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Promise Nwaubani: Are You About to Buy a Nigerian-Used Car? Here Are 5 Things to Note Before You Pay



I am glad 2016 is over and 2017 is here…. can I get an “ahan ahan”?  I hope you have your goals for 2017 outlined and ready to take over the world; but if owning a car is part of that goal, then this is for you.

The Federal Government on December 5th, 2016 announced that effective January 1st, 2017 that car importation through the land borders will be prohibited and this, we all know, will make the price of “Tokunbo” cars skyrocket. The alternative for the common man like you and I is to purchase a “Nigerian-Used” vehicle.

When purchasing a “Nigeria-Used” vehicle, there are things to consider before spending that hard-earned money of yours.

Throw away the word “trust”
Trust is believing and accepting what uncle Chika tells you about the car you intend to purchase. Many people have fallen victim to purchasing faulty cars – or landed into police “wahala” due to trust and then neglecting to carry out due diligence.

Do a physical and mechanical inspection.
This is the important part when it comes to purchasing a “Nigerian-Used” car. After you physically check the car to be sure it meets your taste, the next thing to do is to do a mechanical check using an experienced and trusted mechanic.

a. Check transmission (gear)
b. Speedometer
c. Engine capacity, V6 or 4-plug bearing in mind the fuel consumption varies.
d. If possible, scan with a vehicle scanning device (Obd2 Scan tool). Note: OBD means On-board diagnostics.
e. AC (very important in this our Obodo Nigeria)
f. Sound system
g. Tyres
h. Shock Absorber

Check the vehicle history using the VIN number
Be sure to check to vehicle VIN online. Just Google Free online VIN check. Insert the VIN number and a detailed history will be shown “unto thee”. If the vehicle was stolen, it will be recorded too.

Do a vehicle license history check!
VEHICLE LICENSE HISTORY! I had to repeat this in upper case because I once fell victim to this. I purchased a vehicle from an army officer who didn’t renew his license for 3 years after it expired. He drove it freely around Lagos and environs without any “wahala” as we know dem no born anybody well to stop oga for road. I purchased the vehicle without checking and guess what? Gobe! I had to pay for the 3-years license before I was able to do my change of documents.

Don’t be like Promise, verify before you pay!

Don’t be pressured to make payment
There is an offer too good to be true and the agent or seller is saying “Oga, you no wan buy because one bros wan pay money ooooo”. Don’t give in until you have done 1, 2, 3 & 4. Remember, inflation is at 18.48% according to National Bureau of Statistics report for November 2016; hence, you can’t be spending this money like you are Dangote’s offspring.

Photo Credit: Hongqi Zhang (aka Michael Zhang) |

Promise Chima Nwaubani is a brand builder and digital idea strategist. He currently works with one of Africa’s leading Brand & Communication Group in Nigeria as the Manager, Digital & Corporate Strategy. He is a lover of all things digital and a renowned Puff-Puff addict!


  1. Ariere

    January 6, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Thanks so much for this crucial information. Many Thanks. ..

    • Promise Nwaubani

      January 7, 2017 at 8:52 am

      You are welcome.

  2. Tale Alimi

    January 6, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Thank you Promise. Very good tips. Will take note of I choose to buy a Naija used car!

  3. Seun

    January 6, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    Nice one! Thanks for the info

  4. Uchay?

    January 7, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Very important information..Thank you so much for this.

  5. Adebola

    January 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Promise these are invaluable tips and thank you for sharing.

  6. RV

    January 7, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Nice one! But don’t forget to request for the customs papers as well. Very IMPORTANT! Also confirm it genuity……..else you’ll end up paying the customs duty

  7. Jaygirl

    January 7, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Most informative article I have read here this year. Thanks and well done

  8. Yetty

    January 8, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Thank u promise….just when i’ve been eyeing obe matrix car on

  9. Emmanuel

    January 9, 2017 at 10:26 am

    …nice piece. Would love to read m.ore tips like this. Thanks

  10. CarMan

    July 7, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Very useful article thanks.I’m considering buying a Nigerian used car (Possibly Mazda 6 model). I look for models and prices from my friends and from online sources like: . But before buying used car i want to check it, and need some advices. Docs and car condition can be described over the phone, but what are the most important things i need to know? How to check if this car is stolen? I’m new to car buying this is first car i want to buy. Thank you for useful recommendations.

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