Second-hand cars are cheaper to buy than brand new cars; these are just tips to get you through your first buy

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By Vinta Njeri

Buying a car in Kenya for the first time can be a stressful task. This is even more daunting if the car is second hand. According to a survey by PWC, over 80% of cars bought in Kenya are used cars. The reason why many Kenyans tend to go for second-hand cars is because they are much more affordable compared to new cars.

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However, while getting a second-hand car will save you money, the process comes with risks and making the wrong choice can leave you spending so much money that you might as well have bought a brand new car. To avoid making a mistake, here are 5 basic tips to keep in mind when buying a second-hand car in Kenya.

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NB: The keyword here is basic; not all tips may work for your situation or others.

Is it locally used or used abroad?

Buying an imported second-hand car gives you the advantage of a fair price. Unfortunately, the main disadvantage is that you will end up waiting for months to get your car. The car also needs not to be more than 8 years old and must pass a safety and mechanical inspection.  On the other hand, a locally used car comes at a higher car ownership cost but you can buy a car older than 8 years.

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The car’s body

It goes without saying that how a car looks on the outside matters. The condition of the body says a lot about a car’s history.  Issues like cracked paint, droops and rough finish reveal a poorly done paint job and that the car was recently repaired.

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Also, check under the car; if there are fluids dripping, then there may be broken hoses and/or leaking tanks which will require mechanical attention.

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Spare parts

It will save you a lot of time and money if you choose a model that has easily available spare parts. Models like Toyotas and Nissans have spare parts available at the local car dealer shops. Other models may mean you will end up importing the spare parts which can be very expensive and time-consuming.

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Inspect the car

If you are not experienced with cars, get a trusted mechanic to inspect your car. He/she can check the tires, the engine, steering and suspension, brakes and the exterior of the car. An experienced mechanic will easily spot other problems with the car that the seller might not say.

Verify car details with NTSA

The NTSA/KRA Car Logbook search provides you details such as the name of the owner, make and body of the car, the colour of the car, engine capacity, year of manufacturer, registered Chassis number, registered engine number and registered logbook number.

All this information will cost you only KSh.550.


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