With Rising Car Prices, Which is Better – Used Cars Vs New Cars?

Annette Anthony

Annette Anthony

Last updated 21 July, 2022

Car prices in Singapore have always been on the expensive side, prices have skyrocketed even more this year due to supply chain issues. While it may seem wise to get a car with a cheaper price tag, is it really better to buy a used car instead? Singsaver delves into used cars vs new cars in this Life Stages article.

Pros and cons of getting a used car

It goes without saying that getting a secondhand car in Singapore comes with its own set of pros and cons. 

If you're looking to find the cheapest used cars Singapore has to offer, we’ve listed down what you could potentially gain and lose. 

Pros Cons
You have a wider range of cars to select from, including vintage cars Higher likelihood of cosmetic issues (scratches and dents) and other maintenance issues
You can be a short-term car owner if you get a car with a short COE (Certificate of Entitlement) term Not up-to-date with the latest automobile tech and specifications
Budget-friendly No manufacturer warranty

Things to look for when you buy a used car in Singapore

The worst thing you don’t want to happen as a potential secondhand car owner is to keep forking out funds just to keep your used car running. Here are a few things you should keep in mind.

Car maintenance history and past ownership

A secondhand car may not have passed through just one owner, but possibly even two or more.  

The best way to know if it’s been cared for well is to:

  • Look at its previous maintenance records. Go for a car that has gone through regular upkeep.
  • Review any repairs the car has undergone, especially for the major parts (gearbox, engine, suspension, brakes, etc.) 
  • Check if there are any warranties or guarantees 
  • Check if the road taxes are up to date
  • Ensure that there are no outstanding summonses 

If you get a car with poor maintenance history, and has gone through numerous owners, there’s a bigger chance of shouldering future repair costs.

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Take the car for a spin and get it evaluated

There’s no better way to gauge a car’s condition than getting behind the wheel and taking it for a test drive. 

By doing so, you get to test the following:

  • The brakes 
  • The car’s handling
  • Mileage
  • Engine, gear box, alignment, AC

An extensive evaluation is advised as it gives you a clearer picture of the car’s overall condition compared to the regular car inspections. If you want to read more about getting a full-fledged car evaluation, dive into this SAFE Checklist by the Consumer's Association of Singapore.

Find out if the car is under COE or PARF

Your secondhand car’s value is also dependent on whether it falls under Certificate of Entitlement (COE) or Preferential Additional Registration Fee (PARF).

What’s the difference between the two?

COE Cars PARF Cars
If a car passes the 10-year mark, the owner can opt to renew the car’s COE, which is dependent on the Prevailing Quota Premium (PQP). A vehicle that’s been de-registered within 10 years of its first registration date.
Once the COE is renewed, the PARF rebate no longer applies. Only the COE rebate is still applicable when the de-registration is done. Entitled to a PARF rebate, one that’s usually part of the vehicle’s Open Market Value (OMV). You can use the PARF rebate to offset part of the Additional Registration Fee (ARF).
Relatively cheaper; great for buyers with a smaller budget. Newer cars, but you still need to check if its condition is up to mark.

Where do you buy a secondhand car in Singapore?

There are a few places you can buy secondhand cars in the country. Here are the top websites you can check out for used cars:

There are many brick and mortar car dealerships that sell used cars as well. While some are already mentioned in the list above (Speedo Motoring, SgCarTrade, Republic Auto, Direct Cars), you could check out this article from Singapore’s Finest which lists down the finest used car dealers in Singapore.

What you need to know about the lemon law 

The lemon law may sound like a funny legislation to you, but once you understand what it’s about, you’ll love it.

With the lemon law, you can take legal action against your car seller within a stipulated timeframe if you unknowingly purchase a defective car from him. You can ask for the following:

  • A one-for-one replacement
  • Repair works to resolve the defects
  • A refund if there’s no way to repair your secondhand car

However, lemon law’s coverage has limitations. It only works if you buy a car from a business, and not an individual. Buying a car on Carousell? Nope, that’s a no-go for lemon law stipulations, as it’s a consumer-to-consumer sale.


Related articles:

The Real Cost: Electric Cars vs. Petrol Cars
Buying A Second-Hand Car — What You Need To Know About COE And Insurance
Best Car Loans in Singapore: Interest Rate And Features Comparison


Pros and cons of getting a new car 

When buying a car, getting a spanking new one beats all the other odds, simply because you get to revel in its freshness, knowing that it’s got your name on it. 

Before we jump into the details, here are the pros and cons of owning a new car in Singapore.

Pros Cons
Manufacturer and dealer warranty More expensive
More financing options with lower interest rates Value depreciates more than a used car
Usually includes free servicing for a limited period of time Higher insurance cost
Latest specs in the market and automotive technology   
Option to customise your vehicle   

Things to look for when getting a new car in Singapore

There’s an inexhaustible list of the things you need to understand – getting your driver’s licence, bidding for COE, car loans, car inspections, and such.

Thankfully, Singsaver has all of it covered in this complete guide to owning a car in Singapore.

Consider your budget above everything else (even used cars vs new cars) as a car is a long-term investment

It goes without saying that many factors such as inflation, shrinkflation, and the like have given us a financially challenging year. Nonetheless, owning a car can still work for you if you’re able to commit to its costs. It still doesn't hurt to delve into the battle of used cars vs new cars, if it's for the benefit of your wallet!

Ideally, go for a car that is affordable in terms of maintenance, servicing, and replacement parts. 

Want to know more about car loans and car insurance plans in Singapore? Click on the links below to find out more.


Read these next:

Why Cars in Singapore Have Been Getting More Expensive (and Some Car Loans to Consider)

10 Best Car Insurance Plans in Singapore (July 2022)

Will Electric Vehicles Be The Answer to Rising Petrol Prices?

How Much Does It Truly Cost To Maintain A Car In Singapore?