Buying a vehicle in Kenya more especially a second hand vehicle needs one to be careful to avoid getting conned.
Many have lost a lot of money to used car dealers while in the process of trying to buy a vehicle. In the worse case one can end up paying for a car that does not exist simply because the buyer never carried out due diligence in the process of purchasing the vehicle. In most cases many end up buying vehicles that are in bad shape than they initially thought, only to realize that they cannot get back their money.
Many have also ended up with vehicles that have been involved in accidents and the cars are on a police watch out list.
So, how can one get it right when buying a second hand vehicle in Kenya? In this article, we take a look at some key factors that should be considered by car buyers before completing the transaction and getting the vehicle keys.
What to look out for when buying a used vehicle in Kenya
Mileage and general vehicle condition
Before you can even negotiate on the price, first you need to ensure that the car is available and you can get to see the mileage it has covered. Mileage is a great way to predict engine performance. It may also give you a picture of the age of the car. A vehicle with high mileage definitely has been used more than the one with less.Look also at the general vehicle condition to have a picture of the reliability and the cost of maintenance of the vehicle.
The average annual mileage is 12,000 miles, so if a car has mileage somewhat less than 60,000 miles after five years it would be considered low.
Are you comfortable with the mileage? If you are comfortable that the vehicle will serve you well from here you can proceed to price negotiation.
Now that you have determined the mileage of the vehicle and its general body condition,it is time you can negotiate with the vehicle owner concerning the price. From your analysis negotiate with the vehicle owner depending on your rough estimate of the vehicle worth. Reach a common ground with the car owner and if you are comfortable with their end of bargain it is time to move to the next step. However,this is not the final stage that will determine if you will buy the vehicle at the agreed price. Market value of a brand new car and the condition of the car should also guide you when negotiating on the price.
Contact an online vehicle search
Contacting an online vehicle search is very critical to determine whether or not the vehicle details are as stated and that the seller is indeed the owner of the vehicle. Through the online search you will be able to know if the vehicle has any accident history as well as if the vehicle has any injunction placed on it. In details you will be able to determine the following critical details about the vehicle by contacting an online vehicle search
Vehicle online search can easily be contacted through the NTSA government online system. You will need to have the vehicle number plate registration number to contact the online search. Through the NTSA vehicle online search portal, you will be able to determine the following:
- The owner of the vehicle
- Registration number of the vehicle
- Engine registration number of the vehicle
- Chassis registration number of the vehicle
- Colour of the vehicle
- Any carviet placed on the vehicle
- Any accident record of the car
- Whether the car logbook has any injunction following a loan taken with the vehicle logbook used as security
- Any dispute injunction placed on the vehicle
- Engine size
- Year of manufacture
The above mentioned details are very important to anyone who wishes to buy a used vehicle
Confirm that the vehicle registration number on the online search system matches with the vehicle registration number.
By physically observing the vehicle’s registration number, you will be able to determine whether or not it matches the online system information.
Confirm that the vehicle engine number matches the online system number
Each vehicle has the engine number written on the engine, you can determine this yourself by looking at the engine’s registration details or get a mechanic to assist you in finding out the engine registration number of the vehicle. If the engine was changed, the owner ought to have notified NTSA so that the details of the engine are updated on the online system.
Should the engine registration number differ with the online registration number, this should be a red flag.
Check and confirm that the vehicle chassis match
Another key component to look out for is the vehicle’s chassis number. Chassis is one major part of the vehicle that is never changed. The government of Kenya does not allow importation of chassis into the country. It therefore means that should chassis number registration details of the vehicle differ with the online registration number, the likelihood that the vehicle you want to buy is not the original one is very high.
You can ask a mechanic to check for the chassis number for you and try matching it with the one on the online NTSA platform
Check for any injunction on the vehicle
If the car has ever been involved in an accident or is on the police radar, you will be able to find the details by doing an online search. Should you determine that the vehicle has any record of accident or is on the police radar, this is a clear sign that you should reconsider your move
Check for any possibility of the vehicle having been used as security for a loan
With any people using their vehicles as security to secure loans, as a vehicle buyer you should be very careful to make sure that the vehicle logbook has not been used to secure any loan. A caution on the vehicle logbook on the online registration platform should be a red flag to watch out for.
More so, check for injunctions placed on the vehicle by any interested parties.
Write down an agreement before buying the vehicle
Once you have determined that the vehicle is clean and you can buy it, make sure you enter into an agreement with the owner of the car in written form with at least one witness present. This should be done whether you are paying in full or in installment.
In the agreement, make sure the date and time you got in possession of the vehicle is indicated in written form. This is very crucial as you never know if this vehicle was involved in an accident the day before you bought it. Should the authorities be looking for the vehicle, you have proof of the date and the time you were in possession of the vehicle.
Transfer the logbook to you
Now that everything is set and payment has been made. It is time to transfer the logbook to your name. You will initiate the online transfer process, upload the vehicle logbook and the initial owner needs to approve the online transfer to you. You can read the online vehicle transfer process.
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