Buying second-hand car in UAE? 6-step guide steers you to deals

Eid is often the time residents of the UAE look to buy a new car. Post-Ramadan, the idea is to cash in on bundled offers given by most auto retailers.

Which means those looking at a new car will sell their current one and this opens up a fair number of choices for those looking to buy a set of second-hand wheels.

This is a good move if you are new to the UAE (with limited savings), if you are on a limited employment contract (two years or so), or, are just money-conscious by budgeting only a certain amount you want to spend on a depreciating asset. 

Recent figures by classified website Dubizzle show that over 800,000 people visit its autos section each month.

Here is a six-step checklist by online classified to help you when buying a used car.

1# Set the budget

First of all know your budget. Keep in mind the amount you intend to spend on the car you are looking at. The recommended amount according to experts is between five-eight per cent of the money you have in the bank.

This amount should also include other costs like insurance, maintenance and registration.

2# Have your down payment

Once you have the budget in mind get in place the down payment of the car if you are getting it financed. Full financing on a second-hand car is unheard of so factor in around 20-30 per cent of your budget for this.

If in doubt, check with your bank on financing used cars so you know how much money you can get and how much you need to put down.

3# Find the right car

Look for a car that meets your needs and suits your lifestyle.

If you are just a single person or a couple living in the UAE, there is no point in buying a seven-seater.

On the contrary, if you have a family with three kids it’s much more sensible buying a bigger car which has more room for the little ones and can accommodate their strollers and other things. A SUV is a preferred option than a sports car if you have children. 

Even though fuel in the UAE is relatively cheaper than many other countries don’t forget to keep in mind the amount you are willing to spend.

Keep in mind the distance you will have to commute each day and the number of times you will have to go to the petrol station.

If you daily work will take you to, for example from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, go for a model that will consume less fuel than one which will be a gas guzzler.

4# Do your research

Do a thorough search of cars you are considering buying. This will give you an idea about the car models current price in the market and will help you avoid paying too much.

Use newspapers, classifieds sections, websites and car garages to get an idea. Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.

If a car is being sold much lower than market price there is usually something wrong with the car, or it might have had its mileage altered.

If you are buying from an individual then compare the same model with a pre-owned cars dealer in the UAE like Automall. If the price is the same going with the dealer can be a sensible option.

5# Contact the seller

Once you’ve shortlisted the car, prepare your set of questions and contact the seller. Common questions asked during this stage are - how long have you’ve had the car? Why are you selling it? Have you had any accidents?

Have you had anything replaced? When is the last time it went in for a service?

Do you have the service history from the dealer or anything else that is relevant to the car?

Also, make sure that you will be allowed to take the car for an assessment and not just a mere drive.

6# Inspection

This is one of the most important steps. Take the car for a test drive and check its acceleration, deceleration, steering, brakes and check for any unusual sounds that the car makes.

Drive it over speed bumps.

Parallel park the car and try reversing into tight spaces to check the steering.

Check the exterior of the car. The upkeep of the car will speak of the engine maintenance and its overall health and a little bit of attentiveness can also reveal the difference between the original and a new coat of paint.

According to Al Futtaim Automall, you should carefully check the exterior paintwork for fading, rust, dents and scratches.

If you can feel a new layer of paint on top of the original paint, be wary of red flags. The car has probably been in an accident.

Examine the chassis of the car very carefully.

Never buy the car if there is any kind of damage to the chassis because that car will generally not be given a green light by car registration and inspection authorities, particularly in UAE, according to Yalla Motors.

Also look for rust, especially at the top and rear of the front wings, along the side sills, below front and rear bumpers and the bottoms of the doors.

Keep your eyes on the mileage and the state of the engine, which includes the colour of the oil, the quantity and colour of coolant and the kind of noise it makes.

Best would be to take it to a professional for a thorough check-up at a cost.

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