Buying a used car in Kenya – What you need to think about
Buying used cars in Kenya is a great way of cutting the cost of your driving as most new cars lose around 40% of their value in the first year.
But there are risks so it’s important to take your time rather than rush into any deal, and to buy as far as possible with your head rather than your heart.
Pitfalls When Buying a Second Hand Car in Kenya
Used Cars For Sale in Kenya – Clocking
Clocking is the illegal practice of winding back the odometer on a high–mileage car to increase its apparent value and asking price. Every 1,000 miles removed increases the value substantially.
Used Cars For Sale in Kenya – Car cloning
Sometimes one car is given the identity of another by replacing the number plates with those from an almost identical vehicle – same make, model and colour.
Used Cars For Sale in Kenya – ‘Cut – and – shut’
This is when the remains of two or more cars, which have usually been accident – damaged and written off by insurers, are welded together, then illegally given the identity of one of the wrecks.
The cosmetic work is often outstanding, and it’s usually very difficult to spot a ‘cut–and–shut’ from the outside.
For absolute confidence, invest in a Car Data Check to unearth the car’s history.
Vehicles For Sale in Kenya – General Advice
Wherever you choose to buy, here are some general tips on buying a used car.
Used Cars in Kenya – Budget Carefully
Get insurance quotes and check car tax rates before signing on the bottom line, and remember to factor in the cost of any work that might be needed too.
If you’re going to borrow money to buy the car it’s a good idea to get loan quotes before you go out to view any cars. That way you’ll know what you can afford and will be able to tell whether any finance a dealer offers you is good value or not.
Used Cars in Kenya – Do your homework
Check price guides and compare similar cars in the classifieds so you know as much as you can about the value of different cars to avoid being overcharged.
Websites like www.honestjohn.co.uk and model-specific forum sites can be a useful source of information on ‘common’ faults and ‘what to look for’ tips but bear in mind that the few who’ve had a poor experience are likely to be more outspoken than satisfied customers.
Used Cars in Kenya – Don’t view a car in the rain, in poor light or at night
You won’t be able to check the condition of the car properly if it’s wet – water hides scratches, dents and other problems. Make sure you can see the vehicle clearly and from all angles.
Used Cars in Kenya – Ask about service history
Most cars require some work during the year so the owners of a car a few years old should have amassed quite a sheaf of garage bills for work or parts as well as previous records of regular servicing.
- If there’s no history then ask why
- Does it look like there might be a persistent fault that still may not have been fixed?
- Does the history tell a consistent story
Buying a Car in Kenya – Registration document
Insist on seeing the vehicle registration document – this shows the registered keeper and not the legal owner.
Is the present keeper the person selling you the car? If not, then why are they selling the car for someone else?
The registration documents shows the details of previous keepers too. Why not contact them to find out more about when they owned the car, what work was done and how many miles they covered?
Previous keepers have no vested interest so you should be able to rely on their comments
- Did they service it regularly?
- Did they do much mileage in it?
- Did they have any major servicing work done it?
- Did they modify the vehicle in any way?
Buying a Car in Kenya – Buyer beware
Be wary of anything that seems like a real bargain, or has a very low mileage for its age. There are bargains to be had but in general, if a deal looks too good to be true then it most likely is.
If you know what you’re doing then make sure you look the car over thoroughly.
Used Cars in Kenya – Cam belt
As well as regular (usually annual) servicing there are major items like brake fluid, antifreeze or cam belt renewal that car manufacturers specify should be done at a certain age or mileage.
If a cam belt breaks the resulting damage is likely to run into several thousand pounds and often a new engine is the most economical option.
Some engines have a chain instead of a belt and these normally last the life of the vehicle but if your car does have a belt you must make sure it’s replaced when due.
If a belt change was due but the service record doesn’t show clearly that it was done then the belt will have to be renewed as soon as possible for peace of mind.
Second Hand Cars For Sale in Kenya – Handbook
Make sure the handbook is in the car as they can be expensive to replace if not.
Look to see how the security system works – and check that it does – and find out what keys were provided when the car was new. Modern car keys can cost £100+ to replace so if you need more than one key and there’s only one available you’ll need to bear that cost in mind.
Coloured ‘master’ keys provided by some manufacturers to programme new spare keys for the car are even more expensive to replace.
There’s no legal requirement but cars are generally sold new with at least one spare key. If there’s not a spare now ask why not.
Second Hand Cars For Sale in Kenya – Test Drive
The test drive is your only opportunity to check the car’s general mechanical condition and to find our for sure that it meets all your needs:
- Is the driving position comfortable?
- Can you reach/operate all the controls easily?
- Do the child seats fit?
- Does the golf bag or pushchair fit in the boot?
Second Hand Cars in Kenya – Look carefully
Misaligned panels or mismatched colours on doors, bonnet and tailgate can indicate that the car has been repaired after a shunt. Traces of spray paint on door handles, window seals and mouldings can indicate repairs too.
If the engine bay looks like it has recently been power-washed clean the owner could be trying to remove evidence of fluid leaks. A check under the bonnet after a lengthy test drive should reveal any problems.
Second Hand Cars in Kenya – Seats and carpets
Seats and carpets can always be cleaned, or even replaced, but stains on internal fabric head – linings are impossible to remove completely.
If seat covers have been fitted, check underneath them for signs of damage. You can get seats replaced but this can be very expensive, particularly if they contain electric motors or airbags.
Car Sale in Kenya – Locking wheel nuts
Adaptors for locking wheel nuts have a habit of going missing. If locking wheel nuts are fitted, check to make sure that the special adaptor required is included with the toolkit and that it fits the nuts.
Car Sale in Kenya – Don’t be pressured into buying
There are always other vehicles out there so if this one doesn’t feel right in any way it’s time to walk away.
Be wary of and don’t be swayed by ‘sob stories’ like change of job, break-up of relationship, moving aboard, new baby on the way and so on. The bottom line is that you’re buying a car to help yourself, not anyone else.
Car Sale in Kenya – Before you hand over any money
- Agree collection/delivery arrangements
- Confirm exactly what’s included in the price
- Confirm any work that the seller has agreed to do
- Make sure you get a receipt showing vehicle details, price, terms of sale and the seller’s details.
Used Cars in Kenya Checks – What to look for, what to check
From handy hints on how to spot if a car is stolen to alterations on the mileage, here’s our essential list of questions to ask, and items to check when you are buying a second hand car in Kenya.
Cars For Sale in Kenya – Documents
- Can the seller show you the registration document?
- Is the seller the registered keeper shown on the documents? If not, why are they selling it for someone else?
- Any spelling mistakes on the registration document?
- Do the VIN (vehicle identification number), engine number and colour match those in the licence documents?
- Does the number plate match the licence ?
- Has the VIN plate been tampered with?
- Any sign of scratches on glass to remove etched-in marks?
- Does the fuel filler look as if it has been forced or replaced?
Cars For Sale in Kenya – Mileage
- Does the mileage, age and appearance of the car look consistent?
- Any sign like worn screws that the instruments might have been tampered with? (Digital odometers can be tampered with electronically so clues like this won’t exist)
- Does it look consistent with current mileage/condition and increase steadily year on year?
Cars For Sale in Kenya – Accident Damage
- Any signs of inconsistent gaps between panels or mismatched colours that could be a sign of extensive repairs?
- Is the paint finish even across the car?
- Any traces of paint spray on handles, window seals or plastic mouldings?
- Could the car’s colour have been changed? (Look under carpets and in other hidden areas in particular.)
- Any unusual looking welding under the bonnet or in the boot?
Cars For Sale in Kenya – Safety
- Are the tyres in good condition and all of the specification and dimensions? Tyres with less than 3mm of tread will have to be replaced soon.
- Is the spare wheel or tyre inflator/sealant kit in serviceable condition?
- Are the jack and other tools present?
- Do all the seatbelts operate correctly? Check there are no cuts or fraying that could affect the way they work.
- If airbags are fitted, Check that warning lights operate as described in the handbook – normally they will come on with the ignition and then go out?
- Box to tick Do all lights and windscreen wipers/washers work correctly?
Cars For Sale in Kenya – Test Drive
- Do all warning lights operate normally? Lights will generally come on to test and then go out – unless there’s a fault.
- Are the brakes effective or does it take a long time or a lot of effort to stop?
- Is braking even or does the car pull to one side?
- Any unusual noises when you brake?
- Is the handbrake effective?
- Any steering vibration or pull to one side?
- If ABS is fitted, does the warning light go out after the engine is started?
Cars For Sale in Kenya – Engine
- Any signs of excessive visible exhaust emissions?
- Does the oil warning light go out as soon as the engine starts?
- Any abnormal noises when the engine is started from cold?
- White water vapour from the exhaust is normal while the engine is cold
- Blue smoke isn’t normal – that’s oil burning
- Faint blue smoke from diesels is OK but black smoke is serious
- Does the clutch operate normally? A noise when you press the pedal or a high biting point could mean that repairs will be required soon.
- Is the catalytic converter in good condition? Look for a recent emissions test, either alone or as part of an MOT. This will confirm that emissions are within the stringent limits applied to modern cars.
- Is there sludge on the underside of the oil filler cap? This could indicate poor servicing or predominantly short journey use.
- Is the oil level right? Too low shows neglect; too high could be a clue that the engine is using oil but it could just have been over filled in error.
- Has the cam belt been replaced according to the service schedule?
Cars For Sale in Kenya – Locks, windows and general controls
- Do all the locks, including central locking and remote control, work properly?
- Do all windows, including any sunroof, open/close normally?
- Any signs of forced entry, damaged or different locks, suggesting they’ve been replaced?
- Have you got all the right keys? Check the handbook to see which keys were provided when the car was new. Modern keys are expensive to replace, particularly the coloured ‘master’ key provided by some manufacturers to programme new spare keys to the car.
- Are locking wheel nuts fitted? Check that the special adapter required is included with the tool kit. Make sure it fits too.
- Do all the minor controls operate correctly – heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, radio/CD, navigation etc?
List of Cars For Sale in Kenya
- Cars For Sale in Kenya – New and Used Cars For Sale in Kenya
- Land Cruiser for sale in Kenya
- Mitsubishi Canter for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Mitsubishi Outlander for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Mitsubishi Pajero for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Nissan Bluebird Sylphy for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Nissan Murano for Sale in Kenya
- Nissan Tiida for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Nissan Xtrail for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Subaru Forester for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Subaru Impreza for Sale in Kenya
- Subaru Legacy for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Subaru Outback for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Allion for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Alphard for Sale in Kenya
- Toyota Avensis for Sale in Kenya
- Toyota Axio for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Belta for sale in Kenya
- Toyota Belta for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Camry for sale in Kenya
- Toyota Camry for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Celica for sale in Kenya
- Toyota Corolla for sale in Kenya
- Toyota Crown for sale in Kenya
- Toyota Crown for Sale in Kenya
- Toyota Fielder for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Fortuner for sale in Kenya
- Toyota Harrier for Sale in Kenya
- Toyota Hiace for sale in Kenya
- Toyota Hiace for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Hilux for Sale in Kenya
- Toyota Hilux for sale Kenya
- Toyota Isis for sale in Kenya
- Toyota ist for sale in Kenya
- Toyota Kluger for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Mark X for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Nze for sale in Kenya
- Toyota NZE for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Prado for sale in Kenya
- Toyota Prado for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Premio for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Rav4 for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Rumion for sale in Kenya
- Toyota Rush for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Townace for sale in Kenya
- Toyota Vanguard for Sale in Kenya – Price, Description, Specifications and Review
- Toyota Wish for Sale in Kenya
List of Dealers for Used Cars For Sale in Kenya
Cars For Sale in Kenya – News Updates
Used cars in Kenya imports decline after increase in excise taxes
The number of vehicle imports at the Port of Mombasa last year declined for the first time in five years in what motor dealers have linked to the increase in excise taxes on popular models.
Vehicles discharged from the port reduced by eight per cent to 143,833 units in 2015 compared to 157,856 units the previous year, according to data from the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
The numbers had risen steadily from 105,048 in 2011, 120,268 (2012) and 136,915 (2013), peaking at the 157,856 units in 2014 before declining last year.
The drop has been attributed to a slowdown in imports of small used cars that account for more than 70 per cent of all vehicles shipped in from markets like Japan and UK.
Treasury secretary Henry Rotich in June 2015 announced higher excise taxes on most used vehicles and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) effected the same in December last year.
“Most of the used car dealers knew that the legislation would be implemented. They were not exactly sure of the timelines which accounts for the decrease in numbers in the second half of 2015,” said Charles Munyori, the secretary-general of Kenya Auto Bazaar Association.
The new excise tax law puts the charge on imported vehicles more than three years old at Sh200,000 and Sh150,000 for newer ones —a departure from the previous duty of 20 per cent on a vehicle’s value.
The higher excise taxes have had the effect of raising the total cost of importing used vehicles significantly, with the price of some models going up by more than Sh200,000.
A KRA schedule released ahead of the coming into force of the new law shows that duty on a Toyota Vitz –one of the smallest cars on Kenyan roads– jumped from Sh180,069 to Sh345,842, a 92 per cent increase.
Duty on the popular models, Toyota Belta (1290cc), Toyota Premio (1490cc) and Honda Fit (1290cc) was up by Sh98,001, Sh124,000 and Sh145,291 respectively.
Luxury cars like Range Rovers and Mercedes Benz, which account for a small share of all vehicle imports, however saw their excise taxes drop by up to Sh1 million.
Mr Munyori said the increase in prices has slowed down demand, with vehicles imported prior to the introduction of the new excise taxes being prefered over those whose prices reflect the higher duty.
“If you look at what people are currently purchasing, it is the cars that were imported prior to the new tax,” he said.
The justification of the new taxes, through which the government hopes to raise Sh25 billion annually, was to compensate for the harmful effects of environmental pollution associated with higher emissions from older vehicles.
The excise taxes are set to rise each year at a rate matching inflation and it remains to be seen what impact that will have on demand for vehicles in the coming years.
Source: Business Daily
Car registration, transfers to happen within a day
Motor vehicle registration and transfer of ownership are set to become instant from mid-April as the transport regulator moves the process online.
The National and Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) says the services will be processed the same day with the introduction of a Transport Integrated Management Systems (TIMs), down from one to two weeks currently.
With the system, acquiring a log book will now take 10 minutes from the previous one to six months, according Fernando Wangila, a director at NTSA.
Acquiring a duplicate log book will take a day from the current two to four weeks, the transport regulator says.
Other than eliminating the manual process of filling forms, Mr Wangila says the new system will allow car buyers to self-allocate the number plates of their choice at a premium fee.
Number plates cost Sh2,700 but those who want specific numbers allocated to them will pay more.
This is the latest attempt by the NTSA to streamline the transport sector through the use of technology.
Last year, the authority begun the renewal of driver’s licences online through the e-citizen portal, It also intends to introduce smart driving licence that will capture driver’s information and history.
“At the moment we are seeing lots of people buying vehicles but due to the tedious process of transferring, they don’t complete the contract. This legally means they are not the owners of the vehicles, through the system we want to make these processes instant,” Mr Wangila told Business Daily in an interview during the ongoing Connected Kenya Summit in Kwale County.
Once on the portal, a user will be asked create an individual profile by logging in using his PIN number and then enter chassis car number.
They can self allocate and pick a plate number of their choice or opt for auto allocate where the system will automatically select a number.
The users will also be allowed to choose where to pick up their log books and number plates, be it in Kisumu, Nairobi or Mombasa.
NTSA also said it is in talks with the Insurance Association of Kenya to adopt the actuary model in calculating insurance premiums.
Currently, the premiums stand at four per cent of value of the car across the board.
But Mr Wangila said with the new system, insurance firms can give incentives to good drivers since they would be able to determine the number of times a driver had caused an accident while at the same time be able to identify and deal with reckless ones.
It is now possible to pay for minor traffic offences through the mobile money transfer services. Traffic offenders pay fines using mobile money as opposed to going to court as is currently the norm.