CarReport mission is to make the most comprehensive vehicle history database in the UAE to make UAE used car market more transparent. CarReport has extensive knowledge about the used car market, finding the right car has never been easier. Please read through our tips below.

Buying a used car is a great way of cutting the cost of your driving as most new cars lose around 40% of their value in the first year. There are risks so it's important to take your time rather than rush into any deal, and to buy as far as possible with your head rather than your heart.

Budget carefully

If you're going to borrow money to buy the car it's a good idea to get loan quotes before you go out to view any cars. That way you'll know what you can afford and will be able to tell whether any finance a dealer offers you is good value or not.

Get insurance quotes before signing on the bottom line, and remember to factor in the cost of any work that might be needed too.

Do your homework

Check price guides and compare similar cars in the classifieds so you know as much as you can about the value of different cars to avoid being overcharged.

Websites and model-specific forum sites can be a useful source of information on 'common' faults and 'what to look for' tips but bear in mind that the few who've had a poor experience are likely to be more outspoken than satisfied customers.

Don't view a car in the rain, in poor light or at night

You won't be able to check the condition of the car properly if it's wet – water hides scratches, dents and other problems. Make sure you can see the vehicle clearly and from all angles.

Ask about service history

Most cars require some work during the year so the owners of a car a few years old should have amassed quite a sheaf of garage bills for work or parts as well as previous test certificates, and records of regular servicing.

  • If there's no history then ask why
  • Does it look like there might be a persistent fault that still may not have been fixed?
  • Does the history tell a consistent story
Buyer beware

Be wary of anything that seems like a real bargain, or has a very low mileage for its age. There are bargains to be had but in general, if a deal looks too good to be true then it most likely is.

Cam belt

As well as regular (usually annual) servicing there are major items like brake fluid or cam belt renewal that car manufacturers specify should be done at a certain age or mileage.

If a cam belt breaks the resulting damage is likely to run into several thousand dirhams and often a new engine is the most economical option.

Some engines have a chain instead of a belt and these normally last the life of the vehicle but if your car does have a belt you must make sure it's replaced when due.

If a belt change was due but the service record doesn't show clearly that it was done then the belt will have to be renewed as soon as possible for peace of mind.

Test Drive

The test drive is your only opportunity to check the car's general mechanical condition and to find our for sure that it meets all your needs:

  • Is the driving position comfortable?
  • Can you reach/operate all the controls easily?
  • Do the child seats fit?
  • Does the golf bag or pushchair fit in the boot?

More test drive advice

Test drive tips

Try to take your time on a test drive, even if you feel the seller breathing down your neck.

Try to drive more than one example if you're looking at an unfamiliar model. This will give you a better idea of what that car should feel like to drive and may help you to tell the difference between characteristics and possible faults.

  • Allow at least half an hour and drive on all kinds of road.
  • Can you get in and out of the car easily?
  • Can you adjust the seat and steering so you're comfortable?
  • Can you see the instruments clearly and reach the controls easily?
  • Try reversing into a parking space to check all round vision and blind spots.
  • Take your children with you – are they comfortable in the back?
  • Take any child seats you use with you and check that they fit
  • Is there space for your regular shopping bags, luggage, golf clubs, pushchair etc? Can you fold the rear seats easily?
  • Is the boot sill low enough? Will you be able to unload shopping and luggage easily from the back?
  • Is it easy to take out and re–fit removable seats? Ask the owner's permission before you try.
What to look for?

Engine & Suspension

The engine should be cold before you start – feel the bonnet. If it's warm, the seller could be trying to hide a starting problem.

Check for signs of excessive smoke when you start the car and when you're driving. The engine should be quiet and pull smoothly.

Listen for unusual rattles or clonks from the suspension.

Steering & Brakes

Steering should be responsive with no vibration or 'free play'.

Brakes should give confidence and stop the car in a straight line.


If you're buying a family car then take your children with you – it's better to hear their objections before you buy, rather than every time you take them out.

Look carefully

Misaligned panels or mismatched colours on doors, bonnet and tailgate can indicate that the car has been repaired after a shunt. Traces of spray paint on door handles, window seals and mouldings can indicate repairs too.

If the engine bay looks like it has recently been power-washed clean the owner could be trying to remove evidence of fluid leaks. A check under the bonnet after a lengthy test drive should reveal any problems.

Seats and carpets

Seats and carpets can always be cleaned, or even replaced, but stains on internal fabric head–linings are impossible to remove completely.

If seat covers have been fitted, check underneath them for signs of damage. You can get seats replaced but this can be very expensive, particularly if they contain electric motors or airbags.

Locking wheel nuts

Adaptors for locking wheel nuts have a habit of going missing. If locking wheel nuts are fitted, check to make sure that the special adaptor required is included with the toolkit and that it fits the nuts.

Don't be pressured into buying

There are always other vehicles out there so if this one doesn't feel right in any way it's time to walk away.

Be wary of and don't be swayed by 'sob stories' like change of job, break-up of relationship, moving aboard, new baby on the way and so on. The bottom line is that you're buying a car to help yourself, not anyone else.

Before you hand over any money
  • Agree collection/delivery arrangements
  • Confirm exactly what's included in the price
  • Confirm any work that the seller has agreed to do
  • Make sure you get a receipt showing vehicle details, price, terms of sale and the seller's details.
Finally, before you buy the car

Get a CarReport to confirm everything is in order with the information you have been provide by the seller.

CarReport can also help you negotiate on a better price. Keep in mind that - “72% of buyers never negotiate on price of a vehicle use - CarReport provide valuable information which allows and helps you negotiate with the seller.”