Way before we could buy used cars online from Carsome or MyTukar, the family’s very first car which my Dad “bought” from his boss was this ancient Austin Morris 1100 which was a big relief and time saver considering we often need to take the bus or taxi to travel anyway. Image source: Wikipedia.
Read these first:-
- Personal 101: Making A Big Move to Change Second Car At Home
- Know Your Car Basics 101: 4 Things I Learned On Car Maintenance
- Personal 101: High Time for A Brand New Robust Car
- Childhood Memories: Part 19 – Driving My Uncle’s Gutsy Car
- Childhood Memories: Part 00 – My Dad’s First And Only Car
But as we move on with having our own family and taking public transport is not feasible due to the location of the residential areas, it is tough to get by without having multiple cars at home.
I am very sure that we will have fewer cars on the road only if the Government allows private operators to operate the good old mini buses into areas that are less serviced by the government public transport network. Instead of introducing more bus services, the Government opted to do it the other way and this forces more residents to buy their own cars to move around. Image source: Wikipedia.
Plans For Future
When I was able to take up driving lessons and then sat for the driving test, we did not have any cars at home for me to drive (we did not have bikes as well).
Despite the fact that we don’t have a car at home, my father made sure we had a driving license at hand as it will be necessary in future. Of course, most of the time, the driving license remained unused except for the times when I get a rare chance to drive my uncle’s car from my grandmother’s house to his house a couple of kilometres away.
So, I decided that by the time my kids were big enough to sit for their driving test, I will pay for their driving class and the test irrespective of whether we had a car at home or not. Of course, things turned out to be more positive as we had more than one car and there were plenty of empty streets for the kids to practice their driving skills. At the very minimum, we get them to learn to park the cars from the street on the porch.
When the time came, we ensure that my son registered for proper driving classes and tests which was not cheap considering the fees for the same during my time were many times cheaper. But somehow the high driving fees which are payable in 3 main instalments guaranteed the passing of the driving test and if failed, a chance to retake the test without any additional cost.
The added advantage when we enrolled our son on this driving school is that they are using the same model as the car that we are using at home and he is already very familiar with the car.
This was actually “my” first car that I drove on public roads on my own even though it belonged to my uncle. Unlike these days, this Mitsubishi Lancer was very reliable, simple to maintain, had a great cassette player and it has a manual gear system. Image source: DSF
There are 2 cars at home – the primary one that I am using for daily use for work and for long-distance travelling and another that my wife is using to send the kids to school and to move around nearer e.g. when doing the shopping. The 2nd car is also our backup car in case my car breaks down and we need to drive out somewhere.
And since the COVID-19 pandemic, I spend more time at home working and thus the “main” car is hardly driven out from the porch. So when it came to my son needing a ride to go to his college, the plan was for him to use my car since he has a driving license. And on those days when I need to go to the office, then my wife needs to pick up the transportation tasks.
Then recently we hit a major constraint – the situation that forced all to work from home has now improved thus causing more staff to start working from the office 5 days a week and if this is the case, then we are short one car at home and the other will be overwhelmed. Further, my son’s classes start at different times in the week which makes pre-planning difficult. It is also not productive for one of us to drive him to the college, come back and then go back again to pick him up.
Another concern is that since the so-called backup car was now heavily in use and has become a primary car on its own, it is going to screw us if one of the cars breaks down or has a puncture in the morning or had to be sent to the workshop and repairs takes days. We strongly needed a backup car for the current backup car.
After toying with several possible solutions including shuffling around our working timetable, it was clear that we needed another car in the equation. Either I get myself a brand new car or we get a used car for my son. Another 5-7 years of paying for a car instalment was not feasible in the long run as compared to buying a cheap used car and handling the periodic maintenance on time.
One of the many factors that attracted me to buy a car from MyTukar is the purchase process which can easily be done online and the used car on sale has been inspected by experts and has been certified to be safe, not damaged from flooding or accident and backed up long-term warranty.
Frankly, we had never bought a used car before so we did not have any past experience and did not know what to expect. Online websites & used car lots show plenty of cheap, well-maintained used cars but the past service was doubtful.
There has been a lot of bad press about unsuspecting customers buying used cars that have been flooded or have been involved in a major accident. I know of someone who ended up paying for a used car that was damaged in a flood but the dealer hide the fact and when the car started to have problems, they refused to take responsibility.
So we decided to check used cars at Carsome and MyTukar websites which provide pre-sales detailed inspections (Carsome – 175 points & MyTukar – 160 points), detailed photos, the ability to book the car from others (with booking fees fully refundable) and additional warranties.
Spending some time going through the listed cars online at Carsome and MyTukar, I decided on this one car in particular at MyTukar that looked well maintained despite it being almost 10 years old and more than 100,000 km mileage clocked. It has a large storage space and 2 airbags compared to other old budget cars in their inventory.
The car on sale on MyTukar was within my budget as well. So I quickly booked the car on MyTukar to avoid others from booking it and arranged for an inspection at the MyTukar main centre on the weekend with the whole family following to check the car.
It took several calls and messages via Whatsapp to the MyTukar sales team before we could confirm the appointment date and time for the visual inspection. The MyTukar salesman was very helpful and we took a long walk towards the back of the huge MyTukar car park where they had all the used cars stored.
The car that we booked looked quite good when we have seen it personally and my son took a short test drive through the MyTukar compound just to make sure he was comfortable with the car. It took some time for us to check all the nitty-gritty of the car.
Obviously, since it is a used car that is about 10 years old, nothing can be perfect – there are some loose ends like the radio buttons do not work all the time but it was not critical and it can be replaced easily. After we decided to proceed with the purchase, it took about a day or two for the salesman to come back to us with the final on-the-road price with insurance. It took another 3-4 days after our payments to get the documentation all done for sign-off and finally take delivery of the car.
Compared to the Carsome inspection process, I find MyTukar’s QC check is rather slacking as they have a lesser number of inspection points at 160 vs Carsome’s 175. There were a number of problems that were not captured in their inspection report which probably explains why most of their cars online don’t have imperfections as compared to Carsome. Unfortunately, I ended up buying from MyTukar because the type, price and condition of the car that caught our attention were not available in Carsome.
Once we took delivery of the car which now has become our 3rd car, it was not ready to be used right away. Despite the “QC” and free lubrication service at MyTukar, there were some concerns since we don’t have the service history of the car.
So to avoid any major issues with the car, there were several things to be done before we can officially hand over the car to my son for his daily use. And despite MyTukar claiming to do a comprehensive inspection, there are a number of things that were not highlighted on their website & their inspection report and you can only find them once you do a detailed visual inspection and test out the car yourself.
As I was driving over from MyTukar to my usual car mechanic, I felt that the brake was a bit hard but it also could be due to me driving a totally different car. I asked my mechanic to check from top to bottom, from left to right and see if need to change or service any parts.
More importantly, I asked him to change the timing belt and the water pump which is necessary when one buys a used car irrespective of its service history. There were lubrications changed and air-conditioner serviced and some parts were replaced as it was damaged or it was way too old. My mechanic checked the brakes and said that it was in good working order despite me feeling hard to press.
There were other accessories that I had to buy new as well namely a car steering lock, a cheap but decent dash cam and more importantly a Bluetooth connector as this car still had its original car audio player & car speakers (we found later that only one of it is working).
Although my mind was restless to do some modifications for the namely security tint, bigger tires, sport rims, several speakers (rear and front) and an Android audio system, we decided to hold back any major modifications to the car for now as it is meant as a temporary ride for my son to use for his college and he is likely to buy a new car once he graduates.
Buying from reputable used car dealers like MyTukar or Carsome does give potential customers the boost in confidence to buy a used car and we have seen the process end to end and it is very easy. Who knows, I may buy another used car once the primary car at home becomes to be too old for us to use safely or when the maintenance cost was not feasible.