Second Hand Cars in Dubai: A Guide for Buying Used Cars in the UAE

  | Published: 20 June 2019 | Last Updated On: 23 September 2021

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For a lot of new motorists, purchasing a new car in the UAE can be a bit daunting. Without a doubt, a new vehicle is a lot more convenient but it can be a bit over the budget to afford at times. Even economy vehicles (that is, compacts) in Dubai can cost around AED 50,000 or more.

That is why a lot of people want to buy pre-owned or second-hand cars in Dubai. Most of the residents claim that they would prefer purchasing a used car in the UAE. That’s not it, they prefer buying cheaper car insurance policies as well.

Second-hand cars in the UAE are available for comparative prices. The good thing about this is that it is possible to get amazing deals on high-end cars that are otherwise unaffordable. While purchasing a new vehicle, the dealer might sort out all the processes including finance, insurance, & registration. But in this fast-growing pre-owned cars’ segment, many pre-owned car dealerships have started offering assistance with paperwork, insurance and finance when buying second-hand cars in Dubai. The final question is that how do you really go about buying a second-hand car that’s worth the investment

How to Buy Used Cars in the UAE?

Just like shopping for any other commodity, you need to follow a proper procedure when you set out to buy a used car in the UAE. There are several steps you need to follow which will cover everything from researching to selecting and finally buying second-hand cars in Dubai. Following are the necessary steps you need to follow to buy used cars in the UAE.

1.Shortlist the Models or Brands

A lot of you are already aware of your preferred car manufacturers. It is advised to shortlist 2 or 3 brands or diverse models of the same brand. Such a decision is dependent on cost, service, and maintenance costs the possible value of resale, the number of passengers that you’re considering.

2. Look for a Good Website or Car Dealer

Although there are many dealers available in the market, the basis of selection generally is credibility & responsible selling. You can consider multi-brand brick & mortar car dealers such as AutoMall by Al Futtaim or Elite Cars for high-end models of second-hand cars in the UAE. These dealers might also offer exclusive service packages after purchase. You can also go for credible websites that might help you in comparing brands and costs, and speak with the owners directly for negotiating on price. Such negotiations are not possible with the resellers.  

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3. Car Selling Websites in the UAE

Buying second-hand cars in the UAE is now an incredibly easy task. Apart from the aforementioned AutoMall and Elite Cars, there are a few other online car dealerships and car selling websites that you can try, for example,,,, or Depending on your choices and preferences, you can easily buy second-hand cars in Dubai from the comfort of your home.

Also Read 10 Luxury Cars to Buy in the UAE

Transferring the Ownership of Second-Hand Cars in the UAE

Once you have the car that you want to buy all sorted out and in your sight, it is time to initiate the ownership transfer process for the vehicle. This procedure will include a few steps and the presence of both you and the current owner of the car. Contact the owner vis the dealership or yourself and get the process started.

1. Check that the Fines and Loans are Paid off

First, make sure that the current owner has cleared all the fines and any outstanding loans for the used car in the UAE. If you are taking on the loan from the current owner under a mutual agreement, check that they have obtained a NOC from the bank to transfer the loan.

2. RTA Tests and Transfer of Registration

The registration transfer process of used cars in the UAE can be conducted at one of the RTA offices or Shamil and other authorised places. Find a branch and office that suits you and the current owner and take the vehicle there. An inspection will be conducted to check all the functionalities of the car first if the old registration has expired. After that, you will be required to submit the test clearance certificate along with the forms and documents required. The new registration card, other related documents and new number plate will be handed over at the spot only in a few minutes. Once all this is done, you can buy your chosen used cars in Dubai.

3. Document Required for the Transfer

  • Passport copies – both new and the current owner
  • Driving Licenses – both new and the current owner
  • Insurance papers of the car
  • Old registration documents of the car
  • Test clearance certificate (in case of an expired previous registration)
  • The original number plate of the car
  • Salary certificate of the new owner (if getting the car financed)

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Things to Check Before Buying a Used Car in the UAE

Buying a second-hand car in the UAE is not child’s play. Since it has already been used for a few years, you will have to check for several things before finalizing your purchase. Following are a few points you should check and confirm before you go ahead and buy a second-hand car in the UAE:

1.Checking the Appearance

As they say, it is all in the looks, you should check how the vehicle looks. UAE weather is tough and sand storms combined with tough terrains can have a toll on the second cars in Dubai and the rest of the Emirates. Check for scratches, dents, and dings. You can use all of this to negotiate on the price even more as repairing a dent may cause a hole in your pocket. Along with the body, also check the brakes and tires of the car. All four tires should not be worn out. They should also belong to the same brand.

2. Going Below the Hood

All these tips will work well if you get with you a mechanic who is certified. Take a thorough look at the mechanics of the vehicle. Check if there is any leakage in the engine or if the chassis has any rust. If you notice black smoke, this means the engine is consuming a lot of fuel. If you notice blue smoke, it means the engine has started to burn oil. If any of these exist on the vehicle, walk away!

3. Check the Interiors

When buying second-hand cars in the UAE, check that the seats are not damaged. Check whether the radio is working or not. The turn signals and lights are also to be examined. How many kilometres does the clock show and if it matches what is mentioned on the documents or not? Use all the switches in the car to check if they are working or not. Sit in the car for some time to see if the AC is working properly enough for surviving the heat in Dubai or not.

4. Bring in a Trusted Mechanic

Having second-hand cars in the UAE checked by a mechanic that you personally trust is very important. While you may know a thing or two about cars, a mechanic will still do a more thorough job. Bringing in a professional is extremely important here if you do not want to end up with a priorly hidden issue in the future.

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5. Take the Car on the Road for a Spin

Examining the car inside out is good, but in the end, the test drive is the key. You can check if the car makes any strange sounds and gears are smooth or not. You will also get a feel of how the vehicle drives. In case you are comfortable driving it, then you can initiate the negotiation according to the knowledge you gained after checking the car properly.

6. Check for Leaks

This a test that you can easily perform yourself. Leaking second-hand cars in the UAE are no friend of yours. When you are on a test drive of the car, stop and pull over somewhere. Keep the engine turned on and let it run for about a minute. Check for any leaks under the car after a minute or so.

Over to You

UAE can prove to be transitional for a lot of people and hence, investing in a new car might be an uneconomical option. Purchasing second-hand cars in Dubai can be a good alternative for the residents. There are various cars available in all conditions, ages, and price ranges in the market. Selecting & paying for the correct one is what is of prime importance here. Finding cheap car insurance in UAE is the next important thing. You can consider the above-mentioned tips for successfully purchasing a second-hand car in the UAE.

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