owner has taken car of the car also makes a difference. While some people carefully change the oil and service the car at regular intervals, others take care of the car only when it acts up
#4 Examine the Engine
Ideally, the engine should be neither too clean nor too dirty. If it is too clean, it is quite possible that a cleanup has been done to cover negligent care. If it is too dirty, that means the owner could just not be bothered to take proper care of the car. Check how the engine sounds when you take the car for a test drive, the level and colour of the oil, the coolant and the general state of the engine.
#5 Ask for the service history
Any responsible owner should maintain a detailed record of the service history of the car, especially if it has been imported and has Japanese or American specs instead of GCC specs. Many American cars would have their VIN number on the dashboard and a quick online check can reveal whether the car has been in a serious accident or is a salvage vehicle. If there are stickers with the details of the original US dealer or the original registration, the Abu Dhabi Ministry of Interior website is likely to have details of the car.
If the owner has not taken the car to be serviced at authorized service centers and does not have a service record for the car, it would be advisable to get the car checked out at a reputable garage before proceeding with the purchase.
#6 Stick to cars meant for UAE roads
The climate and terrain in the UAE can be extremely tough and hence, it would be better to stick to cars having GCC specs. Imported cars that do not have GCC specs can cause trouble later as their specifications might not be able to meet UAE requirements. Many such cars that are imported are salvage cars that might have been damaged by floods, hurricanes or serious accidents and have been written off by insurance companies. You need to ask yourself if you want to spend your hard earned money on junkyard trash.
As in every transaction, when you are buying from private sellers, it is a case of “buyer beware”. It would be wise to take the car for a test drive and get it thoroughly checked by a reputed garage before you spend your money.