Over 100,000 used cars are sold in the UAE every year, as new cars lose about 20-30 percent of their value in the first year of purchase, making finding a used car in good condition, for a fraction of the original price, easily attainable. But the biggest fear when it comes to used cars is the chance of identifying unforeseen damages in the vehicles, making the purchase costlier than expected. Service platform CarSwitch shares the most common problems found in used cars, and which ones in particular buyers should watch out for:
1. Repainted panels: 50 percent of cars inspected by CarSwitch have had at least one repainted panel, which relates to accident history, and is detected through certified paint meters that test the density of the paint. Checking with the seller, agency, or insurance provider does not identify repairs, as they could have been made by a previous owner, independent garage or old insurance policy. While it is common for a used car to have gone through an accident, buyers must beware of numerous repainted panels, which could indicate severe accidents that could lead to future car problems. Up to 20 percent of inspected cars displayed several repainted panels.
2. Dented rims: Inspection by the platform revealed 40 percent of cars had either dented or scratched rims, which are more complicated to repair than regular body scratches, as a serious dent in the rims could affect car alignment, meaning the car no longer drive in a straight line on high speeds. While scratches can be identified with a simple visual check, serious damage to rims can only be revealed via a test drive on a highway.
3. Brake pads: Around 10 percent of cars showed worn out brake pads, though this is not an alarming concern, as the pads are a consumable body part that requires replacement after a certain mileage depending on their specifications. However, the cost of replacement is transferred to the buyer, and can come at a hefty price of AED1,500 per brake pad for sports cars.
4. Battery damage: A small proportion, 5 percent, of inspections revealed battery problems that lead to replacement. If the car is still under the manufacturer's warranty, the battery can only be replaced at the official agency to not void the warranty, and that can be rather costly, around AED 2,500.
5. Engine and/or transmission leaks: This is a red flag for buyers, as the root cause of a leak is often difficult to determine. The diagnosis of a leak could require the disassembling of the engine and/or transmission, which is in itself both costly and time consuming. Luckily, leaks are rare to find, as only around 5 percent of cars inspected by CarSwitch showed leaks.
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