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Pajero 3.8 SWB buying advice in UAE

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Admittedly it's quite daunting buying a car in a foreign country. I moved here from South Africa a bit more than a year ago. So I've learnt not to trust dealers but further than that I'm quite unsure. 

I'm keeping my eyes out for a good deal on a 3.8 SWB Pajero. Panning to own it for the next five years while I'm in the UAE. Ideally I'd like to go for something low mileage with a warranty and I'll definitely get it checked out by Mitsubishi before I buy. Unless there are better places to have it inspected.

It will be my only car but I will be spending a lot of time in the desert for work and just exploring the wadis. I also plan on traveling to Oman. I don't intend on climbing or jumping the tallest dunes but at the same time I also don't want to be limited too much with where I can go. "As slow as possible and as fast as necessary." 

So now I'm torn between forking out the extra money and buying a newer model with a warranty or buying a cheaper vehicle and saving some money for maintenance and upgrading things like suspension etc. Regardless, I'll still get bash plates and probably increase the tire profile. Would there be any advantage to making additional mods for my purpose? What are the laws regarding suspension upgrades?

I've read some of the posts on the forum but I'm yet to find anything on third party warranties. Are there any providers in the UAE offering extended warranties for secondhand cars and is it necessary or are most parts cheap enough?

What are your opinions on buying older models or higher mileage out of warranty?

I'll appreciate your input to help me make up my mind.

Will surely be joining some desert drives when I get my little machine.

Edited by Theo Busschau
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Hi @Theo Busschau welcome to Carnity and get ready to receive an overwhelming response when it comes to car buying especially off-road rides in the UAE.

6 minutes ago, Theo Busschau said:

"As slow as possible and as fast as necessary." 

By reading this, it tells me enough about your off-road personality and experience.

Your choice of SWB Pajero especially 3.8 engine will be super perfect for almost everything you wish to do with your work or leisure. Just make sure you get the 2014 and upward model as below models have upshifting issue. While you want to climb a dune at 1st gear car will automatically upshift to 2nd after 5K rpm band.

Mitsubishi Pajero are good and reliable but very expensive on OEM parts so be ready for that expensive companionship.

Front bash plate and rear bumper plate to avoid scooping sand is another known issues for Pajero, search here and you will get that advise with metal plate drawings even to fabricate and install on rear bumper inside.

In summer Pajero tranny cooler will require extra fan, so once you start seeing A/T light more frequently add the extra fan for keeping transmission cooler happy.

Few more options you can consider depending on your choice and budget for good off-roading.

  1. FJ Cruiser
  2. Nissan Xterra Off-road
  3. Jeep Wrangler 3.6
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Let's root for each other & watch each other grow.

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I believe the upshifting issue was resolved post 2012 Pajero models, however the newer models do tend to have a transmission overheating issue. Pajeros are quite reliable and would last you a while if maintained regularly and you get good deals in the second hand market. Try to stick to a car which has done below 100k km and has a proper maintenance record (either at the agency or from outside). 

Getting the car checked at the agency is not something on which I have much experience on (as the agencies do tend to be quite expensive). Getting it checked outside with a reputable garage would be a better option.

Getting cars with more mileage is fine as long as the car has a proper maintenance record, and is known among car owners for its reliability. 

Regarding the modifications, I would recommend sticking to what Gaurav mentioned in the above post initially and after going in a few offroad adventures to then decide if anything further is needed.

In UAE, the only warranty is provided by the agency or buy Automall (where you can buy a second hand car). But the warranty is valid only if you do all the scheduled maintenance with them. Further, you would get a much better deal by buying the car from an actual car owner rather than from a dealer. 

Hope I have answered some of your questions. Good luck. 

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Thank you for your replies. It's very helpful.

I'm quite set on the Pajero. I think the SWB is probably one of the better stock vehicles for the desert, at a good price too. Just my opinion from what I've seen.

Out of curiosity, what are the most expensive parts you've had to replace? 

Are there any recommendations where I should get it inspected?

What insurance company is good that includes off road cover? I got some info from AXA and it seemed quite good.


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The biggest maintenance parts would be the timing belt replacement along with few seals at 100k km. Brake pads are also a bit pricey which need to be changed between 40k - 60k km depending on your driving style.

Regarding insurance, depending on the age of the vehicle, try to go for a comprehensive cover from RSA, AXA, Oman, Tokyo Marine Insurance. They would have off-road coverage as a standard in their policy. Also ensure that you have free recovery service inter Emirates. This will save you lot of money in the event of a car breakdown which needs to be towed to your garage.

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As for external warranties I know of Gulf Warranty. @Brette had his warranty done through them, maybe he can advise regarding contact details for them. Rest all is already well put by @Gaurav and @Srikumar. Hope to meet you soon @Theo Busschau. Dank U.

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I am not very sure on how third party insurances work if you buy a second hand vehicle. I bought mine brand new from a guy who imports GCC vehicles to supply to other middle east countries when certain models are not available. He was tied up with gulf warranties and I got it as part of the deal I made with him. Last year gulf warrienties was acquired by Motor Prime, you could check with them about warranties for second hand vehicles, am sure they would have some cut of depending on the milage the vehicle has done.  When I crossed 100k and my warranty expired, they refused to renew it. 

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This might be a noob question but what is more important in determining a cars value in the UAE? Mileage or year? 

The 3.8 SWB isn't so easy to find but I found some very clean cars with full service history from Al Habtoor and less than 50 000km. 2016, 2017 and 2018 models going for very similar prices. And then there's a 2013 model for not much less. It seems that milage is the main determining factor. In 5 years time would 2016 vs 2018 be much different in value? 





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