The Pros and Cons of Buying a Pre-Owned Car

Yahoo! Special Projects18 November 2011

By Keegan Gan

Why a pre-owned car in the first place?

A brand new car smells nicer, has never been driven more than 50 kilometres on wheels, and comes with the standard warranty of up to five years.
But then there’s also the hassle of bidding for a COE, especially in such a volatile climate where the bid amounts are heading north. Coupled with price of a spanking new ride, a new car comes with a much heftier price tag – and its inevitable depreciation rate is not even factored in yet.

In light of that, a pre-owned unit seems like a more prudent purchase.


A year-old, pre-owned car is valued at least 15% lower than original tag price. The gradual depreciation per year means the car only gets cheaper… then even cheaper. You don’t get the standard warranty from the distributors, but that doesn’t necessarily determine the condition of the car that might have caught your eye.

With a reliable STA inspection, you can assess the functional performance of the car. The STA even gives the car a grading for you to determine the level of trust you should have for that particular unit that.


Cars are meant to be driven, so in general, the mileage should not pose a serious problem – unless the previous owner has managed to clock over 30,000 kilometres in a year.

Nevertheless, a second opinion could be sought at a private workshop for a warranty assessment, and they can design a suitable warranty package for a pre-owned car, as well as advise you accordingly on the required maintenance to be done, if any.

Car Conditions

As for cosmetic defects, wear-and-tear is part and parcel of owning a car, even more so when you buy a used car, but all these can be rectified with some money and labour. Chips, dents, scratches or paint blemishes on the bodywork can be easily perfected by a spray-painter.

However, if you spot any rust damage, think twice. A little bit of rust on your car may seem like

just a cosmetic issue, but rust can be a much bigger problem. Rust on a vehicle

can eat away at the components, the structure and the safety. If you do have

rust in or on your car, the best is to not buy that car

Slightly worn out tyres and rims with kerb rash can be changed at the nearest tyre shop while stained or torn upholstery can also be swapped for new ones at any automotive upholstery specialist, be it fabric or leather. 

Internal problems can be easily solved, like noisy fan belts (a small issue), and there are workshops around that are willing to take in your business.

Like a car but can tell its previous owner smoked too much? Car groomers can give it a decent “detox,” plus a “facial” to make your car look like it just rolled off the production line.

Keegan Gan is the former chief editor for the autos blog Burn Pavement