I made these 5 dumb mistakes when buying used cars


Posted by: Chris Odogwu

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Buying a used car can turn out badly if you are not well informed on things to look out for. See the dumb mistakes when buying used cars I've made and learn to avoid them!

We all cannot be a genius overnight. Before we get to that place where we know it all, we might fall mugu or act like a JJC. Knowledge of buying used cars does not come by default. It takes some years of experience of buying used cars or empowering yourself with adequate knowledge from the experience of those who have gone through that path.

In Naija, used cars are up for sale in every corner. Even on your street, you might know one or two people who want to sell their car. One cannot be stuck with a particular car forever; it rotates from one person to another until the car’s lifespan reduces to zero. That is where the problem lies. Buying a used car whose lifespan is either zero or approaching zero is like buying trouble with your money. The wahala you will experience is on another level. In fact, you might even end up abandoning the car so it would not kill you. This might seem funny, but it is the reality.

Below are the most common mistakes when buying used cars our customers report, shared with you on Naijauto.com.

1. Inspecting the car in the dark

Who buys a car at night? Well, people like me did. Looking back at it now, it seems like the dumbest thing in the world, but I did not know any better at the time.

The used car you want to buy will certainly not be in a fancy showroom with bright lights for you to see it clearly. It will most likely be parked in the seller’s backyard or the mechanic’s shop. Where the car is parked is not the concern. The concern is, can you see the car clearly? Be wary of sellers who ask you to come checkout the used car you want to buy late in the evening or at night when there is no light for you to see it clearly. If they want you to inspect the car with poor lighting, it is most likely because they are hiding something, and do not want you to figure it out.


You may miss important parts even in broad daylight, let alone in the dark

Carrying ten tough lights to inspect the car will not give you a thorough view of it. If you cannot check the car during the day, just forget it.

2. Buying ancient cars

I made the mistake of buying a convertible top manufactured in the 80s. If only I knew better, I would have avoided that car like a plaque. Before long, it started developing faults, and finding spare parts for replacements became rocket science. They were nowhere to be found.

Ancient cars should be left where they belong; in the past. If you buy an old car just because you fancy it, get ready to embark on a Gulder Ultimate Search for its spare parts. Count yourself very lucky if you find the parts.

>>> A must-read checklist for those buying used cars: Used vehicle inspection - the ultimate checklist

3. Too much repair

Your used car should be ready for use right after you buy it. If only I got this advice before paying for a car that required so much repairs. By the time I was done fixing the car, I had spent almost half of the cost price. If a used car is bad, the seller should do all the necessary repairs before putting it up for sale. Do not take up the responsibility to do that.

Of course, they will tell you that the repairs will not cost much. Do not believe it.

Video: 12 Things To Check Before Buying A Used Car

4. Ignoring signs of rust

Rust is an enemy to a car’s body. The smallest rust could spread out to other areas of the car, ruining the body completely. You probably like the car so much for its uniqueness or low price. And there is that little voice telling you to ignore the rust and take it because you might not find a better deal anytime soon.

A used car is not going to be as clean as a brand-new one, but it should not have rust on it either. When rust starts showing up, it is an indication that the car is approaching zero lifespan. If the seller is a serious person, he/she should have ensured that the rust is gotten rid of before showing you the car. If they could not make the effort of fixing it, why should you spend your hard earned money to fix it?

>>> You may need this: Amazing steps of removing rust from your car without wielding


Little rusts like this spread out eventually

Another danger about rust on a car is that, the visible one is just a tip of the iceberg. There are bigger ones in hidden areas. You will only get to see them after you have paid for the car and taken it home. Then, you will be stuck with it, and it might be too late to return it.

5. Paying too much

No matter the brand of a used car, it is not meant to cost so much because it is used. Do not make the mistake of comparing the price to that of a brand new one. Negotiate very well. Beat down the price to the barest minimum. Otherwise, you will feel the brunt if you want to resell it.

>>> Discover more useful car buying and selling tips on Naijauto.com!

Chris Odogwu

Chris Odogwu

Car events

Chris Odogwu is a Content Writer and Journalist. He holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from University of Jos and a master's degree in Mass Communication from University of Lagos. His works have been published in top local and international publications including Forbes, HuffPost, ThriveGlobal, TheNextScoop and Nigeria360 among others. A member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), the thrill he gets from writing about exotic cars feels almost the same as riding in them.

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