Thinking of Buying a Used Car? Read This First

Question

I’m considering buying a used car (Hyundai ix35). But before buying used car I want to check it, and need some advice. Docs and car condition can be described over the phone, but what are the most important things I need to know? How to check if this car is stolen? I’m new to car buying this is first car I want to buy.

Thank you for useful recommendations.

CARMAN

balamutinc@gmail.com

ANSWER

Dear Carman,

Used car purchase in a country like Nigeria requires very strict and careful consideration. Reason: safety of many imported used vehicles had been compromised before they got shipped to the country. This is not an attempt to discourage you from owning your first car. It is rather a matter of life and death as well as security.

Therefore, if you are resident in Nigeria, my first advice to you is to consider getting your car through franchised dealers. Many accredited  dealers sell cars to the nation’s motoring public, including fleet operators or corporate bodies, who in turn use the car for couple of years and return them to the accredited dealer in exchange for new ones. Before a franchise dealer put up the old car for sale, it is properly checked for rust and dents and, if necessary, engine is reconditioned.

But here is one that would scare you, if you are not a suicide seeker! Many used cars imported from America are are death traps. I’ll tell you why.

  1. Recalled vehicles: Many of the vehicles could have been recalled for dangerous factory defects, while the owners simply sell them as second hand. And desperate Nigerians, who want to make money at all cost import same crap to Nigeria. They look neat. But guess what? They might have been equipped with killer Takata Airbag, which US government had ordered to be removed from the system. So how does that affect you? In case of an accident, a defected Takata airbag will explode like a bomb, sending out sharp shrapnels, that hit driver on the face of neck, making him or her unconscious or bleed to death. This has been major cause of death in cases of road accidents, not simply overspeeding, as the Federal Road safety Commission sometimes make you to understand.
  2. Accident vehicles: What certain unscrupulous elements import into the country are accident vehicles of which chassis strength had been compromised, in which case they become weak. And in case of head on coalition, no occupant of the vehicle will be safe, as they’ll be flattened.
  3. Stolen Vehicles: Another problem is that some of the cars might have been declared stolen in their countries of origin. So if you buy such, you may end up getting yourself into trouble sooner or later.

Therefore, you are safer buying your car through Nigerian accredited franchised dealers  or its first owner, who is resident in Nigeria or any other country. But you must be sure of the latter. For instance, upon inspecting the car, you need to confirm the owner’s identity, address and phone number, in case of Nigeria.

What to Look for

Even if you are buying from the first owner or a dealer, it is advisable you go with a mechanic or at least a friend, so that you can both check for things like body rust, state of engine, doors, glasses, upholstery, electrics, among others. Ensure you go for inspection in a broad day light so that you could spot scratches. Be on the lookout for cracks on windscreen.

No matter how small, it would continue to expand, and in near future can be costly for you./ But if it is a mere stone chip, it is nothing to worry about, although, if I were you, I would factor that into price negotiation.

Find out if stolen

Although your mail does not indicate your country of residence, you can actually find out whether or not a car has been stolen by logging on to the Federal Road Safety Commission’s NVIS website (http://nvis.frsc.gov.ng/). Entering the plate number of the car to a space provided on the website will return all details of the vehicle.

NVIS (National Vehicle Identification System) was introduced in 2011, as a unified system designed to automate the processes involved in the Number Plate Production and Vehicle Registration. The system is open to members of the public who are prospective Vehicle Owners, vehicle owners or representatives of States, Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

But for an imported used vehicle, be on the lookout for grinded engine number or chassis number. Check the doors, rims, side mirrors, windscreens and all lights for engraved number. If there is any, compare it with the car’s original registration number.

An imported used vehicle, should come with Vehicle identification Number, Engine Number, chassis number and vehicle serial number that have not been tampered with. To check, simply type the VIN of the vehicle into the search bar of Research.com or a similar service. The company will then check their database and provide you with a vehicle history report, which will include the stolen vehicle status of the given car.

Every car has a VIN, which is usually made up of 17 characters. It can be forged. So rather than accepting what you get from the seller, especially if you are buying from Europe, simply check for yourself, looking at such places as lower-left corner of the dashboard in front of the steering wheel, inside the driver-side doorjamb, in the rear wheel well directly above the tire, front of the car frame, near the container that holds windshield washer fluid, front of the engine block or underneath the spare tire.

Inspecting State of the Car

Before buying a used vehicle, notwithstanding where you are located in the world, it is advisable to go for inspection in company of a competent mechanic/technician. And if you live in Europe and a member of AA, if you contact them, they would send you a competent technician, who would assist you to inspect and check the car before purchase.

It is here we shall end today’s edition of Auto Clinic, only on Motoring World International. Please watch for another interesting edition, featuring illuminating answers to your mailed questions. Indeed, because mailer of the question treated in this edition is interested in Hyundai ix35 as a first car, I shall give a brief advice on what to expect from a second-hand ix5 as against its competitors. You won’t miss this, if you do not miss the next edition of Motoring World, Nigeria’s purest motoring magazine.

Until then, please be careful out there.

Dear Motorists,

Dear Motorists, have you experienced any intractable motoring problem from your automobile? For an explanation, solution or guide, send me an email, indicating the brand, model and manufacturing year of the vehicle. Please give as much explanation as you can about the problem.

And before you leave your home in the morning or embark on any long distance trip, check your tyres, ensuring there is no over-inflation or under-inflation. And also ensure you are not driving on expired tyres. Be safety conscious.

Automan

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