Why a used car may not fetch a good price

Thursday February 27 2020

Before paying for a car, test drive it and also

Before paying for a car, test drive it and also ask a mechanic to thoroughly check for any faults . File Photo. 

By Roland D. Nasasira

There is a growing trend of motorists buying cars at a higher cost from local bonds and selling them off cheaply.

Ronnie William Kyazze, a car enthusiast, says one of the reasons such a trend exists is because cars in bonds are primarily used cars but are sold as new. Many of them across all brands are not in the best conditions although they look new.

Hidden information
“Some are old but will come disguised with a new coat of paint and reversed mileage, among other issues. In such cases, because you do not know, you are in for a nightmare of problems upon buying such a car,” Kyazze says.

Coupled with all this, Kyazze adds, is the fact that a number of motorists are poor at servicing and maintaining cars. For instance, even when your car has a recommended grade of oil prescribed for it, you will want to go for something cheaper.

As such, the car starts getting mechanical problems and the only option is to sell it before its condition worsens.

Better car versions
Peter Amadi, a mechanic at Dalas Auto in Bunga, Kampala, agrees with Kyazze, stating that there are motorists who are fascinated by any improved version of a car on the market. Once you see a newer model, you dispose of the old one for the latest version.


Before buying a car
Amadi advises that before you buy any second hand car, find out the common problems associated with it. For instance, the steering system of some cars is not only electronic that it cannot serve you for more than three years given the nature of Ugandan roads with potholes but it also has boot sensors for opening the boot, much as it has a good fuel consumption.

“The risk is that when the washing bay attendant sprays water into the sensor using a jet spray, it can never open. If boot sensors fail, you have to break the sensor cover from inside the car to open the boot manually,” Amadi cautions.

Modern technology cars, Amadi adds, have door mortars and head lumps whose bulbs blow quite often when exposed to water, and central locking system problems. Also, door lock problems are a major hinderance. For instance, when you work on one door lock today, the door lock on a different door also develops issues. After a week or two, another lock also becomes problematic and this means spending money to have them fixed.

“When you look at all these issues, you prefer selling your problems at a throw away price even if it is Shs15m yet you bought the car at Shs25m. It is very possible to repair a head lump five or more times in one week. You will repair it and it leaks water that blows the bulb and each bulb alone is Shs100,000,” Amadi warns.

Mechanically, it is important to know how much spare parts of the car you are buying cost, and how often you will need to have them repaired or replaced. This helps you understand whether you can afford its maintenance or service.

For example, about three months ago, Amadi’s client, only identified as Semakula, imported a certain second hand car, against Amadi’s advice. In the same week the car was driven to Kampala, Semakula drove it to the garage and said the car was okay but that the suspension system was worn out.

“Someone advised him to buy the car, that he could be lucky to get functional one. Until today, the car is parked at home as he saves Shs9m to buy a new steering system,” Amadi adds.

Cars for different markets
When dealers import cars, they come with suspension systems that were meant for the manufacturer’s domestic market. When you get the car, you drive it with excitement, hitting potholes and when it starts becoming uncomfortable, you conclude that it came with bad shocks and sell it cheaply.

According to Amadi, the shocks most cars come with are not bad, but rather soft suspension shocks made for the western market. When you import or buy from the bond, he advises that you look for tropicalised suspensions meant for Africa.

Some car deals may sound too good to be true that you may be tempted to pay even without bargaining. Therefore, before paying your money, have a mechanic inspect the car to understand why the person is selling off cheaply.

One of the ways to get the best price for your used car is to have documentation complete and ready. Buyers attach high significance and are more likely to buy a car with genuine and complete documents.

Make sure you have got the registration copy, valid insurance, and pollution under certificate at your disposal as all these documents will be required for the sale.

Make a separate file and have at least two copies each of the car’s documents along with the original documents. These copies will be helpful in case some officials inquire about the deal in the future.