9 Things To Know Before You Get Your First Car

9 things to know before you get your first car  

While buying a car in Singapore does not come cheap, it can certainly make your life easier, especially if you have a family. Even with an 8-year low COE (Certificate of Entitlement), getting a car comes with a lot of financial responsibilities. You have to spend money on the right documents and licences before you get the car at your disposal. Then after you already have the car, you have to spend on parking costs, maintenance and a variety of other expenses. If you are about to step out and get your first car in Singapore, here are the most important things to know.




Before buying a car in Singapore


1. Get a dealer to bid COE on your behalf and save (big)


Before making the decision to get a car, check the prices of COE first. If COE prices are low, it means that there is a huge chance the next COE bidding will be around the same prices. A great way to save money is to have the dealer bid on your behalf when current COE prices are low. You won’t get the car on the same day, but you are most likely going to end up with a lower COE price. If you are in a hurry, you can also get an open COE, which allows you to just drive the car straightaway without waiting. Car dealers are well-versed in the prices of COE, so ask around when you visit showrooms.



2. Need to borrow money to own your dream Ferrari?

Maybe you have to give it a second thought


The Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) is a framework set up for your car and housing loans to ensure that you don’t overstep the limit when it comes to your monthly debts. Your monthly debt repayments for your house and car should not exceed 60% of your monthly income. You need to be mindful of that and plan well before getting a new car, especially if you don’t have a housing loan yet. If your monthly salary is set at $6,000, your TDSR is capped at $3,600.



3. Budget First 


Car dealers are known to be very persuasive. If you don’t have a number in mind, we wouldn’t recommend stepping in a showroom. If you are interested in buying a car, you should know your budget and how much you are willing to spend. One tip would be to tell the dealers that you can only afford lesser than the budget you have in mind. So if your budget is around $150,000, tell them you can only afford $130,000.



4. Are you in a hurry to own a car? Will you be able to wait?

If yes, you can get the “latest” model with a better deal


Decide on your car model beforehand by researching thoroughly online about the prices offered for the particular car models you have in mind. By knowing what other showrooms or salesmen are offering, you are at a better position to negotiate for the best deal in town. If the car that you are looking for is a new model, the prices offered could be a little higher than if you were to buy the same car a couple of months after.



5. Second-Hand Car can be sweet for you (and your wallet)


While most people would want to buy a brand new car, there are others too that would prefer to buy a second-hand car, especially when there are budget constraints. A car’s value depreciates over the most in the first few years of the car’s lifespan. If you can’t afford to buy a new car, a second-hand car is still a good choice, especially if it is still considered to be relatively new (i.e. 3 to 5 years old). For example, a new Toyota Corolla Altis today is set at about $90,000 while a second-hand model of only 3 years is listed at about $65,000.



6. Everything is about timing


If you are willing to wait to get an even better deal and to save money, wait until the COE price go down before purchasing the car. It is advisable to purchase your chosen vehicle at a time when you are most likely to get the best deal. Usually, the slow sales period is in May and June or in the middle of the year. January and December are known to be the busy period for car dealers as year-end bonuses can result in a surge in demand. It is less likely you can score a good deal relative to a slow sales period when there’s more urgency for dealers to hit their sales quota.



7. Make sure your car users feel as comfortable as you are


Take the car you are considering on a test drive with your family or friends to get an idea of how they feel about the vehicle and inside the vehicle. If there will be other people driving the vehicle other than yourself, they too need to see and feel whether they are comfortable with the car’s design and features. Every car is designed differently and everyone have different preferences when it comes to driving. It is important that everyone feels comfortable being in and using the car before you decide on buying it.



8. Ask a lot of questions, just ask!



If you are interested in buying a particular second-hand model, you must definitely take the chance to inspect the car up close. Look at the tyres to make sure there is no feathering involved. If there is feathering, especially if the tyre treads look a bit smooth or too flattened out, this might be a suspension and alignment problem. Problems like these are not cheap to fix, so it is better to take a close look at all the parts that you can see on the vehicle before making your choice. 


If you are really interested in a model, don’t be afraid to ask the right questions. Ask the dealers about the parts of the car and the difficulty level of getting replacement parts when the car breaks down. It is vital to consider the maintenance cost or the ease of getting replacement parts before purchasing a car. Bear in mind that not all motor insurance companies offer the option of using your choice of workshops.



9. Last but not least, choose the best car insurance plan in Singapore


After finally deciding on your choice of vehicle, you need to decide on whick insurance plan to buy for your car. On InsureDIY, it is quite easy to view and compare the plans available. It is also easy to compare the premiums and most importantly the benefits offered by the top insurers in Singapore, like MSIG, NTUC Income, AXA, Liberty, Hong Leong Assurance (HLA), and Sompo. You will only need to fill in your details once and you will get to see multiple customised quote for your car model based on your insurance needs. You will also get to choose the coverage of your choice in terms of whether you select an “Any Workshop” or “Authorised Workshops Only” option, whether you have any Loss of Use Benefits or whether you want to add on an NCD Protector.


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