The huge demand and use of used cars in Nigeria is not new to car dealers and the Nigerian automobile industry. The constant inflation against Naira which has made the cost of new cars very expensive, has over time caused a change in consumer behaviour leading to the demand for used cars. Used cars are usually cheap, readily available and predominantly come in good condition. This is one of the reasons they are widely accepted by car buyers in Nigeria.
Used cars are categorized into two:
- Foreign used cars popularly called Tokunbo cars:
- Locally or Nigerian used cars
The case of maintenance and usage are key factors on how foreign used cars are more demanded compared to Nigerian used cars. More so, the bias Nigerians have over the use of any foreign goods, makes the demand for foreign used cars higher than Nigerian used. The purchase of any of the two also largely depends on the budget of the buyer as Nigerian used cars are relatively cheaper than foreign used cars.
When buying used cars – tokunbo or Nigerian used, it’s a common saying that it is either the buyer enjoys it or regrets buying it. To regret buying a used car in Nigeria, we provide you with some factors to consider before buying.
Do a thorough research
The first thing to do before purchasing anything, especially cars, is to research about the kind of cars you want, how they function, the pros & cons of the cars, etc. Ask people such as car bloggers, mechanics, or those who have used the same models to give you advice about the car(s). You can also make a list of cars to purchase, so you aren’t boxed up on just a particular car brand, except you have made up your mind to buy a particular brand.
You can also check for online reviews of the car brand and car dealers you wish to buy from. Don’t give room to guess work, research thoroughly and be sure you are satisfied with your findings. One key finding you can make is to know the resale value of your desired list of cars if you are a person who would like to resell the car after using it.
Determine your budget.
After carrying out your research, the next thing to do is determine how much you are willing to spend on a car. This is why it is important to have a list of cars of different prices so that if one is beyond your budget, you can get another which is within your budget. It isn’t advisable to over-shoot your budget and put yourself in financial pressure in getting a car ‘by force’. Adjust your budget to fit the cost of one of the cars in your list. If you are all bent on buying a particular car which exceeds your budget, you can agree on a payment plan with the dealer or save up to buy it.
The price is a crucial factor in deciding if you will be buying a particular car home. In order not to be outdone in the bargaining process, it is best to do your homework before approaching a dealer in used cars.
One method that has worked for several buyers of used cars is researching the cost of the brands they have in mind in relation to variables like the degree of damage and the extent of use. Also, some go as far as ascertaining if it was used on Nigerian roads or if it was imported into Nigeria. This gives you an idea of what the range of the selling price should be. You should also try to visit more than one dealer to know how each is selling his own car.
Consider the cost of maintenance
It is often said that acquiring a car is synonymous to marrying a new wife. This means the cost of maintaining the car to look good and serve you well must be factored in before buying it. The yearly cost of maintaining some cars can buy some other ones. In fact, some cars demand specialised maintenance such as the kind of engine oil used, etc.
Importantly, always consider the easy availability of parts in case of repair and replacements – some cars demand you always import their parts each time you want to replace them. So, it is imperative you consider all these things before buying.
Consider the Mileage of the car
The mileage of a car refers to the total miles covered by a vehicle especially in a given period of time.The mileage will disclose how long the car has been used, how long it has run and also how much it should be sold for. If you are to buy a car for instance in the USA, an average of 13000 miles per year is expected, 7000 miles for UK and 15000 miles for Canada.
As a general rule of thumb, 12000 – 15,000 miles a year is considered an “average” number of miles per year. So, a car that is five years old would have about 75,000 miles to be considered “average.” Anything significantly more, and a car is considered to be “high mileage.” Anything significantly less, and it’s a “low mileage” car.
But, don’t assume a car is in good condition because it has “low” or “average” miles — or that it is in bad condition if it has “high” miles. Many modern cars with 100K-150K miles are in great condition and will easily go another 100K. However, if a car has not been maintained properly and has been driven hard or previously wrecked, it can be junk with only 30K miles on the odometer.
It is also worthy to note that some car dealers tamper on the odometer to alter the mileage. This is used to deceive novice or ignorant car buyers.
Take a look at the Vehicle Identification Number
The V.I.N is a very helpful thing for you as buying a used car. It will show you the car’s history, even legal or stolen issues. So don’t forget to ask the seller for the V.I.N.
Go to the dealer shop with an experienced car user
An experienced car user like an auto mechanic should follow you to the place you want to buy the car from. The experienced personnel would know all the things to check and would advise you whether you should pick the car or not. There are lots of unreliable and untruthful car dealers out there, you have to be smart in beating them in their game.
Inspect the Car
You must test drive the car before you make a final decision. However, before test driving, there are many things to inspect; these things include but not subject to the following:
- Ensure the car is a flat surface before you take a look at it
- Check out the paint job and keep an eye out for dents, scratches and rust spots
- Take a look into the trunk to be sure it is still in good condition
- Don’t forget the tyres
- The frame of the car is crucial. if it is damaged, ask questions
- Look out for under-body rust especially if you can get beneath the car
- Have a look at the belts and hoses
- Don’t overlook any corrosion or leak
- When you pull out the transmission dipstick – If the fluid is not pink or red, there’s a problem
- What is the condition of the timing belt?
- Have a look inside the car to see if the air-conditioning system works the way it should
- The odometer is very critical as it shows you the mileage
- If the car has a computer in it, watch out for odd warning signs when you start the car
- Check out all the lights in and around the car
- Test the brakes by pressing down hard on the brakes to decelerate – Be careful not to overdo this to avoid sliding
- Be on the lookout for clunking sounds when driving and making turns
- Request for the car’s history.
Car is an important part of the average family life in Nigeria, so it is important to get one. However, you must be careful in buying used cars, be it Tokunbo or Nigerian used. If you follow all we have analysed here, you will definitely buy a very good used car and get a good return on your purchase.
Discussion about this post