Things to look out for when buying a locally used car

Car ownership is steadily transitioning from a luxury to a necessity in the modern world.

Despite being a necessity, it is arguably still an expensive requirement that not everyone can afford. Even those who can afford it must save for a while or take out loans to purchase it.

When a new car is out of reach, people turn to used cars that have been driven overseas but are still in good operating condition.

Automobiles are plentiful in Kenya and more Kenyans are becoming car owners each wake of day. This is highly attributable to the unreliability of public transportation in Kenya. 

Taxation has proven to be a barrier to car ownership in Kenya, with the majority of people opting for locally used or “third-hand” vehicles.

“Third-hand” cars come with a lot of risks and do not guarantee reliable service to the buyer, so he or she must check several issues before purchasing the vehicle.

1.Condition of the Car

It’s not all about a roaring engine when it comes to mechanical health. It covers the entire car, including the tyres, body, engine, and even the lights. Most cars that are not mechanically sound have not received sufficient and timely maintenance and may be missing certain basic parts.

You might not be able to check all of these as a first-time car owner. Before making a purchase choice, it is essential to have a reliable mechanic accompany you and examine the vehicle for you.

Take a driving test

This is also crucial because you will be interacting with the car while driving it. This allows you to determine what is and is not working. Everything, including the wheels, brakes, steering wheel, mirrors, and lights, should be in good working order. In addition, the car should start smoothly, with minimal vibrations and no engine noise.


When buying an automobile in Kenya, you should not overlook the importance of documentation. Please do not transact with a seller who cannot produce all of the required paperwork. You don’t want to end up with a stolen vehicle or be taken advantage of.

A logbook

A logbook is proof of ownership, and the National Transport and Safety Authority can verify it (NTSA). You’ll be able to look up information like previous ownership, current ownership, and even the car’s loan status with it.

Personal Identification Documents of the seller

You will require the seller’s personal identification documents, which include the ID (Identification Card) and the KRA pin, in order to establish ownership.


Several people have lost their cars shortly after purchasing them because they were used as collateral for loans.

If the vendor is unable to furnish a logbook, it is possible that it was utilized as collateral by lenders.

Details such as the vehicle make, model, chassis number, engine number, year of production, name of the current and former owner, address, and caveat can be found by searching the NTSA portal.

4.Consumption of fuel

Buying a used automobile indicates you don’t have the financial means to spend a lot of money on it, including on gas. Make sure you’re happy with the car’s fuel usage before you buy it.

5.History of the Vehicle

Obtain as much information as possible about the vehicle. Know if certain basic pieces, such as the engine, have been replaced, as this has an impact on the car’s efficiency.

6.An agreement 

You’ll need to write an agreement after checking everything. You can either hire a lawyer or have at least two witnesses sign the agreement. The agreement should say clearly that the vehicle will be transferred as soon as the payment is received. It should also contain the following:

  • The seller’s information as well as yours (ID and KRA pin)
  • Make and model of vehicle
  • The registration number of the vehicle
  • The seller’s date and signature, as well as yours and the witnesses/ lawyer’s


Payments should never be done in cash and should always be done through a bank. Remember that the agreement said that ownership would be transferred as soon as payment was received. The only way for the money to be monitored is if it is made through a bank. 

8.Ownership transfer

The next step will be to transfer ownership after the payment has been made. This is on the NTSA portal, and you should complete it in a cybercafé/online with the seller. Please keep the following in mind:

  • The vendor will be responsible for initiating the transfer on their NTSA tims account.
  • The transfer must be accepted using your NTSA tims account.
  • You will be required to pay a transfer fee.

Your logbook will be ready in two weeks or fewer after you complete the transfer. Instructions on how to obtain it should be sent to you.