Factors to consider when buying a car in Qatar
Qatar’s public transport sector received a massive leg up in the years leading to the World Cup in 2022. However, private car ownership is still a necessity in Qatar due to high summer time temperatures and increasing taxi fares.
Buying a car can be a daunting task without the right information. To ease the challenge, here is a comprehensive checklist of factors to consider when buying a car in Qatar.
Budget – How much are you willing to spend?
Always set a budget before you start looking for a new car. This will help you decide if you should be going for a brand new company car, pre-owned company car or pre-owned cars from individuals in Qatar. Off-the-shelf company cars are of the highest price range, followed by pre-owned company cars and pre-owned cars from individuals.
If you are going for a pre-owned car, pay attention to the following factors that influence the cost of the car:
- Model and make of the car
- Number of years used
- Fuel efficiency
What features do you need in your car?
Having an efficient air conditioner is an absolute must for everyone in Qatar due to high summer time temperatures.
Other required features will depend on your day to day usage of the car. Questions you need to ask yourself before deciding on the features required:
- Will the car be used by a family or an individual?
- Will the car be used for long drives?
- Will the car be used for off-road drives such as the beach and desert?
Families with smaller children will require cars with a large trunk space to accommodate strollers and other play items.
Other factors to consider for a used family car:
- A four-door vehicle instead of a two-door could make it easier to get in and out of the car
- Availability of functional safety features such as the door lock, baby lock and shutter lock
- Ability to attach car seats
If you want to use the car for long or off-road drives, you should look at:
- Good ground clearance and a shorter wheelbase
- A rear differential lock to help vehicle gain traction in a sandy terrain
- All-wheel drive for wet, hard-packed sand at the beach
- Four-wheel drive for loose deep sand in the desert
- Fuel economy
Cars have advanced significantly over the years with no shortage of cool available features. Here are a few you may consider looking at:
- Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) - designed to reduce drive stress by issuing alerts of traffic speed, pedestrians crossings and impending crashes. Comes with adaptive cruise control, adaptive high beam headlights, pre-emergency braking, lane departure warning and more.
- Rearview cameras
Condition of the car – is the car in good working order?
While a pre-owned car may not have any issues, it is always best to take it for a test drive. Check if the drive is smooth, comfortable and if the available features function to your requirements. For pre-owned cars here are some aspects you must examine during a test drive:
- Oil leaks
- Balding tires
- A smooth transmission when driven at different speeds
- Worn-out or locking brake pads
- Dents and scratches that could indicate an accident
- Functioning lights, horn, stereo, locks, shutters etc
If you are happy with the test drive, take your car for a further inspection to examine:
- Wear and tear on moving parts including suspension and belts
- Engine performance
- Chassis strength
- Body paint irregularities
- Steering and alignment
- Exhaust emissions
You can take your car for inspection at one of the WOQOD Vehicles Inspection (FAHES) centers that ensure all vehicles are in line with the approved standards for road traffic safety and pollution control.
Does the car have a valid istimara – Is it near expiry?
While brand new cars require a 12 month insurance and an istimara (vehicle registration card) to be bought, the insurance and istimara of pre-owned cars can be transferred. If it is near expiry, you may have to bear the additional cost of renewing the insurance and istimara.
A car with a valid istimara would have a 12 month insurance cover and a passed vehicle inspection test. All vehicles can be registered at the Ministry of Interior (MOI) Traffic Department in person or online via the Metrash2 app. While the vehicle registration cost at the MOI costs QAR 100, the insurance cover may vary depending on your requirements.
Resale value – Does the car hold value over time?
In general a car loses most of its resale value in the first year. Over time, the resale value of the car will depend on the following factors:
- Fuel efficiency
- Manufacturing year
- Number of years used
- Maintenance record
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