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Looking for a second hand car? Read this.

Given the ever-increasing upfront price of cars in Singapore, many consumers have turned to second-hand cars for their daily commutes, job requirements, family commitments etc. It is more affordable, and require less upfront commitment. However, to many, buying second-hand items may seem intimidating, let alone a car with high value in Singapore. It is therefore important to practise due diligence before taking this leap.

An official platform for sales and purchase of second-hand car available is SGCarMart, where many owners, potential buyers and dealers are active. The situation is as such: you find one post that features a car that meets your expectation, and budget. So, how do you proceed from here?

Firstly, it may seem like an underrated task but do check the reputation of the company you are dealing with. Most owners will extend the car to more than one dealer islandwide. If you find one that fits your bill, do check their reputation and review. A quick search on the social media and forums will likely present you the information you require. It is essential to perform brief background check on the credibility and reliability before establishing the connection with the dealer company. For instance, if there have been negative reviews constantly online, one should be wary and back off despite the attractive price they are offering. Better be safe, than sorry.

Secondly, after establishing the credibility of the dealer, one can advance to making an appointment for viewing and test drive. Beware of the physical outlook of the vehicle, whether there are visible scratches and moderate to severe dents, the condition of the brakes, gearbox, bumpers, etc. Also, one may question the fuel consumption of the car, and decide if the consumption will cause a significant impact on the budget. In addition, test-drive is one component that should not be overlooked regardless how satisfied you may be with the physique. Get a feel of being behind the wheels, and decide if you are comfortable with the car prior making further progress.

Thirdly, whether in local or during travel, there is one question that many Singaporeans like to ask: What is your best price? This is especially so, if one has an allocated budget for the car and stretching it may cause a strain on the wallet. On the flip side, there are other factors as listed to consider in the whole package. So, do not be too fast to act even if there is an upfront significant discount given.

 

  1. Listed price/ “Best price” – Is it inclusive of the down-payment? Should one expect other charges such as administrative charge, service charge and/or transfer fee? Some dealers practise “flat cost” where they will absorb all other costs, i.e one does not get a bill shock when getting the papers signed.
  2. Other payable items – Insurance, road taxes, maintenance, inspection costs. Some dealers are willing to absorb at an agreed price for the transaction.
  3. Loan amount – Loan scheme is unique for each customer, but the bottom line is the same. One should be clear of the loan scheme they are signing up for, such as the interest rate, duration of loan repayments and the total amount they should be paying over the stipulated duration. It should be noted that most of the time, dealers are able to obtain the most competitive loan interest rate from banks.
  4. Open Market Value (OMV) – In other words, it is the scrap value of the car. It can be found on the log card of the car and tells how much returns to expect upon scrapping of the car.

 

In addition, it cannot be further emphasized that one should ask for the most recent version of the log card to be produced on the spot. It is a description of the car, that provides all basic but necessary details.  Some items one should look out for in the log card include:

 

  1. Number of owners – The lesser, the better. It is an indication of the condition of the car; if say, a car of three years, have up to five owners, it may be dubious as the car had been owned by one owner for less than a year on average!
  2. Off-Peak Car (OPC) – Expect lower OMV, in case it is an OPC. They usually command a lower price overall as well, and can only be driven at specific times of the day. One will need to apply for a licence before driving on the road, if driving outside the specific timings.
  3. Road Tax – This must be checked carefully, in order not to incurred addition road tax that should be for the owner before selling.
  4. Car Plate No. – It is essential that the log card produced is true to the details of the chosen car.

 

One may analyse and inquire further based on the listed information, in order to make a judgement if this is the real deal one should be ready for.

Next, if one wants to make sure the car is of tip-top condition prior the purchase, they can approach VICOM for the verification. VICOM, the official inspection company acting on behalf of Land Transport Authority (LTA), can issue the relevant inspection report at a nominal cost. Items such as condition of the various parts, outstanding inspection items and accidents details will be clearly listed in the report. This will ensure the buyer of the quality of the car and that dealers are providing accurate knowledge, to their best.

Furthermore, if one is a frequent traveller to neighbouring country, Malaysia by car, it is advisable to do a quick check on their authorities’ online tool to ensure the car is summon-free. Otherwise, one may request to have the summons cleared by the time of transfer of ownership.

Lastly, one should discuss with the dealer if the car will come under their warranty under the Lemon Law. And if they are willing to shoulder the guarantee, they should also mention the period of which the law shall apply. This gives the customers greater security and assurance that they are properly taken care of. After-sale service is often neglected in the excitement of getting the car, but providing it is a value-add service to ensure greater level of satisfaction and enhances their experience.

Yes, the convenience of getting a car is undeniable and it can also affordable if the right choice is made. What’s more, you get to own the car for real!

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