Tips For Buying a Used Car in UAE
From An Expert

Tips For Buying a Used Car in UAE<br /> From An Expert

Wondering how to buy a car in the UAE with minimum fuss? We understand that buying a car, whether used or not, is stressful. It's a big expense, and there are so many things to consider: 

  • What type of car do you need? What's a good brand? 
  • Should you buy a new or used vehicle? 
  • What's the total cost of owning a car? 
  • How much will the vehicle maintenance cost? And insurance? 
  • How do you negotiate the used car selling price? 
  • Where can you get an accurate used car valuation in the UAE? 
  • Why does the production year matter? 
  • Why do any of the vehicle specifications matter? 
  • How do I check if the vehicle has been in an accident? 
  • How do I check if the car was not stolen?

It used to be really difficult to find accurate answers to these questions, but fortunately Vehicle Report was created to offer you a comprehensive car history check for an accurate used car valuation in the UAE. We work to give you all the answers you need in one place, so you can easily buy or sell your car. Giving you the car buying advice we wished we got!

Here are our top tips on how to buy a used car in the UAE:

1. First, consider your needs

To know what type of car you need, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many people will it need to fit? A couple, a small family or a large one? This will influence the size of the car.
  • How much luggage will you need to carry? This will determine if you need a lot of boot space or very little. 
  • What kind of trips will you be making? Will you be driving mainly on city roads, highways, or perhaps even off-road? 

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can select the car type, whether it’s a small car, hatchback, sedan, SUV or sports car. Most likely, you are already considering certain brands and models. 

Once you have all this information, do your research on the best used car websites in the UAE, such as Dubizzle , CarSwitch, Cars24 , Carzaty and Yallamotors to find more suitable options.

find out more about the quality of the different brands and models look for reviews on websites like TopGear, Edmunds and J.D. Power.

2. Understand your budget and the total cost of owning a car

The next step is to consider your budget. And that's not only how much you can spend on buying the car. But, perhaps even more importantly, on what the monthly cost of owning the car will be.

Paying for a vehicle

When you purchase a vehicle, you can either pay the total amount from your own pocket or get vehicle financing and pay in monthly installments. You can also reduce the purchase or financing amount by trading in your current car. To understand how much the financing cost is, with trade-in and different down-payment amounts, you can use the total cost of ownership section in the Vehicle Report.

Once you know which cars are suitable and possible, it's time to find you the best deal.

Cost of a new car vs a used car

Buying a new or used car is typically a matter of budget. New cars are more expensive but usually come with warranty and often with service contracts. So that may save you a bit of money and give you more peace of mind. 

Used cars cost less and so have lower depreciation. And often, you can get a warranty on these as well. The VehicleReport will also show you how much depreciation you should expect. And finally, it will also give an estimation of the average used car maintenance and insurance cost. All this information is combined into one single monthly amount, the total cost of ownership. And with that, you'll have a complete understanding of whether the selected model fits within your budget. 

Once you know which cars are within your budget, it's time to find you the best deal.

3. Compare used car selling price vs. used car valuation to get the best deal

You know you've got a good deal when the selling price matches (or perhaps is even lower than) the market value for that car. To negotiate a good deal, you need to get an accurate car valuation in the UAE. And to get a reliable used car valuation, you first need to confirm the exact specifications, history, and condition of the vehicle. Vehicle Report’s value section gives you information on the condition of the car and helps you compare asking price with real market value.

4. Confirm the exact used car specifications

This is one of the most important things to check before buying a used car in the UAE. 

The exact specifications are confirmed using AutoData's proprietary vehicle identification number decoder. This is useful because: 

  • The decoder confirms the vehicle's production year and the actual specification level, or trim as it's sometimes called, because the production year may sometimes be different from the year of first registration. 
  • The production year is what influences the car's value. 
  • Actual specifications cannot always be confirmed by looking at the vehicle. Some cars only have a body kit and don't have the more valuable engine or gearbox of the actual higher specced trim. 

Make sure that you know exactly which model, and trim and what production year you are buying, by checking this in the Vehicle Details section of the VehicleReport.

5. Check the used car history

Through AutoData's services, the Vehicle Report also checks if the car is imported. This is important because:

  • Approximately 2 out of every 3 imported vehicles have had issues in their original country
  • Issues may include an accident, fire or flood, which could mean that the car is considered a total loss
  • There may have been some form of factory issue and recall 
  • It may even be reported as stolen, and in that case you shouldn't be buying the car. 

If the vehicle has been declared a total loss before, which could happen in any of the above cases, the price should be significantly lower. A total loss is when the car was considered a write-off at any point, which means you may even have to spend a great deal of money on repairs. 

You can also check the 'local' accident history by going to the motor vehicle department's website and searching for these details using the Vehicle Identification Number. 

You can easily find all this information in the history section of the VehicleReport.

6. Check the used car condition 

With the specifications and the history checked, you only need to confirm the condition. We advise everybody to take the car for a comprehensive inspection with an independent party before purchasing. 

The best thorough and independent used car inspection and valuation service in the Middle East is called Carantee. You can get Carantee at almost all FastTrack and AutoPro service stations. 

7. Confirm the used car valuation 

Once you have confirmed the exact specifications, history, and condition of the used car, you can finally calculate the accurate market value of the used car. The Vehicle Report does this for you, using AutoData's proprietary database. 

AutoData has the most accurate and complete automotive database in the Middle East. This database is also used by banks and insurance companies to price their policies and verify loan values. AutoData uses big data analytics to analyze millions of data points per year and verifies them through its in-house team of primary researchers. 

8. Negotiate a fair selling price 

One of the last steps is negotiation. With an independent 3rd party report like the Vehicle Report, you should be able to agree quickly on a fair selling price. If the comprehensive vehicle inspection (e.g., through CARANTEE) has identified certain areas for improvement, then you can ask the seller to fix these, or ask for an additional discount, so that you can have these fixed yourself. If you're negotiating with a dealer, you can consider asking for a twelve or twenty-four-month warranty if it is not already included. 

9. Secure financing for a used vehicle 

You might consider buying a used car with a loan. A maximum of eighty percent of the appraised value can be financed by the bank. The vehicle valuation shown in the value section of the VehicleReport will give you an initial idea about how much the bank will finance and how much down-payment you will have to make yourself. However, if you want to know the exact amounts, then get the comprehensive used car inspection and used car valuation from CARANTEE.

The valuation certificate from CARANTEE is accepted by all banks. After the vehicle inspection and appraisal is finished, you can choose to have the digital report and appraisal certificate sent directly to any bank of your choosing. This will also speed up the application process.

10. Select insurance for your used vehicle 

Before you can have the vehicle registered under your name, you'll need to get it insured. There are a couple of things to consider when you're selecting insurance: 

Choosing an insurance 

You first need to choose the type of insurance. You can get coverage for only the cost of repairs of the other vehicle (and people), the so-called third-party-liability insurance (or TPL for short). Or you can get your own damages covered as well (with so-called comprehensive cover). 

TPL vs comprehensive cover 

The difference in insured premium is often substantial. Depending on your ability to cover the cost of your own damages, it may make sense to go only for TPL. 

If you've bought the car through a loan, some banks may require you to insure the vehicle comprehensively. Often people choose comprehensive insurance because they want peace of mind. When you decide to go for comprehensive insurance, check what type of company can do the repairs. To keep your existing warranty or service contract, it may be required to repair the car with the official dealer or a selected repair agency that offers similar quality.

Other insurance add-ons 

After choosing the type of insurance, you will need to select the so-called add-ons. Here are a few you can consider:

  • If you're planning to use your vehicle off-road, or drive to Oman
  • If you need a replacement car while your car is being fixed
  • Medical costs for your passengers in case of an accident caused by you 

Remember though that, similar to when selecting the type of insurance, you pay for what you get. So consider what the chance and total cost of the insured events are. And ask yourself whether you really want to pay for that bit of peace of mind.

11. Transfer ownership of the used vehicle to you 

One last bit of important advice remains. When you buy a used vehicle, you need to have it registered in your name. This takes place at the branches of the department of transportation. Before the car is transferred, it gets a road-worthiness inspection. Note that this is not a comprehensive inspection. They will only check if the vehicle is still specced according to its approved standards and whether it's safe to go on the road. 

When should ownership be transferred? 

Once the car is approved and properly insured, the vehicle can be registered in your name. 

Before starting the final transfer, do one more visual inspection and check the mileage and the ownership by the seller. Then proceed with the transfer.

Typically you only transfer the ownership after you've paid for the car. Usually, both parties want to avoid risk (i.e., the buyer not paying or the seller not transferring). So it's best not to leave much time between the moment of payment and transfer. You can also agree to pay a part before the transfer and the other part after the transfer. If you're paying with a cheque, sellers typically don't want to have the cash date set after the transfer. Also, they will usually not schedule the transfer on or just before the weekend because they cannot cash the cheque (and it may prove false or uncovered). So it makes sense to plan accordingly.

The more you know, the more you don't know? No longer! We hope these tips on how to buy a used car in Dubai or elsewhere in the UAE, will prove useful. 

Remember that even if there are many things to consider before buying a used car, you have an easy place to get all the answers. Simply enter the Vehicle Identification Number of the car you’re planning to buy and purchase our comprehensive report. Download the report and access it for a month. For multiple reports, credit bundles are available.

Ready to elevate your next car
deal with Vehicle Report