Car dealer yard in Kenya

Process of buying a car from a dealer in Kenya | Step by step guide

The process of buying a car needs one to make a proper decision, the best way to achieve this is by having the right information. That is why in this article, we will provide you with the steps to follow and information that will help you when you are buying a car from car dealers in Kenya.

Car dealer yard in Kenya

Who is a car dealer?

A car dealer is a person/company who buys cars and resells them at a profit and is licensed as a dealer by NTSA. These cars can be new or secondhand, additionally, a dealer can choose to resell imported cars, locally used cars or both.

NTSA car dealer registration

One common misinformation among Kenyans is that cars from dealers are new, that is not correct, most cars are usually used abroad and can be up to 7 years old. New cars come at a very high price especially due to import duty fees and aren’t affordable to most Kenyans.

Process of buying a car from a dealer in Kenya

Before starting the purchase process, the very first thing one should do is pick the right car according to taste, budget and intended use. To pick the right car, you will need to do detailed research about different cars options that you have, this includes, their features, performance, reliability, fuel efficiency and current owners reviews.

car brands logo

After you have picked the right vehicle, please proceed with the steps below:

1. Find the car dealer to buy from

This is a very important step, the dealer you choose must be trustworthy, has a good reputation, offers great service and sells the car at a reasonable price. There are different ways you can find dealers, here is a look at them:

Ranmac motors
  • Find dealers online– this is the simplest method, but be warned, never transact online. Instead, find the dealer online and meet them physically in their offices. To get the best dealer, you can search for the car you are looking for on Google, car listing websites or social media platforms such as Facebook. After that, check ones offering the exact car you want at reasonable price(not too cheap and not overpriced). Contact them for arrangements on how you can go for the vehicle viewing.
  • Find dealers physically– with this method, you will have to visit various car yards and showrooms found in major towns in Kenya including Kisumu, Mombasa, Nairobi, Eldoret, Nakuru, etc.

2. Vehicle viewing

The next important thing you will need to do is go for the vehicle viewing which includes inspection, getting the history of the car and test drive. For inspection, you can go with a reputable mechanic or use individuals who offers pre-purchase inspection.

Documents you should ask for from the dealer

To get to know the history of the car you are buying, there are documents that you should ask from the seller which are listed below.

Auction sheet
  • The auction sheet– most dealers who import used abroad cars will buy them from auction market, this means that the car comes with an auction sheet. The auction provides you with very important information about the car, this includes previous repair, mileage of the car and if the car has been involved in accidents.
  • Inspection certificate– for any car to be cleared for importation to Kenya, it must be inspected, in most cases, the car is inspected before being shipped to Mombasa port. An inspection certifiacte is given after the car passes inspection. You should hence ask the dealer for this certificate since it will provide you with information about the car.

Once you are satisfied with the vehicle, you can continue to the next step.

3. Request for the sale agreement

Every dealer should have a sale agreement that you must sign together with your witnesses or lawyer. This agreement should contain the seller and buyer details and the terms of the agreement. It should state the mode of payment, for example, full payment or installment. The sales agreement should also state that the vehicle ownership will be transferred to you immediately after you do the full payment.

Car dealer

Please make sure you go through the sales agreement, understand everything in it and agree with it before signing it.

4. Make the payment

Make the payment to the dealer now. You should only pay through a bank, never pay in cash. This is because payment through a bank will be proof that you transacted to the dealer in case there is an issue, on the other hand, cash payment does not have proof.

bank payment

Dealers might offer you different payment plans, the full payment is always the best compared to the higher purchase. This is because, in the higher purchase plan, you will end up paying more.

Please Note: You should make sure the dealer explains to you how you are going to get the Logbook, Number plate and transfer of ownership before making the payment.

5. Get the number plate

Now, since the payment is made, the dealer should give the number plate if the car is already registered. Most dealers however register the vehicle when it is purchased, in this case, the dealer should do the registration and your vehicle will be assigned a registration number within hours. You will have to wait for about two weeks for the number plate to arrive.

Number plates

Meanwhile, you should use a Kenya garage number plate or have the number assigned to you on a metal sheet as you wait for the number plate to arrive.

6. Ownership transfer/logbook

The dealer should then transfer the ownership of the vehicle to you. In turn, you will be required to accept the transfer through your NTSA Tims account. After transfer, you will have to leave with the old logbook as you wait for the new one. The new Logbook proving that you are the owner of the car will be processed within 2 weeks by NTSA and you will receive instructions on how to get it.

7. Pay for the insurance cover

For any car to be allowed on Kenyan roads, an Insurance cover is required. Hence, go ahead and pay for your insurance, a comprehensive insurance cover is recommended.

That is it, you can now drive home in your car.

There you have it, that is the process of buying a car in Kenya from a dealer. Cheers!!


  1. That explanation is way too much easy to understand….comprehensive and yet brief to understand. You’ve been careful to capture even the finest of the details. great job,,kudos

  2. A step-by-step guide to buying a car from a Kenyan dealer. The advice is specific to the Kenyan market, making it useful to anyone looking to buy a car in this region.

  3. Thankyou and so glad to hear from you , your alert have helped me so much , be blessed

  4. Can you please recommend a good lawyer in Nairobi and how much exactly should a lawyer request in terms of grafting and helping in car purchase. Thank you so much for info

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