Five questions every car buyer should ask

by Michelle Chin (mchin@sph.com.sg)
published on 23 February 2016

Are you planning to buy a new car now that the COE premiums have lowered? Mr Cobin Ng, the manager of Leco Auto, tells you what you should think about and ask when you go car shopping. 

1. How do I finance my vehicle?

If you decide to take a vehicle loan, find out the interest rates, and monthly or annual repayment amounts.   

Take into account expenses such as petrol, monthly installments, insurance, road tax, and maintenance and parking costs.

2. When is the delivery date?

Once you have picked out the car you want to purchase, ask when you are able to receive the vehicle. 

Ask the dealer if there is existing stock on hand and get a delivery timeline of your new vehicle.

3. What safety features does the car have?

Don't get so caught up in aesthetics that you forget about safety features.

Ask if the vehicle has a forward collision warning system, a number of airbags, car crumple zones, child-proof locks, parking assistance features or crash avoidance features.

4. Does the vehicle suit your lifestyle and needs?

Choose a car that fits your budget and lifestyle.

The car's cabin size, safety features, vehicle design, performance levels, aesthetics and fuel economy must be taken into consideration.

If the car is for family use, suitable options for large families include roomy seven-seaters, saloon cars or vehicles with a spacious boot.

If you love road trips or long drives, sports utility vehicles (SUVs) or multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) are comfortable and practical options.

If you are a first-time buyer or thinking of downsizing from a larger car, compact cars may be the way to go. Such cars generally have lower fuel consumption, lower running costs, and give good value for money.

5. Are there any additional or hidden costs? 

Ask if there are any extra costs for leather seats, sports rims, various gadgets, and a rear camera or smart key.

Mr Ng said: “Find out if there are any dealer documentary fees, hidden processing fees, warranty coverage, perks and free maintenance for a certain period.”