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6 Interesting Facts About Buying a Used Car in Singapore

Buying a used car is an exciting and monumental financial decision. Compared to brand-new vehicles, second-hand cars offer significantly greater value and allow you to enjoy all the benefits of car ownership without the financial pitfalls. 

The major challenge lies in finding the particular vehicle that suits you above all!

This is going to be the theme of today’s guide. Below, we have assembled a short list of some of the most interesting facts about buying a used car in Singapore. 

Some of these will for sure surprise you, and all of them will serve to heighten your awareness of the little things that make buying a used car in Singapore a unique experience. 

  • The Most Popular Car Colors
  • Odometer Fraud When Buying a Used Car in Singapore
  • The Most Common Used Car Brands in Singapore
  • The Size and Extent of the Used Car Market
  • Airbag Deployment and Improper Replacement on Used Cars
  • How to Identify Flood Damage on Used Cars
Used Car in Singapore | Car World Automobile

1. The Most Popular Car Colors

In Singapore, the choice of a car’s paint job is determined by both subjective as well as pragmatic considerations. 

Though certain car colors have been proven to be easier to maintain and cheaper to insure in some circumstances, plenty of Singaporeans still place a high mark on personal style with an expense as major as buying a used car.

Statistically speaking, the by far most common car colors when buying a used car in Singapore are monochromatic. White and black, followed by close relatives such as silver and gray, dominate outright, selling more vehicles each than every other color combined by a long distance. 

While inconspicuous, these high-contrast, low-maintenance paint jobs are associated with luxury and a certain professional image in Singapore and are popular with the masses.

However, not far behind are eye-catching classics such as bright red and blue, often seen on sports cars and the like. While these aren’t as easy to keep in glistening top shape, for many owners the aesthetic effect is worth it.

By far the least common color seen on Singaporean used cars today is purple. You can expect to pay a fine premium should you happen to catch a second-hand vehicle with this kind of unusual paint job.

2. Odometer Fraud When Buying a Used Car in Singapore

Many used car buyers will heed the mileage rating of each car they are considering in order to have a rough idea of how it has been driven by its past owner or owners.

The reason is simple – odometer fraud. While a rather uncommon sight nowadays, a layman is usually not able to tell if a used car’s odometer has been tampered with and is displaying an inaccurate reading. This makes it especially pertinent to understand how to protect yourself from this kind of fraud.

Ask the seller to show proper documentation for the vehicle, which should include some claims on mileage – within the car’s title and maintenance documents, for instance. 

You can use these, along with registration dates and other clues, to piece together a realistic image of the car’s total miles traveled and compare it to the seller’s claims.

The most important thing when buying a used car in Singapore is to remain vigilant. That way, you reduce the risk of falling prey to false claims!

3. The Most Common Used Car Brands in Singapore

Like anywhere else, some car brands are more established and popular than others in Singapore. The by far most common sights in Singaporean used car dealerships today are Japanese and Korean makes from the “local neighborhood” of East Asia. 

Makers of compact family cars with high reliability ratings such as Honda, Suzuki, Nissan, and Toyota are top sellers in the country today. 

Hyundai, Mitsubishi, and Mazda are not far behind.

By comparison, European brands such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, while regularly seen around some parts of Singapore, are favored chiefly by the elite of society and are not nearly as common on the used market. 

When buying a used car, expect to pay a hefty premium for these imports, which are commonly kitted out with the maximum in terms of available convenience options and priced accordingly.

Used Car Singapore | Car World Automobile

4. The Size and the Extent of the Used Car Market

Many think that choosing to buy a used car places them among a small minority.

However, buying a used car is not just an increasingly popular choice – it is quickly developing into one of the industry’s largest sectors. The state of the used car market today is one of continuous growth and rejuvenation.

In 2021 alone, used car sales worldwide amounted to over $1.6 trillion and rising. A proportionally large component of this growth is stemming from the Asia Pacific region, where Singapore is a key player.

Nationally, growth factors include a rising demand for private transportation among the masses coupled with high ownership costs for new cars. 

At the same time, the used car market is experiencing a period of digital expansion, with an ever-growing online presence that makes purchases easier and more convenient.

5. Airbag Deployment and Improper Replacement on Used Cars

In Singapore, airbags have been a common and mandatory safety feature in private cars for years, second only to seatbelts. By protecting the driver and passengers from serious impacts, they heavily mitigate the risks of serious injuries.

However, airbags are designed from the factory to be a single-use item. After deployment, the entire mechanism needs to be replaced in order to guarantee adequate safety in the future.

Since this procedure can be costly and modern vehicles might have up to half a dozen airbags, some sellers can be dishonest about the condition of their vehicle’s safety equipment. 

Often, they will resort to cover-up jobs to present the appearance of a mint vehicle interior while hiding the fact that the airbags are non-functional. 

The most crucial thing you can do is request a full service and accident history for the vehicle you are looking at. If the seller is unwilling or unable to provide this, that should already serve as a warning sign.

Furthermore, you should physically inspect the car’s interior to detect signs of touch-ups and prior airbag deployment. Analyze the condition of the steering wheel hub and the passenger-side dashboard. If tampered with or improperly replaced, these will feature faint marks, seams, or replacement covers indicating “No airbag inside” in fine print.

There might also be warning lights on the dashboard that will flash with the engine running if the airbag system is not properly wired up.

6. How to Identify Flood Damage on Used Cars

A key feature of Singapore’s tropical climate is the regular rainy season. Solid infrastructure and the behavior of the local weather phenomena mean that massive nationwide flooding is a very rare occurrence. 

Still, that does not mean that coming across the odd used car here or there that has sustained flood damage is impossible.

While prior airbag deployment involves a localized flaw (or lack thereof) that is relatively easy to identify if you know what you are doing, flood damage in used cars goes far deeper – quite literally.

Floods do not always irreparably damage the paint job, and often, inexpensive touch-ups are all that’s necessary in order to make the car look brand-new again.

While effective from an aesthetic point of view, cosmetic repairs are temporary solutions only and do nothing to directly address the kinds of structural damage caused by flooding. In the long run, these kinds of superficial practices can backfire, resulting in widespread corrosion that can slowly eat away at the car’s mechanical integrity.

In other words, what might seem like a mint vehicle at an attractive price could be nothing more than a ticking time bomb. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to ascertain whether a used car has suffered from water damage in the past.

The first and the most obvious is to smell the chassis. Extensive flooding can and will cause mold to grow throughout the car’s interior and on the upholstery. Over time, the odor will only grow more intense. 

Watch out for cheap ways the seller might use to circumvent this, such as excessive use of air fresheners inside and out.

In flood-damaged cars, moisture can also accumulate over the long term in certain areas. Common spots include the interior floor mats as well as the inside of the trunk – make sure to check behind any carpeting, replacement tires, or floor covers.

Because water damage can interfere in all sorts of ways with vehicle electronics, you should also thoroughly test out as much as you can, from the windows to the interior and exterior lighting, sound system, air conditioning, and more.

Used Singapore Car | Car World Automobile

How to Maximise Your Chances of Success When Buying a Used Car

As you can tell, buying a used car in Singapore is full of serious rewards if approached from the right angle. Great value can be found in purchasing a second-hand vehicle that has been properly kept, carefully maintained, and that has been free from accidental damage.

The key element in achieving this is to work with a dealership that can command the necessary level of trust. 

Consider reaching out to us at Car World Automobile. Our experts have kept customers happy and shopping with confidence for decades. 

With a superior track record and excellent knowledge of both the vehicles themselves as well as market trends, Car World provides the kind of service that makes buying a used car a pleasure rather than a hassle.

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