So, you’re looking to buy yourself a car and have decided ultimately to go the used route instead of new after weighing out the pros and cons. What comes next is to find a used car that is not only appealing to you, but also meets all the requirements you have listed in your mind.
From hatchbacks to sedans to SUVs and even swanky two-door coupes, the used car market is awash with options that suit all types of budgets. It’s truly a case of “the world is your oyster,” but like the shellfish, not every used car you come across might leave you with a great feeling in the belly after you put your name on the dotted line.
Hidden issues can pop up shortly after your initial purchase and they can be financially taxing, which offsets what you thought you would be saving compared to buying new. Thankfully, we’re here to help with a few tips on what to look out for when buying a used car, and when combined with some due diligence and a bit of homework on your part, you could avoid being sent down a money pit.
Know what you’re getting yourself into
If it’s your first time buying a used car, you should not expect a new car experience. What we mean by that is it’s not as simple as buying and driving with no consideration for maintenance beyond the usual scheduled servicing.
Used cars are just that, used, and each has lived different lives before making it to a used car dealer with varying levels of wear and tear. It’s standard practice for used car dealers to “restore” a car to make it look highly presentable, but no matter how clean or well-maintained a used car is (or appears to be), you should always ask as many questions as possible before pulling the trigger.
What year was it manufactured? Has it been in an accident before? What is the certified mileage? Are they any major service items due anytime soon? Being informed is free and highly valuable when it comes to buying a used car because you must know exactly what you’re getting into.
Some used cars still come with an active factory warranty, which does provide a little peace of mind as you know the car is relatively young and has fewer potential problems. On that note, some car companies here also have official certified pre-owned programmes with some sort of warranty and there are dealers that offer third-party warranties, although you’ll need to determine the scope of coverage.
Consider other factors beyond the price tag
The budget you set determines what used cars you’ll be able to afford, that much is clear. Spend enough time shopping around and you’ll soon find out you can afford something exotic for the same amount as something a little more humdrum.
It’s certainly tempting but practice some discipline and ask yourself if you can afford to keep your new ride properly maintained. The cost of maintenance can vary significantly from a national car to a continental, so do your research to know how much it’ll cost to keep your new ride running.
You’ll still need to set aside a little extra for maintenance costs for any used car, but how much is too much? Can you afford to replace a major component in a Porsche or Ferrari? If you’re shaking your head, you most likely can’t afford the upkeep of a used one, even if it’s within your purchasing budget.
Temptation is everywhere, and it’s amplified should you come across a used car that’s “below market value.” It sounds good, but you could be shelling out more than you imagined bringing it back to its best condition, and that’s not even factoring in time and effort. Spending a little extra a well-maintained example with a full maintenance history might be more worth it in the long run.
Other money matters include the amount of road tax you’ll need to pay annually, which doesn’t change with your car’s age, as well as the higher loan interest rate used cars attract compared to new cars.
Check the exterior
After all the verbal discussions, it’s time to view the car you’re hoping will be your next in-person. The inspection process is the next important step in the used car buying process but remember that you’re still under no obligation to buy if you see something you don’t like.
Go through the car in its entirety by first checking the paperwork. Do the chassis and engine codes, colour as well as the year of manufacture and registration match what’s listed on the registration card? If the details check out, it’s on to the following step: inspecting the exterior.
Take note of any scratches, dents, paint blemishes and the quality of any touch-up work that the dealer or previous owner may have done. Also check panel gaps for consistency as uneven ones might be a sign of a previous fender bender or shoddy body repair work from an accident.
Don’t just kick the tyres either. Identify the brand used, as cheap tyres hint at a cost-cutting approach. While you’re at it, find out the tyres’ year of manufacture to make sure they are not too old, although it’s always advisable to swap out a fresh set if a car has been in storage for some time, as the tyres might have hardened or flat-spotted while sitting idle. Check the wheels too for kerb damage, and if they’re OEM or aftermarket – be wary of fake versions of the latter.
Some cars do some with factory-fitted body kits, while others are retrofitted. Kits added later are sometimes attached in a manner that leaves permanent holes on the car’s body, so that’s another thing to look out for. If there are replacement body panels, make sure you find out if they are from an OEM or a copy as they could be made from different materials.
Generally, look for cars that are in their stock or original condition with little to no modifications, if possible, unless the modified car you’re eyeing has the mods or appearance that matches your taste.
Now check the interior
While it’s relatively easier to touch up a car’s exterior, the interior takes a bit more effort. As such, assessing the cabin better tells you the story of a car’s condition as that’s where the previous owner spent a lot of time in. If there are things that are too worn out, that’s extra cost to have them replaced.
Frequent points of contact are most prone to wear and tear, so check for tears on fabric seats, hardened/shiny/cracked leather seats, a heavily scuffed steering wheel, wear on door/grab handles as well as AC and audio controls. You’ll also want to watch out for broken parts like switches, which might be hard to replace, and any smells like from cigarettes.
Spend time to check under the floor and boot carpets for damp spots that indicate stagnant water, along with any rust on the bolts and seat mounts that could be a sign of leaks or even flood damage. Lastly, make sure all the electronics are functioning as they should, including the central locking, reverse camera, infotainment, displays, powered seats and others.
Items with mechanisms like the seat belts should also retract and not sag because safety shouldn’t be compromised. Motorised sunroofs and powered roofs (convertibles) should also operate smoothly as they have more intricate parts that can be costly.
The test drive
Finally, it’s time to go for a drive in what could be your new pride and joy. Before that, open the bonnet and check the engine bay for any signs of oil or fluid leaks, or evidence of either. It’s fair not to expect the engine bay to be sparkling clean but the mechanical components should be of sound condition.
Start up the engine and listen to make sure it idles properly without a choking sound and feel for excessive vibrations intruding into the cabin. Give the engine a rev and see that it returns to a smooth idle afterwards as well.
The all-important air-conditioning should also be working properly with a healthy-sounding compressor to deliver cool air without any funky smells. Also make sure there’s airflow from all the vents and make sure you can adjust them and other functions like recirculation, airflow direction and temperature adjustment work.
On the road, take things easy and familiarise yourself with the car. There’s no need for a pedal-to-the-metal approach as it doesn’t tell you much about the car’s behaviour in traffic at low speeds and that’s not how most people drive on the daily.
Concentrate on the engine and transmission to determine if they operate smoothly and get a feel for the steering to make sure it doesn’t overly vibrate or pull too much to one side. The suspension should also not exhibit creaks or squeaks, which could indicate they are worn or almost one their way out and replacing them may be necessary. Interior rattles are a possibility but not unsurprising for used cars, although new cars aren’t exempt either – it’s up to you to decide if it’s acceptable.
Learn about the available functions and controls too, and if you insist on the “Italian tune-up,” do so in a safe environment where you won’t put other motorists at risk. Even so, remember this is still not your car and the laws of “once broken, considered sold” should apply if you cause any damage during the test drive.
If you’re not certain of how things feel, consider bringing along a buddy who is or even a trusted mechanic to assess the vehicle on your behalf. A second opinion is always welcomed and if the dealer is hesitant, you may have just dodged a bullet.
myTukar AutoFair 2022 – certified used cars with assurance
Buying a used car certainly takes effort and can be a little daunting for newcomers, but it needn’t be. To make the used car buying process a lot easier while providing peace of mind, head on over to the myTukar Auto Fair 2022 that is set to take place at Puchong South from July 1-3, 2022.
Through its Certified programme, every vehicle in myTukar’s catalogue is required to undergo a thorough 160-point inspection to ensure the mileage has not been tampered and that there’s no history of major accidents, fire and flood damage.
Only cars that have gone through the initial screening will go through an extensive refurbishment and reconditioning process to ensure it becomes as good as new, which could save you the hassle of paying for extra maintenance.
If you need to know more, every car sold by myTukar one comes with a full inspection report detailing so you know exactly what you’re getting. The all-inclusive pricing also means there are no hidden or surprise charges, as the sum listed accounts for the vehicle, road tax (RM90.00) and relevant fees (Puspakom inspection, JPJ ownership transfer and loan application).
If that isn’t enough, myTukar also includes a one-year warranty for the engine and transmission, and there’s even a five-day money back guarantee, no questions asked. There’s clearly a lot of upsides and little liability to the buyer, and it gets better.
If you purchase a vehicle at the fair, rewards up to RM800,000 await! You could win an all-expense paid trip to Sydney, Australia. Special deals are on offer too, including the low interest rate of 1.88% for the first 150 bookings, and RM12,000 worth of lucky draw prizes to be won.
For your peace of mind at the event, the myTukar Auto Fair 2022 continues to have Covid-19 prevention measures in place; physical distancing is no longer compulsory, though masks are still mandatory at all times. Event crew will be on hand to frequently clean and sanitise the whole venue, including frequently-touched equipment as well as communal facilities and the cars themselves.
The myTukar Retail Experience Centre in Puchong South is located along the LDP (Lot 14225, KM 3.8) just before the Puchong Barat toll plaza. If you’re coming from IOI Mall and Bandar Puteri, this will be on your left, before the toll.
For more information, visit the myTukar Auto Fair 2022 homepage, or browse the wide selection of vehicles currently available in the myTukar inventory to see what’s on offer. Head on over to the myTukar Auto Fair at the myTukar Retail Experience Centre – Puchong South this July 1-3, from 9.30am to 9pm daily. You may also reach out to the company below:
Call : 03-7890 4499
WhatsApp : +6018-2249999
Email: [email protected]
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