How to buy a used car in Kenya. Tips and guide

Used cars at Ngong road Jamuhuri car bazaar

Buying a used car exposes you to potential risks. The risks range from mechanical problems, legal and financing. Well buying a new car shield you from these risks. However, second-hand cars remain popular among young drivers due to their affordability.

Therefore, if you are thinking of buying a car, there are high chances that your option is second-hand. It is important to note that there are two types of second-hand in Kenya. Namely, foreign used and locally used.

Foreign used vehicles are what most Kenyans “mistakenly” call “new.” However, this is not the case, these cars are brought into the country after they have been used in a foreign country.

The locally used are vehicles that have been used on Kenyan roads. They are either bought from car assembly plants in the country or were imported as second hand.

The focus of this article is to inform you on how to buy a locally used vehicle. Below is a detailed guide on how to get along with purchasing your dream second-hand car.

Read more: How to transfer car ownership in Kenya

1. Have a budget

Start by having an estimated budget for the car that you want to buy. Well, your source of funds may be your own saving, loan or gifts from friends and parents.

Your ability to afford a car also depends on the terms of payment. In a hire purchase terms, the monthly repayment seems little but in the long run, you end up paying a lot of money.

Therefore, it is advisable to budget what you have to avoid costly deals.

Read also: Cost and types of vehicle insurance in Kenya

2. Make of the car

Basically, you want to buy a make that can serve you well and reliably. The makes in the market range from Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Ford among others.

Toyota seems to have the largest market share in Kenya followed by Nissan and Honda. The three are efficient and reliable on Kenyan roads. It is however important to consult an experienced driver or mechanic.

Other things to look for in second-hand cars are; year of manufacture, body type, mileage, engine capacity, transmission, drive (2 or 4 wheels), and the number of seats among others.

Read also: NTSA Motor Vehicle Inspection: Checklist, Cost and Centers.

3. Consult your mechanic

Having an experienced mechanic when buying a second-hand in Kenya is as important as having the money to buy the car. A good mechanic is able to advise and pinpoint a car problem from a physical check and engine sound even before you go on a test drive.

Yes, the mechanic service comes with an additional cost but can help you avoid the traps of buying a used car that will always be at the garage.

4. Test drive

Although a mechanic can point out some issues on a still car a test drive is recommended. During the test drive the gear system, shocks and engine issues are investigated.

Also, check the brakes, listen to various sounds, and safety features (safety belts, airbags).

Read also: 5 causes of road accidents in Kenya

5. Due diligence on used car papers

Once you have settled on the car carry due diligence on the car’s papers. The process involves;

  • Obtaining a copy of the logbook (Proof of ownership) from the seller.
  • Verify the details are in order i.e if the log book is an original or Duplicate. If duplicate find the reasons why and ask for an abstract if possible as in some instances some people obtain loans using the original and obtain a duplicate which they sell the car using hence the potential of causing problems later.
  • Approach with due diligence if the logbook is a duplicate. Don’t make any payments until you verify details as to why. It is also worth noting that a duplicate has no problem in itself and is still a valid document to enforce a transfer.
  • The final due diligence is to undertake a vehicle search from NTSA. The search will reveal additional detail such as if duty has been paid, legal ownership or had been involved in illegal activity. This will cost you KSh 500.
A Log book, an important document during car transfer
An image of a log book which is an important document during car ownership transfer in Kenya

Read also: How to do an NTSA Motor vehicle and log book search in Kenya

6. Documentation and payment

Once you are satisfied and have settled on the price proceed to sign a sales agreement. The agreement is signed between the seller and the buyer but is witnessed by a third party. If you are not good at drafting an agreement seek the advice of your lawyer.

Once you have signed the agreement proceed to make payment. It is advisable to transact through the bank as there is evidence of a transaction.

7. Ownership transfer and car handover

The final step in car buying is transferring car ownership and car key handover. Of course, you will insure your car. It is worthy to note that you must have an active Transport Integrated Management System (TIMS) account from NTSA so that you can accept ownership.

Read: How to transfer car ownership in Kenya

Enjoy your well and diligently acquired second-hand ride. Remember when you are buying a used car you call the shot. Do not make decisions in a hurry or less you end up with a low-deal car.

Read also: How to import foreign used motor vehicles in Kenya