Things to check before buying a used car

9 Min Read

Finding used cars that meet your needs can be a challenging task but with proper research and planning, one can easily inspect the car and check its quality before going forward with the decision to purchase it.

Unlike a first-hand car, a used car sometimes has issues and therefore demands a detailed inspection. A thorough inspection will not only help you to buy used cars in Kenya but will also ensure your peace of mind.

Let’s have a look at some tips for buying used cars in Kenya.

Find a Car that Suits Your Budget

The pre-owned vehicle market offers cars in multiple segments. Choose the segments which suit your budgets before moving forward. Affordability isn’t about how much you are willing to spend but finding the suitable car that suits your needs within a reasonable price range. Many car dealers display detailed information about their products online.

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Check through multiple websites offering pre-owned cars or simply visit a showroom. Make a thorough comparison among different cars and check for the prices to make sure that they are not being overpriced for the given car condition.

Know the Rules

The Kenya Bureau of Standards makes it mandatory that the age of the vehicle being imported should not exceed 8 years.

The imported used car has to pass a safety and mechanical inspection before it is allowed for registration and to drive on the roads of Kenya.

An import declaration fee (IDF) has to be paid for clearing the vehicle through the Port of Mombasa. The worth or value of the imported used car will be used to calculate the custom duty rates. 

Vehicle History and Paperwork

A mere glance is just not enough to tell whether the car is in good condition or still needs some sort of repair. However, if you are buying it from a trusted brand or car dealer, you will be provided with a proper inspection certificate that gives you an assurance that the car is in “as good as new condition”.

A trusted dealer will be fully cooperative in the process of vehicle inspection and will make sure that you are fully satisfied before buying used cars in Kenya. Affordability and reliability are key to buy used cars in Kenya.

Examine the Condition of the Car

To ensure that you choose the right car for yourself a comprehensive assessment is crucial. You can follow the steps below:

Analyze the Car Condition

The owners usually don’t reveal information about the precise condition of the car and this has become a general practice these days especially when a car has undergone some kind of major repair. Your vigilance at this stage is important.

One way to check whether there is any major repair is to look for the gaps between the car body, the door, and the tailgate before you buy used cars in Kenya. Also, the gaps between the bumper, fenders, hood, and headlights. Initially, the gaps are designed to be exact and even on either side of the car. This practice will give you an idea of the actual car condition and also glimpses of the history of the car.

Check the car paint Quality

Sometimes used cars are repainted in order to give them a “new look” this is again a general practice and hence it is important that you check the quality of material used for painting the cars. If low-grade materials are used for painting the cars then they should immediately be discarded and it can cause body surface damage at a later date.

Check the uneven paint coverage around the car body; there could be damaged lacquer, fading paint, or any other fallacy that hampers the original look of the car. Although small scratches or dents on the car body can be avoided, big welding marks or a damaged chassis are not something to be taken lightly. There could also be fillers underneath the paint on the car done for the purpose of hiding major anomalies.

Inspect for Rust

Further go on to investigate, if there is any abnormality over the surface of the body of the car. A thorough inspection will include lifting the car to a height in a way that the lower body of the car is also visible. This will give you a clear picture of the quality of the car as the rust on the body of the car if any will be clearly visible. A thorough look at the door sills, wheel arches, the part connecting fender and door sill, tailgate door, etc. will be a good way to start as these are the major hotspots for these concerns.

Inspect the Tires

Checking the car tires is also one of the most important aspects of car inspection. Worn-out tires are very unsafe and shall be avoided at all costs. Check for the grooves on the tires which are a clear indication of the tire condition. Sometimes in proper alignment of the tires causes damage and makes it unfit for further driving.

Check for misaligned wheels by taking a test drive and see if the steering wheel vibrates or shakes at high speeds. If your vehicle pulls more in one direction while driving, then the wheels are not properly aligned. Whether there is a slight pull or a sharp pull in one direction, both signs imply faults in the car and that the car is not worth purchasing.

You should check the tread pattern of the tire since it indicates the grip of the tire on the road. Tread depth has to be a minimum of 1.5m as it increased the safety and life of the tire. The tires shouldn’t also make squealing noise since it is an indicator that the wheels are rotating at the wrong angle.

Inspect the Exhaust System:

Make sure that the exhaust system of the car is not rusty, as rusty or corroding exhaust system can result in major trouble in the future giving rise to issues like wearing off brackets, worn-out mufflers, etc. You can lift the car as well to check the exhaust system, but this will be a time-taking and tough thing to do, and you have to take the aid of a car lift or a professional car expert to do that.

Check the airbags

There is also a way to check the condition of the airbags of the car. Having a functional airbag is crucial and can even save your life from serious accidents. Usually used cars that have covered many miles already have issues with the airbags. Their fore the possibility of dysfunctional airbags shall always be ruled out.

Ask for the Original Vehicle Documents

Last but not least cross-verification of all the documents is essential before taking the car to the roads for driving. It is known to everyone that driving a car without necessary documents is illegal. And hence shall be avoided at all cost. The Traffic Laws Act binds the car owner to have a car insurance cover in order to drive on the roads of Kenya. An ideal car insurance policy for a used car is third-party car insurance coverage. This kind of car insurance is relatively affordable with a hassle-free renewal process. This third-party insurance coverage financially and legally protects you against the damage caused to a third party.

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