A Used Car

Get A 100% Free Premium Report with 200+ Checks

Buying Advice

Buying a new car is supposed to be a happy time, so don’t get caught out, leaving you in a stressful situation.

It's supposed to be a special day taking ownership of your next car, don’t allow this experience to be dampened buying something that is not what was described and could be subject to significant additional costs in the immediate and long-term future.

In the following, we will give you some ideas on what to look for when deciding to finally take the next step. Hopefully avoiding any of the pit falls faced by many consumers.

Of course, the first way to protect your investment is to take a CarReport providing you with details of a cars past in the UAE but also from overseas. 11% of used cars in the UAE are imported from other countries and of the 11%, 67% have been subject to total loss (write off), indicating the vehicle was at minimum beyond economic repair. But then I would say this is the first option, as I have a vast experience of seeing just what is being driven on the roads.

1. First step is to decide what type of car meets your criteria

Do I want a Mercedes G63 AMG, do I want a Ferrari 458 or do I want a Mazda 2 or a Kia Picanto. One of the joys in living in this beautiful country is that we have so much choice, spoilt by high specifications, exotic sports car to cheap hatch backs. So before setting your mind on what to buy consider a few things:

  • What type of car - Practical, Fast, Efficient.
  • What Brand – Mercedes, BMW Or Kia, Mazda
  • What is my Budget ? AED10k or AED500k
2. When looking at your budget consider how to reduce the cost

Higher mileage - Don't be put off by high-mileage cars, as these tend to be slightly cheaper. Imagine a car has run back and forth to Abu Dhabi every day, this is often in better condition than a vehicle that has been on a school run twice a day, both mechanically and cosmetically, an engine is designed to wear better on constant longer journeys as opposed to short variable journeys, and don’t forget those speed humps that we all love, suspension damage can easily occur driving in our urban surroundings. Longer journeys also have less getting in and out saving seat wear and other trims.

Negotiation – There is always room to negotiate, you don’t have to be from a certain country to drive the best price, just arm yourself with CarReport providing accurate valuations so you pay what the car is worth and not the asking price.

3. Credentials
Before you decide to buy, make sure you see the Registration Card (Mulkiya) and service history if applicable.
4. Basic checks performed by you can often save an inspection

You don't have to have a degree as a Motor Vehicle Technician to carry out some basic checks before proceeding to the next level.

  • Bodywork
    Any damage to the bodywork will need to be paid for by yourself so make sure the bodywork is in good order and if repair work has taken place that it is to a satisfactory standard. Always check panel alignment, poor panel alignment to adjacent panels could indicate accident damage. CarReport should help with accident history but not if the job was done privately.

  • Interior
    Are there any signs of excessive wear for the number of Kilometers? Check the steering wheel, foot pedal rubbers, and the lower set bolsters always a good indication. Another expensive item to check is the roof lining especially in the more expensive cars, the heat and the weight don’t go well together making the lining come apart.

  • Tires
    Check the age stamp on the tires, it is illegal to sell a car with tires fitted that are older than 2 years. Due to the excessive daily heat tires tend to crack more than in countries with lower temperatures rendering them dangerous.

  • Mileage
    The art of mileage tampering has become much easier with digital milometers so it is critical to check the service history and any other date stamp work carried out on the vehicle as well of course checking your CarReport.

  • Chassis number
    Ah the Vehicle DNA. The chassis number is a unique number assigned to the vehicle during manufacture. Ensure the chassis number on the driver’s side dash visible from the windscreen matches the one on the Registration Card (Mulkiya) and also the service history.

5. Professional Inspections
If you pass your own checks then finally a once over is recommended. Engines and electronics often require diagnostic checks, suspension will require a lift. There are many in the UAE that for a small fee will give the car multiple point inspection. Demand some sort of guarantee from the inspection company to warrant their work, if an inspection is carried out and you purchase only to find a serious fault then you should have a fall back.
6. Testing Your Drive

You should never buy any car without taking it for a test drive first.

  • A Smooth Engine
    Start the engine from cold and allow to warm up until the fan cuts in. When driving, ensure there are no flat spots (Hesitation) when accelerating. This can often mean expensive Ignition or Fuel issues.

  • The Running Gear
    First check should always be the brakes especially on a test drive, Ensure the car engages in each gear smoothly, most commonly automatics in the UAE, but they can still be prone to issues and are often more expensive to replace or repair. Check for Judder as this often indicates warped brake discs, another expensive job. The suspension should be free from knocks, again in the dramatic temperatures suspension bushes often perish all at once. Finally, ensure the vehicle does not pull to one side of the road, steering imperfections can often be a result of curbing the car but also wear in the steering rods.

  • Electrics
    A once over with all the switches, lights anything that has a button press it. Also check warning lights on the dash, usually representing major faults. Check against your CarReport to make sure that the specification from the factory is correct.

7. Securing your new set of wheels
When it comes to negotiating, there is always room for maneuver. All sellers set the price above what they're prepared to accept – Arabic negotiation is what makes bartering fun, but at your own peril do not get too carried away as this could turn into an insult and you could walk away with nothing.
8. Insurance
Don’t forget to check your CarReport for best rates with your car insurance before committing to the purchase. Check best market rates here.
9. Checklist