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17 April 2024

Buy a used car like a pro, the five-step programme

Photo: File

By Staff

You’ve certainly heard it before, used cars are a better deal! New cars lose a lot of value from the moment you drive them off the lot; up to 15% and you can never look at a car as an investment, unless you’re willing to hold on to until it’s a classic car, but it would need to be a special one for that to happen.

Used cars help you skip the steep initial years of depreciation, but the purchase can be quite daunting. We’ve all heard the horrific stories of sudden break downs and other scandals.

You may end up saving a couple of thousand dirhams up front, and lose a fortune on repairs! So how do you get a good deal while staying safe?

You could save yourself the headache and buy from an online marketplace; such as CarSwitch.com, a complete automotive portal that inspects and warranties every seller’s used car and walks you through the entire buying process to keep you protected.

In case you still want to do it yourself, the CarSwitch.com experts have put together their top 5 tips for car buyers out there, so you can shop like a pro!

1) Find the ride that suits, you! With over 500 unique car models out there, consumers are left with overwhelming choice.

Fortunately, little is left to curiosity with endless online reviews on everything from horse power to leg room space comparisons.

Seeing is believing though, so once the search is a bit narrower be sure to test drive the model and feel it on the road. Visiting a multi brand dealer can make it easier to try a few models in one place, after which you can hunt down a direct seller to get the best deal!

2) Know the in’s and out’s. Once you’ve prioritised a model or two, get to know the specifics. First off, learn the trims the model comes in (the trim describes the specifics of the model from engine size to feature set).

Secondly, understand the price new of each trim and the price difference between different trims. This helps you establish a baseline for the fair value / price, so you make sure you don’t pay the full option price for a basic version

3) The hunt begins. Now that you know what you want and what it is worth, it’s time to find one! You can opt to buy from the official agency or other dealers, you’ll likely pay a premium but have a physical place you can return to if something goes wrong.

Alternatively, you can buy direct from an end seller to get the best value, though you won’t have a complaints department to go back to! Unless you are purchasing through CarSwitch.com as though it’s direct from an end seller; they warranty the car and help you through the process

4) Inspect, inspect, inspect! Whichever option you chose, always have the car inspected by someone you trust! CarSwitch.com inspects hundreds of cars every month, including cars from established dealers (on customer request), and they find it’s always worth it!

Beyond the obvious checks for service history, odometer integrity, body damage, and operability of functions, the inspection helps you identify the mechanical condition of the vehicle (e.g., engine / transmission leaks, hose swelling or damage, rust) the true condition of the body (e.g., repainting of any panels to reveal accident history), and impending service needs (e.g., tyres, brake pads, break disc replacement needs).

Additionally, you need to know whether the car you’re opting for is rated as GCC-spec, or is an import from the US, Europe or Japan, for example.

We have harsher conditions here and cars imported from outside are not necessarily the bargain you think they are; they might look like good value but might require some hefty modifications to bring them up to this countries standards

5) Get the fair price. It’s indeed a buyer’s market at the moment and so play that to your advantage! Here’s where the inspection pays off, adding up the cost of repairs or impending service needs provides a factual justification for any discounts.

You need not worry about the hassle of getting it inspected, just ring up CarSwitch.com and they’ll visit the seller and inspect it for you for Dh300.

Alternatively, invest in a visit with the seller to a garage you trust. If that’s not enough to get to a fair value, instead of negotiating in a vacuum show the seller a link to a comparable car at a lower price

Undoubtedly, used car shopping is a bit of work but it’s a substantial investment for most and so certainly worth the effort. If you are strapped for time, as we all often are, try for a certified used car from CarSwitch.com.