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Buying a car is a major purchase that should not be hastily decided. Learn what to consider before making that decision with these must-know tips.

Category: Car Buying Advice


Unlike choosing what to have for lunch, buying a car involves a hefty sum of upfront and running costs. As such, making a hasty decision can result in serious consequences. There are many points that you need to consider and take note of before buying a new car and these are the important ones that can make the difference and allow you to enjoy a worry-free car purchasing experience.

The actual cost of a car is not just its sticker price, running costs such as road tax, insurance, fuel and parking have to be considered as well
Budget

The actual expenses of car ownership is not just the cost of the car, it also consist of many other costs which, if not taken into consideration, can give you a rude shock when they exceed your budget. Well, typically, most will take out a loan on the car and this incurs a considerable sum of interest.

Apart from this, there are various running costs such as road tax, insurance, parking, ERP and parking charges, the cost of servicing, repairs and consumables such as tyres, which will need to be changed over the years of owning a car.

With consideration for the running costs, you should also determine the upfront cost that you are willing to fork out for the car. For cars with less than or equal to $20,000 OMV, maximum loan is 70% of purchase price, while for cars with OMV higher than $20,000, maximum loan is 60% of purchase price, both with a maximum loan tenure of seven years. This means that the down payment for a new car will be 30%-40% of the price. You will also have to consider the cost of road tax and insurance for the first year.

Apart from buying a brand new car, you can always consider used cars where the initial owners have already taken the hit of depreciation, especially if you are looking to minimise the cost of owning a car.

Trying to fit a child seat into a sporty three-door hatchback is not going to be an easy feat
Needs/preference/purpose of car/type of car

Apart from personal preferences and wants, it is important to find a car that suits your needs. When choosing a car, it is important to ask these questions:

How many passengers will you fetch on a regular basis? Do you have any young kids or expecting to have in the near future? Do you need to transport large, bulky items frequently? Do you frequently go on road trips to Malaysia or further?

While a sporty two-door coupe may be the car of your dreams, trying to fit a family of four into it will be a challenge, and ferrying them around comfortably on long road trips will surely be an impossible task. Unsurprisingly, getting in and out of a low-slung sports car will be difficult for the elderly and expecting mothers, and trying to fit a child seat in such compact cars will be a nightmare as well. As you can see, the passengers and cargo that you are going to ferry on a regularly basis will largely determine the type and size of car to get.

Meanwhile, smaller, city-oriented cars such as 660cc kei cars will be perfect for commuting around our city-state. However, these cars are clearly unsuitable for long trips up north.

Automotive forums are great avenues to find out more about the car that you are interested in getting
Research

As with any major purchase, it is important to research thoroughly before making a decision. After you have shortlisted the cars that fit your budget and needs, try to find out as much as possible about these cars.

With so many cars to choose from, it will be a chore to physically inspect all of them. Fortunately, we are in the information age, where almost everything can be found online. You can read car reviews to get a better understanding of the car before you head down to have a better look. You can also visit automotive forums to learn more about the cars from existing owners, and find out if there are any major issues.

If you are looking for a used car, you can compare prices and condition of the different examples available for sale online before making a decision. This way, you can find out the ballpark price of the particular car that you are eyeing, and avoid getting taken for a ride.

After you have a list of potential cars that fit your requirements, you should head down to the showroom and learn more about the car, take it for a test drive if possible. Certain cars may seem perfect on paper, but it's how they drive that really matter.

Where can you purchase your car from?

Authorised Dealers' showrooms are well-equipped and test vehicles are usually available as well
a) Authorised Dealers (AD) - new cars

Now that you know the car you want to purchase, the next step is to decide where to purchase it. Typically, new cars can be purchased from the brands' respective authorised dealers.

Apart from that, ADs usually have well-equipped showrooms, service centre and staff who are adequately skilled to work on the range of cars they offer. Most if not all ADs also have test vehicles on hand and will allow you to test drive the cars that you are interested in.

With a reputation to uphold, you can expect the best service standards to be offered to you, which will definitely ensure a pleasant buying experience.

Unlike ADs, used car dealers aren't usually brand specific
b) Online listings or from used car dealers - used cars

If you are looking for a used car, you can check out the listings on sgCarMart. You can also head down to the various used car dealers to have a look at their inventory on hand. Used car dealers don't usually specialise on a specific brand of cars, thus, not all of them will have the car you want. This means that when you're shopping for used cars, you will need to go to a few different dealers just to find something that you like.

Used cars are also found in varying conditions. Unlike purchasing a new car which is covered by warranty, buying a used car is a different challenge. There are many more factors to consider when purchasing a used car. It is important to ascertain its condition and accident history so that you can avoid buying a lemon.

Despite the crowd, roadshows and exhibitions are where the best deals can be found
c) Roadshows & exhibitions 

Whether you decide on buying a new car, a used car, or are still on the fence, roadshows and exhibitions are a good place for you to check out the car you want. Both ADs and used car dealers are often involved in roadshows and car exhibitions where they will promote some of their latest inventory at attractive prices.

As an effort to promote their products, buying cars at exhibitions and roadshows will give you the best bang out of your buck. Think of IT fairs where huge discounts are offered. There usually are special promotions, packages and freebies, which make it even more worthwhile. You may also be able to negotiate a better deal than usual.

With many brands situated at the same location, it will be easier for you to compare between the different cars offered. If you are looking to get a used car, it will also make things much simpler as you will be able to easily compare among the different used car dealers on the spot, without the need to travel from one location to another.

The only gripe when it comes to car exhibitions is that due to the popularity of such events, it usually gets rather crowded, which may sully the experience a little. However, we are certain that some crowd won't deter us from the great deals that are usually found at such events!



Getting a new car? You can find great deals right here on sgCarMart.
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