Buying a pre-owned vehicle/2nd hand car/used car offers good value, but it also poses some challenges.
Buyers have the choice to opt for “certified pre-owned” (CPO) vehicles, to buy from independent dealers or individuals. CPO vehicles are inspected according to the manufacturer’s standards and carry a manufacturer-backed warranty that usually extends the length of the new-car coverage. They’re sold through licensed new-car dealers and typically have age and mileage limits.
Regardless of the selected option to obtain your pre-owned vehicle, here are the most important steps:
- Get the vehicle’s history
- Get the vehicle inspected
- Check market value and consider resale value
- check the registration documents and compare the chassis number and engine number (or the vehicle identification number (VIN)) of the pre-owned vehicle with the documents
In addition to the assessment by a reputable dealer, you want to check for:
- Check that the paintwork is authentic and also check for scratches, dents and rust.
- Tyres and brakes
- Look for worn or expired tires and check for and uneven wear as well as for reputable brands.
- Drive the car and check for good brake reaction and check that there is no steering to either side when braking.
- It should start effortlessly, else there could be issue with the battery or starter motor. Check for any signs of leaking oil or fluid. Both a too clean engine and a too dirty engine are suspicious. Run the engine for 10 minutes, any fluid leak will then become obvious, check for build-up of spots underneath the car.
- Beyond the initial turnover no smoke should be visible. For fuel engines: If you spot black smoke then this means that the engine is running “rich” (taking on too much fuel). If you see blue smoke then this means the engine is burning oil. If you spot either of these, walk away!
- On a non hot engine (!), open the oil filler cap and water bottle (radiator) cap. The water should be relatively clear or blue (allowing for traces of light dirt), and the oil cap should have plenty of dark brown oil residue on its underside.
- As part of the professional check-up, the cam-belt must be checked. Look out for this item on the check list (non-professionals will not be able to perform this test).
- Vehicle and service history:
- Check the full service history and all receipts available from repairs of the from the last years.
- Independent used-car information providers allow customers to download a vehicle history report to view the number of accidents a car has been involved in and other parameters
- Start the car and let it run for five minutes to check if the A/C works properly.
- On average, a normal usage car will cover between 25,000km to 30,000km a year – make a quick logic check. The higher the mileage, chances are the engine is wearing out, among other things like bearings, joints, and gearboxes.
- Check for sounds
- Go for a test drive and listen out for any squeaks and rattles, and anything that doesn’t sound “normal” is best avoided.
- Automatic gear box:
- The vast majority of cars in the UAE have automatic transmission. Gear changes should be smooth. If there is a notable “clunk” or you feel a violent shudder then the gearbox is not in good condition.
- Lights and switches
- Check the headlights, side lights, high-beams, indicators, hazard light function and interior lights.
- Check all the switches like electric mirror, electric window switches, sunroof, windscreen wipers + washer, etc.
- Check for wear and damage
- Check the audio system
- Stick to cars meant for UAE roads (GCC specifications)
- Avoid modified cars
Share your story