Buying your first car in Nigeria? Watch out!


Buying a first car is a really big deal, but you don't want to make a mistake that will make you regret your choice later. Naijacarnews offers you a guide to help you.

So you've finally made up your mind to purchase your first car in Nigeria but are confused on how to start? Buying a car in Nigeria is not as easy as walking up to a car dealer and handing them your hand earned or saved money. There are a million antics these dealers use to make you pay more or to sell you a dud!  If you don't know the steps to take, you might end up being cheated. When a car dealer who has been in the business for long sights a first timer buyer who is confused, they know in an instant that a “maga” is in the building. Here are the important steps you should know in the car buying checklist:

1. Make a budget

This first step is highly essential. Determine the amount you are willing to spend on your new ride. This helps you to stay on budget without spending too much. It also keeps you from the temptation of someone convincing you of a better more expensive deal. If possible, add a small sum to the amount you have set aside for supplementary expenses, just in case. Buying a cheap car is possible.


Money available determines he car you can afford 

2. Research cars and then the car you target

We are assuming you already have something in mind but it won't hurt to make further research about cars in general and then the car you have in mind. Sometimes, a car may not be actually what you fantasize about. Ensure that the car you want to buy meets all your expectations. If you don't have a particular car in mind, then research even more. Read reviews to know what other buyers are saying. You can also download the car brochure online to read about the specification and accessories even if you want a used car.


Talk to friends, family, look online for the perfect car for you

3. Car loans

If you intend to take a loan to finance your first car, be especially careful so you don’t end up in uncomfortable circumstance later. Points to note:

  • Paying back and maintaining the car is not easy as you will have a reoccurring interest to pay up that is additional to your monthly expenses; so you have to have a good reason of acquiring a loan to own a car as well as sufficient monthly income.
  • Make sure you have a good credit record to enable your loan giver give you a quick loan.
  • Also try to pay back at the appropriate time as you don't want to mess up your credit record.
  • Use a good financial institution that has a reasonable interest rate, and other terms that are not too strict like period of repayment.

There are also other ways to finance your first car like the recently launched Vehicle Credit Acquisition Scheme, and installment plans. 

Reliable companies to get installmental payment for cars in Nigeria

4. Make sure your car dealer is registered & reliable

Before you choose a dealer to purchase your car, ensure that the dealer is registered and has a positive record. Why is it important? It is because your car dealer will ether give you a great car and deal, or make you regret you ever met him. Also he will deal with you long after the sale, answering any questions you may have. So, a great dealer is a must.


Car dealers are not hard to spot, but good ones that play fair are more difficult to find

5. Test drive carefully

Though not all dealers accept for you to do this, after you have shown sufficient serious interest, insist on taking the car for a spin around. Let the dealer or a rep accompany you to answer questions along the way. Test driving will turn up issues with the car, which you might not otherwise know. If you are not permitted to test drive, you probably should abandon that car. And if it must be that car, get a mechanic to check it out and make sure all is fine.

6. Consider these factors before buying the car

Having passed all the previous stages and now at this point (about to purchase the car), you should have these in mind:

  • Use a safe means to pay for your car, like a check or a transfer. Let cash be a last option.
  • Many people find it boring but it's best to carefully read the terms and conditions of the sale.
  • Collect all car documents and receipts, and make sure all documentation is properly filed and filled. Collect important documents like: Vehicle License, Custom duty papers, Court affidavit (Where applicable especially buying a used car), Road worthiness certificate or MOT (Where applicable), Tint permit (Where applicable), Proof of ownership certificate (if it is a used car & the cerficate should contain the car name, brand, VIN and registration number), Receipt of purchase.


Get your documentation right, or you will regret it later

7. Made in Nigeria cars

As a new car buyer, you may also consider buying a made in Nigeria car to save costs. Made in Nigeria cars are new cars either assembled or manufactured in Nigeria. They include Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN), Hyundai Motors, Kia Motors, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, poplarly called Innoson, and National Truck Manufacturers, ltd also known as "Kano cars." 

8. Cars by auction

A first time car buyer might also be interested in buying a car by auction. Car auctions may be online or offline, local or foreign based. One popular source for auction cars in Nigeria is the Nigerian customs service, as it auctions seized vehicles from time to time. Be careful because there are lots of fake auction sites.


Auctions are a solid way to get a first car, could be cheaper too

9. Insurance

After you have gotten your car, make sure you insure your car. Some car owners think that car insurance is not important but it is, and more to the point, it is illegal to drive without one. Insuring your car helps you cover unexpected expenses in case of an accident. Use a good insurance company and chose the right insurance.

10. Get other necessary documents

In Nigeria, there are required documents needed from the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) before one can hit the road. These are driver’s license, number plates, vehicle registration, and others.

You are now ready to enjoy your first drive in your new car. Enjoy the drive!

>>> Safe driving advice from is indispensible for a new driver.

Joshua-Philip Okeafor