Are you thinking of buying a used car? It might be a great option to get your dream pair of wheels at a lower price. However, when buying second-hand you should be aware of the chances of getting scammed.

How do you look for the tell-tale signs of a scam? Below are few instances where you can be alert and sniff out a trap:

Is the odometer manipulated?

Watch out if you notice a car being sold for a price which is lower than the market value with a low mileage. It’s quite possible that the odometer has been tampered with by the seller. Even if it’s a digital odometer, your seller could still tamper with the readings.  For example, if a car is at 120,000 kms it can be easily brought down to 50,000 kms for approximately AED 100.

To avoid falling into this trap, you can request a service report. It will show the last service date with the kilometers traveled. Other signs can be – a worn out steering wheel and other car interiors.

If you’re looking to buy a car, you can compare car deals and car loans available from various providers.

Who has chosen the computer testing workshop?

While it’s extremely important to get the used car computer tested from a reputed workshop before buying it, make sure the workshop isn’t of the seller’s choice. Also try to choose one that is away from the seller’s neighborhood. There is always a possibility of  a work “relationship” between the seller and the workshop and as a buyer you might be given a fake report.

Is the advertisement a spam?

Have you come across an attractive advertisement selling a car at an unbelievable low rate? It may not be legit. A victim of such a scam tells us his story.

“I lost AED 40,480. The seller said he was out of the UAE, but promised to import the car in for me after I wired the payment.”

These type of spam advertisements can be easily identified if there’s only an email address mentioned and no other contact detail. Also remember, it’s impossible to register a used vehicle when the owner is not in the country.

Is the car damaged?

Suresh, a UAE resident, recently purchased a used car of German make –

“I was led to believe that the car was in mint condition. Later I realized that it had been in a serious accident where even the air bags had been deployed.”

Always test drive the used car on different roads – straight and curved. Look out for for any abnormal squeaks, sounds and performance. Also use a digital or magnetic paint gauge meter to determine if the car is coated in it’s original paint or is layered with an additional coating in order to cover damages.


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Should you buy an imported car?

When a seller is displaying an imported car it’s important to consider how much you can find out about it before making a final decision. It might not be easy to get a a full car history for an imported car and it becomes difficult to determine if the odometer readings are accurate or not.

A few methods to safeguard yourself: check the speedometer, if it displays numbers in MPH,  it’s American made. If the  speedometer displays numbers in KMS, it’s from the GCC. You  can get the service history by entering the VIN number on for USA and Canada. UAE residents can check the Abu Dhabi Police website which will give you the entire car history.