The Challenges Of Buying A Second Hand Car

When you compare an average period new vehicle, for example a Perodua Myvi, which costs well over RM55,000 to RM65,000, and a 7 year old second hand vehicle, say a Kelisa, which can cost anything from RM30,000 to RM35,000, most people would, I’m sure opt for the Myvi.

A new vehicle will obviously provide you with a trouble free period of anything up to 5-7 years. For example, a new vehicle’s air-con unit, I’m told has a warranty period of 5 years. This implies that, should your new vehicle, say a Viva for example, develop any problem at all, rest assured that the agents for the said car, will have its air-con unit replaced free of charge. Whether one has to pay for service charges or otherwise, I am unfortunately is uncertain.

If new vehicles are said to be able to provide trouble free performance for at least a period of 5 years or so, why then, do some drivers opt to purchase 2nd hand vehicles anyway? Why not opt to purchase new vehicles and solve all the unwanted hassle?

Permit me to quote you a few reasons why not all new drivers opt to purchase new vehicles.
Some of the reasons may very well include:

i. Like our fingers, which are not all of the same length, some people just don’t have the money or financial capacity to purchase new vehicles. As such, they have no option but to settle for 2nd hand vehicles.

As the popular saying goes, “something is better than nothing” or if you prefer to have it, “half a loaf is better than no bread”, as my English teacher in form 1 used to advise me years ago.
ii. New drivers, especially those who have just procured the “P” license of late, are mostly inexperienced, especially in the art of manipulating a new car just yet.

Experienced drivers seem to possess the maxim which believes that one should ideally start off driving an old or 2nd hand vehicle, thrash it around, a few years, sustain the knocks and dents first, before one graduates into handling a new car just yet. May be you’ll agree with the maxim which I profess, or may be not.

I am of the opinion that 2 good reasons are good enough to support the motion why not all people can go for new cars as compared to old or 2nd hand vehicles in the market. After all, who in his right form of minds would choose a 2nd hand, old, car compared to a brand new, shiny vehicles if he or she has the choice.

Having given readers a few reasons for the pros and cons of purchasing a new vehicle as compared to old vehicles, permit me now to proceed on to providing you the good and bad of obtaining an old vehicle or for that matter, a 2nd hand vehicle.

A 2nd hand vehicle will obviously without a doubt not provide you with a trouble free ride. But an old vehicle will cost you less money to purchase. And also will not cost you too much money in terms of repaying your car loan and buying costly insurance.

Owning a 2nd hand vehicle may have its many pros, but one should not forget that it’s not at a bed of roses all the way, let me assure you. Everything has its pros and cons, in life, one that has to be realistic.

This article, will therefore go on to highlight a few problems an owner of an old or 2nd hand owner of a vehicle has to endure. At least, until a later date, when the owner can well afford a brand new vehicle. Until then, an owner has to be prepared to face some eventualities which are bound to confront him or her.

In this article, I will go on to pin print two major problems which might probably be faced by an owner of a 2nd hand vehicle. The problems which I will draw attention to, are none other than:

a) The problem of a car’s radiator or “tangki air” getting overheated, or in other words, it’s temperature rising.

b) The problem of a car, especially a 2nd hand one, stalling suddenly on the road.
What seems to be the reasons behind the above two problems which are bound confront one who owns a 2nd hand car?

The above two emergencies which recently confronted me, gave quite some headache. It is with this in mind, that I have decided to pen an article on it to share my experience with fellow readers of this blog.

First of all, let’s begin with problem number one which is:

i. Temperature rising and how do we go about confronting this emergency problem which 2nd hand vehicles cause. Radiators are but one of the most Important items of a conventional, manual car or vehicle, which is widely used in this country.


Radiators are connected to the engine compartment. As cars age or grow old, radiators tend to become rusty or become clogged up. Owners, especially of old vehicles should, therefore ideally send their vehicle to service its radiator unit periodically. A good radiator service in town will cost anything from RM60 to RM80.

Another cause for the radiators to overheat or for the temperature of a vehicle rising up to the “H” (hot) level, may very well be the radiator cap itself. In case you are unaware, a radiator cap, for most car models may cost anything from RM10 to RM20.

So, have this small, but essential item of a car changed if you possible can. Do not, as they say, “be penny wise but pound foolish”. Believe me, it will save you a lot of trouble.

Radiators, as they get rusted with the passage of time, may develop leaks. Even minute drops of water emancipating from a radiator will eventually cause the radiator to dry and finally cause the temperatures of your vehicle rising up to “H” level.

Besides the above problems, hoses, which connect the radiator to the engine compartment, might also develop leakage due to tear and wear. Therefore, owners are again advised to frequently check the condition of hoses and rubber stoppers, especially when you are going for long distance travels or journeys.

There is yet one another thing which I have experienced with temperatures rising. Believe it or not, it is only a small, mechanical problem, but is sometimes responsible for your car temperatures rising up to “H” level. The engine has a small little wire, which mechanics term it as the “short” or earth wire, which connects it to the electrical system of a vehicle’s circuitry.

This wire connection which will time and again become loose, will result in the car temperatures going haywire. As such, I would like to suggest that your battery man or who so ever is responsible for your car’s circuitry works, check this wire to prevent the temperatures of your car going sky high.

That’s about all that I can think of at this juncture. It is hoped my many advices will go onto assist you to prevent your car temperatures rising up to extreme and dangerous levels.

ii. The second problem which many very well confront you as the owner of an old vehicle or a 2nd hand vehicle, may very well be the engine stalling suddenly as you move along a highway.

I have owned various models of cars of every brand, Datsun, Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford, Mitsubishi, you name it and this writer has owned and driven them all.

In many years as a driver, to be exact, well over 40 or more so years, my long experience and advices provided by many of my mechanic friends, Ah Keng, Wah Chye, Rahman, Ah Lau, Abbas and so forth, have always provided the explanation that conventional cars draw petrol from the back of the vehicle, where the petrol tank is located.

As a young driver, the age of 20 or 21, I had always wondered how the engine gets its fuel supply from the fuel tank.

For this, permit me to explain to you how a conventional, manual car receives its fuel supply. From the petrol tank, the fuel lines first all go through a “fuel gauge” or filter whose duty is to filter fuel of many of its impurities such as grime, dust, water and rust, before the fuel is suctioned into the carburetor of a vehicle.

The fuel supply of the vehicle is in reality pumped or drawn into the carburetor by an A.C fuel pump or an electronic fuel pump, in cases where the vehicles are of the newer models.

Cars of internal combustion engines are fed with fuel from the fuel tank which are drawn or suctioned into the carburetor. When the “fuel gauge filter” gets clogged up or the A.C. fuel pump malfunctions, the fuel supply to the carburetor will then be in short supply. This leads to the engine finally stalling or “dying off”.

Besides the problem of the fuel filter and the A.C. pump or the electronic fuel pump malfunctioning, a car’s plugs can sometimes contribute to a car or to vehicles which a lay man terms as consuming engine oil. This simply means that your engine has gone on to consume engine oil.

In short, your vehicle or car requires a “top overhaul” or in extreme cases, you’ll need to either install new rings or may be even pistons for your vehicle.

Therefore, if your 2nd hand vehicle that you own, stalls or dies off suddenly on the road, bring it to your mechanic and ask him to look at namely 4 things in your vehicle.

a. your spark plugs
b. see if your fuel filter is dirty or clogged up
c. see if you’re A.C fuel pump or electronic fuel pump is malfunctioning or not
d. its plugs condition

Hopefully by checking out the above things, you’ll no longer face the problem of your 2nd hand vehicle stalling or dying off on the road.

One final advice to be given before I sign off. Vehicles which stall suddenly on the road, will only stop momentarily. There is actually nothing wrong with the car or vehicle at all. Do not panic! The reason for the vehicle stalling is due to the lack of supply of fuel to the carburetor unit of the vehicle.

What drivers are requested to do is to wait for a while, for the fuel supply to flow once again, albeit slowly, into the carburetor. In most cases, the engine will restart again once a driver re-cranks his ignition key or starter. But as explained earlier, the car will most likely stall or “die” off again, as when you accelerate fast, fuel supply to the carburetor is in short supply, thereby causing your car to stall.

However, it should be reminded that a constant re-starting of a vehicle, might finally lead to the battery becoming exhausted. If that happens, a driver will then have little choice but to ring up his mechanic for assistance. Or if you choose, you can always wait for the battery to recharge itself thus enabling your car to restart again. The above will take only but a few minutes may be 15 minutes or so.

By | 2012-09-20T22:40:20+08:00 July 1st, 2012|Car Maintenance|7 Comments

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  1. shan July 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    dear Cikgu Yap,

    recently one of my foreigner friend’s car was hit by a local. the car was hit from the back and the person ran away. Luckily, my friend took down the car no and made police report. When he called back the police station and was told that the already summon letter was sent but they have not responded. What is the next step? thank you.

    • Cikgu Yap July 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm - Reply

      If you have the to other party’s registration number, you can locate its owner from JPJ records. But you might have to use the services of a lawyer for this. The, approach the other party’s insurance company for claims.

  2. shan July 23, 2012 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the reply. Well, my friend actually managed to contact the person who hit his car but that person seem not to be bothered. Next, when contacted the lawyer… tthey advised to just go thru the owner’s insurance co to proceed wt claim as there will be alot of hassle to go thru lawyer…. my fren was obviously unhappy wt this….

    • Cikgu Yap July 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm - Reply

      What the lawyer suggested is also a good move. Consult the other party’s insurance company and see what they say. Then decide later.

  3. shan July 28, 2012 at 7:45 am - Reply

    thanks cikgu…..nvr knew things will b be this complicate…
    how to find out which insurance the other party is holding?

    • Cikgu Yap July 28, 2012 at 11:46 am - Reply

      Whether you like it or not, such things as you described happens regularly in Malaysia. Nothing much you can do about. Anyway, it is your insurance company’s duty to determine the hanky-panky that goes on. Not you, unfortunately. You can do nothing.

    • Cikgu Yap July 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm - Reply

      Try going to JPJ nearest to you to get the insurance particulars.

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