How to Buy a Second-Hand Car in Kenya

Article by Maureen Kasuku
Posted: July 09, 2020  

So you’d like a set of wheels and they don’t have to be from a high end showroom. If you just need to get from point A to B without all the razzle dazzle, a previously used car will do. Here are steps to take when considering buying a second hand in Kenya.

  1. Budget



What are you looking into purchasing? What’s your budget like? DO NOT spend way too much money on a used car. And unless you have a steady income and a clear way to repay, do not get yourself in debt to buy a car. 

  1.   Window Shopping

Now you have a budget in place, check out what the market has to offer first. We highly recommend you start here.  They have everything you need. From saloon cars to minivans to trucks. The whole shebang. You can also just use them as a guide to compare what the rest of the market has to offer.

  1. Due Diligence

It’s very important to know the history of maintenance of the vehicle you intend to purchase.  Ask questions, ask for receipts.   You don’t want to buy a rickety jalopy that looks Ok-ish on the surface right? Be extra vigilant by ensuring it is well checked by your trusted mechanic or through a third party valuer like AA Kenya. They’ll be able to give you an unbiased analysis and indication of the car’s value by spotting mechanical problems.

  1.       Check Credentials 

Ask the seller to produce an ORIGINAL copy of the vehicle’s logbook. This proves that they are the owner of the car. You don’t want to be caught up in a grand theft auto syndicate. 

  1.       Verify

 Log book in hand, conduct an Online Logbook Car Search on the Kenya Revenue authority website. Use the car’s registration number to confirm the details of the logbook against the search results.  This way, you get to confirm the car’s ownership, accident history, and if duty has been paid in full. You can also ensure the engine and chassis number have not been tampered with. This will set you back Ksh 500 as of July 2020.

  1.       Paper Work 

Satisfied with the online results and want the keys? Not too fast. Have a lawyer draft a comprehensive sales agreement. It should cross all T’s and dot all I’s. It must not be vague. Leave nothing to chance. The agreement will be signed by you, the seller/owner and a witness.

  1.       Paying 

Once the agreement has been signed and notarized by the lawyer, each party keeps a copy of the agreement and you can proceed to pay for the vehicle. We advise you to pay for the car using a banker’s cheque or money transfer. Not cash. NEVER CASH! You’ve got to have legit proof of payment; a paper trail.  

  1.       Transfer Documents

Remember step 4 (Verifying)? Can’t do that search without a copy of the car owner’s PIN number and ID card. You already have these in your possession. Now, the car seller is obliged by law to initiate an Online Transfer of Ownership through the NTSA TIMS platform. This way, all the legal documents will be in your name. 

  1. Transfer Fees

Now that car is in your name, you MUST pay for the Purchase Tax and Transfer Fees which are based on the car’s engine capacity through the TIMS Online platform or KRA will be on your neck!

  1.     Insurance Cover

Before you hit the road, you need to get insurance for your vehicle. We suggest you skip the brokers and contact the insurance companies directly. It’s actually cheaper and you get a much better deal. These days, this can all be done online.



About the author

Maureen Kasuku

Maureen is our resident cat lady and Beyoncé stan. She writes about spas, brunch and ballet recitals but has never been to any. Moonlights as a social justice activist in her spare time. She knows things and is obnoxiously opinionated on the internet but not in real life


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