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5 Things you must consider before importing a used vehicles

In a country like Nigeria, buying a used vehicle instead of a brand new one is like a tradition not because we don’t like it new but because an average Nigerian can’t afford to spend much in buying new vehicles except politicians and other successful businessmen.

Buying a new vehicle is not as cheap as when buying a used one that is why many prefer to go for the used one that can easily be afforded but then there are few important things I think you should know while searching for your dream car.

Manly Nigerians always import used cars from USA, UK, ITALY, GERMANY/ JAPAN either clean and running vehicles or damaged ones that can be fixed later.

Recently I was researching a lot about the car importation and my questions then were “how much does it cost to buy a vehicle from abroad, the cost, shipment, and clearance fees though I discussed more about that on this post how much does it Cost to Ship a Car to Nigeria from USA. which helps you know more about importing a car from the USA.

Things you must consider before importing a used vehicles

I was once like you trying to find every detail on how to find a good car and what it will cost me to land it here Nigerian but the truth is that I have acquired some knowledge on the importation of cars and where to shop for good offers and deals.
Without wasting much of our time I will like to list and explain in details 5 most important things you need to check out while searching for a vehicle you can buy and import.
Some have been in this business for so long, importing and selling foreign used cars popularly known as tokumbo but it doesn’t matter if you are buying and selling, or wish to buy for your personal use because my aim is to give you the right information that will help you in making right choices and understanding expenses involved.
Before we proceed to the main topic of the day you might be interested to read what you need to know before buying a Car which also has related tips that will help when buying a car but today we going to discuss car importation and some tips you need to know.

1. Total cost price of the vehicle

While you are on the lookout for a good vehicle to buy abroad, always cross-check the exchange rate and price value based on your local currency because if you are not into the business you might think you are doing it right and at the end, you will spend more.
Importing a vehicle in Nigerian consist “buying of the vehicle, shipping the vehicle to any Nigerian seaport and finally clearing it” these are the things you must consider before you can come up with the total cost of the vehicle you are going for, you as well need to have some knowledge of shipping costs, price of the vehicle in question and how much it cost to clear it in Apapa seaports in Lagos with the help of a trusted and capable agents.
  • The total cost of the vehicle while abroad = $5000
  • Shipment and other documentation fees = S2500
  • Clearance from the seaport = #800,000
Let assume that what you spent to grab your dream car looks like the above examples, then to ascertain the total cost of the vehicle you need to do some currency conversion here.
You made some expenses in foreign currencies so we are going to convert it right away, we have Vehicle cost $5000 + shipping fees $2500 making it $7500 (US Dollars)
$1 = 360 then 360 x 7500 = #2.7 million in Nigerian currency then you need to add the #800,000 clearance then we have a total of #3.5 million total costs.
The main point here is that you should do the calculation well and find out the total cost and probably compare it to when buying from other dealers that specialized in importing and selling of cars because they might have some connections and secrets of the business but if you are sure of what you are doing then go ahead and do it yourself.

2. Model and Year of Production

I believe you must have a clear picture of what you really want, the type of car you want, the brand model and year of production which is important that can as well help you to search for what you need at the right place and at the right time.
According to the Nigerian custom rules on importation of vehicles, they vividly stated that Nigerians should not import any used motor vehicles above fifteen (15) years from the year of manufacturing and that’s one thing you must always remember
While deciding on the brand, model and the year of production always remember that those things are the key factors that determine the clearing cost of the vehicle.

If someone who buys a Toyota Camry 2004 model used between #300,000 -#500,000 to clear it from Apapa seaport then when you buy Toyota Camry 2016 model you might use between #800,000 – #2 million to clear it and that’s how it works.

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Mileage check

In addition, you might be interested to know how long and distance the vehicle has gone so far and the only way to find out is checking the vehicle mileage that indicates the distance the vehicle has covered since production

3. Properly check the vehicle VIN number


If you have been hearing more about vehicle VIN number and still don’t know more about it then you will surely be happy before going out of this page.
First, VIN is an abbreviation that represents vehicle identification number (VIN) which acts as an identifying code for a specific automobile and sometimes a vehicle VIN can be called chassis number as well.
Moreover, a VIN can be seen as the real identity of any vehicle since no other vehicle in operation can use the same VIN with any other
A VIN  number consists of  17 characters (digits and capital letters) that act as a unique identifier for the vehicle.

Where can I find my car’s VIN number?

how to find you vehicle Vin number, the easiest way
image credit Autocheck

Well finding your vehicle VIN number is not a problem at all and one of the easiest way to discover the VIN is by standing outside the vehicle on the driver’s side and look at the corner of the dashboard where it meets the windshield

Importance of VIN

VIN helps you to find all the information about the vehicle you wish to buy, you need the vehicle identification number to see the real name of the vehicle, year of production, model and other related information but the most import thing about VIN is that it can help you find out if the vehicle has been stolen from someone or whether it has a series of accidents in the past etc.

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4. Maintenance and Spare Parts Availability

One big mistake you should avoid is buying a vehicle that you can’t easily find the spare parts in your country that can be used to replace any damaged or faulty parts.
It all depends on your financial capability though, if you find it OK ordering spare parts of your vehicle from abroad then you are free to decide but if not go for well known good vehicles that you can easily find varieties of spare parts to choose from.
Maintenance costs should be considered because there are some vehicles that cost less to buy but cost more in maintenance while some will cost you more to buy and less in maintenance.

You should go for a good vehicle that might cost more to buy than the one that costs less because you can only buy a car once but maintenance is a regular process and a measure necessary to keep your vehicle in good condition for best services and performance.

You can find your answer by doing some homework and asking some important questions to those who are in the field.

5. Second-hand value (After use Value)

Understanding the market demand and value of the vehicle you intend to buy is very important and in Nigeria, we call it second-hand value, in other words, it means the value of the car after you might have used and wish to resell to others who might be interested to buy the vehicle from you.
You can agree with me that many vehicles that have cost a lot to buy can become partially useless once used because they lack second-hand value.
It doesn’t matter if you imported the vehicle from abroad as a used one the question is how much would you be able to sell it back in one or two years to come but for some rich men it doesn’t matter if they dash it out or sell at a peanut price since they have the money,
Examples of vehicles with good second-hand value in Nigeria
I will not go into full details on this today but if you want to know few vehicle brands and models that retain its value even after use in Nigeria then think about brands like Toyota Corolla, Camry’s, Mercedes (certain models), Volkswagen (certain models), etc.
Finally, I feel happy that you are still with me till the end of this page and am sure you might have seen an answer to your question but in case you need more tips, feel free to express and share your own thoughts.

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