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Budget for repairs when buying used
Tip & Guides

Budget for repairs when buying used

WE live in a society that is highly dependent on personal transportation such as motorcycles and cars.

The norm is for us to start off by owning a motorbike before upgrading to cars.

In some countries such as Japan, the case is quite different. If you ask a youth if he is looking forward to get his first car, the odds are that he wouldn't be all that excited. This could well be due to an extremely efficient public transport system.

The case is the opposite in Malaysia. You can safely say that without cars, the economy could grind to a halt.

Apart from being a status symbol, owning a car is vital to move about since our public transportation is quite limited to certain areas.


When we talk about buying a car, it basically comes down to two options: buying a brand new vehicle or pre-owned.

There are different types of vehicles with varying price tags to suit your needs and requirements. There is also the bank balance case.
The perks of buying a brand new car is first of all warranty, other than the fact that the car is totally brand new.

You can walk home with a warranty that ranges between two and five years, depending on the car and company. The problem with owning a brand new car, especially something that isn't a Proton or a Perodua, is that it can be pricey.

Which is why a huge part of the population lean towards owning pre-owned vehicles. Just like owning a brand new car, pre-owned cars also come with their advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage is that the price is usually significantly cheaper, especially non-Japanese cars like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, Volvo and even a Kia.

It is a known fact that these cars carry horrendous pre-owned value. That is the good part of things. The major problem with pre-owned cars, again, especially those from premium makes, is that they tend to come with various issues.

The range of the problem differs from one pre-owned car to another. The question is just how bad it is.

Just like how an object will succumb to gravity and hit the ground, you can rest assured that a pre-owned vehicle will come with problems, unless you are just plain lucky.

The first thing you would have to do is make sure that you do some damage control and buy a car with limited issues.

You can do this by the checking the car properly or at least bringing along your trusted mechanic to perform vital checks. It even pays to bring the car to your mechanic's workshop.

Once you have got the right car you should send it to the workshop right away to get the initial problems rectified. But before that you will have to make sure that you put aside some cash for this.

Many buyers out there buy within their means which is a good thing. But there is a usual flaw here.

Many disregard the potential initial repairs and just draw out a budget based on the monthly repayment. You could be overwhelmed with expensive repair bills and things would get worse if you are talking about cars from BMW or Mercedes-Benz, premium brands to be precise.

The key here is always put aside enough money for initial repairs and we are talking about a whole sum. The amount will differ based on the car.

For a 10-year-old Proton Wira, you should put aside a minimum of about RM5,000 while a 15 year old BMW 5 Series could use up to RM20,000!

You should use the money to perform those all important, vital repairs. Such repairs include servicing your cooling system, brakes and suspension bits.

Most pre-owned would also require work in the engine bay for things like changing the alternator, fuel pump or even servicing the gearbox. It also pays to change fluids and lubricants such as engine and gearbox lubricants, brake oil and so on.

Repairing these parts as soon as you get the car will benefit you in the future.

If problems in areas like the cooling system, engine or gearbox are not repaired right away, they can cause expensive repairs later.

For example, if a car overheats because you did not repair it earlier, you can end up spending money on a new engine, if not an overhaul or at least a top overhaul.

After performing the initial repairs, then you can focus on performing scheduled maintenance, based on the service manual.

Doing these will help make ensure a more enjoyable vehicle ownership experience.

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About TOC

The modern car is one of the most sophisticated machines ever created. Dozens of control systems and computer processors work together to ensure it works seamlessly and effectively day in and day out.

But machines do break down occasionally. The technical team of The Otomotif College (TOC) is here to offer advice and help troubleshoot car problems

The team of seven trainers, led by Allan Cabiles (pic), has collectively 30 years of experience in a wide range of car makes. The TOC Team prides itself on keeping pace with the ever-evolving automotive industry. Its trainers undergo training sessions with a network of 800 industry partners across the country.

With such an extensive body of knowledge, think of the TOC Team as your go-to automotive experts.

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