Part 1 - Getting a pre-owned car

Story by Ming Jie
22 Apr 2010
 

Everything you need to know about buying a pre-owned car explained.

Part 1 - Getting a pre-owned car

The cheaper you buy, the less it depreciates.

New cars are no longer as cheap to buy. It will be nigh impossible to see COE prices fall back to the sub-$10,000 levels again. This means that entry-level cars are now priced at where mid-level cars used to be.

If you are in the buying market and compromising means getting a lesser car, the pre-owned section would be where you might want to take a look. To that extent, here are things that you might want to know about pre-owned cars.

Spend less for more
Cars are generally built to last a lifetime as long as you maintain them properly. A discerning buyer will realize that a pre-owned car in the local market here hardly seems to be "used" at all and yet costs considerably less than a brand new one.

To further prove this point, an average Singaporean's mileage per day is estimated by the Government to be about 55km. This works out to be around 20,000km a year. Multiply that by three, and the average mileage a three-year-old car would have done is still well below hitting six figures. Crossing the big 100,000km mark is usually when a car is said to have transited from being still "new" to "old".

Save more in the long run
Smart shoppers prefer pre-owned cars due to the fact that they depreciate less than a brand new car. A car depreciates the most for the first three to four years, after which it will depreciate at a more gradual pace till it reaches its tenth year (end of COE). The reason being that depreciation is tied to the selling price of a car, which means the cheaper you buy, the less it depreciates.

This means if you buy a pre-owned car at its third year, you essentially let the first owner take the brunt of the depreciation (the instant a new car is out of the showroom, it is worth a few thousand dollars less). Assuming you are using the car till its tenth year, you are likely to see savings of over $7000 for a regular car. Savings increase steeply when purchasing pre-owned Continental marques or cars with big capacity engines.