If you’re looking to buy a car either foreign or locally used, here are some tips that will help you get a good deal for your money:

Look at the body of the car

Generally look at the body of the car. Look out for dents and scratches, damages to your paint job could cost you as high as ten thousand shillings. You don’t want that so do your homework and have your eyes open. Don’t inspect a wet car, whether it’s raining or it’s just been washed, the water is going to hide scratches and dents. Inspect the headlights and the tail lights to ensure they’re all working okay and they’re in good condition, these can be expensive to fix or replace later. Inspect the windshield for cracks or chips, look at it from different angles as they’re sometimes hard to see.

Inspect the wheels and tires

Look at the treads of the tires to determine how much life is left on the tires. Make sure all the wheels and tires are the same and are not damaged, ensure they’re of the same size and are bolted in correctly. Wheels and tires are expensive to replace.

Inspect the interior of the car

Look at the general condition of the car’s interior, look out for rips, tears and stains. Check the rear seats as well for any signs of wear and tear. Check the condition of the dashboard and the controls, check the condition of the floor mats too. Check to see if all seats adjust correctly, if the seats are electric, also check their condition too to ensure everything works. Check the condition of the seat belts too on all seats. Check the trunk of the car too, ensure you have a jack and spanner. If your car has wheel locks, ensure you have the nut too as this comes custom made and without which there’s no changing the wheel if you get a flat.

Turn on the car. Turn the steering wheel to ensure it works well. If there’s any steering controls ensure they’re all working. Check the fan and AC to ensure they’re working, both front and rear. Check your infotainment system to ensure everything works. Ask all the questions to ensure you know your way around any settings. Inspect the wipes on both the front and the rear windscreen to ensure they are in good working condition. If the car has a reverse camera, shift the transmission to reverse to check if it works. Check the car charging and cigarette lighter if it works. If the car has a sunroof, check if it opens and closes well and be on the lookout for any leaks, these should be visible on the edges.


Stay tuned for our next posts on how to check the transmission and also how to check the engine.


Go for a test drive

This is where you get the general feel of the car. Be on the lookout for engine noises, they could be as a result of simple things such as bad mountings however it could also be from something far much complex that’s going to be expensive to fix later. If the car is automatic, listen to how the gears engage, it should be smooth and easy and if for some reason the car jerks or doesn’t shift gears, this is a problem that might be costly for you to fix. Get a feeling of how the suspensions and brakes respond. Step on the gas a little harder to get a feeling of the acceleration and deceleration, caution should be taken so as to not exceed the stipulated speed limits.


After the test drive, pop the bonnet and inspect the engine. Be on the lookout for any leaks.

Check the paperwork

If at this point you’ve noticed that the car is in good condition and you’re now seriously considering to buy it, proceed on to check the papers. Ensure what’s on the logbook in regards to the chassis number and engine number corresponds with what’s on the car. If there’s an engine change, there should be supporting documents and it should reflect. If the car was repainted, this too should be in the logbook. Don’t get tired, if you’re considering spending a good amount of your money to purchase a car, few minutes or hours it will take to ensure everything is in order will be worth it. Its better safe than sorry.



This comes as the last bit of the purchase as there’s a lot of forces at play that determine the final price of a car. It’s important to take your time to understand why certain cars cost that much. This is a topic that we are also looking to cover in posts yet to come so stay tuned.


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