In Nigeria, used cars are the way to go. Almost ⅔ of the cars you find on Nigerian roads are bought second-hand, which is why the Nigerian used car market is one of the most booming markets.

There’s already a sustainable Tokunbo market in the country; not many people care much about new models, especially considering how expensive they are compared to the used models. 

However, with used cars, the truth is that there are several things you’ll have to change in the car when you first purchase it. Below, you’ll find seven helpful tips that let you know that a particular car you’re planning to buy as used is not the right car for you. Keep reading to find out more.

Lack Of Credible Ownership Record

The Nigerian used car market is among the highest breeding grounds for selling stolen vehicles. Most of the cars that are sold secondhand are often stolen cars, which, when bought, might develop serious legal issues for you.

Before purchasing any used car in Nigeria, ensure the seller provides you with original documentation and a VIN that proves they are the original owners of the cars they are trying to sell you. If not, avoid such a car.

Poorly Maintained Cars

As much as possible, avoid buying poorly maintained cars because you’ll be the one to bear the brunt when the car’s issues begin. Often, poorly maintained cars are sold at a relatively lower price. But, the reality is that the remaining money you didn’t spend on that car, you’ll spend it trying to repair it.

Avoid poorly maintained cars like the plague, they come with never-ending issues, which are a result of the lack of proper care from the previous owner.

Cleaned Out Engine Bay

If you are buying a used car and the engine bay has been properly cleaned, leaving it looking brand new, then the seller is hiding something from you. Once the engine bay is neat looking, it sometimes has serious issues, and the seller does not want you to know that.

In such cases, they are trying to confuse you with the neatly-looking engine, and you’ll only realize the issue when you return home.

Excessive Car Rust Underneath

Avoid buying a car that rust has eaten deep into the car. It means that the frames of the car are bad, and while driving it, it’ll develop issues. Before you buy any used car, first make inspections underneath the car to figure out whether or not it has been excessively damaged by rust.

A car excessively damaged by rust leads to serious problems, and avoiding it is the best thing you can do to save money. The truth is that cars like this will never last long.

Absence Of Custom Duty Documents

You need custom papers for your used cars, especially big cars. The truth is that when you travel out of state with these cars without having a customs duty paper, customs will seize the car, and it’s either you’ll be forfeiting it, or you’ll have to pay a huge amount of money for the car. Sometimes, the fine is in the millions.

So, if a seller cannot provide the custom papers of the cars you’re trying to buy, don’t bother buying them because it’ll bring you future problems. You don’t want any of that.

Serious Smoke From the Car

Do not try to buy a car that starts releasing serious smoke when you start it up. It’ll only lead to destruction, and you won’t enjoy that vehicle. Never listen to a seller telling you that the smoke will subside. 

A car with serious smoke coming out is an indicator of a bad engine that’s about to fall apart, and if you don’t want to be a party to such car issues, avoid this type of car generally.

Previous Commercial Vehicles

Cars used for heavy commercial services have serious wear and tear issues. They’ve given up a lot of energy, and everything within the car easily falls apart. The truth is that these cars might be okay when you buy them, but subsequently, you’ll spend a lot of money trying to keep them moving.


You should consider these signs before buying any used car in Nigeria. There are many excellent used cars, but this particular issue should be avoided at all costs.

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