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, 22 May 2018 - 11:11 PM.