Going out in Qatar has never been easier thanks to the addition of the Doha Metro.While getting around the city is convenient now, it’s still a challenge to cover the areas far up north and south, especially if you love long drives, beaches and camping on the weekends. So having a ride in Doha is absolutely essential and we’re making it easier for you.
Buying a new car may not be the ideal solution for every expat in the country, so getting a used vehicle might be the best bet for those who aren’t sure of how long they’re staying and have limited funds to shell out.
So how do you know which car to buy? How do you know its value for money? What do you check for and how do you know it’s a fair purchase? We’re about to answer.
Brands to buy
There are many primary factors that need to be assessed from budget to the size of your family. “Expats in Qatar ultimately want to save money and hence do not want to spend much on a car. Families may prefer car brands that cater to their needs such as bigger space in the boot and more child safety features. Couples may look for something trendier or a fast two-seater, for instance,” says Cars in Doha founder and CEO Mohamad Wehbi.
Another important factor to consider is the cost of spare parts and their availability in Qatar. “I used to own a Mazda RX8, which is perfect if you’re living alone here, however spare parts were a real challenge and now this car would not be practical for my family.” Several brands have issues with procuring spare parts, so it might be worth to check before purchasing your used car of choice.
Searching and selecting
Doing research before buying any car, whether it’s new or used, is the most important step in the entire purchase process. There are plenty of websites in Qatar that list cars and other vehicles for sale such as Qatar Living, Carsemsar, Olx, Qatar Sale and Cars in Doha. “We list cars for sale, give advice, top tips and all the guidance you need on buying and selling vehicles in Qatar,” Wehbi says. It is free to list your car on most sites. Some websites provide services such as Istimara renewal, car repairs, car parts’ sale, scrap parts and more.
“Speak to colleagues and friends aside from doing research online. Additionally, there is a lot of information available online about cost of spare parts, maintenance and overall feedback on the productivity of the car,” Wehbi says.
“The things to consider to ensure you make the right choice include assessing how much space you need in the car itself as well as the trunk, do you drive people around on a daily basis in which case you’d rather have a four-door car over a two-door.”
Since most expats in Qatar are unsure of the duration of their stay in the country, it might be a good idea to check the resale value of the car in case you need to get rid of it before leaving. Finding out the resale value includes checking how easily and quickly the car can be sold along with how much money you can get from the sale. “The best brands for re-selling are the Japanese brands such as Nissan and Toyota, which are the most popular in Qatar,” Wehbi explains.
“The final things to consider are the price of petrol and whether the car has any sort of warranty in order to cover the cost of maintenance and repairs.”
Before buying any car, it is imperative you do a full inspection, either via online resources or at an independent garage. You can use websites such as Cars in Doha, Qatar Sale and Mazad Qatar to do the inspection. “This process will flag any faults the car may have. We’ve commonly observed in the past several customers are so eager to buy the vehicle they forgo any sort of inspection and sadly up end up with unpleasant surprises a few weeks later,” Wehbi says.
Salik Car Rental company’s sales manager Saif Almomani gives us another alternative. “There are several car check-up shops on Salwa Road. It’ll cost you around QR350 depending on the car. The check-up includes checking the car paint, air-conditioning, engine, break pads etc,” he says.
“Don’t get too excited as soon as you see the car. There are a few serious things to look out for. Check for any obvious damages such as damages to the chassis of the car, scratches on the body and others.
“Metrash2 is an excellent way to access data about car crashes and accident records. You can use the chassis number of the car to check how many accidents it has been in, if any at all,” Wehbi says. Almomani agrees, “If a chassis has been repaired, it can never go back to the way it used to be, which means the car may never drive straight again.”
The right model
Old may be gold in most cases but at Cars in Doha, getting the year right is very important. “As much as we love vintage cars, we advise the buyers to look at their finances first. The actual year of production doesn’t really matter if the overall quality of the car is top-notch. We have seen cars that are 15 years old but have very low mileage which means the car is still in good condition. Some new cars that are a year or two old could be used and abused, putting quite a bit of strain on the engine and the car, making it a bad purchase for any potential buyer,” Wehbi explains.
According to Almomani, a good car will always have low mileage, depending on the car model once again.
Getting a loan for a new car is a pretty straightforward process, but are there options for used cars, too? Wehbi tells us are plenty. “You can go through your bank, apply to your company for a car loan or just go through an independent finance company, such as First Finance or Al Jazeera Finance.
“We always recommend prospective buyers to purchase vehicles well within their means. The shiny new car may seem really attractive at first, but if it puts a dent in your savings, we would advise against it.”
Tampering with the meters
“We haven’t come across any hard evidence to suggest that second-hand dealers tamper with the meters. We haven’t witnessed it, but there’s always a possibility.” Wehbi advices anyone suspecting these practices to flag them with the car dealers independently, garages or on websites such as Cars in Doha.