Let’s go straight to the point: Not everyone can afford a brand new car, they are of course nice to have (very nice in fact). But fact is, many can only afford used or better known as second hand cars in Malaysia. Especially since new cars cost so much here in Malaysia. In fact did you know that in a survey done in 2013 by Jalopnik, they listed Malaysia as the 2nd most expensive country to buy cars. That’s right.
So back to second hand cars.. they aren’t all bad, not at all! You can get some pretty nice ones that are almost brand new for a much lower price compared to one that is freshly out of the oven, or a CKD plant in Melaka.
Many people are still skeptical about purchasing a used car. They feel that buying a used car is buying someone else’s problem or someone else’s junk. And they think that 99% of used car salesmen are untrustworthy. Well we can’t really comment on these but what we can do is provide some tips for you so you avoid buying a bad used car or from being cheated. Here goes:
Tip 1 – Do some research – identify need, budget and compare prices
Know what you need and what is your budget. Do you need a car to commute to work everyday? In which case a small, fuel efficient one is sufficient. Or do you need a family car for your wife to ferry the children to and from school everyday? Try to identify several makes and model that have received good reviews. Identify also your budget. There are many used car sites that you can look at to see what’s available and also to compare prices. Shortlist a few, or more than a few, depending on how much time you have (don’t forget you will have to go personally inspect and test drive these cars).
Tip 2 – Have the car inspected by your trusted mechanic
Don’t have a mechanic you can trust? Well then bring a friend who has some motoring knowledge. If you are a female buyer like me who doesn’t know much about cars other than driving them, bring a male friend along. Get them to do the questioning and drilling. A mechanic is best though, so if you can get him to spare some time to accompany you, that is great. Otherwise, try to arrange for the seller to send the car to your mechanic’s workshop for inspection. Things to watch out for: Signs of the car being a kereta potong! Rusts, dents, scratches. Check under the hood, check the engine and all the electronics, check under the chassis. Your mechanics knows better what to do. And also if possible, ask to check its service record to see if the car has been well maintained.
Tip 3 – Test drive!
Again, have a friend or mechanic with you. Have both of you test drive the car. You, because you will be the one driving it if you do decide to buy it. So it must feel good and right to you. And your friend/ mechanic because they might be in a better position to tell if something feels ‘off’. Test everything! Indication lights, brakes, clutches, electronic windows; adjust the seats and steering wheel so that you can sit and drive comfortably. If you have children who will be sitting at the back, consider if it would be comfortable for them. Will the child seat fit? If you balik kampung a lot, will there be enough space in the trunk to fit all the luggages? Is the air-cond cold enough??
Here’s a list of test driving tips from the AA.
Tip 4 – Trade-in value
So finally, you’ve shortlisted a handful of cars you like, or maybe just a couple. How can you decide when you love all of them? One of the ways is the trade-in value of the cars. If you are buying an older car, this may not be a very useful info. But if the cars you are considering are relatively new, and there may be a possibility of re-selling to buy a brand new car in the near future, it may be helpful if you compared their trade-in values.
Tip 5 – Check those papers
Avoid getting scammed. Check all documents thoroughly. What documents? These documents:
- B7 – If you are purchasing the car with a bank loan, a B7 form (Hire Purchase Inspection) will most likely be required by the bank. This form is given out by Puspakom after a thorough check (18 checkpoints including physical and identity checks).
- B5 – This is also issued by Puspakom for Transfer of Ownership.
These two forms cost RM 90 in total. The buyer may pay for this, but it’s up to your negotiation skills. You can request that the seller take this cost.
We hope this article is able to help you in ridding your worries when purchasing a second hand car. There are good deals out there waiting for you to discover, so try to take your time shopping around. A car is a huge commitment, so don’t be hasty when buying one. Make sure that you really have considered every aspects mentioned above, and most importantly that YOU really like the car (not your mother, your sister or your best friend).
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