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Why Buy a second hand car in Malawi?

So you need a car, but here’s the challenge; do you import a car or buy a second hand car in Malawi. Below is a list of reasons why you would want to buy a second hand car in Malawi.

Why buy a second hand car in Malawi

#1. You get the car faster: If you need your car yesterday, waiting for it to be shipped in from abroad is not ideal. By buying a second hand car in Malawi you cut the waiting time and get to drive off with your car immediately.

#2. You get to inspect the car and if allowed even take it for a test drive: There’s nothing worse than spending millions of kwachas on importing a car and waiting for ages for it just to realise you don’t like something about it. So getting the opportunity to physically inspect a car could save you from buyers remorse.

#3. You have access to the vehicle’s Malawian history: Yes all cars come with their history but if they have never been driven on untarred roads, you won’t know how well the car will fare when it arrives in Malawi. Getting a second hand car in Malawi ensures you get a car that has passed the test of Malawian roads.

#4. You don’t have to worry about depreciation. It is well known that new cars lose value in the first few years. So by buying a second hand car you make huge savings but still get a vehicle that’s in decent condition and probably still fairly new.

#5. You get more variety : If you limit yourself to the cars an import broker has to offer, you might find it hard to get exactly what you are looking for. Exploring the local used car market, gives you more options.

#6. It might be cheaper: If you opt to buy a second hand car from an individual, you can negotiate and get the car cheaper than you would from a broker. Brokers might bump up the price.

#7. You don’t have to deal with the hassle that comes with importing: If you have a broker manage the import, they will charge you for it but doing it yourself is a lot of hassle. If you buy a second hand car from Malawi, you bypass all that hassle because the previous owner will have done it all for you.

#8. You contribute to the Malawian economy. When you import a car you remove money from Malawi and enrich other countries. By buying a second hand car in Malawi you are contributing to the local economy by keeping the money within the country.

Advantages of finding a car on a classifieds website

You could buy a second  hand car from a local used car dealership, a friend or family member or a private owner . Each of these options have their pros and cons, thats why its is important for you to do your research and weigh your options.

Here we discuss some of the benefits of finding a car on a classifieds website:

– You have access to a large number of cars for sale. You can browse cars for sale from all over Malawi. Different makes and models, in all colours and sizes.

– Pressure free browsing. Unlike at a dealership you don’t have anyone watching or waiting on you. You can take your time, look at as many cars as you like and you could even decide to not buy anything; without  the fear of disappointing a friend or wasting someone’s time.

– You avoid all the extra fees and price markups that dealers add on to make a profit.

Tips to help you find a car on a classifieds website

1. Create a list of all the stuff you need from the car you want to buy. Ask yourself:

  • How big do you need the boot to be?
  • How many seats do you want the car to have?
  • Do you want a manual or automatic?
  • Do you want a petrol or diesel car? Etc

Once you have decided on your essential requirements you shall have a good idea of what you want. Then you can use all of that as a baseline to narrow down your choices and hopefully buy a car you will love. 

"When people have too many choices, they make bad choices"
Thom Browne

2. Decide on the maximum amount you are willing to spend on a car. Write it down and input your amount in your search to narrow down your results to the cars you can afford. This shall help you not waste time browsing cars that are way above your price range.

3. Decide how far you are willing to travel to buy the car. Input the radius you are willing to travel, so you can only view cars for sale within that radius. There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect car then discovering that it is all the way up in Mzuzu when you live in Blantyre.

4. Browse the classified website and create a shortlist of makes and models you like. If the website enables you to start or favourite ads; save all the cars you like so you can compare them later.

What should you check when you inspect a car?

Before handing over the cash for the vehicle you are to purchase, always carry out an inspection, regardless of how good the car looks or how good the seller tells you it is. Here are some things you should check:

  • Check the underside of the car for leaks and cracks. This is very important especially here in Malawi where the roads can do alot of damage to the underside of a car.
  • Check the tires inflation and tread. If the tires are worn you might have to replace them soon so you could use this to get a price reduction on the car and If a tire is worn unevenly  this could be a sign of improper alignment or a worn suspension.
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  • Have a look at the brake disks and pads. Make sure they are not worn. If you can, you should take a test drive to test them out.
  • Make sure that all gadgets and internal electronics work. Testing them out might not seem a priority, but some sellers hide issues, so testing on your own is a good idea.
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  • Check if the bonnet, boot and doors align correctly. Misalignment could mean that the car had been in an accident and repaired. If it was repaired correctly, this might not be a cause of concern, however this is still something you need to consider.
  • Check all the car’s fluids, make sure they are at appropriate levels, that they smell right and have an appropriate colour and texture. This might also give you an indication of how well the previous owner maintained the car.
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  • Look out for scratches, dents and signs of poor repairs. Though this will not impact the performance of the car, it might be a bargaining point to get a price reduction.
  • Check all lights. Make sure they all work, and that they don’t have water in them.
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How to inspect a car

You can find an electrics scanner for your car on Amazon or AliExpress. Below are a few cheap ones we found.

Things to check during a test drive

Some sellers might be reluctant to let you drive the car, but if you can, always take the car for a test drive. Here are some tips for taking a test drive

  • First, you want to see if the driving position is comfortable, if you can adjust your seat and mirrors. Make sure the seat belt doesn’t stick and check the passenger seat belts too.
  • During the test drive itself, try to go through all the gears.
  • As mentioned earlier check the brakes. Do an emergency stop, make sure the vehicle stops completely and test the hand brake on a hill.
  • Test the clutch function. 
How to test the clutch
  • Some older vehicles might veer to one side as you drive, so try to look out for that. You want your car to be very well balanced, not to veer to one side.
  • Take the vehicle onto some bumpy roads to test the suspension.
  • Listen out for strange noises. If there is something squeaking or rattling, then there is something wrong that might cost you a fortune to fix.

Happy Shopping

Car shopping can be a daunting task. First there’s having to decide which car to buy then making sure you are not getting ripped off on the price and then checking that the car doesn’t have issues. We hope this article shall help make your car shopping a little  less daunting, and whether you decide to buy a second hand car in Malawi or import one; we hope you shall be happy with your purchase.

Other useful articles:

If there is any information you feel we might not have got quit right or that we should include in this post; please leave us a message on our facebook page .

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