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7 steps to buying a used car in Ghana


Foster Dompreh | May 28, 2019

The process to buy a used car in Ghana comes with its own hustle, since getting a perfect deal does not come easy. There have been many many reports on fraudulent car dealing scams, as well as hasty decisions to buying a used car which led to buyer’s remorse, because due diligence was not done. Everyone wants flexibility and easy means of moving from one place to another and owning a reliable car just makes it reality. A lot of benefits comes along with buying a perfect used car; from it being relatively cheaper compared to new ones and also it comes in handy, easy to find and purchase. Being in the car industry for almost 10years, here are steps which will guarantee you will purchase that perfect used car;


1. Target List

Irrespective of owning a car or not, everyone has a list of cars they will like to buy. The reality is, depending on few factors, some cars in that list might not be perfect for you. To know which car best suit your needs will depend on the daily rounds or routines, personal preference and purchasing power.

list of cars to buy in ghana

Do you want to get around with ease and relatively cheaper without showing off? Then look for fuel economy cars which comes with low engine capacity; between 1.4cc – 1.8cc engine size. Some of the brands to look at are Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and Corolla, Hyundai Getz, Kia Rio, Nissan Sentra among a few. However, if you are targeting comfort, style and luxury one should look at the high-end models like; BMW 7series, Mercedes – Benz E350, Range Rover Velar etc. Based on your personal preference, do you like Saloon cars, SUV (4x4) or pickup truck. Most at times with a very bad road networks, SUV is much suitable due to its high elevation from the ground, but it comes with a little cost than the saloon or sedan cars.


In making up the list, talk to mechanics you trust about what you looking for and which car will offer you much reliability, parts availability, cost and car performance whiles staying within your budget. Hopefully you will get a good idea of what will be perfect for you while factoring in your personal preference.


In whatever the brand model makes the list, if one of the model is above your means, there are other similar models with the same features to satisfy your needs.


2. Know your budget

Cars making up your list have to fall within your financial constraints. How much can you afford for a used car is one of the most crucial questions in the process. Knowing your budget depends on the financial plan for the car; either through a loan or a one – time payment through personal savings or any means. When using personal savings to buy a car, don’t drain all the money in your account. That is If you have GH 20,000 in your savings account, don’t plan of using more than 60% of it for a car, as a rule of thumb.  


budget to buy car in ghana

Because, after purchasing a car, there comes issues of parts replacement and maintenance costs and you have to prepared for it. However, if you using a car loan to purchase your vehicle, make sure not to exceed 20% of your monthly salary according to research done by Edmunds car research and also make sure the car agent does not over quote the car price to the banks or institution granting you this facility, since you will end up with higher interest to pay. In the case Likewise, you should find out the average real selling price of the model you are trying to purchase, hence you do not get an overpriced car.


With much of my experience in this field, one thing for sure, be frugal when buying a used car, make sure there is some enough money left for fuel, parts replacements, insurance and even change of ownership costs.


3. Start Searching

Having a fair idea about the car which best fits your needs and the budget, it’s time to search. The easiest way is online classifieds. One of the platforms is Oxglow Trader in Ghana and others like Tonaton, Olx, cheki among a few. These classifieds have an inventory of private sellers and car dealers who have made their car listings available for everyone to purchase. One advantage is, you get a quick way to compare prices of the car you want. I personally bought my first car through the online classifieds.


searching for a car to used car to buy in ghana

Aside classifieds, your locality could offer another great opportunity, by moving within the area, town and city. You will come across cars being offered for sale, they mostly make their contact details on the cars, you can look it up and call them directly. With little research, cars in localities tend to be much lower priced and considerate in negotiations. In furtherance, another means is to contact mechanics; they are a source of information concerning specific cars being offered for sale without the owner making it public. At one time, a friend got a cool deal from the leads of these mechanics and they also could attest and vouch for the car in most cases. You can also search through social media like WhatsApp, there are groups which comprises of car agents and dealers, you could be invited to join the groups and find what you need.


4. Call to inquire

After searching and identifying specific car you want to purchase, its  time to make the call to the rightful or immediate owner or car dealership. Call the owner or seller and find out information about the car before anything else. Ask questions about; why they are selling the car, how long they have used the car, what are the faults on the car, ask if the car is in their name or of someone else. Then finally find out if there is any fault they will like you to know.


Upon satisfactory of all the responses, then go ahead to schedule to inspect or meeting for the car.


5. Inspect the car

When going to inspect the car, first of all, do not take the money along during the inspection, do not be too anxious to buy the car, be relaxed and go through the inspection and test driving very thoroughly.


inspect and buy a car in ghana


To start the process, open the hood and inspect the engine, make sure there you identify oil leakages. Get under the car and make sure there are no rusty rotten frames or if there are, it should be minimal and not extensive ones. Check the water tank cover, open the lid, make sure it is not rusting or filled with some kind of sand or dirt. If it does, this will indicate the car has overheating problems and you should reconsider the decision to purchase the car. The Water tank lid should be clean and not corroded inside. Check for fila or extensive body works, this should tell you of an extensive accident involving the car.


After these few body checks, it’s time for a test drive, first of all turn off all distractions like radio in the car. Start the car and let it idle for a while and listen to the engine rev, if it rattles then it means the injector pistils misfiring or gasket damage. Step on the accelerator and listen to the sound of the engine. Then take the ride on the highway and accelerate to ascertain the vehicle performance. After than you have to drive on a rough untarred road to ascertain the shocks strength and suspension state. Whiles test driving, watch the temperature gauge, make sure it’s not rising so quickly, if it does these signals overheating problems.


After the drive test of taking curves and bends, get out of the car and wipe your finger through the car exhausts, is it dry or oily or little water (humid)? If its oily then there are serious issues with the strength of the engine, aside that, quickly get to the engine and inspect the bubble of lubricant oil by opening the lid, let someone start the car and step on accelerator, does the oil bubble up or its calm. If it bubbles up speedily then the engine is getting weaker. Check the tires, yes it’s not that expensive, but when you see total wear out (baldness) on one side of the same tire, it means that car has serious suspension imbalance issues and you should be aware and factor into the decision making. Aside that check for AC whiles driving, if only you need that. 


Very importantly, I will advise that, if all the above seem too technical for you, the best thing to do is to go along with a mechanic or fitter who could go and inspect the car with the technical expertise. Hire a mechanic who has no relation with the car this is to eliminate connivance or conflict of interest assessment.


 6. Make an offer

After the inspection, remember that a used car’s value is based on its reliability, performance and popularity for parts. Now, you should know what needs to be replaced, call to check the price of these parts and factor them in the price you will offer. In your bargaining, let the seller know your reason(s) for the first quote which is supposed to be below your real budget. Be very frugal in making a deal.  

In case you didn’t arrive at an agreeable price, don’t rush to push up the price above your budget [be mindful of this]. Ask the seller to give you a call when willing to sell at your offering price.

However, if an agreement is reached, seal the deal with procedures to finalize with payment.


7. Finalize with payment

This stage is high priority. Before making any payment, get hold of the car title documents, check the roadworthy certificate and insurance stickers and compare to the one in the booklets and document, make sure they tally. Upon tally, find the nearest Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) office to confirm that duties and all required payment have been duly made. If everything is successful, now get the money for payment.

paying to own a car in ghana

First of all, suggest to pay into seller’s bank account or cheque, this is for proof of payment. If not feasible, get the cash. But, ask if there is a warranty, if not before making the payment have an agreement on paper concerning the sum of payment and the car model/make, leave a column for all parties to sign and endorse. Afterwards, have the car in sight or close by in visibility with the car keys your possession before giving the money out when dealing with acquaintances and private sellers, you need to cautious. After all is set and done, now enjoy your ‘new’ car.


In summary, these are the few things to help you get the perfect used car in Ghana. The search should be made with much caution, since there are a lot of underpinnings; the engine performance is crucial, fuel efficient, as well as spare parts availability and cost. Remember that, the ideal second hand or used car is one that is reliable and performs well.

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