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Guide - Getting a preowned / 2nd hand car

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I may not be the most experienced driver but I would like to share some tips on getting a 2nd hand vehicle. I have seen multiple discussion all over the place that give good advice on getting a decent 2nd hand vehicle. One key theme I noticed is the shifting of the blame to the dealer. The dealer should bear some responsibility for getting you or persuading you to purchase that lemon, but as a buyer, you should bear more responsibility for not doing your due diligence. If the deal is too good to be true, think twice. I have my fair share of bad experience with preowned vehicles but I learnt my lesson.

 

I have listed down some pointers to note when you are looking at 2nd hand cars. It is certainly not extensive, and it is not entirely scientific, but I hope these are areas potential buyers can consider. Please feel free to add-on and correct me.

 

1) Do not trust STA reports

 

Dealers will convince you that you should send the vehicle for STA inspection, or send to AA for inspection. Although these agencies could give a decent physical assessment of the vehicle for possible signs of accidents the vehicle had, they would not be able to detect odometer tampering, suspension problems, air-con problems, potential "Check Engine Light" problems.

 

2) Dealer's inconsistencies in their Ads

 

Look at all the dealer's ads. Did you notice only some of their ads have that "STA Rating: B"? Some dealers boast they sent their (some) vehicles for STA inspection. But, why didn't they send all their vehicles for STA inspection? Why are they trying so hard to convince you to buy that B rated vehicle?

 

3) Dealers did not insist you must use a bank/finance institution of their choice

 

Dealers proudly proclaim buyers could seek their own loans from financial institutions. Is there a problem? Was this dealer black listed by financial institutions? Usually dealers will die die want to earn commission from loans, no matter how small the amount is.

 

4) Ask for better offers for Car loans

 

Dealers often insist you must take get a loan through them. I had experience of dealers insisted I take their in-house loan of 3.xx%. I walked away. They called me and suddenly offered local banks for 2.xx%, I declined, but finally, they gave final offer of 1.xx% from another financial institution. But I was so turned off, I declined them.

 

5) Please research on the dealer before making your way down

 

Please search on the dealer before making your way down to view the vehicle. My Car Forum and Hardwarezone have good posts on the dealers with bad reputation.

 

6) The Number of ex-Owners matters

 

A 4-year old car with 3 ex-owners. But the car is decently priced and it looks very well maintained, and the mileage is low. Is it an ex-rental or PHV car? Or the car got problem?

 

7) Test drive the car [Comments Needed]

 

If the dealer insist you must pay deposit before you test drive, walk away. Be bold and suggest that you should drive out to the main road. But to be fair to them, if you just passed your TP last week and 19 years old, do you think they will be generous to you test drive their car?

 

If dealer say you can only test drive in car park, walk away. I have encountered dealers who were very confident to let me drive the car around the neighbourhood and onto main roads.

 

Things to note while you are test driving:

a) Turn off the radio, turn off the air-con, wind up the windows, listen for weird noise from the vehicle while you are on the road.

b) When you have stopped at the traffic lights, is the idling speed rough? Is there sudden rough idles while you are waiting?

c) Go over those car park small humps at low speeds, did you hear weird noise coming from the back?

d) When the car is stationary, make yourself comfortable into the back seat, don't go into the back seat timidly, just go straight in and sit down, did you hear weird sound coming from the suspension?

 

8) Dealers offering you "in-house warranty" and free servicing from their in-house workshop when...

 

...when the vehicle is not even 5-years old and the mileage is low? Is it because the mileage is damn high and odometer has been tampered hence warranty not covered by auto makers? Usually relative "new cars" should still have engine warranty by auto makers.

 

9) Ask the dealer whether the odometer has been tampered

 

Of course they will say no. But some will challenge you to call up the service center if the vehicle is relatively new. Take up the challenge. You will be surprised and may find yourself a good deal.

 

10) Call up Service Center after you seen the vehicle

 

You will know the car plate number after you seen the vehicle. If the car is relatively new (i.e: 3 year old or less), call up the service center to check for last service date and mileage. But be reasonable lah... if the car's current odometer is 40,000 KM, and the last service date is 3 months ago with logged mileage of 34,000 KM, this discrepancy is logical.

 

Try...call up service center to find out the last service mileage is close to 130,000+ KM but the odometer reads 40,000+ KM....

 

11) Car's colour don't match the colour specified in Log Card

 

Was the car involved in an accident previously?

 

12) Excessive deposit

 

Some dealers ever asked for $5,000 deposit. That's not very reasonable. I believe $1,000 or $2,000 is a decent amount.

 

13) Push for Immediate Transfer

 

Some dealers could transfer the ownership to you on the spot, while some would ask for 3 working days. Although Sales agreement stated the date and time of transfer, but as long as the vehicle is not officially transferred to you, the dealer could use the vehicle as a collateral. If they default payment, the debtors could hunt down your vehicle.

 

Always chase for the transfer to be done ASAP. Usually dealers who could transfer the ownership to you on the spot are those with deeper pockets. They could transfer ownership to you because they have paid for the vehicle in full from the finance institution; while those dealers who need a few working days are actually sorting out the paperwork with the finance institution in the background because the dealers don't own the vehicle.

 

14) Don't be hooked by Car's beautiful exterior and Clean interior

 

The odometer might be tampered. Think of a hot woman who had multiple cosmetic surgeries and solid breast implants but she is formerly a man. Always call up service center if the vehicle is relatively new.

 

15) <Members, please add on...>

 

16) <Members, please add on...>

 

Edited by song77
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Useful guide.

Hope the mods can be more lenient in merging threads. 

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Useful guide.

Hope the mods can be more lenient in merging threads.

Have you not noticed we are?
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Useful guide.

Hope the mods can be more lenient in merging threads. 

 

 I hope it helps a little. It takes two hands to clap, instead of pushing all blame to dealer, why not ask yourself:

 

 - Did I do my due diligence?

 

 - Why not get a new car?

 

But everyone has different considerations when it comes to a big purchase. Nothing wrong with getting a pre-owned vehicle, but just need to do more home work and reduce the risk as much as possible.

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1. Actually, its best if you can get from the owner (one owner) together with service records.     

2. To play safe, send to workshop and hoist up the car to check the underside.   Can tell if there are leakages and signs of damages. 

3. Also looking at the structure of the car to check whether collision accident had occurred.  Open up bonnet, check front, left and right sides to see any bent metal, new screws installed are also telltale signs. 

4. Set aside a sum for repairs and add to the cost of the car plus COE renewal to get a value for depreciation.  eg if cost is $15k, add $38K + $5K (repair costs) = $58k.   Depreciation over 10 years is $5,800.     

Compare with depreciation for same model of car and see if the difference is significant enough. 

5.  Check for clutch and engine problems.   For this, I am not an expert, I was advised to accelerate and watch the RPM when gear changes which was what I did.    Certain cars may have head gasket problems, usually combined with high mileage. 

 

Most important if you are buying any car, you have to like the look and feel of it.   

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I do not know whether STA has changed for the better. Previously there was bribery inside the company

 

 

 

http://www.mycarforum.com/topic/2650331-sta-kena-cpib-probe-for-bribery/

Members

 

I may not be the most experienced driver but I would like to share some tips on getting a 2nd hand vehicle. I have seen multiple discussion all over the place that give good advice on getting a decent 2nd hand vehicle. One key theme I noticed is the shifting of the blame to the dealer. The dealer should bear some responsibility for getting you or persuading you to purchase that lemon, but as a buyer, you should bear more responsibility for not doing your due diligence. If the deal is too good to be true, think twice. I have my fair share of bad experience with preowned vehicles but I learnt my lesson.

 

I have listed down some pointers to note when you are looking at 2nd hand cars. It is certainly not extensive, and it is not entirely scientific, but I hope these are areas potential buyers can consider. Please feel free to add-on and correct me.

 

1) Do not trust STA reports

 

Dealers will convince you that you should send the vehicle for STA inspection, or send to AA for inspection. Although these agencies could give a decent physical assessment of the vehicle for possible signs of accidents the vehicle had, they would not be able to detect odometer tampering, suspension problems, air-con problems, potential "Check Engine Light" problems.

 

2) Dealer's inconsistencies in their Ads

 

Look at all the dealer's ads. Did you notice only some of their ads have that "STA Rating: B"? Some dealers boast they sent their (some) vehicles for STA inspection. But, why didn't they send all their vehicles for STA inspection? Why are they trying so hard to convince you to buy that B rated vehicle?

 

3) Dealers did not insist you must use a bank/finance institution of their choice

 

Dealers proudly proclaim buyers could seek their own loans from financial institutions. Is there a problem? Was this dealer black listed by financial institutions? Usually dealers will die die want to earn commission from loans, no matter how small the amount is.

 

4) Ask for better offers for Car loans

 

Dealers often insist you must take get a loan through them. I had experience of dealers insisted I take their in-house loan of 3.xx%. I walked away. They called me and suddenly offered local banks for 2.xx%, I declined, but finally, they gave final offer of 1.xx% from another financial institution. But I was so turned off, I declined them.

 

5) Please research on the dealer before making your way down

 

Please search on the dealer before making your way down to view the vehicle. My Car Forum and Hardwarezone have good posts on the dealers with bad reputation.

 

6) The Number of ex-Owners matters

 

A 4-year old car with 3 ex-owners. But the car is decently priced and it looks very well maintained, and the mileage is low. Is it an ex-rental or PHV car? Or the car got problem?

 

7) Test drive the car [Comments Needed]

 

If the dealer insist you must pay deposit before you test drive, walk away. Be bold and suggest that you should drive out to the main road. But to be fair to them, if you just passed your TP last week and 19 years old, do you think they will be generous to you test drive their car?

 

If dealer say you can only test drive in car park, walk away. I have encountered dealers who were very confident to let me drive the car around the neighbourhood and onto main roads.

 

Things to note while you are test driving:

a) Turn off the radio, turn off the air-con, wind up the windows, listen for weird noise from the vehicle while you are on the road.

b) When you have stopped at the traffic lights, is the idling speed rough? Is there sudden rough idles while you are waiting?

c) Go over those car park small humps at low speeds, did you hear weird noise coming from the back?

d) When the car is stationary, make yourself comfortable into the back seat, don't go into the back seat timidly, just go straight in and sit down, did you hear weird sound coming from the suspension?

 

8) Dealers offering you "in-house warranty" and free servicing from their in-house workshop when...

 

...when the vehicle is not even 5-years old and the mileage is low? Is it because the mileage is damn high and odometer has been tampered hence warranty not covered by auto makers? Usually relative "new cars" should still have engine warranty by auto makers.

 

9) Ask the dealer whether the odometer has been tampered

 

Of course they will say no. But some will challenge you to call up the service center if the vehicle is relatively new. Take up the challenge. You will be surprised and may find yourself a good deal.

 

10) Call up Service Center after you seen the vehicle

 

You will know the car plate number after you seen the vehicle. If the car is relatively new (i.e: 3 year old or less), call up the service center to check for last service date and mileage. But be reasonable lah... if the car's current odometer is 40,000 KM, and the last service date is 3 months ago with logged mileage of 34,000 KM, this discrepancy is logical.

 

Try...call up service center to find out the last service mileage is close to 130,000+ KM but the odometer reads 40,000+ KM....

 

11) Car's colour don't match the colour specified in Log Card

 

Was the car involved in an accident previously?

 

12) Excessive deposit

 

Some dealers ever asked for $5,000 deposit. That's not very reasonable. I believe $1,000 or $2,000 is a decent amount.

 

13) Push for Immediate Transfer

 

Some dealers could transfer the ownership to you on the spot, while some would ask for 3 working days. Although Sales agreement stated the date and time of transfer, but as long as the vehicle is not officially transferred to you, the dealer could use the vehicle as a collateral. If they default payment, the debtors could hunt down your vehicle.

 

Always chase for the transfer to be done ASAP. Usually dealers who could transfer the ownership to you on the spot are those with deeper pockets. They could transfer ownership to you because they have paid for the vehicle in full from the finance institution; while those dealers who need a few working days are actually sorting out the paperwork with the finance institution in the background because the dealers don't own the vehicle.

 

14) Don't be hooked by Car's beautiful exterior and Clean interior

 

The odometer might be tampered. Think of a hot woman who had multiple cosmetic surgeries and solid breast implants but she is formerly a man. Always call up service center if the vehicle is relatively new.

 

15) <Members, please add on...>

 

16) <Members, please add on...>

 

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Members

 

I may not be the most experienced driver but I would like to share some tips on getting a 2nd hand vehicle. I have seen multiple discussion all over the place that give good advice on getting a decent 2nd hand vehicle. One key theme I noticed is the shifting of the blame to the dealer. The dealer should bear some responsibility for getting you or persuading you to purchase that lemon, but as a buyer, you should bear more responsibility for not doing your due diligence. If the deal is too good to be true, think twice. I have my fair share of bad experience with preowned vehicles but I learnt my lesson.

 

I have listed down some pointers to note when you are looking at 2nd hand cars. It is certainly not extensive, and it is not entirely scientific, but I hope these are areas potential buyers can consider. Please feel free to add-on and correct me.

 

1) Do not trust STA reports

 

Dealers will convince you that you should send the vehicle for STA inspection, or send to AA for inspection. Although these agencies could give a decent physical assessment of the vehicle for possible signs of accidents the vehicle had, they would not be able to detect odometer tampering, suspension problems, air-con problems, potential "Check Engine Light" problems.

 

2) Dealer's inconsistencies in their Ads

 

Look at all the dealer's ads. Did you notice only some of their ads have that "STA Rating: B"? Some dealers boast they sent their (some) vehicles for STA inspection. But, why didn't they send all their vehicles for STA inspection? Why are they trying so hard to convince you to buy that B rated vehicle?

 

3) Dealers did not insist you must use a bank/finance institution of their choice

 

Dealers proudly proclaim buyers could seek their own loans from financial institutions. Is there a problem? Was this dealer black listed by financial institutions? Usually dealers will die die want to earn commission from loans, no matter how small the amount is.

 

4) Ask for better offers for Car loans

 

Dealers often insist you must take get a loan through them. I had experience of dealers insisted I take their in-house loan of 3.xx%. I walked away. They called me and suddenly offered local banks for 2.xx%, I declined, but finally, they gave final offer of 1.xx% from another financial institution. But I was so turned off, I declined them.

 

5) Please research on the dealer before making your way down

 

Please search on the dealer before making your way down to view the vehicle. My Car Forum and Hardwarezone have good posts on the dealers with bad reputation.

 

6) The Number of ex-Owners matters

 

A 4-year old car with 3 ex-owners. But the car is decently priced and it looks very well maintained, and the mileage is low. Is it an ex-rental or PHV car? Or the car got problem?

 

7) Test drive the car [Comments Needed]

 

If the dealer insist you must pay deposit before you test drive, walk away. Be bold and suggest that you should drive out to the main road. But to be fair to them, if you just passed your TP last week and 19 years old, do you think they will be generous to you test drive their car?

 

If dealer say you can only test drive in car park, walk away. I have encountered dealers who were very confident to let me drive the car around the neighbourhood and onto main roads.

 

Things to note while you are test driving:

a) Turn off the radio, turn off the air-con, wind up the windows, listen for weird noise from the vehicle while you are on the road.

b) When you have stopped at the traffic lights, is the idling speed rough? Is there sudden rough idles while you are waiting?

c) Go over those car park small humps at low speeds, did you hear weird noise coming from the back?

d) When the car is stationary, make yourself comfortable into the back seat, don't go into the back seat timidly, just go straight in and sit down, did you hear weird sound coming from the suspension?

 

8) Dealers offering you "in-house warranty" and free servicing from their in-house workshop when...

 

...when the vehicle is not even 5-years old and the mileage is low? Is it because the mileage is damn high and odometer has been tampered hence warranty not covered by auto makers? Usually relative "new cars" should still have engine warranty by auto makers.

 

9) Ask the dealer whether the odometer has been tampered

 

Of course they will say no. But some will challenge you to call up the service center if the vehicle is relatively new. Take up the challenge. You will be surprised and may find yourself a good deal.

 

10) Call up Service Center after you seen the vehicle

 

You will know the car plate number after you seen the vehicle. If the car is relatively new (i.e: 3 year old or less), call up the service center to check for last service date and mileage. But be reasonable lah... if the car's current odometer is 40,000 KM, and the last service date is 3 months ago with logged mileage of 34,000 KM, this discrepancy is logical.

 

Try...call up service center to find out the last service mileage is close to 130,000+ KM but the odometer reads 40,000+ KM....

 

11) Car's colour don't match the colour specified in Log Card

 

Was the car involved in an accident previously?

 

12) Excessive deposit

 

Some dealers ever asked for $5,000 deposit. That's not very reasonable. I believe $1,000 or $2,000 is a decent amount.

 

13) Push for Immediate Transfer

 

Some dealers could transfer the ownership to you on the spot, while some would ask for 3 working days. Although Sales agreement stated the date and time of transfer, but as long as the vehicle is not officially transferred to you, the dealer could use the vehicle as a collateral. If they default payment, the debtors could hunt down your vehicle.

 

Always chase for the transfer to be done ASAP. Usually dealers who could transfer the ownership to you on the spot are those with deeper pockets. They could transfer ownership to you because they have paid for the vehicle in full from the finance institution; while those dealers who need a few working days are actually sorting out the paperwork with the finance institution in the background because the dealers don't own the vehicle.

 

14) Don't be hooked by Car's beautiful exterior and Clean interior

 

The odometer might be tampered. Think of a hot woman who had multiple cosmetic surgeries and solid breast implants but she is formerly a man. Always call up service center if the vehicle is relatively new.

 

15) <Members, please add on...>

 

16) <Members, please add on...>

 

The dealer will normally tell you that they can send the car to their in house workshop for checking. But I will request to send the car I'm interested in to my workshop for checking instead. I guess this helps as well? :)

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1. Actually, its best if you can get from the owner (one owner) together with service records.     

2. To play safe, send to workshop and hoist up the car to check the underside.   Can tell if there are leakages and signs of damages. 

3. Also looking at the structure of the car to check whether collision accident had occurred.  Open up bonnet, check front, left and right sides to see any bent metal, new screws installed are also telltale signs. 

4. Set aside a sum for repairs and add to the cost of the car plus COE renewal to get a value for depreciation.  eg if cost is $15k, add $38K + $5K (repair costs) = $58k.   Depreciation over 10 years is $5,800.     

Compare with depreciation for same model of car and see if the difference is significant enough. 

5.  Check for clutch and engine problems.   For this, I am not an expert, I was advised to accelerate and watch the RPM when gear changes which was what I did.    Certain cars may have head gasket problems, usually combined with high mileage. 

 

Most important if you are buying any car, you have to like the look and feel of it.   

 

Need other car experts to give opinions on checking clutch problems :)

 

As for checking for collision accidents, the best person would be your favourite trusted car polisher. The very experienced polishers could tell you which spot had met collision.

 

Usually not many dealers are willing to send the vehicle to your workshop. Anyone has positive experience?

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Need other car experts to give opinions on checking clutch problems :)

 

As for checking for collision accidents, the best person would be your favourite trusted car polisher. The very experienced polishers could tell you which spot had met collision.

 

Usually not many dealers are willing to send the vehicle to your workshop. Anyone has positive experience?

Got my second hand car from Hamilton. They allowed me to send to my workshop for checking. And I’ve sent to a total of 2 different workshops of mine and theirs once. I’ve placed a deposit of 2k of course since I’m really keen to purchase it. :)

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Almost 9 out of 10 times is buyer fail to do due diligence...

 

If you noticed, it will always be 'the dealer say

 

Almost like if dealer ask them jump down they jump down lol

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Normally for me i see the body first, if got accident the body color will be slightly blur compared to original color.

 

Check the gearbox see the jerkiness from N to D. Then see engine bay got engine oil leak or not. Also see the engine bay chassis whether got into accident before.

 

When agree on price, list out all agreement on the paper, including freebies and delivery date.

 

If u want peace of mind then get cars from AD used car dealers like republic auto and ppsl. They will give extra 1 yr AD warranty.

Almost 9 out of 10 times is buyer fail to do due diligence...

 

If you noticed, it will always be 'the dealer say

 

Almost like if dealer ask them jump down they jump down lol

Next time buyer come see car bring own OBD to check hehehe

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Good guide but buying pre owned sometimes you don't have the luxury to choose too much.

 

I bought my last car 6 years ago. drive to ubi, walk down 2 floors, test drive 1 car and paid deposit. That fast. it was a good choice and problem free till i scrap it. 

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Good guide but buying pre owned sometimes you don't have the luxury to choose too much.

 

I bought my last car 6 years ago. drive to ubi, walk down 2 floors, test drive 1 car and paid deposit. That fast. it was a good choice and problem free till i scrap it.

What car you bought?

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Good guide but buying pre owned sometimes you don't have the luxury to choose too much.

 

I bought my last car 6 years ago. drive to ubi, walk down 2 floors, test drive 1 car and paid deposit. That fast. it was a good choice and problem free till i scrap it. 

My SIL introduced me to a car dealer personal friend years back when i needed a second hand car. Nice guy who ran his own one man show. Showed me a car that was in his stock for quite a while. When asked why it was still in his stock, he explained that the car plate turned off all viewers, but it was in very good condition (I had not noticed the car plate). Test drove it, bought it at a discount and drove till scrap with no issue.

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