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Used car dealers in Singapore: Any recommendations?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I have a very good friend who is thinking of buying a used car. For some reason, he thinks that I would know something about buying used cars. I think it is because I am such a frugal person.


Unfortunately, when it comes to cars, my preference has always been to buy new. I know. I am terrible in this department.

Anyway, this is a call for help. Please share any recommendations or warnings which you might have about used car dealers here in Singapore.

I guess this could also be a resource for readers who might be looking to buy a used car in the near future too. So, although it has nothing to do with investments and with being financially prudent, here goes my cry: HELP!

49 comments:

EY said...

Hi AK,

You might want to ask your friend to bring along a small torch when he goes viewing. Very useful when checking the condition of the tyres and the interior of the car.

If the tyres or other stuff are worn out, request for the car dealer to change it as part of the deal.

I didn't have a good experience buying my used Opel in January. So I won't be able to recommend any dealers. Sorry...

Endrene

AK71 said...

Hi Endrene,

A small torch - check!

Anyway, I have been drafted as the official car tester and inspector. Such a heavy responsibility! So, I will be bringing the torch.

With what you went through and the money your spent fixing your car, it will probably work properly till the end of its 10th year. :)

Don't buy Opels - check! ;p

EY said...

Hi AK,

Thanks for your well wishes for my pet. I still want to maintain that I'm happy with my 'Shiny' - that's the name I've given my pet. ;)

Just have to be careful of those typical salesmen who promise you the sky and the moon. All the items that he agrees to include in the deal should be clearly stated in the purchase form. By clearly I mean including dotting the 'i'! Don't settle for 'change car tyres', for instance. Get him to indicate a particular brand and state they should be 'brand new'. I don't think you want to know how the car salesman brought out the Ah Lian in me by giving me a 'new' set of used tyres! Haha.

The other bit is about the insurance. Most car dealers would expect you to buy the insurance through them. So it's better to establish your intention before you seal the deal.

That's all the experience I can share for now. If you need gun powder shall there be disputes and confrontations, then maybe I'll share with you some bad words and how to overturn tables, ok? LOL~

Endrene

AK71 said...

Hi Endrene,

Very good advice! Thank you so much. I will make sure to remember. :)

Sincere Ken said...

Hi AK,

I certainly have some recommendations but it all boils down to Luck and Negotiation skills. Being Diplomatic counts!

An advice is to bring along a senior mechanic (preferably 5 years experience and is a friend) for vehicle inspection.

All the best for your friend. Good Luck - He needs it!

Ken

Don_Jerome said...

If you are not in a hurry why not sgcarmart? I think it has better deals. IMO i think you can save maybe hundreds to maybe a K or 2 too for a better condition car(since no dealer profits). I had a make and model in mind and the dealers I went to could not offer me what I was looking for. I ended up with one from sgcarmart that I was happy with.

But you need to be patient to scout for a good deal, may need to recce a few weeks. The good deals don't last long on sgcarmart(maybe a day or 2), so must have quick hands and go test drive fast.

coconut said...

go to

http://www.sgcarmart.com/main/index.php

there are plantiful of used cars for sales, i just got mine recently.

many option to used, click on "direct owner selling" you might get a better deal!

coconut said...

by the way if you want to buy direct from the owner of the car instead, be prepare to settle your own finance and insurance, get these done before you go down to LTA for ownership transfer, only $15 (i think, i forgotten) bucks!

AK71 said...

Hi Ken,

With used cars, I guess luck is the most important but it is also beyond our control. :(

AK71 said...

Hi Jeremy and coconut,

My friend has been doing that. Been scouring SG Carmart for a whole week. I feel that the prices are not all that good but I guess it is a sign of the times. :(

Buying directly from owners will require a bit more work but will save some money, I suppose. I will pass the message on.

However, being a newbie to buying used car, I think buying from a dealer might be more expeditious.

coconut said...

yes, good deal don't last very long indeed!

the very moment i saw the ad which the owner just put up for sale, i rash down with my friend and confirm the sale right on the spot! i insist to put down the deposit and the owner were dumb fool look at me haha.

as i was not putting any finance on the car and the owner own the car outright, the transaction was done the very next working day, very easy.

coconut said...

i think your friend do not really need or want a car, he just don't know what to do, what he want!

good luck to him.

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

You make it sound so easy. Got step by step guide for buying from owner directly or not? ;p

My friend wants a car more than he needs it. This is my guess. We talked about it and he said he would be happier if he didn't have to take public transport. I kept my peace after that. We are all made differently. :)

coconut said...

alright, my mistake in saying that, if your friend is really new, then get it from the dealer, you know, the dealer has to make a living too, so be prepare to pay a little more.

getting direct from the owner is quite simple too, as long as you are happy with the car and the price and condition, then the only thing left is insurance and finance, this is a must to prepared before going down to LTA for ownership transfer. fill up a simple transfer form and that is it!

i didn't need financing, so not too sure how it is settle.

letsts assume you need finance and the car is currently under financing with the owner, just go to the same finance company and get it transfer to under your name, settle the different with cash and get the insurance done. should be quite easy.

coconut said...

currently i'm looking for my 3rd car, haha, no la, after seeing i got mine, my brother also want it, his is due to expired in 2 months so i help him to look out.

he know what he want, a 4 to 6 years old BMW 3 or 5 series, so its easy to source.

your friend should know what kind of car he wants, what budget and what conditions, then you can narrow down and go for the kill, don't look all over the place and only look for bargans, he will get confused.

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

Thanks for sharing your experience with me. Very useful. :)

My friend is looking for a 7 year old Mazda3 or Lancer GLX with his budget of $24k. He doesn't want to take a loan. So, he is restricting himself to 7 year olds.

The only fear is really in ending up with a lemon. I know that the Lemon Law covers used cars too but if we were to buy from an individual and not a company, how does the law apply?

coconut said...

i don't know much about lemon law, come on, we are buying a used car, we should expecting some repairs, whether its from the dealer or direct seller.

ask your friend to get someone who is familair with cars to go viewing together. must test drive the car. use your guts feeling to judge whether the owner took care of it or not by looking at the condition of the car.

24k i think is a little too low, learn to work backward the "expected" depreciation of the car, namely, price of the car less rebate of PARF or OMV.

a low end car should have a depreciation of about 5 to 6k a year and a higher end one like a BMW will be around 10 to 14k a year.

so lets say the rebate for a mazda is 10k, depreciation is 7k for mid range car, then a 7 years old should price around 10k+7kx3 years = 31k.

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

Yup, I taught him how to work out the depreciation per month. I also told him to target a depreciation of about $500 a month or $6,000 a year. ;p

I am not a car expert and neither is my friend. I don't think we have such friends. We can call a few more friends to go see see. Can you imagine a group of 10 people walking into a showroom to buy only 1 car? LOL.

coconut said...

a saw a 8 years old mazda3 1.6 selling at 20k, looks quite reasonable, did your friend take a look?

depreciation around 7k but condition unknown, why is your friend still waiting? haha

coconut said...

neither am i a car expert, i only love to drive, not taking care for haha.

thats why from the begining i guess your friend is looking for bargans, if he really need it he will buy it, so many cars available!

tell him don't expect mirical, the price are there around, no horse run. if you really need it, the prices are all quite reasonable unless you don't.

Don_Jerome said...

If buy from individual, to be safe get the car checked out. it will cost a bit but for peace of mind. I took the risk and did not because I trusted the previous owners.

For me one benefit of buying from sgcarmart was I got to meet the owners(a nice family type) and decided that they were not the modify/race car that type one. I scared if buy from dealer dunno how many previous owners really and got serious accident or not.

Ya i agree with coconut. I on the spot say I want the car and put down payment, the owner also quite shock since she put up only 1 day before. haha.

This is the price of buying second hand car, need to use time and a bit of risk to trade for saving money.

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

There is a feeling that prices could go lower now that the 2 months concession given to used car dealers has ended.

People buying used cars cannot take 100% loan anymore and those who are buying the more economical variants like the Mazda3 and Lancer GLX are usually not the cash rich type. So, a bit of a wait and see attitude now.

So, you are right about looking for bargains but will definitely buy before end of the month.

AK71 said...

Hi Jeremy,

Coconut bought a BMW and I remember you drive a MB C class. You guys are in a different league lah. ;)

Buying from people we know has advantages, I guess. You got a good deal, I am sure. :)

coconut said...

ya, i like that, a risk taker.

i remember my friend ask the seller, got any accident or not?

what a stupid question is that! i know he meant good for me but hahaha...i just laugh...

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

It is more of a calculated risk which I agree with. It sounds logical. It is a bit like doing FA. Of course, we cannot account for sentiments. ;p

coconut said...

no AK, i bot a honda, not a BM, my BM is going off the road soon. no money le, downgraded haha.

ya understand about the new ruling, but look! the price went up instead. the time to buy is when the time you needed it. maybe your friend should consider smaller cars, i drove a kia picanto and honda fit (or jazz i can't remember) they are very good cars.

and cheaper.

coconut said...

oh and one last thing, idiot like mewho love to drives car or should i say expert driver (ahmm) usually go for manual instead of auto transmittion.

if you get a smaller capacity car which is a old one, go for manual also, less trouble when comes to repair!

good luck!

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

I suggested a Picanto actually but my friend doesn't trust KIA. Personally, I had nightmares with the KIA Magentis before. So, I shouldn't push for KIA. The Picanto was good for you?

Honda Fit/Jazz is actually quite pricey. Honda cars are probably the most expensive Jap cars.

Anyway, these are HB. My friend says he feels safer if his car has a boot because his parents will be sitting in the back when they go out together. I think so too. ;p

coconut said...

ya, that picanto was my brother's second car, its good!

one time i suppose to go m'sia but my "presurse horse" broke down, so i borrow from my bro and he ask, which one? the sunny or the picanto?

even though i drove the sunny before but i took the picanto and drove all the way to genting highland non stop, with 4 person inside the car.

the honda jazz (i just confirm it with my friend) was just a fun drive borrow from him. its good too but sold long ago.

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

Always good to hear from people who have personal experience! Thanks! :)

coconut said...

oh HB, but there are no satistic show cars without backside have more injury when comes to accident!

rule no 1, keep a safe distance from the front few cars if visible, not just the front car and you will be safe from the rear.

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

Well, hope it does not happen lor. If it should happen, intuitively, I feel that having a boot is probably safer for back passengers. It is like having a crumple zone. No?

coconut said...

actually i don't know haha, at lease i no need to worry about that at the moment.

i have not been in accident for a long long time, i can't remember when the last time someone knock me from behind, i began to be cocky, hey! thanks for the wake up call.

coconut said...

but in my line which is trading, having bumping into each other is an everyday affair.

only at the end of the day or closing off the positions would i know whether it was mostly my fault or someone i don't know, who ever make that mistake, pay up!

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

Well, I had 2 accidents in 1 year and both times, my car was knocked in the back!

I have a safe following distance always. Unfortunately, vehicles in the back tail gated me. Sigh. :(

Saw this?
Traffic accident.

coconut said...

ya i remember reading it, a m'sia car right?

if someone is tail gating me, i will widen my distance from the front vehicle even more, that will be very safe!

coconut said...

but i can remember my very first accident very well haha.

fresh from army, i started work as a production worker earning like 500 a month or less but i drove a car far more expensive than my manager!

they will tees me "why win lottery ha?" but after a few weeks, i really strick 4D and got my cost of the car back in full!

one everning after work while on the way meeting a friend, i travel along PIE and it was raining. there was a suddent stop and some joker bang into me from behind! it was quite hard and icame out feeling angry but after what i saw, i began to laugh out loud.

guess what? that joker was my production supervisor...hahaha

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

Crossing fingers lor. ;p

coconut said...

did i mention my supervisor was a lady? haha

she was very "gentleman", "just sent it to my workshop and i will get it fix for you".

with that kind of assurance we drove off into the raining night....

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

This is a story our local bard-blogger, SMOL, would like. So romantic. ;p

Can sing song:
"We're banging in the rain..."

Or was that "walking in the rain"?

coconut said...

wah lan!

we go our seperate way la haha...with a dent at the back of my car which look so urgly and i was still feeling unjust haha...

AK71 said...

Hi coconut,

Abused and bruised too... ;p

meesiam said...

AK
After a quarter, you manage to get your friend a reliable used car? Yesterday i went for a test drive, the car is working, can move, can turn and no strange engine noises. Is that enough? To ease my mind,i really wanted to get a 3rd party mechanic report before signing the dotted line next week.

Or should i just based on "trust"? Life is really contradicting. We work so hard to get recognition and entrusted...yet, i am the one who doubt on "trust" at the very moment.

AK71 said...

Hi meesiam,

I went with my friend to 10 different dealers at least. It was really an eye opener. Most of them were pushy and I even gave one of them a piece of my mind.

In the end, I gave a 7.5 year old Mazda 3 my stamp of approval. Price: $22k with an OMV of $16k. All good except for scratches here and there.

Some useful tips I got were from SgCarmart:
http://www.sgcarmart.com/news/writeup.php?AID=138

It has been 3 months and my friend says he really likes the car. Whew! :)

meesiam said...

Ak

How i wish i can invite you to be my adviser. As for the price, you really get him a good deal. 07 Mazda 3 $36.5k is the lowest the dealer willing to let go.

AK71 said...

Hi meesiam,

It would depend on whether it is early or late 2007. ;p

Early 2007 means that the car is almost 7 years old. Late 2007 means that the car is only 6 years old. Haha...

I told my friend to aim for a depreciation of $500+ a month.

I also told him to buy a car that is 7+ years old so that he doesn't have to bother with the inspection in the 7th year. This is a minor consideration but I don't like the idea of sending the car in for inspection only a few months after buying it.

I just searched and found a Mazda 3that is 7 years 10 months old:
Mazda 3 Blue

Price: $31,800

Wow! That is steep!

The lower price my friend got probably had to do with timing. I remember telling him to wait till June earlier this year:

"I have a friend who is thinking of buying a pre-owned car and since he does not need to take a loan to do so, I suggested that he should wait till sometime in mid June to start shopping. Prices could possibly soften as the pool of able buyers for pre-owned cars would probably shrink by then."
Cooling measures for cars: Buying pre-owned.

The second hand car industry has probably consolidated as the weaker dealers closed down. The stronger dealers are now setting higher prices again.

I cannot be an adviser to you lah. Paiseh. I am not an expert but this is a very good friend whom I have known for many, many years and I was the closest to an expert on cars for him. I am just glad everything turned out OK. Lucky also lah. -.-"

AK71 said...

Hi meesiam,

This one seems like a better deal than the one earlier:
Mazda 3 Black

Reg date: 2 Aug 2006
Price: $33,800

Just past its 7th birthday!

Happy shopping. :D

meesiam said...

AK

Thanks a lot. Really appreciate that. Car to me is just a tool, so long as it serve its function. To man, it is mistress/ wife. That is why u went for 10 before deciding, i only see 2 and wanted to make decision. :P

AK71 said...

Hi meesiam,

Hahaha... I was a bit more cautious because I was not buying for myself. My friend trusts me. :)

Actually, I am known for making snap decisions. It takes me less than an hour to decide whether to buy a condo or a car, for example. It scares some people. LOL.

So, you are a woman? ;)

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