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The Benefits of Buying Used Cars in the UAE


As an expatriate living and working in the UAE, owning a private vehicle can help with independence and mobility. However, the upfront costs of a brand new car are often out of reach when living on an overseas salary. This is where buying a quality used car starts to make much more financial sense. As long as some diligent inspection and research is done, a pre-owned vehicle can provide excellent value and reliability at a much lower price point.

Benefits of Purchasing a Used Car

Here are some of the top advantages to consider when looking at buying used rather than new:


Even a 2-3 year old vehicle that has depreciated can cost 30-50% less than its brand new equivalent. For budgets tight on dirhams, this significant savings goes a long way. Reliable transportation can be had for the price of a small motorcycle.


Well-cared for used cars from 1-5 years old typically have many years and 100,000+ kilometers left before major repairs are needed. Modern vehicles are built to last, provided regular maintenance was performed.

Low Maintenance Costs

The most expensive period of a vehicle’s lifetime is during the first few years, as warranties expire and new parts are replaced. An older used car’s repairs and service needs are more predictable.

Where to Find Quality Used Cars

With diligence, excellent pre-owned vehicles can be uncovered through many sources locally:

Used Car Dealerships

Franchised dealers offer peace of mind via warranties but may lack best pricing. Independent used-only lots offer fair deals but require sharp shopping skills.

Private Sellers

Sources like newspapers, community boards and Facebook Marketplace put you directly in touch with owners. But private sales require extra prudence.

Online Classifieds

Sites like Dubizzle aggregate countless local listings. Advanced search filters help pinpoint suitable vehicles.

Car Auctions

Weekly auto auctions see large dealer and private inventories crossing the block. Diligent research reaps savings but auctions require confidence.

Inspecting a Used Car Thoroughly

To avoid costly surprises, spare no detail examining a potential purchase:

Checking the Exterior

Inspect paintwork for blemishes or mismatched panels denoting past accidents. Ensure proper body panel gaps.

Inspecting Under the Hood

Look for leaks, corrosion or shoddy repairs. Check fluids are clean. Examine hoses, belts and spark plug wiring too.

Testing the Features and Controls

Try every switch, button and system – from lights to AC to power steering. Ensure all operate smoothly.

Checking Service Records

Does the car have a full documented maintenance history? This adds reassurance of past caretaking.

Negotiating the Best Deal

Some savvy used car shopping techniques help sweeten the offer price:

Know the Car’s True Value

Research comparable makes/models recently sold to understand fair market rates.

Do Your Research Beforehand

Inspecting the car ahead of negotiating keeps the process efficient. Be informed.

Make a Reasonable Offer

Don’t insult the seller but present a fair price based on the vehicle’s actual condition.

Be Prepared to Walk Away

If agreement can’t be reached, politely end discussions. The best deals come from not being emotionally attached.

Owning a Used Car as an Expat

For expatriate workers, some extra advisories apply:

Buying for the Long Haul

Consider your likely UAE stay duration versus the vehicle’s remaining lifespan.

 Consider Your Transportation Needs

How will you use it – short commutes or longer trips? Two doors or family friendly?

Import Requirements

Vehicles must meet emissions and safety standards to remain registered long-term.

Insurance and Registration

Ensure proper motor coverage plus Emirates license plates for legal road use.


With patience and due diligence, excellent value can be found in Dubai’s myriad used car options. For expatriate budgets, a carefully chosen pre-owned vehicle provides lasting mobility at a fraction of new car expenses. Commit some focused effort to inspection and research for reassurance and ultimately cost savings on reliable long-term transportation within the UAE.


What brands and models hold their value best?

Toyota and Honda vehicles are renowned for reliability and strong resale equity down the road. Particularly the Corolla, Camry, Civic and Accord maintain higher prices.

How many kilometers is too many on a used car?

It depends on the make/model and service records, but generally under 150,000km on a 2-4 year old car leaves substantial life expectancy. Over 250,000km requires more cautious consideration.

Is it better to buy from a dealer or private seller?

Dealers offer more protections like warranties but individuals may budge more on price with savvy negotiating. Thorough inspections are equally important from any source.

What paperwork should the seller provide?

Service records, the original registration bill of sale, import clearance forms (if needed), and a valid Roadworthiness certificate help verify the vehicle’s history and pending certification.

Are there any import duty considerations?

Vehicles older than 5 years face no import duty when purchased from inside the UAE. Younger cars may see customs fees depending on value and origin country when imported.

Honda Civic 2007 Gulf
The price is 7000 dirhams
The car is in excellent condition
Without any accidents
For urgent sale

The Benefits of Buying Used Cars in the UAE The Benefits of Buying Used Cars in the UAE The Benefits of Buying Used Cars in the UAE The Benefits of Buying Used Cars in the UAE The Benefits of Buying Used Cars in the UAE The Benefits of Buying Used Cars in the UAE The Benefits of Buying Used Cars in the UAE

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