Buying a Used Car in Singapore: Eliminating Doubts with these Top FAQs

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Editorial Team

Are you considering purchasing a vehicle in Singapore? If so, you’re not alone. Many people in this bustling city-state are turning to the used car dealer in Singapore as a cost-effective and practical alternative to owning a brand-new vehicle. However, purchasing a used car can be a daunting process, especially if you’re new to the world of automotive shopping. To help you navigate this journey with confidence, we’ve compiled a list of the top frequently asked questions (FAQs) about buying a used car in Singapore. 

1. Why Choose a Used Car in Singapore

What Are the Advantages of Buying a Used Car in Singapore?

When it comes to purchasing a vehicle in Singapore, there are distinct advantages to opting for a used car:

Cost Savings: The most significant advantage of buying a used car is the substantial cost savings compared to purchasing a brand-new vehicle. In Singapore, where car prices are notoriously high due to various taxes and fees, buying used can significantly reduce your upfront expenses.

Depreciation: New cars lose their value rapidly, with the steepest depreciation occurring in the first few years. By buying a used car, you avoid this initial depreciation hit.

Lower Insurance Premiums: Used cars typically come with lower insurance premiums, saving you money on annual insurance costs.

Wider Variety: The used car market in Singapore offers a diverse selection of models, makes, and price ranges, providing you with more options to choose from.

What Are the Disadvantages of Buying a Used Car in Singapore?

While there are numerous advantages to purchasing a used car, it’s essential to be aware of the potential downsides as well:

Limited Warranty: Unlike new cars, used cars often have limited or no warranty coverage. This means you may have to bear the cost of repairs and maintenance.

Uncertainty About Maintenance History: When buying a used car, you may not have access to the complete maintenance history, making it challenging to assess the vehicle’s condition.

Potential for Hidden Issues: Some used cars may have hidden problems that are not immediately apparent, necessitating costly repairs down the road.

Limited Selection of Advanced Features: Older used cars may lack the latest technology and safety features found in newer models.

Preparing to Buy a Used Car

How Can I Determine My Budget for a Used Car?

Before diving into the used car market, it’s crucial to establish a budget that suits your financial situation. Here’s a simple way to calculate your budget:

  1. Assess Your Finances: Review your monthly income, expenses, and savings goals to determine how much you can comfortably allocate to a car purchase.
  1. Consider Additional Costs: Remember to factor in additional costs such as insurance, road tax, maintenance, and fuel.
  1. Get Pre-approved for a Loan: If you plan to finance your used car purchase, get pre-approved for a loan to know your borrowing capacity and interest rates.
  1. Research Car Prices: Research the prices of the specific make and model you’re interested in to ensure it aligns with your budget.

Where Should I Look for Used Cars in Singapore?

Singapore offers several avenues for purchasing used cars, each with its pros and cons:

Dealerships: Established dealerships often provide certified used cars that have undergone rigorous inspections and come with warranties. While they may be more expensive than private sales, you have more peace of mind regarding the car’s condition.

Online Classifieds: Websites and apps like Carousell, sgCarMart, and STCars offer a wide range of used cars for sale by private sellers. This option can yield competitive prices but requires careful scrutiny of the vehicle’s history and condition.

Auctions: Auctions can be a way to find used cars at potentially lower prices. However, this route requires a good understanding of car values and can be riskier in terms of vehicle condition.

Direct from Owners: Buying directly from the owner can sometimes result in better deals. However, it’s essential to thoroughly inspect the car and, if possible, request maintenance records.

What Documents Do I Need to Buy a Used Car in Singapore?

To complete a used car transaction in Singapore, you’ll need the following essential documents:

  1. Photocopied NRIC/Passport and IC of the Seller: This is necessary for verifying the seller’s identity.
  1. Photocopied NRIC/Passport and IC of the Buyer: Similarly, the buyer’s identity must be confirmed.
  1. Original Vehicle Registration Card (VRC): This document proves ownership of the vehicle and should be duly transferred to the buyer’s name upon purchase.
  1. Original Certificate of Entitlement (COE): This is essential for verifying the COE’s expiry date and ensuring that it has a valid period left.
  1. Original Sales Agreement: A written sales agreement should detail the terms and conditions of the sale, including the sale price, payment method, and any warranties or guarantees.
  1. Valid Insurance Cover Note: Ensure that the car is insured before driving it away.
  1. Any Outstanding Loan Information: If the car has an outstanding loan, make sure you receive documentation confirming the loan settlement.

Should I Get a Pre-Purchase Inspection?

Absolutely! A pre-purchase inspection is a vital step in ensuring that the used car you’re interested in is in good condition. Here’s why it’s important:

Identify Hidden Issues: A trained mechanic can spot hidden problems that may not be apparent during a test drive.

Peace of Mind: Knowing the car’s condition can give you peace of mind and confidence in your purchase.

Negotiating Leverage: If the inspection uncovers issues, you can use this information to negotiate a lower price or request repairs before finalizing the deal.

Warranty Requirement: Some dealerships may require a pre-purchase inspection before offering a warranty on the used car.

Making the Purchase

How Do I Negotiate the Price of a Used Car?

Negotiating the price of a used car is a common practice, and it’s essential to approach it strategically:

Research Comparable Listings: Know the market value of the car you’re interested in by comparing prices of similar models and years.

Inspect the Car Thoroughly: Use any findings from your pre-purchase inspection to negotiate a fair price, especially if there are repair or maintenance needs.

Be Prepared to Walk Away: Don’t be afraid to walk away if the seller isn’t willing to meet your price or terms. There are plenty of other used cars available.

Consider All Costs: Factor in all costs, including taxes, transfer fees, and any additional accessories or upgrades, when negotiating the final price.

Can I Get Financing for a Used Car in Singapore?

Yes, you can finance the purchase of a used car in Singapore. Here are the primary financing options:

Bank Loans: Most banks in Singapore offer used car loans with competitive interest rates. Shop around for the best loan terms that suit your budget.

In-House Financing: Some dealerships provide in-house financing options. While convenient, these may come with slightly higher interest rates.

Credit Unions and Moneylenders: These alternative lenders may also offer used car loans, but their terms and rates can vary widely


Personal Loans: You can opt for a personal loan to finance a used car purchase, although interest rates might be higher than dedicated car loans.

What Should I Look for in a Test Drive?

A test drive is your opportunity to evaluate how the car handles and feels on the road. Pay attention to the following during your test drive:

Acceleration: Test the car’s acceleration and ensure it meets your performance expectations.

Brakes: Check the brakes for responsiveness and ensure they bring the car to a smooth stop.

Suspension: Listen for any unusual sounds from the suspension and assess how well the car absorbs bumps and road imperfections.

Steering: The steering should feel responsive and not excessively loose or tight.

Visibility: Check the visibility from all angles, including blind spots, to ensure it meets your comfort level.

Comfort and Ergonomics: Assess the comfort of the seats, the layout of controls, and the overall driving experience.

What Are the Costs After Buying a Used Car?

Once you’ve purchased a used car, there are ongoing costs to consider:

Insurance: As mentioned earlier, insurance costs will be a recurring expense.

Road Tax: Singapore levies road tax based on engine capacity, so be prepared to pay this annually.

Maintenance: Regular maintenance, including oil changes, brake pad replacements, and tire rotations, is essential to keep your used car running smoothly.

Fuel: Fuel costs are ongoing, and they can vary depending on your driving habits and the car’s fuel efficiency.

Repairs: Over time, you may encounter unexpected repair costs, so it’s advisable to set aside funds for this purpose.


Buying a used car in Singapore can be a smart financial decision, provided you do your research, prepare your budget, and take the necessary precautions. By addressing your doubts and questions through these FAQs, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the used car market with confidence. Remember to prioritize safety, reliability, and affordability when making your choice, and you’ll soon find yourself behind the wheel of a great used car that fits your needs and budget perfectly. Happy car shopping!