A Nifty Guide to Buying Your First Car (2022 Edition)

Published by on
Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1653016804761 1653016804761
Congratulations! You’ve finally landed on your first job out of school and want to get your dream car, pronto. Not so fast there, young buck. Before you decide on a potential ride, do consider reading through our useful guide!

The process of buying a car is not as simple a process as it is in, say, the USA or Australia. There are many hidden steps between finding the right car and locking in the deal. Even after all that's done and dusted, you still have to deal with the financial obligations after the purchase. Let’s not even get started with the costly maintenance and servicing aspects of car ownership. As the jaded millennial folks like to say, welcome to adult life.

With that being said, here are some useful tips for you to follow before going ahead with buying a vehicle, so that you are mentally and financially ready as a would-be car owner in Singapore!

Choose The Right Body Type

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1653016870680 1653016870677

This is arguably the most important first step in finding the right vehicle for you. There is a wide variety of body types to choose from, from station wagons to sports cars to hatchbacks.

There’s no hard and fast rule to selecting any one of them, as it’s a personal preference for the most part. Keep in mind that you will be living with this car for the rest of its COE duration, and as such, you want it to suit your lifestyle needs as much as possible.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1653016929003 1653016929003

If you frequently ferry around your family and friends, it would be ideal to get either an SUV or MPV, where copious amounts of space and seats can be found. If you find yourself transporting lots of luggage often without many passengers in tow, we recommend a station wagon. A sports car or hot hatch are good choices if you simply want to drive around town in style. 

The possibilities are endless. Just be sure that the body type is the most appropriate for you before pulling the trigger!

Buy First-Hand…

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1653017011777 1653017011777

Hear us out on this. If you really want peace of mind when it comes to car ownership, getting a brand spanking new one is the way to go. Apart from enjoying a virtually unblemished vehicle inside out, you are also assured that the car has not been thrashed around by previous owners.

Not only that, the car warranty is also covered by the manufacturer or authorised dealer, which means most of the maintenance and servicing costs for that period will be offset. Do bear in mind that wear-and-tear parts are not covered, such as air filters.

…Or Second-Hand

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1653017072880 1653017072880

There’s no shame in buying a used car in Singapore. In this current economic climate, one would have to be either extremely financially well-off or in desperate need for a new vehicle, with current COE premiums well north of S$90,000.

Buying a second-hand car also means that you now have access to a wider range of vehicles, for the same amount of money that you can get buying a new one. Say you have S$100,000 to spare. Not many options are available if you’re looking at the new car market, with only the Mitsubishi Space Star and Honda Fit belonging to that price bracket. In contrast, you can get a lovely pre-owned Subaru BRZ from our site for that same amount of dough.

Many pre-owned cars in Singapore are generally well-maintained, with just minor issues to deal with. Paintwork and bodywork issues are also uncommon, unless the car has met with an accident before. With mandatory inspections done every few years, it is also unlikely that the car will have major problems preventing it from being road-worthy.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1653017137509 1653017137509

With that said, a low number of cases does not mean no cases at all. You still have to do your due diligence and check every nook and cranny of the car prior to purchasing it. Look through the maintenance records and look out for anything suspicious or “off”. Spotted some mismatched paint and uneven panel lines between body parts? Enquire further, get an expert friend/independent evaluation service to check it out, or simply walk away if your gut feeling says to do so.

Some unscrupulous individuals or dealers may tamper with the odometer, for example, or even do a respray on cars that have been involved in major accidents, hiding poorly re-welded chassis or mechanical components. The hassle of getting it properly fixed is a nightmare in itself, and a potential financial black hole.

If you are unsure, have it sent for a car evaluation by an independent assessment company.

Auto Financing, The Right Way

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639451190773 Car Ownership Guide For Millenials Ways To Afford A Car Featured

By law, you’ll have to fork out up to 40% down payment upfront for your car. Unless you still have savings left for other potential life emergencies after factoring in this payment, you may want to hold off on a car purchase.

If you’re good on that front, you’ll then have to decide what financing option you’d like to entertain. Used car dealers often have their own financing packages. Whilst they do have a higher interest rate, there’s less restriction on the amount of, as well as the duration, of the loan. In fact, some dealers even offer you a full 100% loan for your purchase.

Dealers usually also have bank partners, which offers them a small kickback if they can get their clients to take up a loan with the bank. Typically, you may experience the lowest interest rates going down this route, as banks often have promotional rates with their dealer partners.

Alternatively, you can take up a personal loan to pay for the car. It's probably not the wisest decision here, but purchasing a car with a personal loan theoretically means you own the car outright, unlike the other two finance options, where the car is taken as collateral if you are unable to repay the loan.

Motorist can also help you in your car ownership journey. We have car loan and paperwork support, as well as assistance for insurance. For a fuss-free and hands-off approach to car acquisition, consider using our services!

Recouping Your Car Expenditure

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639452036014 Car Ownership Guide For Millenials Ways To Afford A Car

Some insurers will actually offer you a discount if you fit a dash cam to your vehicle. This is on top of any NCD that you may have accrued, and the Certificate Of Merit that you may be entitled to.

On the other other hand, if you are comfortable with having strangers in your car often, you may opt to sign up for GrabHitch. During your commutes to and from work, you can gain back the same amount of money that's spent on petrol for the trips, which is quite beneficial considering the insane fuel prices today.


Now that you have a better understanding of car ownership and the steps that are needed to take via our gide, we hope you find the perfect car for your needs! Drive safe, and happy motoring!

*T&Cs apply.

Download the Motorist App

The easiest and smartest way to manage your vehicle in Singapore.

Download Now

Read More: 10 Important Things to Note Before Renewing Your COE

Download the Motorist App now. Designed by drivers for drivers, this all-in-one app lets you receive the latest traffic updates, gives you access to live traffic cameras, and helps you manage LTA and vehicle matters.

Did you know we have a Motorist Telegram Channel? Created exclusively for drivers and car owners in Singapore, you can get instant info about our latest promotions, articles, tips & hacks, or simply chat with the Motorist Team and fellow drivers.