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STAY SAFE WHEN BUYING A USED CAR
WITH THIS CHECKLIST


Text | Idris Talib
Photos | Editorial Team, Newslink


10 November 2020

Worried about problems after buying a used car? The SAFE Checklist lets you better understand the car's condition before buying a pre-owned car.Vehicles are complex things. And for those who aren't familiar with cars, the car you've set your eyes on might just have underlying problems.
There is only so much you can tell when you're viewing a car you want to buy. The engine bay might appear spotless, and the test drive - aside from the slight vibrations - went as well as you expected.

But only after buying the car do you realise there's problems. The once spotless engine now has a leaky gasket requiring frequent oil top-ups, and the vibrations have gotten worse, no thanks to worn transmission mounts that have finally given way.This isn't uncommon, and we're sure you've heard stories. In 2019 alone, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) received more than 450 complaints pertaining to defective pre-owned cars.

So how do you better understand your purchase, and the issues that might not be seen at first glance? Well, with the Standard and Functional Evaluation (SAFE) Checklist by CASE.

By having the car professionally checked, it ensures that any underlying problems will be made known to you.

Here's a step-by-step guide to buying your next car in confidence!
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1. Find your dream car!

Of course, the first step to getting a car is finding one.

There are many ways to find a used car, and one of the easiest ways is to head to sgCarMart's used car listings.

It is always a good idea to make a comparison, as well as finding out what are the hidden costs involved in buying a car, such as administrative fees. You can check out some tips on buying a used car here.

But more than anything, it is always wise to find out more about the car's condition, or if any issues were fixed beforehand prior to the car being put up for sale.

Once you decide on a particular car and are interested in finding out more about the condition of the car, you can proceed on to the next step.
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2. Get a SAFE Checklist

The SAFE Checklist by CASE is made for the evaluation of pre-owned cars. You can downloaded it here.

With the SAFE Checklist, it will help you better understand the condition of the car from the dealer as well as a Professional Evaluation Centre.

The Checklist will include two parts - Part A and Part B. Part A will be a declaration of the car's condition, while Part B will better help you understand what are the items that were checked by the Professional Evaluation Centres.
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3. Get the dealer to check your car

In Part A of the SAFE Checklist, the dealer will have to declare the condition to the best of their knowledge.

This will include details such as warranty status and functional checks on its mechanical components, for instance the condition of the bodywork.

The dealer can also highlight any problems from its own checks and attach it to the SAFE Checklist.

It is advised that you keep a copy of this checklist after the dealer has completed it.
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4. Send the car to a Professional Evaluation Centre

After the dealer completes Part A of the Checklist, they will send the car for evaluation at a Professional Evaluation Centre.

You can find more details of some of the Professional Evaluation Centres in Singapore within the SAFE Checklist

Such an evaluation differs from the usual vehicle inspection. It is more thorough, and it gives buyers an objective understanding of the current condition and faults of the vehicle as assessed by a qualified individual of the Professional Evaluation Centre.

Further checks will then be carried out on not just the vehicle's road-worthiness, but also to evaluate if there are any defects or mechanical problems - from leaks to missing components and even fluid levels.

Part B of the Checklist is meant to help customers understand the evaluation report. If you have further queries on the evaluation, you can also contact the centres directly.

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5. Compare and buy in confidence

The SAFE Checklist offers you a better understanding of the car's condition. With it, you can make an informed choice when buying your next used car.

It is an initiative by CASE to give you more information about the car that you're deciding to purchase, offering you more confidence.

This little document can save you a lot of time and money in the future. The SAFE Checklist can be downloaded, here.

You can find out more about the SAFE Checklist by CASE from their website, here.
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For your information: Brief guide on Lemon Law

The Lemon Law was introduced in 2012 to protect consumers against defects of goods purchased. This law also covers pre-owned vehicles.

If defects or issues arise six months from purchase, you could seek redress under the Lemon Law.

The consumer may first ask the dealer to repair or replace the motorcar within a reasonable time period and without significant inconvenience to the consumer.If the dealer is unable to do so, the consumer can request a price reduction or a full refund if:

i) the business did not provide repair/replacement within a reasonable time or without significant inconvenience to the consumer, OR

ii) repair/replacement by the business is not possible, or is disproportionate in cost

However, do note that for consumer-to-consumer transactions, such as purchasing your car from a direct owner or through a consignment agent, will not be covered.

If you are facing issues with the pre-owned car you've just purchased, you can approach CASE for advice at its hotline 6100 0315, or website, here.

You can also follow its Facebook page for more consumer tips!