Getting the right choice of car as a female buyer can be difficult, especially in Nigeria. This has nothing to do with gender bias but could pertain to women not being able to choose properly when buying a car. While some ladies are familiar with cars and know what to look out for in a car when they walk to a car dealer or outlet, many others don’t.
Buying a car is an exciting thing, but you need to go carefully
If you are a female first-time car buyer or looking to enrich your knowledge, listed below are the things you need to watch out for when buying a car as a woman.
What to watch out for as a woman car buyer
1. Choosing the right car dealer or outlet
If you have spotted or know a trusted car dealer to purchase your car from, you might want to skip this part for the next. If otherwise, you are expected to do some background checks or research on the dealer you intend to purchase your car from.
Questions you should be able to find answers for are:
- How long has the dealer been in business?
- Do they have an online presence?
- Do they have any genuine positive reviews from previous customers?
- Is the business legally registered?
- Do they have a locatable offline office?
Whether online or offline, the dealer's authenticity ensures you are not buying a stolen vehicle from a car thief. Even if someone refers a dealer to you, don’t completely put your trust in him/her immediately; do a background check.
2. Is the car stolen?
No matter how much you trust the car dealer, the first thing you should look out for in your desired car is if it’s stolen. Though this may not apply if you are buying a new car, it does if you are going for a tokunbo car or Nigerian used car. Stories abound in Nigeria about unwary car buyers purchasing a stolen vehicle. Also, since it is so easy to track a stolen car in Nigeria, you can get into a lot of trouble with the police.
To verify if the car is stolen, you should ask for the car's original custom documents from the dealer. These documents should contain the VIN and chassis number, which you can take to the customs office to verify after paying a token amount which should be no more than 5,000 Naira.
Another way you can check if the vehicle is stolen is to check if the car has been repainted. This is because most car criminals do repaint vehicles after stealing them. You should carefully look at the edges and the bonnet for color differences.
Yet another way to tell if you are about to purchase a stolen car is to check the car's glass windows for a tiny embedded inscription of the plate number. Some car owners do this for safety purposes. If you see the engraved numbers and the plate number is different from it, it should stir up your suspicions.
A stolen car bought by mistake is a whole lot of headache
3. Is the engine perfect?
A bad car engine means that the car is almost completely useless. It will be disappointing that you purchase a car only to end up repairing or changing the engine; it’s a complete waste of money. Check for engine rust, excessive smoke, and a loud or abnormal sound coming from the engine.
If you are not sure of the engine's state, take a trustworthy mechanic along when buying the car. Ensure the mechanic's judgment is unbiased and, if possible, has no personal link with the dealer. Some people say buying a car used by a woman is the best choice. You may want to look at this if you are buying a locally used car.
4. Test drive and observe
One paramount thing you must do as a female car buyer is to test drive the car before purchasing. The appearance of a car does not determine its performance. Through test driving the car, you can find any car fault that you thought were not there. Watch out for the following:
- Before you test drive the car, check the engine or the bonnet to see if it’s warm. If it is, don’t test drive it because the car has been warmed up already. Warmed up engines or cars can cover up any car issue. Therefore, your test drive should be done on a cold engine. This will help you to notice the issues the car is having.
- The steering wheel is expected to be in a perfect state. As long as the wheel can be flexible, it should not be running freeway when driving straight, and neither should it be vibrating, especially during acceleration and braking. Also, the steering wheel should not be stiff and correspond to the movements of the car.
- While test driving, don’t turn on the radio or music. Pay dominant attention to any weird sound like banging, whistling, creaking, or jacking. Usually, these sounds indicate that there is something wrong with the engine.
- How good is the brake? Depending on how long a car has been sitting in the showroom, one or two applications can help clear the car from any rust. However, if the brake is extremely stiff, feels weak, malleable, or won’t stop the car, then this is a big red flag. When test driving the brake, ensure you are wearing a seat belt, a safety helmet and that nobody is behind or in front of your car.
Staying behind the wheel gives you great insight into the car's real health
As a single woman buying a car, this may not be your concern, but if you are married with kids, space should be one of your major requirements. Look out for cars with enough room for kids, groceries, and stuff because you will be using the car with your kids.
Think about extra hauling space if you are not single
6. Further safety
The brake should not be the only safety feature you should be concerned about. Check for other car safety parts like airbags, seat belts, and car tethering systems. When it comes to your car's safety, make no compromises, and instead stand by your choices.
7. Avoid being intimidated
As a woman, a car dealer might want to talk you into buying a car with faults, do not fall for it. Some dealers may go as far as telling you that a certain issue is because the car has been sitting for long in the showroom, don’t succumb to this. You should also know how to bargain with confidence. Check out the 7 effective ways to negotiate the price of a used car to give you the strategies you need.
Ever noticed women prefer small cars? We thought we'd serve up a selection of delectable small cars in this video:
Video: Top 10 Small Cars
It's not rocket science to buy a car, even as a woman. Be sure you read up and find out all you need to make a good choice. Naijauto gives you great articles as you will see from the links below.
Finally, as a woman buying a car, if you feel you can’t discern a car issue from the guide above, then you might consider going to the dealer outlet with someone. Whether male or female, the person should be very knowledgeable about cars. If possible, take a trusted mechanic along.