Did you know that an estimated 90% of used cars being sold in Kenya have their odometers (mileage meter) tampered with?
Well, these statistics are not scientific. I obtained them from representatives of two separate car dealers in Nairobi. They both surmised that 90% of used cars are tampered with before being sold off to unsuspecting motorists.
If you are plotting to buy a used car in the near future, please read on. You, too, if you already bought a car.
By law, a used car being imported is supposed to be inspected based upon documents from the country of origin. This documentation is usually accurate and reliable.
Upon being inspected by contracted agents such as the ever reliable JEVIC, the car’s general condition is ascertained and published. The car’s make, chassis number, odometer reading, etc. are also logged and registered with KEBS. This is a condition not just for importation, but also for registering the car in-country (Kenya).
What happens thereafter, however, is that unscrupulous dealers – and they are many – will rewind the odometer reading in the desperate but wicked attempt to sell the car fast, and at a fraudulent premium.
Please note that this tampering exercise happens AFTER inspection. After, because the process is hard to manipulate before (inspection).
So, for example, a car will land at Mombasa port with its odometer reading a mileage of, say, 126,120km. But by the time it is being disposed of at a yard in Nairobi, its odometer will be reading 46,160km.
A prospective buyer will then delight in the fact that the car has been scarcely used when, in fact, the car had been burning rubber on Japanese roads day and night.
Only this afternoon did I bust a Ngong road-based dealer (Ami-pal Motors) who had custody of a car I sought to buy. Individuals purporting to be the used car dealer’s agents knew that the car’s odometer had been falsified but hid the fact until I undertook a professional assessment via JEVIC.
It took minutes for the JEVIC expert to blow the used car dealer’s cover. The mileage, at a little over 65,000 kilometers, had been understated by a whopping 100,000 kilometers.
When I confronted the agents, they betrayed little guilt, even having the shameless, chest-thumping temerity of telling me that 90% of the cars on used car yards along the road, theirs included, featured manipulated odometers. I was miffed!
Luckily, I had not parted with a single cent.
What many motorists don’t know is that it is very simple to tell if one’s car mileage has been tampered with.
If you want to buy a used car, determine its chassis from either (1) original documentation of the car or (2) by physically reading the chassis number, which for most cars can be found under the bonnet of the car.
Having determined the chassis number, you can visit the KEBS website on http://kebs.org/index.php?opt=qai&view=vehicle_search-inspection and enter the chassis number. The KEBS page will then give you the pre-shipment specifications of the car, the genuine odometer reading included.
There’s another way: For only Kshs. 4,060/-, JEVIC can inspect the car for you at a yard and unearth various aspects of the car’s condition (genuine odometer reading included) that you need to know and which the car paperwork hardly bare.
If you believe one candle can light up a million others, please tweet or ‘facebook’ this post.
I pity the hordes of Kenyans who are fleeced at used car yards everyday out of ignorance.
The professionals at JEVIC do a stupendous job. If buying a car that’ll cost you a tidy sum, it’s worth spending a small fee to get to know a lot more than looks can tell.