Used cars for sale by owner in Nigeria: where to buy?


Posted by: Chris Odogwu

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Used cars for sale by owners in Nigeria are among the cheapest options of buying used cars. And they can be your reliable road partner in many years if you know how to get a good one. Here in this article we articulate the practical tips shared by experienced buyers.

Car business is thriving in Nigeria. Despite the tight economy, mobility is a necessity. Nigerians strive to sort their mobility needs by acquiring decent cars. There are several ways of purchasing cars in the most populous black nation, but buying used cars for sale by owner in Nigeria is among the most preferred options when buying brand-new cars is on the high side.  

With the high import duties imposed by the federal government on car importation, buying cars from overseas has become more difficult. That's why Nigerians are turning to the most convenient options at their disposal.

1. Cars for sale at cheap prices by owner - why Nigerians love it?

If you're a used car buyer, you will definitely understand why Nigerians love buying cars for sale by owner. The primary reason doesn't lie in the cheap prices of the car but more than that. As an experienced car buying & selling platform in Nigeria, Naijauto put here some reasons why the locals opt for cars by owners:

  • Buying cars for sale by owner is the best way to grasp the exact car conditions

Clearly, direct interaction with the owner is the ideal way to know all the details of the car such as mileage, maintainance history or even driving habits of the ex-users.

  • Purchasing car from its owner can help to avoid salvaged cars

It is no news that salvaged cars dominate the stock of used car dealers now. That's why most people, especially the green hands in car market, prefer the safe choice of buying car for sale by owner.

  • Here comes the CHEAP prices

Of course buying car from its owner would cost much less than buying at dealerships. When a car is sold at dealer, its price tag covers both its real value and the profit for the dealer.


When it comes to auto market in Nigeria, used car marketplaces are the busiest

  • Used cars for sale by owners can be cheap AND GOOD

There’s the misconception among Nigerians that all used cars for sale by owners are in poorer condition. While there are some elements of truth in that assertion, it isn’t always the case. Sometimes, a car owner might be selling their car because they need money urgently to take care of some pressing needs and have to sell the car at a giveaway price. Such needs include: medical bills, rent, debt, marriage, relocation etc. In such situations, the car being sold might not be faulty. The owner is just in a tight corner.

  • Tokunbo cars can sometimes actually be Nigerian used cars

You've saved up for year for a tokunbo cars, hoping that it will give you the peace of mind its Nigerian-used counterparts can't? Think again!

Recently, police has arrested a four-man gang from their different hideouts in Lagos who specialize in stealing Nigerian owned cars then transporting it to Benin Republic. There, they will refurbish the auto models to make them look like Tokunbo units. So the money you spend on buying foreign used car is actually paid for a stolen Nigerian used vehicle. We can't even be sure whether these criminals change the car's components to cheaper spare parts or not.

That's why buying cars for sale by owner is clearly the most reliable way to get a desired used car.

2. Notes on how to buy cars from owners in Nigeria

Below are some notes for you before opting for a used car for sale from owner in Nigeria:

  • Always arrange a meet-up for inspection

It’s unwise to take the owners word for it. Someone who wants to sell their car may not be 100% honest about the car’s condition. Buying cheap local used cars for sale by owners offers a more flexible inspection, so arrange to meet with the other at a convenient and safe place, and carry out proper used vehicle inspection.

  • Bring a mechanic

You may be knowledgeable about cars, but there may be hidden problems you aren’t aware of. Such problems can only be detected by an expert. Save yourself the trouble, and have the car certified okay by your mechanic.

  • Always verify the plate number

Plate number verification is important as it reveals the history of the car to you. You don’t want to end up with a stolen car. A quick rundown of the history will inform you of any red flags.

  • Take a longer test drive

The car might have been setup to look good within the few minutes or hours of inspection. Ask the seller to allow you drive the car for a day or two. That way, you’ll get to know any problems the car might have.

  • Verify the documents

It’s unwise to make payments for a car without verifying its documents. Take the documents to the relevant authorities for verification. Make sure the car papers are all original as well.

  • Don’t make cash payments

You are dealing with a stranger; take precautionary measures. You need to have some evidence of payment. You should either issue the seller a cheque or make a bank transfer.

  • Meet at an open location

The transaction shouldn’t be done in a secluded location. For your safety, meet the seller at an open place, along with one or two witnesses.

3. Private car sales by owner - The most important things to remember

You might find a lot of attractive deals of pricate car sales by owners, but make it a point to ask the following questions before setting your mind on any of them:

  • Has the engine been worked on?

A car is as good as its engine. If the engine has been worked on several times, it has probably lost its usefulness. You may have to spend all your money getting it to function.

  • Does it have its first body paint?

Cars are repainted to look good. Be sure to know if the car in question carries it original painting from the manufacturer. If it has the original painting, it’s a good sign. Otherwise, its damages might have been covered with painting.


With a little paint or photoshop, individual scammer can turn this car into a hot item on the Internet

  • For how long has the car been registered?

You need to know how many people have owned the car in question previously. Did the seller buy the car from the manufacturer or another private seller? If the car has had multiple owners, there’s the tendency that it has a lot of problems.

4. Online scammers - A deadly trap in looking for used cars for sale by owners in Nigeria

With the internet being available to anyone, scammers AKA 419ers are using the opportunity to defraud people of their hard-earned money. Though they come in different forms and tricks, if you see the following symptoms, there are high chance that the deal is a 419 disguished as car sold by owner:

  • Offering very low price

Putting up a very low is a tactic scammers often use to deceive people. It’s a fact that used cars are less expensive than new ones, but if the price is too good to be true, it’s probably not true.

  • Request for down payment

If a seller asks for any kind of payment before they hand over the car to you, he/she is most likely a scam. It is unethical to make down payment for a product you haven’t seen and certified okay.


The scammer probably asks for an advanced payment via bank transfer

  • Refusal to talk on phone

Car sales scammers online may avoid talking to their victims on the phone because they don’t want to leave any traces of themselves. With every active GSM line registered with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NUC), they know they’ll be located eventually if they successfully scammed you. Hence, they may refuse any phone contact. However, because phoning is the most popular way of contact, experienced car scammers have no fear of talking to their victims on phone to fraud them right then.

  • Insisting on cash payment

In a bid to avoid getting caught, scammers avoid taking cheque or bank transfer payments. They insist on cash payments. That way, they can give you a dead car and runaway easily. This doesn't mean those who require bank transfer are genuine sellers. A lot of cases are asked to make an advanced transaction so that the sellers can drive the car to buyer's places. You must say No to all of these scenarios because 99% they get your money then disappear.

  • Request for your credit card details

If the seller comes up with any excuses to get your bank or credit card details, he/she is up to some mischief. Don’t disclose such information.

5. Where to buy used cars from owners & best websites for used cars by owner

Car-selling websites are the first points of call to buy cheap used cars by owner in Nigeria. They offer various car listings for buyers to make their pick from. A quick search using the search bar on the sites gives you specific cars of your choice. You can then simply contact the seller for negotiation without any extra fee for a third party. These websites include

  • Naijauto

As mentioned above, is the leading website to buy cheap used vehicles for sale by owner in Nigeria with a huge number of cars for sale (4 times more cars than its nearest competitor Cheki). Besides a wide range of car brands at competitive prices, it provides a rich resource to both seller and buyers, educating them with on how to make successful transactions with a rich source of tips and advice, especially the section on How to buy cars in Nigeria, dedicated for car buyers. Every information you need about buying cars in Nigeria is right there.

That is to say, Naijauto is truly the biggest car specialized site in Nigeria which always prioritizes users' experience.

  • Nairaland is a popular Nigerian forum. It has sections on various topics including automobiles. Users can create threads on topics of interests. Its Car Talk and Autos sections are meant for car topics including the sale of cars. However, because the supervision of a forum is not as high as a car website, any person can post car adverts there without being verified. Another disadvantage is that, as a forum, there are many topics on the website. Unlike that specializes in cars, it has divided attention. You only get a tip of the iceberg without full car information.


Choose the site you can contact car owner to test drive the vehicle!

  • Jiji is an online marketplace for all kinds of products. Nigerians who want to sell items can log on to the platform and display the said items. Interested buyers contact them to negotiate a price. Jiji also offers used cars by owner for sale. The only disadvantage of Jiji is that you can hardly find expert support for your car problem in case of unwanted situations.

  • Cheki is a designated car platform in Nigeria. It offers a wide resource of car information to empower customers in selling and buying cars. Different brands of cars are uploaded by sellers. Interested buyers go through the pictures. If they are okay with it, they call the sellers to book an appointment. Like, Cheki specializes in selling cars only but it does not offer news and tips about cars. The number of cars for sale here is just one-fourth of Naijauto.

  • AffordableCarsNG is a specialized car website with series of cars sold. It offers a range of car brands with the right information on car education. Buyers can visit their showrooms to check cars before paying for them. Unlike above websites, AffordableCarsNG acts as a median channel to represent sellers, that's why you can't contact the car owner directly but have to wait the salesmen to connect and negotiate. The salesmen will get bonus between both sides if transaction succeeds, so the price of car is often higher. On, you can contact the private car seller directly, hence, you don't have to pay extra cost to the middleman.

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6. Conclusion

Knowledge is power. Purchasing used cars for sale by owner in Nigeria can be a seamless process if you are equipped with the right information. You don’t have to do it alone. Naijauto is just a click away to give you all you information you need and all the cars you want.

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Chris Odogwu
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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