The same rules apply for selecting the type of car you want as they do for purchasing a new car. It is important to note that it is extremely rare to find a car that is more than a year old and in perfect condition, so you should not expect to pay top dollar. As a result, the best way to purchase one of the monthly guides is to check the current prices.
Foreign cars appear to be particularly good second-hand buys because their value depreciates quickly from new. A used car can be purchased in three ways: privately, from a trader, or at an auction.
A private seller may also be a trader who works from home in order to avoid responsibilities. You can get a good deal at an auction, but you won’t be able to test drive it beforehand, and you’ll be competing with other buyers. If you are concerned about being ‘conned’ when you buy, ask the vendor if he minds having the car professionally inspected. Say goodbye if he does, but if he agrees, contact one of the monitoring organizations (AA Kenya).
If the recorded mileage is low, don’t be too impressed unless it’s certified by a dealer. If the car appears to be overpriced, inquire as to why; if the response is unsatisfactory, be suspicious. Take a look at the body first. If there is rust, it is possible that it was covered up or that the car crashed. Check for creases under the wings and the fit of the doors, boots, and bonnet. Check that the tyres are legal.
Remove the hood. If the outside of the engine is caked in oil and grease, there is most likely a leak and poor maintenance.
If you are still interested in the car and notice any flaws, use them as a bargaining point. Before purchasing from a private owner, ensure that he confirms in writing that he owns the vehicle and that no hire purchase payments are owed on it. Despite the fact that the registration sheet, which you must obtain at the time of purchase, is not proof of ownership, a hire purchase company cannot reclaim the car from you if you purchased it in good faith.
Finally, never buy a car that is more than three years old unless it has a current MoT test certificate—this will give you an idea of its condition.