UAE: How to ensure car you are buying was not damaged during floods

There are a number of service centres that provide 360-degree health check-ups of vehicles


Waheed Abbas

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Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File
Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File

Published: Fri 31 May 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 31 May 2024, 10:17 PM

Car buyers in the UAE have been asked to go for pre-purchase checks from car service centres in order to ensure that the vehicle they’re buying was not damaged during the heaviest rains that the country witnessed on April 16.

Automotive industry executives advised residents to buy from trusted and regulated sources.

There are a number of car service centres in the UAE that provide 360-degree health check-ups of vehicles for a fee of around Dh150. Prospective buyers can get to know if the vehicle was involved in an accident or was damage during the floods.

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“First and foremost, it is extremely important for customers to ensure that they buy pre-owned cars from trusted, credible and authorised distributors only. This is extremely important, especially in the context of the rains — and perhaps the best way to give assurance to customers that they are not buying a damaged, impacted vehicle,” said Carlos Montenegro, managing director for Fleet & Pre-Owned Division at Al-Futtaim Automotive.

Carlos Montenegro. Photo: Supplied
Carlos Montenegro. Photo: Supplied

Sebastian Fuchs, managing director of digital products and services at Auto Data Middle East, advised car buyers to go for pre-purchase checks to ensure that the vehicles that they are going to buy were not damaged during the heavy rains.

He suggested car buyers should opt for Dh150 car checks which are good investments as sellers will not be able to cover up any rain-related damages and buyers will have a quality car.

Sebastian Fuchs. Photo: Supplied
Sebastian Fuchs. Photo: Supplied

“First and foremost when you start looking for a car, I would recommend using our vehicle tools to identify whether the car is imported or damaged here locally due to an accident because we have that data available. We also give consumers price transparency. We also share an overview of all the marketplaces. The UAE has a very dispersed marketplace and we monitor all of them and basically give the customer all the prices out there. We look for the right cars and the right price for their need. Once they have made the decision, even if they have done a check with us and through our partners, we recommend a pre-purchase checker which costs around Dh149 for over 120-point checks. This is a very good investment because car service inspectors will recognise that if the car was wet, damaged or something is covered up,” he said.

High demand

Carlos Montenegro added that there is an uplift in demand for new cars in general as insurance payouts start to flow through, with an urgent need for people to replace the cars they’ve lost.

“Demand has shifted on two very different sides of the spectrum — both large SUVs and budget-friendly models have seen the highest spikes in demand as customers are eager to get back on the road,” added Montenegro.

Abhinav Gupta. Photo: Supplied
Abhinav Gupta. Photo: Supplied

Abhinav Gupta, CEO of the Gulf region at Cars24, confirmed that there is a lot of shift to SUVs among buyers because people find them better to use in case of rain.

Gupta said demand for new vehicles is also high while prices are also slightly up due to pent-up demand as people postponed their decisions to buy cars.

Tips for customers to check while buying a pre-owned car

  • Seat belts check: Pull out the seat belts completely till the end and check for any watermarks/dampness.
  • Corrosion checks: Inspect steering columns, seat rails, door hinges, and under the spare wheel in the trunk for rust.
  • Electrical checks: Ensure all instrument panel lights function correctly, especially ABS and airbag lights, and check for watermarks on electrical couplers below the seat and dashboard.
  • External lights: Check all the external lights for any water-entering marks.
  • Smell check: Interior odour is a sign of potential flood damage.
  • Wet signs: Check carpets, seats, and trunks for watermarks.
  • Test drive: Conduct test drives to make sure all dashboard lights and electrical components work properly.


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