UAE is transitional for many of us and investing in a brand new vehicle might not be economical. Buying a second-hand car is a great option for residents and there are many vehicles at all price ranges, ages and conditions available in the market. Choosing and paying for the right one, however, is where many falter.
Here are our top tips to find your dream car, second-hand:
1. Shortlist brands or models
Many of us already know which brand or manufacturer we prefer in vehicles. It is smart to shortlist two or three brands, or even diverse models in the same brand, at the outset of this process. This decision can be based on cost, possible resale value, maintenance and service costs, passenger numbers and other factors.
2. Find a reputed used car dealer or website
While there are dozens of dealers out in the market, credibility and responsible selling is what you should be going for. You could go for 'brick and mortar' multi-brand car dealers like Al Futtaim's AutoMall or The Elite Cars for luxury models - these may also offer attractive service packages post-purchase.
You could also use credible websites such as GetThat, which can help you compare cost and brands, and talk to the owners directly to negotiate on price - which you cannot do with resellers.
3. RTA checks and tests
So you found your favourite car or shortlisted a few - the next step is to ensure the car is in top working condition. Not all of us are great with motor information and fact checks. Ask for an RTA passing guarantee, which is based on a series of checks and tests to be conducted by RTA-approved testing centres.
These tests ensure that the vehicle is road-worthy and free from any legal hassles. The certificate is valid for thirty days only from date of issue, so you can be sure that it's a recent check.
4. Complete vehicle check
So you've gone over the RTA passing guarantee results and decided on a price with the seller - what next? For the cautious buyer, and everyone looking at a second-hand car, we recommend going for a full vehicle check-up at a garage. The check would include mechanical aspects (engine status and leakages if any), electrical aspects (electrical and computer diagnostics along with air-conditioner, lighting and computer or navigations systems) and full body check up.
A body and paint check is very important here in the UAE. Even one accident and its consequent repair can drive down the value of the car by over 15 per cent. A thorough body inspection with the help of the car's chassis number (vehicle identification number or VIN) can track accident history.
5. Get on the road
So you've paid the seller and got the car freshly registered in your name. Ensure you've copies and originals of all the documents with you. Keep any service details, receipts and cards safe, because when it's time to sell your car, the service history can come in handy to negotiate a fair price for a well-cared for vehicle. Do periodic vehicle checks for safety and efficiency. Get on the road and be safe!
These tips are in collaboration with PAL Auto Garage in Deira.