Car ownership in Tanzania has increased significantly over the past few years. In 2010, Guinness World Records stated that there was only about one car per 1,000 citizens; today, there are over a million cars in Dar es Salaam alone. While many citizens are glad to own cars, they are discovering some drawbacks as well.
As the number of car owners across the country grows, some of the challenges of car ownership are becoming apparent. Among these challenges is figuring out how to replace car parts that no longer work properly. And since many Tanzanians are on tight budgets, finding affordable options for buying vehicle parts is of critical importance.
Tips to Get Great Deals on Quality Car Parts
As a car owner, you have several different options when you are trying to buy car parts. Do your homework to make sure that you are both saving money and getting the quality that you deserve.
Consider Buying from Independent Suppliers
Your first option to consider is a used car parts dealer, such as Zanzibar Spares Centre. However, while these dealers often offer good service, they have to pay for it by charging a premium on the products they carry.
You can usually save money by purchasing parts from independent sellers. A number of these sellers list parts on Kupatana.
Look through Multiple Listings
You should always look through multiple listings whenever you’re trying to make a purchase. Keep in mind that most of our advertisers are individual consumers like you, that have extra car parts they don’t need anymore. Some of them know what their parts are worth and will charge a fair price. Others will either try to take advantage of unknowledgeable consumers or may not know themselves. You can get a better sense of what a fair price is by reviewing many different listings.
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
Many sellers say that they are accepting the “best offer” when they negotiate on car parts. Often, they will take the first reasonable offer that they receive, because they don’t want to have to wait weeks to close the sale. If you do your research, then you can usually purchase the parts you need for a fair price.
Even if the parts are listed for a set price, the seller may be open to negotiating. However, you need to make a reasonable offer if you want to have it accepted. Here are some guidelines to help negotiate a lower price:
- If the seller is already listing the part for much less than the fair market price, then it’s probably best not to try to negotiate a lower price.
- On the other hand, if the listed price is a bit high, then you may be able to get the seller to lower it a little. A good rule of thumb is to ask if they would accept 20% less than the listed price.
- Try to find out if other people have expressed interest in the parts. If you’ve seen the seller list the parts multiple times over the past month, then it’s a good indication that they are having trouble selling them. They may be willing to sell them at a steep discount if you are sincerely interested in making the purchase.
It can be intimidating trying to ask someone to lower their price. However, you can save a fair
amount of money, so it’s worth the effort.
Inspect for Defects or Signs of Wear
Never buy car parts without taking the time to look at them first. Arrange a meeting with the seller so that you can see if they meet your quality standards.
Of course, it can be difficult to know for sure whether the parts are defective until you actually install them in your vehicle. Sellers may feel a little uneasy letting you test them out if you haven’t paid for them yet. However, you can still take a look at them to see if there are any visible defects or signs of wear. You should never buy any parts that have obvious cracks, have significant signs of age or fading, or are starting to rust.
Learn How to Use the Kupatana Search Filters
We have a number of search options on our website that you can take advantage of to find good parts for your car. Here are some tips to find what you’re looking for:
- The second field from the left says “Select Category.” You want to click this field and scroll down until you see “Vehicles.” Two lines below that is a line for “Car Parts.” You want to select this.
- If you are looking for a specific type of part, such as brake pads, then you can type that in the field that says “Search…”.
- You can also enter your city in the “Search” field if you want to find listings from sellers close to you. This can be a better option for finding local sellers than relying solely on the “Select Region” field, since they will be closer.
- The next drop-down box says “Select Region.” You will want to select your region from this menu. If you live near the border, then you should consider selecting the neighboring region as well. This helps you find sellers that live within driving distance.
- You can click the checkbox next to the text that says, “Show only listings with pictures.” As this implies, it will only return listings that have pictures of the parts. You should start off by clicking this button to find listings with images, so that you can get an idea of their quality. You can always uncheck this button if you don’t see many listings.
- You will need to click the “Search” button to get results for car parts in your area.
- You can click the text that reads “Lower Price First” to sort by price. The cheapest parts will be listed at the top of the search results after you click this text.
These filters are very useful for finding the listings for the best car parts. Since we have many different advertisers posting listings with us, you will want to spend some time looking through them all. However, you will be able to do so much more efficiently if you first learn how to use the search filters that we provide.
Always Ask Detailed Questions Before Scheduling a Meeting
As you go through listings on our site, you’ll see that we provide a contact form that will let you reach out to the seller. Too many buyers only use this form to ask if the parts are still available and to schedule a meeting. They end up meeting and then discovering that the parts aren’t what they were looking for. These types of misunderstandings can be very frustrating for both buyers and sellers.
Certainly, you want to avoid running into these problems whenever possible. It’s a good idea to reach out to the seller and ask as many questions as possible about the parts to make sure that they meet your needs. Here are some questions to ask:
- What vehicle models are the parts compatible with? (This is, surprisingly, something many sellers fail to mention in their ads)
- Is the part new?
- How many miles was the part driven?
- Are there any obvious defects that I need to be aware of?
You want to get as much detailed information from them as possible before agreeing to meet in person. This may require a couple emails back and forth.
Look for Signs that the Seller is Credible
One of the most important things that you need to do to find quality car parts is to make sure the seller is genuine. This is obviously easier said than done, but there are some things that you can do:
- Look for listings with a phone number. People that are willing to list their phone number are more likely to be trustworthy.
- See if there are a lot of spelling or grammatical errors in the listing. These mistakes don’t necessarily mean that the seller is unscrupulous, but they could suggest that the person isn’t very well educated and didn’t do a great job taking care of their parts.
- Make sure that the listing doesn’t contradict itself.
- Find out if the seller is a company or an individual. If they are a business, then you can easily do some research to learn more about them.
Every listing has a number of cues that can help you figure out if the seller is honest and likely to have taken good care of their parts. Read through them carefully before making a choice.
Always Do Your Research Before Buying Car Parts
Car parts can be pretty expensive, so it’s important to do your research before committing to a purchase. You can save quite a bit of money if you know what to look for and are willing to negotiate and look through multiple listings. It will take time, but it’s more than worth it in the long run.
Do you have any other tips to suggest on buying used car parts on a budget? Share your best tips by leaving a comment below: