Planning to acquire a used vehicle?  The first thought that should come to mind is the fact that the car has some history. People sell their cars for varying reasons. Some sell to acquire a new one, others sell because of a recurring mechanical, electrical or an out of shape car frame they are tired of dealing with, while a few others sell to get rid of old memories like accidents or the death of loved ones.

A car looks good does not mean it is in good working condition. Many people are not truthful about their reasons for selling their cars. It is quite important for you as a buyer to have a good mechanic run a thorough check on the vehicle before you conclude on any deal. This will help you ascertain the condition of the car and decide if it is worth buying or not. But first, you need to ask certain questions before making further moves so as to know if the whole process would deserve your time and effort.

  1. What is wrong with the car – This might sound like a cliché, however, you can never rule out this question during a purchasing process. Fairly used cars will most certainly have one or two issues that need fixing no matter how well the seller used it. It is important that you get the correct vehicle history report. Know what needs to be fixed and how much it would cost you to fix it. Any cost that goes beyond a certain budget might be a sign of a more underlying issue. Always do extra checks on the air conditioning system, engine, electrical system, gearbox, etc.
  2. Why are you selling the car – This is an all too important question but does not expect the right or sincere answer here. 75% of sellers are not always so truthful with this question. You need to trust your instinct when considering the sellers’ answer. Like I stated earlier, actual reasons could vary from selling to acquire a new car, because of a reoccurring mechanical, electrical or an out of shape car frame they are tired of dealing with, selling to get rid of old memories like accidents or the death of loved ones, and any other reason.
  3. Has the car been spray-painted a second time or it is the first body – This is a typical Nigerian question. A lot of people do not like to acquire a fairly used vehicle that has been fully painted more than once. This could mean a lot of things for different people. It could be that the car has been involved in an accident, or the car is older than the seller wants it to look. Either way, this could be a turn off for quite a number of people and might be worth checking.
  4. How high is the mileage and are you the second, third party buyer – Checking the mileage gives you a rough calculation of how long the car has been in use and how well or not so well the car was used. Most cars that come in from countries like the U.S always have higher mileage even if the car has not long been manufactured. The reason is that Americans love to go on road trips thereby covering long-distance and accumulating mileage on their vehicles. However, this could also be a red flag. Also, making sure the car has not been overused, sold and re-sold making you a third or fifth party buyer. This could mean you are purchasing a scrap car.
  5. Lastly, always verify the authenticity of vehicle documents before purchase, especially the custom papers. Every car imported into the country has to go through customs and must obtain customs declaration/papers. Every custom document has what is called a Custom Reference Number or C-number. This number is used to store every information concerning a particular car. In other to avoid fraudulent purchases from car dealers who smuggle cars in and make fake car papers, all you need to do is a request for the custom paper or C-number particularly and take it to any customs office to validate the genuineness of the car. This can save you from buying a smuggled as well as a stolen car.

When purchasing a Nigerian used car, make sure you double-check all your facts. Do not be in a hurry to buy until you have made all your findings as a car that has been purchased may be almost impossible to return to the seller.


Author: Emmanuel Effiong

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