One of the most important purchases you’ll make in life is buying your first car. A car could either make your life easier or cause you a lot of headaches (depending on the choice you make), and trust me, you DO NOT want to make a mistake. I saved to buy my first car so I’m giving these tips from my personal experience.
With the exception of a few people in Nigeria who buy brand new cars, a large percentage of people buy fairly used cars because of affordability. Foreign used cars (a.k.a Tokunbo) are usually more expensive than Nigerian used cars due to the condition of our roads which tend to devalue our cars. Regardless of your choice, the following tips will help you ensure that you don’t end up in regrets.
- Determine Your Budget: The first thing I did was to determine how much I had saved so far and how much I was willing to spend on a car. Your budget will help you narrow down your choices. If you start looking for cars without a determined budget, you’re most likely going to end up purchasing a car that is above your budget or worse, spending much more than the car’s worth. It’s similar to going to a supermarket without a pre-written list. You will definitely spend more than you initially intended. I recommend that you pick a particular range and stick to it.
- Do Some Research On Your Cars Of Interest: After narrowing your search by determining your budget, you’ll be faced with the difficult task of making a choice. Asides from the brand and color, the following are the major attributes to look out for.
- Durability: You need to find out the durability of the car and the suitability for Nigerian roads.
- Engine type: The type of engine will affect the car’s fuel consumption hence it is an important factor to consider if you don’t intend to spend all your money on fuel (I personally only looked for cars with a V4 engine).
- Mileage of the car: This gives you an idea of how long the car has been used and how much longer it can serve you.
- Parts Availability: It is also extremely important to find out about the availability of spare parts in Nigeria. It would be quite unfortunate when you have to change a part and it can’t be found in the market.
- Compare Prices: The internet has made this task very easy with the presence of multiple websites where you can compare the prices of various cars both in Nigeria and abroad.
- Request For An Inspection: I cannot stress the importance of this enough, pictures and videos will not cut it, physical inspection is paramount. When inspecting a car you are interested in purchasing, it’s advisable to be accompanied by a mechanical engineer (what most people call a mechanic). The mechanical engineer should do a thorough inspection of the major parts of the car (especially the engine) to ensure that everything is working optimally before payment is made. You wouldn’t want to pay for a car and then start having multiple issues as soon as you start using it. I’m stressing this because I had to spend a chunk of money fixing my car after making payment and I wasn’t happy about that.
Bonus Tip: If you intend to buy a car soon, a great way to save is by joining a Car Tribe on Crowdyvest. A Tribe is a community of people who are saving towards a common goal. In addition, members of the Car Tribe have access to exclusive car deals on the platform.
I hope you take these tips seriously so as to avoid buyer’s remorse. What other tips would you give to a prospective first-time buyer, please let us know in the comments.