Tips to Buy Used Cars in Dubai / UAE

Tips to Buy Used Cars in Dubai / UAE

Driving your own car in Dubai is a luxury. Your dream for plush sedans and compact exotic sports car can come true in Dubai, because Cars in Dubai are comparatively less expensive than the retail price in the west. However, importing one is neither economical nor easy because of lengthy documentation, huge shipping cost and high import tax.Most expats repurchase one locally instead of importing their old cars. In fact expats have to pay more than 125 per cent of the value of their car in taxes and duties. Many settle for second hand cars instead of investing in a brand new vehicle for various reasons. There are numerous car showrooms and dealers catering to the second-hand car market in Dubai.

Buying a second-hand comes with a lot of “ifs” and “buts”. If you are not careful, it can drain you financially or you can even be cheated with an old piece of crap. Buying a second-hand car is also a great option for residents who want to save money. The second hand car market has increased by leaps and bounds and you can find numerous luxury brands at all price ranges, ages and conditions available in the market. However, the real work begins with choosing the right car at the best reasonable price. This is trick and many falter. Here are a few important tips to buy used cars that will guide you if you’re planning to buy a second-hand one.

Shortlist Brands or Models

Firstly, decide on the brand, model and type that impress you. Research well; make a pro-cons list based on your budget, possible resale value, maintenance and service costs, passenger numbers and other factors to list your preferences.  Check reviews of the vehicle’s safety featuresand you should be ready with your best options of two or three brands, or even different models in the same brand, colours, to help you zero in your search.

Find Reputed Used Car Dealer or Website

While there are dozens of dealers out in the market, dealing with used cars. Check their credibility before you decide to trust one. You could go for reputed, multi-brand car dealers like Al Futtaim’s AutoMall or The Elite Cars for luxury models. They also offer attractive service packages post-purchase.

You could also use credible websites such as GetThat, which can help you browse thousands of listings for cars, compare cost and brands, and talk to the owners directly to negotiate on price.

RTA Checks and Tests

Once you have your favourite model before you, walk around the vehicle and inspect it thoroughly. The next step is to inspect whether the car is in top working condition. First things first, ask for an RTA passing guarantee, which is based on a series of checks and tests to be conducted by RTA-approved testing centres. Check if the engine number and chassis no. match the number in the registration paper.

RTA tests ensure that the vehicle is road-worthy and free from any legal hassles. The certificate is valid for thirty days only from date of issue, so you can be sure that the car has been recently inspected. Find a list of testing centres approved by RTA here.


Complete Vehicle Check

It is one of the most important tips to buy used cars. After the RTA results, check the existing insurance papers, investigate if the car has had any accidents or claims related to those. Once satisfied, you can start negotiating the price with the seller. For the cautious buyer, we recommend another round of full vehicle check-up at a garage by expert mechanic. The check would include mechanical aspects like, engine status, brakes, transmission and leakages etc, electrical aspects like examining the electrical and computer diagnostics along with air-conditioner, lighting and computer or navigation systems and full body check-up including the tyres.

A slight scratch or dent in dent can drive down the value of the car by over 15 per cent. A thorough body inspection with the help of the car’s chassis number (vehicle identification number or VIN) and RTA can track accident history.

Test Drive the Car

Take your potential car out for a short test drive to get the feel of the vehicle. This is the easiest &the best test to analyse how the car performs. Here’s what you should look out for:

  • Odd noises when driving, take the bad routes to check stability when speeding
  • Making turns to check wheel alignment
  • Check poor acceleration and long engine crank
  • Ride long distance to check the condition of the brakes, like unresponsive or noisy brakes

Ask the Right Questions!

Don’t hesitate to ask right questions & dig deep into the history of your potential new car. Enquire for the VIN number; it will help you get a Car Report to investigate the history of the car. Here are other things you should ask the dealership/seller about:

  • Pre-existing pending loans on the car you are buying
  • Previous service history
  • Insurance details
  • Warranty status

How to Negotiate While Buying Used Cars?

Even experienced salespersons find negotiations tricky. One wrong can lead to giving the seller an upper hand and costing you thousands of dirhams.

Don’t give away information: Never let the seller know that you are anxious to own that car. Be mindful and patient, you will be in a better position to negotiate when the seller is in a hurry to sell the car.

Keep facts and figures at your fingertips: Do some research, browse prices of used cars with similar specifications (e.g., navigation, reversing cameras). If sellers realize that you know the market, they are less likely to hike the price.

Wait before you make a counter-offer: Do not be in a hurry, see how much the seller is willing to reduce his price before making a counter-offer. If your offer is more than the expectations of the seller, you would end up paying more.

Be aggressive: Make sure your counter-offer is much lower than the asking price so that there is enough room to negotiate. However, this may be risky and the seller might walk away if it’s too unreasonable.

Grind out the last 5%: Capture the last AED 1,000-2,000 in discount by looking at the condition of obvious items like tyres, brakes, and interior/exterior spots. You can get the seller repair it for you or give you a good discount if you negotiate well.

Top 10 Best Used Cars in Dubai

  • Mitsubishi Pajero – it makes the top of the list as it is the most sold used car in Dubai.
  • Honda Accord
  • Nissan Altima
  • Honda Civic
  • Toyota Yaris
  • Toyota Camry
  • BMW 3 series
  • Nissan Corolla
  • Mitsubishi Lancer
  • Nissan Tiida

As the list suggests, the most popular cars for second-hand use are Nissan, Toyota, and Mitsubishi and that is due to their high quality and ability to withstand through time. As per Statista, Toyota sold around 10.4 million vehicles by March 2018. Also, for three years in a row, Toyota has been the largest automaker in the world, based on the calendar year sales figures.

Where can you Buy Used Cars?

The most comfortable choice is to visit one of Dubai’s second-hand car dealerships in Ras Al Khor or Al Aweer. This second hand car marketplace is popular among locals and expats looking for their first or second cars. You can also try one of Dubai’s most popular car-buying companies, by just searching online sites or even your local community Facebook page. Dubizzle or YallaMotor are among the reputable, however, depending on the deal you’re looking for, you may want to compare a few

Remember to get paid in cash and once the car is registered in your name get the insurance transferred as well. Do periodic vehicle checks for safety and efficiency and keep all the documents safely because when it’s time to resell your car, these will come handy to negotiate a fair price for a well-cared vehicle.

Best places to buy used cars in Dubai


Dubizzle is one of the best marketplace to buy the user cars in Dubai. Not only used cars, you can also buy / sell used items in Dubai Cars24

Al Futtaim Automall



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