I read an article that says don’t buy these cars. Here are my thoughts

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The author of the article made some valuable contributions but I want to add that most of his observations are biased. I don’t even know the population he sampled to make such generalizations. Nevertheless, most of his observations are valid. But the major issue is not about the model of the car. Let’s address the main problem.

Virtually every car has a potential problem that could be mitigated through preventive maintenance. One thing I do before I buy a car is to do my personal diagnosis with my own diagnostic equipment (OBDII SCANNER). Here in California, for instance, any car with check engine light on, is a potential problem car; such cars don’t pass the smog test ( a measure of Co4 oxide emission) such cars are not eligible for registration and their value is drastically reduced. Check engine light is often connected with the failure of one or more sensors in the catalytic convertor. If this problem is not fixed, it will affect fuel efficiency and might lead to chains of emergent problems in the course of the usage of the car. Dubious sellers often use scanners to wipe off this warning light temporarily to sell the car faster, but diagnosing the car before buying will reveal this hidden fault, because faults codes are stored in the ECU even when not visible on the dash board. Certainly, the warning light will resurface again after some miles. Many Nigerians and people from many nations, in order to make fast money buy such cars that the white man will certainly not dare to buy. In the same vein, most dealers in order to make fast money buy high mileage cars from here and ship to Africa . An average car should put in 150,000 to 200,000 miles in a life span with most cars lasting, even more, e.g Toyota cars that are well maintained.

So when you buy a 2009 car with 190,000 or 200,000 miles, expect any major failures if the car is not properly maintained. In other to save costs, we often buy such cars, but we ensure that all the routine maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotation, transmission flush, filters, etc were done. Every auto producer requires users to replace certain parts during maintenance at certain mileages. Do we do that in Africa? What is the mileage on your car? Have you done the required changes and maintenance expected? Many of us don’t even check their airflow filter which is the simplest you can change.

So, it is all about not trading off value to save money. It is all about buying a car you know its history. Here, we request for the vehicle history through Carfax. Trust me, the white man documents every maintenance. Request for VIN numbers before buying a car even though you may not have access to the resources to check the vehicle history, check with a friend who can help. Don’t simply look at the interior and exterior neatness, you can buy a painted sepulcher.

Stop buying compromised cars in Nigeria. Corruption is part of our problem. If you go to the shipping yard here, you will be surprised to see that majority of the cars shipped to Nigeria are accidented. Do you know the greater surprise?, these cars are displayed in perfect condition at the dealer shop in Nigeria after they must have fixed all the damaged parts with inferior (China) parts. I know their secrets. There are used non-accidented cars in good condition you can buy. Go for them if you can’t afford new ones.

More on mileage:

Many dealers buy cars with 250,000 or more mileage car in the US and tamper their mileage in Nigeria making the car look like less driven. It is a serious offense to tamper the odometer mileage in the US, but anything goes in Nigeria.


Let me give you the secret. On average, a car is expected to put in 12,000 miles each year. So a car that is 10 years old should have 120,000 miles or more, or even less. If you are buying 2007 which is 13 years old with 60,000 miles for instance, there is a greater probability that the odometer has tampered. Hardly from my experience can you get such cars at such mileage. The higher the mileage the lesser the price. The value of a car is determined by its mileage. This is why a car of the same year and the same model could come at different prices. Don’t forget the lesser the mileage the more the car will last for you and the lesser the possibility of major failures.

Let me stop here.

©Clem C. Aladi.

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