Buying second-hand cars is a great way to save some extra cash, especially given how expensive cars are in Malaysia. Recently a popular American website ranked Malaysia as the second most expensive place to buy a car in the world! While used cars are cheaper, it can still be difficult to score a great deal.
Here are 10 tips to help determine if that used car in Malaysia is worth purchasing.
1. Find out what kind of car you want
The first step to buying a car is to determine what type of car you want. Dig through online motoring resources to see what best suits your needs. Dedicated car TV shows (e.g. Top Gear), online publications, (e.g. Live Life Drive) or automotive magazines (e.g. Hypertune, On The Road) can help point you in the right direction. Talk to your friends and family members to decide which type of vehicle they suggest.
2. Read all about it
Once you decide which type of car you want, read everything about it. This will allow you to get familiar with the car’s specifications, capabilities, and help you determine if the model right you. For example, reading about a 2009 Ford Fiesta model versus a 2007 model will let you know what changes have been made during the two years. This can then help you decide whether to shell out more cash for the newer model. Also, a newer model doesn’t necessarily make it a better car. Read and find out.
3. Cross reference prices from multiple sources
There are plenty of ways to find second-hand cars as previously mentioned in our 5 Top Sites For Used Cars in Malaysia article. Dig through tons of readily available websites and magazines and cross-reference those prices to find a suitable price to fit your budget. Using simple math, find out the expected price of your desired model and use that as a guide to ask questions to the seller.
4. Spend wisely
Although part of the reason for purchasing a used car is to save some money, those who try to save too much might end up on the wrong end of a deal. Someone selling you an insanely cheap car isn’t doing so because he’s generous. Instead, he’s probably doing it because he’s desperate. That’s when you need to ask questions to determine why it costs so cheap.
On the other hand, those asking for a higher price usually do so because they are confident that their car is worth the said price. This being Malaysia, bargaining is usually applicable (unless stated otherwise). Depending on your bargaining capabilities, most sellers will lower their asking price if you have a keen enough eye to spot vehicle damages or inconsistencies.
5. Bring a buddy
It’s always good to have a buddy, preferably one with motoring knowledge, to accompany you for inspecting a used car. Your buddy could potentially set you straight if you lose focus, help you ask the right questions in the situation, and offer a second perspective. If your buddy isn’t convinced that it’s a good deal, then maybe it isn’t.
6. Check for cleanliness and general usability
Checking for cleanliness is a great way to either reduce the asking price or to determine how its owner treated the vehicle when it was under their care. If possible, use a UV light to determine unwanted spots and stains.
Make sure to check the car’s general usability. Check the space under a car’s trunk lining to see if there has been any accidents in the rear and also the condition of the spare tire. Check to see if any hazard lights are on, when is the next service due date, and general things like mileage. These little tips can go a long way for getting a quality second hand car.
7. Get third party inspectors
If you really are not car savvy, either bring the car to a mechanic (or vice versa) to determine the car’s value and worth. It might also bring up some issues that the seller might no even be aware off. Nevertheless, ask your seller if an inspection by a mechanic would be possible, and if they say no, then you have a right to suspect that something under the hood might be faulty.
8. Avoid rust!
Rust is car cancer. Fighting rust can be time and cash consuming. As a general rule of thumb, unless you’re willing to spend tons of money restoring a car because you really think it’s worth it, don’t get a car with rust. Even a little rust can spread.
9. Test-drive similar vehicles
Even if you already have your mind set on getting a particular model, test-drive similar vehicles. Do a side-by-side comparison to see if it’s the right car for you. You may think you really want aBMW 325, but after testing cars in a similar class, you may conclude that the Audi A4 is the right car for you.
10. Check the air conditioning and electronics
In Malaysia, air conditioning in the car is critical, unless you want to be constantly sweating in your car. In your test drive, pay close attention that the air conditioning is fully functional.
Also, check if the car’s electronics are working fine: powered windows, audio system, headlights, fog lights, cigarette lighter, and etc. It may seem obvious, but these are often overlook. Bring a checklist to remember these points.
All these things are important when checking to see if a second-hand car is worth purchasing.
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