Buying a used vehicle

I am new to NL and have a question that I am sure has come up before. I am coming to Nicaragua at the end of February and want to buy a used vehicle. Since I will be within 30' of Managua I am trying to get some information on any dependable auto dealers that any of you may be able to recommend. I am interested in a dependable SUV type vehicle. What are some hidden or unexpected costs I can expect to run into? Apologies to those who have been here for some time and have seen this question before.

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It is absolutely important

It is absolutely important that you maintain a proper vehicle maintenance. I know it appears like an inconvenience but by doing a few simple things you can get better MPG's and conserve yourself some possible expenses within the future. Essentially, you want to regularly check you air with your tires, oil (including changing it), fluids, wipers, lights, spark plugs, hoses and belts, and a lot more. It should take you less than an hour per month to keep up on your car maintenance, but by doing this you are likely saving yourself some serious hassles in the future. I would rather spend an hour a month on a vehicle checkup, then 8 hours stranded somewhere waiting for help.

don't buy a used

car here.

That means a vehicle used by locals.

There is no service or repair done, unless it's broken down.

Go to one of the importers from Korea or Japan and buy your car, you know that is has been treated better from where it was shipped.

Good Luck.

Buying a Vehicle

Thanks for getting back to me. By "importers from Korea or Japan", are you referring to the Honda's, Toyota's ,Hyundai"s of the world or are you saying there are specific importers of used cars from these countries?

there are several used car lots in managua

that brings in cars,hyunda,and a couple of other makes..they are probably the safest to deal with

I agree with Roger...Don't buy used!

I am considering a Mahindra for my next vehicle. About 12k and built strong like the Toyota used to be.

Buying a Vehicle

Thanks for responding. I have not heard of a Mahindra. Who makes it and are they available in Nicaragua?

Mahindra Dealership

Mahindra is made in India. I believe they opened a dealership in the PriceSmart complex.

Another brand would be Wall of China. These are basically Toyota knock offs. Reasonably priced and More and more of them on the road. They are serviced by the Mitsubishi dealership.


I saw some on the Internet and they looked pretty nice, at least from the pictures. Have you seen or driven any? Also do you know if the SUV, I think it's Scorpio, are in Nicaragua? Thanks again.

Mahindra SUV

I have not noticed one in Nicaragua. This does not mean they don't sell them here. I am in the market for a new Double Cabina Pick up. Being the typical male shopper, I don't even notice anything I'm not in the market for :-).

Buying a Vehicle

Yeah I must have that "male shopper "syndrome cause my wife is always on me about not noticing things that are, to me, irrelevant. I looked at a few vehicles from ads that were forwarded to me and they seem to be greatly overpriced. For example, I saw an ad for an Xterra, a 2000 model with 200k + mileage and they were asking $10k. Here in the states the price would be 1/2 that. What am I missing in this?

Not sure you are missing anything

Used vehicles are fairly expensive depending on the brand and model year.

I have people coming up to me at gas stations and wanting to buy my old pick up. They are offering amounts that make me wonder if I shouldn't just hand them the key and take the money.

This makes a vehicle like the Mahindra or Great Wall of China even more attractive to me.

On the other hand, if you want something really rugged, easy to repair and great on fuel, I have a 1946 Willis that was rebuilt from the ground up. :-)

oh man oh man Jon

I learned how to drive on one of these at 12 YO :- O,my dad had 2 jeeps and the pick up version like this one:, his were 40's something, these beast would go through anything mud and SO simple to fix.

The only jeep I find resemblance to the willies are the old Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40s. :-)

You serious?

about the Willies? If so, PM me price. What model...PU, Van??

I love them.


Don't be selling my future truck to just anybody!

Funny you should mention the Willy's

looks like that's how Mahindra started

I had the truck washed for you

today. Finally after about 4 month LOL.

Used vehicles, not many good ones around.

I think the answer to your question could be that a lot of vehicles are simply trashed after using them on road and in conditions that are at times just brutal. If you find a good one they will be asking a lot and maybe for a good reason.

An ex city vehicle might be a better buy, but then stop/start wear on clutch and transmission as well as a constantly hot/maybe overheating motor needs to be compared with front/rear end/suspension and bone jarring wear on dirt road and in the country.

In the States and Canada "Mainly highway mileage" did mean something as far as assessing wear and tear. I don't think it applies as much here.

Who and how it's been driven before will become apparent as a major factor as you drive around here! One of the reasons I don't. Luckily for me, 15 cords to Rivas on a bus or 35 for a cab fair (and feeling of being "Green" for half an hour) is an option.

Don't rush into anything. There are a few guys here in SJdS I would, and likely will one day buy one from, not many though.

There was one in SJdS the other week, it looked good.

I compared it to my sandal purchases. Ryder's for $35-50 or cheap imports for $6-10.

Both wear in, get comfortable, get beaten up, eventually wear out and both can get stolen.

I can get 3 or 4 pairs of imports for one name brand. If I alternate the usage, they all last a long time. If they get stolen, I call into the dealer and buy new.

Does Mahindra make sandals?

Buying a Vehicle

It's a point well taken. I'll look for Mahindra sandals after we settle in a bit.

Now a Casa Pellas Family Member...

Not me, "Mahindra" my East Indian half sister.

As reported by nicareal a while back, CP bought the dealership or rights or whatever. That has to be good news and a smart business move by them, offering cheaper vehicles in a soft economy, ready for an "up sell' later to a Toyota product.

Used Vehicle

I was in the same shoes when I moved here six years ago. I lucked out with an auto broker, but he's gone now. If you can't afford new, I'd suggest going to a reputable machinist/mechanic and ask if he knows of one worth buying. I'd only consider diesel and manual trans. You can't go wrong with Toyota as far as availability of parts and reliability. I can recommend a mechanic in Rivas, but am unfamiliar with any in Managua. The auto lots in Managua are full of scoundrels; stay away from them unless you need to liberated of excess cash. Feel free to reply if you'd like the name and number of my mechanic in Rivas.

Best of luck!

Mahindras and Great Walls

I have seen Mahindras all around CR, look to be a good vehicle, I think the diesel engine is by Renault. Stay away from the Great Walls, though they are 100% knock off of the Toyota, parts are interchangeable, the parts quality of the sheet metal, hinges and exhaust seem to be below par.

I bought a used Hyundai 4 door one ton flat bed (flat nose) for 1/2 the price of Toyota 1/2 ton 4 dr and have had no problems with the vehicle. It has the mechanicals from Mistubishi.

Casa Pellas

also sells Suzukis, including models discontinued in the US such as Jimny. Hecho en indonesia.

¨Independence is the only benefit we have gained, at the expense of all else¨ -Simon Bolivar

buying a used car

Very likely the seller will see you as a source of some easy $$. To have even a moderate chance of not getting taken YOU will have to be able to assess the condition of the vehicle quite well. For example you can check drive train wear by seeing how far the drive shaft will turn without moving the vehicle. Thats only one check of many. Id check to see if the engine has been replaced.

Its a pretty iffy matter even in the US. In Belize where I live and probably in Nicaragua as well, it will be even worse. If you're a gringo, they'll see you coming a mile off. They are thinking easy money big time.