During our time in Qatar, our family owned a total of 6 cars, 4 of which were bought used. Buying a pre-owned car is always tricky, no matter where you are, so it doesn’t surprise me that it’s one of the most common questions I’m being asked. And so I gathered everything I’ve learned from experience and selected the most important (in my mind) tips.
- Before you start looking… set your budget and decide if you’d like to focus your search on privately owned vehicles, or companies selling pre-owned cars. Companies will usually charge you more, but it’s generally a less risky purchase. I would usually go with private sellers, because there’s more potential for landing a good deal.
- A few places to look for used vehicles: QatarLiving, Mzad, OLX, Qatarsale.com, Facebook marketplace.
- When browsing ads… pay attention to how long has the ad been up. If it’s old and the car is still available, chances are that there’s something wrong with the it, or the asking price is excessive. Old ads, on the other hand, have a good potential for price negotiation.
- Pay attention to warranty. Since it’s a pre-owned car, best case scenario is if it’s still under warranty. It’s also an added advantage if the insurance is comprehensive, especially if you’re a new driver in Qatar.
- Service history is important. Ideally, car should have been serviced at the dealer – this way you know the parts used are genuine, and service history is all in one place, in case you need it. Make sure to also check if it was serviced on time, and when is the next service due. If you’re being extra careful, you can call the garage/dealership and enquire about car’s history.
- Don’t forget to take the car for an inspection before buying! There are many private inspection centers at Salwa Road (look for “German Car Inspection” or similar – those are usually the most reliable). Inspection doesn’t cost a lot, but will highlight any major issues which are not immediately visible (engine, gear etc.)
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price, but keep it classy and try to refrain from giving silly offers. No seller will agree to give you 50% discount from the asking price, unless there’s something seriously wrong with the car 😊 Asking price in the ad will usually indicate how much discount the seller is willing to give. For example, if a car costs QAR 33,000, you can definitely offer QAR 30,000 etc.
- Is the car accident-free? It’s important to know the vehicle’s accident history. This can be checked on Metrash2. The app shows how many major and minor accidents were reported for the car. A “major accident” is a red flag for potential buyers. The easiest way to check this is to ask the seller for a screenshot.
- Check if the insurance and istimara were recently renewed – buying a vehicle right before the renewal date means you will have to bear the cost of it.
- Remember about a test drive. It’s quite obvious, but ask to take the vehicle for a test drive before buying. Especially if you’re choosing between 2 or 3 cars and have difficulty deciding. Sometimes even though there’s nothing wrong with the car, driving it just won’t feel good for you (you will discover you’re not a fan of low suspension, hard steering etc.).
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