Once you're here: Buying a used car
Buying a used car in Singapore

In Singapore, buying any kind of car is a major undertaking due to the great expense compared with other countries, especially the UK and USA. An ‘old’ car (which in local terms equates to ‘more than ten years’) is therefore in the same category. True, there is considerable depreciation in the actual value of the car but there are also the pitfalls of potential "wrecks" and write-offs being sold off as supposedly solid pieces of kit. However, just to confirm one point, yes, you can buy a car that is more than ten years old – though finding one with a warranty is difficult. This is because anyone buying a car in Singapore has to pay for a 10 year Certificate of Entitlement (COE – to add to the many Singapore acronyms) to obtain the car in the first place and then pay the same huge sum (almost always tens of thousands and now hovering around S$30-S$40K) once ten years is up. There is a limited quota of COEs allocated each month by the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) and demand almost always outstrips supply, pushing the price up. It can also be a relatively ‘hit and miss’ affair, with economic changes affecting the price by tens of thousands per month – rather like stocks and shares. You can find a more detailed explanation of the COE here in our website: http://www.expatsingapore.com/once/cost.htm. For cars which are older than 10 years, you are advised to make sure the car has a 10 year COE because a car with a 5 year COE which has expired cannot be renewed.

Why is it difficult to find a warranty on a car over 10 years old ?

After ten years of driving their initially new car, many people just opt to buy another car by trading in the old model rather than trying to get another ten year’s useful life out of it, as may well be the case elsewhere. Old cars are often sold off to other countries for parts for this reason and people have suggested that the inner parts are built with a 10 rather than 20 year life in mind, seeing as the owner is likely to get rid of the car in that time.

Road tax ?

Road tax is another consideration. Although smaller, the sum will also always be in the thousands, and once again folks, once your car reaches the magic age of 10, it becomes more expensive. Tax increases exponentially from the 10th year onwards, 110% in the 11th year, 120% in the 12th and so on to a maximum of 150% from the 15th year onwards.  The LTA provide the facts and figures for you to work the cost out for private vehicles (based on engine capacity) here: http://www.gov.sg/lta/3_Vehicles/8_1_Private.htm

Making sure the used car works

To make sure you are not buying a ‘dud’ car that has been abused, in an accident, or facing any other mishap, it is best to get any potential used vehicle you wish to purchase checked out by the experts – of which the Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS) would seem to be the best option. Their homepage is here: http://www.aas.com.sg and click here for details of the vehicle evaluation: http://www.aas.com.sg/benefits/evalue.htm.

Car insurance

As for car insurance, again, the AA(S) would seem to be a reliable option. Details of the two insurance plans they offer can be found here:http://www.aas.com.sg/benefits/evalue.htm.4 Otherwise one suggestion would be to ask a few car-owning friends or colleagues which4 insurer they use and get an idea of preference through word of mouth.

Overall cost of the car

Registration fee + Cost Price + Road Tax + COE + Additional registration fee (140% of OMV) and customs duty (31% of OMV).

Links

http://www.lta.gov.sg/Menu_UsefulLinks.htm - LTA links

http://www.aas.com.sg/links/sglinks.htm - AA(S) links

All of the above should hopefully provide some helpful pointers to those thinking of purchasing a used car in Singapore. Word of mouth is another powerful ally you should explore.

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