Buying a Used Car in Doha

Everything here is a process and nothing is logical!

I usually blog when I am frustrated and sometimes I make an entry without even posting it until later, either because I am waiting for updates or I need to add pictures or some other reason.  Sometimes I make several entries on the same day on different topics so I schedule publishing for another day.   I am happy here but some days I get so frustrated because everything is such a process.

Today I am posting about buying a used car in Doha because I’m frustrated.  I truly hope my entries help others, just please keep in mind that they are solely based on my experiences and things change daily here.  For some time I had been going back and forth with myself on rather I should purchase a used car, new car or lease a vehicle.  Once I took out my loan, I resolved to buy a used car for 4 main reasons: as mentioned before it’s an asset that I can make money from later, I would not have to worry about a monthly bill, I couldn’t really make up my mind about buying used or new and I was tired of dealing with rentals.  Now I wonder, was it really the best idea.  Anywhere you live, there is always risks associated with buying used. Here is my experience:

I found my car on Qatar Living.  I had seen several vehicles and decided on a 2012 GMC Acadia.  Why did I purchase this vehicle?  It was an SUV, which you really should have here.  I like the body style.  It has a rear camera.  It is only 4 years old and had only 1 owner.  It looked well taken care of (custom covered seats, plastic on the floor, well maintained inside and out).  The seller seemed really nice and the price was within what I wanted to spend.

He allowed me to test drive it and encouraged me to drive fast and push it.  Together we went to get a diagnostic on the vehicle. I highly recommend you do this, if you are thinking of buying a used vehicle.  We went to a German Diagnostic place in Barwa Village.  I paid 250QAR.  The results were good but the engine needed a few thing and the car needed 4 new tires.  I figured that was okay since the engine checked out 94%.

*Word to the wise, do not purchase a used car if it needs anything done to the engine.  Also if the car needs specific things done, find out how much it will cost you to repair it yourself before purchasing the vehicle.*

Okay, so the seller dropped the price by 8000QAR so that I could get the repairs done myself and get new insurance since the registration would be expiring at the end of the month.  He also offered to get everything done himself instead and I pay the full price. Because I would rather do things myself than to rely on other people, I took the price drop option.  He bought the car to me; I handed him the money and he transferred the ownership to me through the Metrash app.  That was easy.  He handed me the registration card which was still in his name until the end of the month.  A few days later, he brought me an official letter stating the exchange.  I needed this for work to get a percentage of what I had spent back (one of my job perks.)

Days later I took the car to get the work done.  First of all, this is difficult because of the language barriers.  I can’t be mad at that because this is not a English country; it is my fault that I don’t speak the language.  I took the car to a shop in Barwa village.  The engine work was a whole lot more than I expected to pay but still kept me below the original asking price of the vehicle.  Coming from the U.S.A, I am nervous about getting work done here.  I don’t know these people and I don’t know if I can sue them in court for not doing a job right.  I mean so far everyone has been pretty honest as far as I know, but I am still a leery American and for the most part, everyone wants cash.  My car was only in the shop for 2 days getting work done.  That’s pretty impressive.  Engine work can take several weeks in the states.  During the entire ordeal, I had to get a few coworkers to speak to the shop manager to translate for me.  The car seemed find when I picked it up.  But the next day, the check engine light was back on.  Can you say Beet Red Face?  I took it back and they did something and the light was gone.  They said if it comes back on, bring it back.

Today I went to get new tires and guess what, it was about 1,000QAR more than what I expected to pay and neither one of the two shops I went to had the same tires that were on my SUV.  Thankfully, one shop had comparable tires and quoted me 2,000QAR less than the other shop.  They put my tires on in about 45 minutes. Sweet!  The ride feels much better.  By the way I went to Michelin in Al Thumama.  They are really nice.  Now I’ve spent the original asking price for the vehicle and I haven’t even purchased insurance or renewed the registration.

Later on, I drove to Villagio Mall to the QIC kiosk.  I purchased full insurance.  1520QAR.  To be honest, compared to what I was paying in the U.S., that is hella good.  That is about $420 USD for the year for a SUV.  That is unheard of.

I drove to 2 WOQOD (pronounced WAHcwood) locations to get my car inspected because I had heard that this is what I am supposed to do, but I was unsuccessful.  Neither of them, does inspections.  I took the day off to get this car business straightened out and my frustration meter had hit overload. I spoke to someone at my job who said I should go to the one near my job in Al Wakra tomorrow to get the inspection done and that way if anything else is wrong, I can get it repaired and then go to the traffic department on Saturday to get it registered.

So now, I will not post this yet until I have an update for you. Hopefully that will be by next Sunday.


Two days ago, I went for the inspection.  That was pretty easy.  I drove to the Woqod in Al Wakra, (the Woqod must have a Fahes station) paid 75.00QAR (I think) and drove right in. It failed, but, you won’t believe why, so I’ll tell you.  The guy told me that my license plate in the front of my SUV was bent and needed to be replaced, the tint on my drivers side glass was too dark and I needed to wash my car. LOL, right. Those were the only reasons. But, you know what, I’ll take it.  He gave me a letter and told me to go to registration. Registration can be done at the Woqod too but they were only open from 7-12 Sun-Thurs.

Today I went back during my two straight preps.  It took 50QAR and 40 min to have my truck hand washed.  It was very clean afterward.  Then I drove around the roundabout to get to the other side of the Woqod to the registration place.  I took a number and had to wait, while 1 desk clerk was out.  Upon her return, she was pretty quick with calling numbers but everything was unclear to me.  I was sent here and there and no where. The guy outside would not take off my tint without my letter saying that I paid for my registration.  After seeing the clerk, paying my 100QAR, and receiving a new Instamara (registration card), I was sent to the police officer there.  I presented him with my insurance and card.  He looked over my inspection, put something in the computer and told me to go back to the clerk.  She took another 100QAR from me, took my new registration card back and my old one in the previous owner’s name and made me another new one. ??????????????????? I don’t understand but okay.  I asked her for the new license plate and she told me I needed to go to 15th street behind immigration and they will give me one and put it on.  She said I wouldn’t have to pay because I just did.  So I walk out with my new registration card, and the guy taking off the tints sees my paperwork, says, “I don’t need to take it off, they approved you and gave you the registration card”. ??????????????????????????? I don’t understand but okay.

So in the end, no one checked to see if my car was cleaned; no one took off my tint and I didn’t even get a new plate.  But I am insured, inspected, and registered. ???????????????  I don’t understand but okay.  And next year, I know exactly what to do.  But I am wondering, will I fail again for the same reasons.  If 2 weeks ago, I would have known what I know now, I would have leased or bought a new car to avoid all this time wasted and stress.

And guess what, my check engine light is back on.   %*&$!


My recommendation:  DO NOT BUY A USED CAR HERE.  BUY NEW!

The bright side: Pretty much all the stressful paperwork and processes are done for me and my family and outside of my boys transportation and my mobile phone, I don’t have any monthly bills. (well not here anyway) And it only took 4 months.



Author: phillygirl77

I've lived my whole life in Philadelphia. Daughter of a teacher, I later became one myself. When I heard about teaching overseas, I jumped feet first. Finally told yes, my two boys and I prepared for our new life abroad. Join us on our journey in Qatar!

3 thoughts on “Buying a Used Car in Doha”

  1. Wow! My experience was the total opposite. The owner of my vehicle had every scheduled maintenance check (Every 5,000 miles) at the dealership where he bought the vehicle. Every receipt for any all services/work and insurance until March of 2017. He actually told me that the tint would be a problem at inspection time, but he told me the process with the tint. He actually said to go to the policeman and he will pass it.


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