10 bad things in a used car for sale that would make me never buy it


Posted by: 234DRIVE x NAIJAUTO.COM

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There are a lot of wrongs I see in used cars, but these 10 instantly make me run off from buying the car.

I get called upon many times with conversations that go like this; "Crank, please help me go and check one car I want to buy". Some people even pay me to do it, just to show you how important thorough inspection of a car you want to buy is. 

There are some flaws you see while inspecting a car that can still be fixed. Not every flaw should make you think it is a bad deal alright I have taken time out to make a compilation of 10 bad things in a used car for sale that would make me never buy it. These should also be the 10 signs that you shouldn't buy that cheap used car you are about to inspect.

10 things that should scare you away from buying a used car in Nigeria!

1. A Smoking engine

A car that its engine is smoking while on sale is definitely a very bad buy, my friend. There is an 80 % chance that it is why the owner is trying to sell it off in the first place. If you go ahead to buy this car at the normal market price, you will have to change a very important engine component after your mechanic overhauls the engine. 


White smoke from car exhaust is a bad sign

There is a 50-50 chance that you would change the complete engine to restore the car to normal. I am imagining the kind of embarrassment you will suffer when you buy a car with a smoking engine.

It makes no sense sir/ma. Just abandon that car unless the seller promises to fix the fault from the money you pay him for the car sales.

>>> You might also like to read: Different types of smoke from the exhaust system & their meanings

2. Excessive Steering Noises

Steering Noises happen for many reasons but there is one hack here that shows you if the noise is a potential threat or just a small issue. Once you notice that the car is making noises whenever you try to steer, check the power steering oil if it is on a proper gauge.


Steering noises are not hard to hear at all

If it is gauged and it still makes noises then there is a problem with the steering system. If the steering fluid is below the minimum level, then buy the steering fluid just to confirm that it is just the fluid that is making it produce weird noises.

One of the best ways to detect the steering noise is to turn the steering while the gear is in 'park'. This way, you would know the true state of the steering system. 

3. Engine with obvious leaks

When you open the hood of a car, and you notice that the top of the engine has oil dripping from the joints then I think you shouldn't buy the car. If the oil is dripping from under the car or any other place apart from the body of the engine block then it is easier to fix.


Leaks like this should make you run

Why is leaking engine oil from an engine block a sign you should not buy that car? Well, there is a possibility that the engine block has a crack.

If you go ahead and buy this car, you might have to change the engine. Another reason for this leak can be a bad gasket or engine seal. Should in case you buy this car and the gasket or seal is not the fault, you will be sorry for going ahead with the deal.  

4. Car with deflated Air Suspension

Once you come across the cars with air suspension and their 'wahala' in Nigeria, I think you should avoid it simply because it is a used car. Cars like Range Rovers and Mercedes-Benz with faulty air balloons cannot be hidden from customers. You will see it clearly that the car has lowered itself abnormally.


These cars and their air suspension are expensive when they have been badly maintained

Sellers of used cars purposely reduce prices of cars with faulty Air Suspension to attract buyers. Do not fall for it. The reason why the balloon deflated might re-occur even after you get it fixed.

Another option is to buy the car and convert it to normal spring suspension but this defeats the purpose of buying this car.

5. A Luxury/Sports car that is not starting

I have seen scenarios in Nigeria where a high-end luxury/sports car on sale still gets buyers even when it doesn't start. This is because the price is so attractive to buyers and they think they can easily get the car fixed in Nigeria.


Because it looks this exotic does not mean you should buy one that does not run

A Bentley that doesn't start is as dead as a Bentley that does not exist. It takes a huge chunk of luck to get a high-end car that is not starting to work run normally without spending more than the amount it was bought.  

Do not be like me that bought a BMW car that was not starting for ₦100,000, spent ₦75,000 on the car and trashed off the car just 2 months later.

As our people say "awoof dey run belle" which means, all that glitters is not gold. If you want to buy a Jaguar, save up Jaguar money, don't look for ways to buy a Bentley Continental GT with Toyota Camry money.

>>> Opposite idea: Why one should buy a luxury car in Nigeria?

6. A cracking dashboard

A car with a cracked glass can be fixed but if the dashboard cracks, it is almost impossible to fix. I would not buy a car with that kind of extreme damage because it makes the car lose its interior value.


You can cover up the crack with clothes but when you want to resell no one will buy

7. A Motorsports/Stunts car

You should never buy a car that was being used for stunts and motorsports activities because they are very unreliable. The only reason you can buy these cars is simply to use them for the same purpose they have been serving.


Stunts car are not meant to be bought for daily use

You should know how extreme stunt cars get driven? you cannot buy a car like that and now start driving it daily. It will disappoint you.  

8. Cars badly repaired from accidents 

You might not have heard this before. Salvage title cars that were involved in accidents often get repaired by joining major parts from another car of the same type. This Camry below had an accident that affected the trunk/boot area and to fix that. Another Camry's trunk was cut and welded to the accident affected Camry to bring the car back to life.


The trunk from another car was welded onto this Camry

This is an improper repair technique and it means cars like this can no longer be safe for driving. Once you notice a car has been cut and joined at some points then you should not buy. If a major collision should happen to the car at the point it was joined, the car will easily split up.

9. Cars previously used by a transport company

In Nigeria, it is a general belief that most private and public transportation companies do not maintain their cars properly. They just drive them 24/7 while making maximum profit and once the car starts showing real problematic signs, they sell it off to you that is looking for a cheaper used car to buy.


Cars that served as public transport cars are not good used cars to buy

Once I notice a car on sale has served a transportation purpose in Nigeria, I simply take my leave from the deal.  

10. Luxury car with no custom duty 

Cars with no customs duty no matter how beautiful it looks can put you in real trouble. Nigerian customs seize both regular and high-end cars weekly due to a lack of customs duty.

Any car shipped into Nigeria must have customs documents showing that it is legally free to roam about on public roads. This is a vital part in the process of clearing and shipping cars into Nigeria stated by the Government. 


A Range Rover like this without Customs will be seized. Don't buy it!

These customs guys seize any car, no matter how expensive it is. There is no point in buying a car without customs. Make sure the seller processes the customs documents from the money you are paying.


Now that you know the 10 bad things in a used car for sale that would make me never buy it, you should also adopt them as a marker for yourself when you want to buy used cars for sale in Nigeria.

Recognizing this pain, Naijauto.com - one of the top online platform in Nigeria with the number one standard in transparent car verification and state-of-the-art technology provide you with the top experience shopping for used cars in Nigeria. Check out our list of thousand cars for sale now!

On Naijauto.com, we constantly keep you in the loop with up-to-date car news, and all you have to know to stay above water as a motorist in Nigeria. 

>>> Stay tuned to Naijauto.com for more interesting reviews and car price articles like this brought to you by our auto experts.




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Crank - the head of content for 234DRIVE is a mechanic/car enthusiast/car vlogger that writes and creates relatable motoring experiences. Whenever he lays his hands on any car, he reviews them in depth. He calls himself the 'Educative Car Guy'.

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