Why I Bought a Cheap Second-Hand Car

Today, I said goodbye to my 20-year-old Proton, and welcomed a “new” car to my home.

Just a humble one: a locally-made, second-hand car I bought from my sister. Some people I know would be shocked.

Because for some weird reason, people expect a person with my status to drive a nice car. I realize how obnoxious that sounds, but I don’t know how else to say it. It’s as if once you reach a certain level in your career — you’re expected to drive a certain kind of car.

But that’s not what I believe. I think what everyone really needs is to be honest with his/her financial situation, and don’t give a damn about what society “expects”.

Here are my reasons for why I bought a cheap second-hand car:

1. I Hate Losing Money

Despite my stingy reputation, I actually like spending money. On the right things of course.

What I really hate is losing money.

Which is my number one issue with buying a new car: Depreciation sucks.

In layman’s terms, depreciation means that your car starts losing value from day one. Even if you bought a depreciation-resistant car (like a Civic, Vios or Myvi), after seven years your car is only worth half of its original value. This is even worse with other car models.

If I bought a brand new Vios for 76,000 Ringgit (USD 18,000) today, it would be only worth RM 38,000 in seven years’ time, making me lose RM 38,000. And that’s before even considering interest (if I took a loan), and opportunity cost (investing the money elsewhere). Not cool.

If I could, I would go totally car-less. But since I still need a car, I decided to buy one that had already experienced the most significant years of depreciation: a nine-year-old Myvi for RM 20,000.

Yes, it will still depreciate. But in ten years’ time I would probably have lost only RM 15,000 on it.

2. I Can’t Afford a New One

What is affordability? It depends on who you ask.

If I walk into a car dealership, they’ll tell me I can afford a loan for a brand-new BMW 3-series. But it would kill my finances.

If I ask my hero, Mr. Money Mustache, he’ll tell me to buy a used car within the 5 to 15-year-old range. But I need to pay cash. If I need to take a loan, that means I can’t afford it.

If I ask Financial Samurai or Money Under 30, they’ll tell me I can afford a car worth 10% of my gross annual salary.

Now, some people are going to object here — saying that the three financial writers above are based in the USA, where cars are much cheaper. And that in Malaysia, 10% of gross annual salary isn’t enough to get a decent car. Here’s what I think — it’s enough, but only if you’re a high earner, and can accept the frugal life. So how about we compromise? — Money Under 30 says 20-25% of gross annual salary for a car is acceptable too.

For someone earning RM 3,000 per month, 25% of RM 39,000 (annual salary including bonus) is RM 9,750. And could get a:

Screenshot of Proton Saga Value
Wonderful 2006 Proton Saga (via Carbase)

Nobody said being responsible with money was easy.

So how can all these young people afford to drive around in new, imported cars? Maybe because the bitter truth is this: most people actually can’t afford a new car.

3. I Don’t Really Drive Much

If you’re a follower of my blog, (and if you’re not already one, please Like me on Facebook 🙂 ), you know that I’m crazy about optimization.

Optimization isn’t about choosing the cheapest option. It’s about making the best choice from a cost / benefit perspective.

Some people need to drive a lot for work. Or to ferry their kids around.  Maybe they’d need a good car.

Me — I drive about 200 kilometers a week. At most. On weekdays, I take the Light Rail Transit (LRT) to work. So 97% of the time, my car is either vulnerably parked near the LRT station, or at home. It’s horribly inefficient for me to spend money on a car.

A new Vios for RM 76,000? Out of the question. I even thought long and hard about paying RM 20,000 for the second-hand Myvi I bought. Could I go totally car-less and just depend on UberX and Grab? After calculating total cost of ownership, I found it was still more efficient for me to get a cheap second-hand car.

4. My Ego Can Handle It

For the past few years, I’ve driven the lousiest car within my social circle.

Some of the interesting comments I’ve heard from colleagues, friends and family:

“When are you gonna get an upgrade?”
“Aiya… you can afford something better…”
“Don’t be so stingy la…”

It wasn’t easy at first. I too lusted after luxurious cars. At one point, I thought I wanted to buy a Lexus. But over time, my ego got used to it. Instead of being ashamed of driving an old car, I learned to feel proud that I was in control of my finances. I find it amusing now when people ask me why I drive an old car — because I get to say:

“Because I’m too stingy to buy a new one.”

Today, I’m fully converted — a car is a means for getting from Point A to Point B. All it needs to be is safe, reliable and comfortable. It doesn’t need to be shiny.

I understand that for many people — a car means more than that. Like buying a house, people get emotional about their cars. Maybe it’s a symbol of achievement, or a source of pride. Maybe it’s a reward for years and years of hard work.

I’m not here to judge, but I’ll throw the question:

Do we really need expensive material things to feel good about ourselves? What if there was something more meaningful in our lives?

5. Traditional Car Ownership Is Not the Way of the Future

The traditional car ownership model is screwed. The one where one person owns one car, drives it alone, and adds to the crazy traffic jams. The government could raise toll rates, widen the roads, and hire traffic police all you want — but traffic jams will never go away unless we change the way we move.

We already have evidence of how technology will help. Five years ago, the best we could do was pay for an expensive GPS system. But today, you use Waze for free on your phone to find the smartest way to drive somewhere. Google has already been testing self-driving cars for more than five years. And Tesla, Apple and Uber are in the game too.

A few months ago, my current 20-year-old car broke down as I was heading to dinner with my girlfriend. We maneuvered it to a safe spot, locked the car and decided to leave it there. I turned on Uber, and requested a ride. Then we watched in fascination as the small vehicle icon crept towards us on the screen. Within fifteen minutes a new Honda City arrived — a much nicer vehicle than I can afford. 35 km and 30 minutes later — as we arrived at dinner — I checked how much it had cost: less than a taxi.

Not only was I reminded that I have an awesome girlfriend (she handled things very calmly), I marveled at how drastically technology will change our lives.

I can’t predict the future, but here’s my bet: In ten years’ time, when my “new” second-hand car is nineteen years old and starting to break down — I won’t have to buy a new one.

– – –

People buy new, expensive cars for different reasons. My girlfriend loves luxury cars too, so I’m not trying to diss anyone by writing this.

But I wrote this because somewhere out there, there’s a young man struggling with the cost of living. And he’s getting bombarded with messages of how he needs certain things to be cool: expensive smartphone, branded clothes and a luxurious car. Maybe he thinks he can’t find a girlfriend without a nice car. All his friends are getting in debt doing it, and the peer pressure is getting to him: he thinks he needs a loan — and spend half his take-home salary on a new car.

But maybe what he really needs is this: someone to tell him it’s OK to go without these things. That he can make his money worth more by investing in better things. That a person’s value is not measured in the things they own.

And that after careful consideration — if he still really needs a car — maybe a cheaper, used one is enough.

– – –

**Exchange rate: USD 1 = RM 4

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  • Dear Mr. Stingy,
    Well written article. Yes, agree with you points.

    Most of car buyers bought new vehicles based on ego’s feed. Smell new and nice. The monthly payment and Authorized Dealer service cost will add financial pressure later.

    Safety of new cars are advertised as much better compared to older models. Supported by xx number of airbags, brake assist, hill assist and advanced audio features supported with touch screen display / entertainment modules.

    But, no numbers of airbags can save if you if you are not buckle up. Most of the entertainment features and actually distract drivers and the new up coming Mazda models are getting non touch screen display and bring back the knobs for audio controls. A good direction by Mazda in my opinion.

    Me, myself is a car lover. Currently on my 7th car (approaching my 50’s now). All the car’s are bought pre-owned. Yes, a reliable car and mechanic is essential. Sometime you might end up with problematic car and I took it as a learning process. Even then, the cost of repairing it will not exceed 5 months monthly payment (from my experience) of the same brand new car.

    I have seen some financially very well doing peoples that stick to their old car. Even, when they change, still going for pre-owned cars.

    If, pre-owned car quality bothers you, you might get one from certified pre-owned dealers. Some comes even with 1 to 2 years warranty. Some second hand car dealer even provide warranty up to a month or two.

    So, Mr. Stingy
    Thank you again in putting a nice valuable writing.

    Warmest regards

    • Thank you so much sir Mr. Raveendran,

      It’s a great honor receiving such a message from an experienced and learned person such as yourself. Wishing you all the best ahead with your cars and passion!

  • Found your article on says. Its a really good stuff to read. Hopefully more good articles like this. Keep up the good work!

  • Dear Mr Stingy,

    I’m glad I stumbled upon your blogpost tonight. In 2011, a dear friend offered a personal loan to buy me a new car. At the time, Proton was boasting of its brand new Exora Bold CFE which promised to be a better model for its kind. RM79k later, the car started to present itself with a host of problems that has wrung me out of about RM20k in repairs.

    The car is still faulty with an assortment of warning lights blinking on the dash. A couple of weeks ago the car stopped in the middle of the Federal Highway. Nonetheless, the car has been helpful for the work I do (ample storage space to shuttle food drops to refugee children). My boss (and the choir of colleagues) have told me to get rid of the car before I bleed more cash out. I agree. But there’s some amount of emotional attachment to the car, that I’m trying to free myself from. I appreciate your wisdom how “Optimization isn’t about choosing the cheapest option. It’s about making the best choice from a cost / benefit perspective.”

    This week I’m hoping to have the car valued and potentially sold, and I’m trying to find a next best option. I drive a lot (and do enjoy driving), but don’t want to spend too much on a car. I’m currently unsure what to purchase next but your thoughts have been helpful. If you have other nuggets on my car conundrum, I’d like to hear them! Thanks again.

    • Hi Kevin!

      Oh dear — sorry to hear about almost RM 20k in repairs. I guess either that Proton batch was problematic or you were a bit unfortunate to get a difficult one. Definitely try to drop the emotional attachment, as with money — emotions complicates things.

      I don’t have too much insight into cars nowadays, but I still like Japanese cars which have a reputation for reliability. Locally, I believe Perodua still is more reliable than Proton. Considering the fact you drive a lot — it might actually make sense to pay a little bit more to ensure you’re always safe and for ease of mind. Sorry I think the above is super general advice, but hopefully it helps!

  • Hi, sir,
    A very well written concise article that laid the bare facts. Great job. Can u email me contact details of your mechanic ?

    • Hey EK,

      Thanks for your kind words. Currently I’ve switched mechanics to the Perodua Sentral branch in PJ. I find they’re very professional. Hope this helps!

  • Dear Mr. Wise (no, “Mr Stingy” is not appropriate for a wise & prudent person like you). I am very glad to have stumbled on your site while searching for a used car in the web for my daughter.

    BTW, I am 64 with 3 grown up kids. I can’t but agree with all the sentiments & the wisdom you have shared in this site. Good to see you have a good following amongst the youth too.

    In Malaysia, affordability is a key issue in the decision to buy a new car or not. Many young people have no choice but are forced to commit to buy the over-priced car & fast depreciating liability for their daily use. Maintenance can also be expensive. All this because we in Malaysia have an economically most distorted car industry. The industry has many players who are unfit to be assembling and trading in cars but the returns are good. Because the demand for cars is inelastic. Everyone needs to have a car to go where they need to. I don’t have the liberty & space to analyse all the factors that cause the upward pressure on car prices & the distress it brings to countless number of young people.

    Hope you won’t mind me sharing my experience. I bought my first 3-year old used car – Honda Civic 1200 cc in 1979 for RM9,000. Then I manged to buy my first & last brand new car in 1981 – a Mazda 323 sedan for RM18,500. It lasted a good 10 years. Thereafter when the Proton came in 1985, I lost my ability and desire to buy a new car because it just did not make any sense to me economically & personally to buy a new car at inflated prices. Poor value for money. So I bought one used car after another. Yes, I had my challenges but no regrets at all.

    It has been the same over the last 3 decades. Now, I earn more than RM30K a month. Yet, I feel it does not make any sense to buy a new car, even a Proton or Perodua at the exorbitant, unrealistic prices. Better to spend the money on more important needs like an apartment or a flat that will appreciate over time.

    Having said that, I respect the decision of millions of motorists who buy new cars for their use. However, I feel convinced that the industry is absolutely inefficient & greedy and making a fast buck on helpless and desperate people out of their basic necessity for personal transportation.

    Continue the good work you are doing. Help the young people choose wisely how they spend their hard earned money.

    Wish you every success.

    Peter G.

    • Hi Peter,

      Thank you so much for your comment and very kind words. Much respect to you on how you have managed your finances and become so wealthy. Wishing you much success ahead too.

    • Hi Peter,

      Based on your experience in buying used cars, can you recommend a few good car dealers? There are too many car dealers out there and most of them are cheating the customers according to what I have read from forums everywhere. I really want to get a second hand car but there is no source of trusted dealer I can find.


  • Aaahh! Thanks, Aaron.

    Been contemplating replacing my 7-year-old Viva and this article is coming at the right time. My “main” concern was the Manual Transmission which takes a toll on my knees after sitting in a long jam. But actually just tipu only: I’m 30. I want an upgrade. I liked how you said, “My ego can handle it”… That forced me to be honest and confront myself about my intentions. It really is an ego trip (nothing wrong with it, btw)
    I do love my little black Viva and the control I have while driving it and how economic it still is (It’s still about +/- RM100 for petrol a month!). An upgrade always is appealing until I pull out a calculator. That’s when I’m torn and begin negotiating with myself. Do I really haaaaaaaave to?

    Nope! My ego can handle it! <<need to print this and stick it somewhere in my car!

    ps: hope you're keeping well!

    • Thanks Divya! Hope you’re doing well too…

      Yeah, those small Vivas are really a God-send. But if the toll on your knees is too much, nothing wrong upgrading for the sake of health either though. Take care!

  • Hi Mr-Stringy,

    It was a good read at the right time for someone like me who’s about to enter the workforce and get a car! It certainly cleared out some of my doubts and allow me to make a much more informed decision when getting a car.

    Next, here comes the next question – financing. Is it better to finance the 2nd hand car with a full bank loan or partial loan if the financial standing is permissible? If bank loan, usually what are the factors that decide your repayment period or what are the recommended period? (Let’s assume in this case I’m getting the same 9 years old myvi at RM20000 and my salary as a fresh graduate is RM3k)

    Looking forward to your answer 🙂 Thank you.

    • Hey Thomas,

      Thanks for the kind words. There are a few factors that can help you make your decision. I think at current market rate banks give out 2nd hand car loans about 4%-ish? (This is higher than car loans for new cars btw). Not exactly sure the repayment period that they offer, but of course the rule of thumb is the faster you can pay the better — since you’ll be hit with less interest.

      I think the simple answer is, the less borrowings the better. (Granted there are circumstances where this doesn’t hold true, but for most people I think it’s a good guideline.)

  • Dear Mr.Stingy, I’m a fresh graduate (born and raised in East Malaysia) working in KL area. I here for almost half a year, and would like to purchase my first car (by loan, most probably). May I know where can i find the community who’s selling their car? Thanks!!!

    P.S. interesting and resourceful blog

    • Thanks Joanne!

      Welcome to KL. Hmmm unfortunately I don’t know any communities buying/selling cars well enough to recommend. Perhaps ask around in your social circle or your relatives?

  • Hi Mr Stingy,
    I don’t know much about cars, in your opinion, which would be better financially in terms of maintenance ? A new Myvi or a 2nd hand Honda City (same price as new Myvi, about RM58000)?

  • Hi Mr Stingy, its great that someone shares the same opinion on finance priority. Most of my friends now have cars that costs above RM80,000 and I can see that they are financially stressed.

    To be honest, I dont own a second hand car like what you did. But a first hand local car. I am intending to keep it with me as long as it runs. I had the idea that if I would buy a 10 year old car, it would probably run for another 5-10 years (depending on previous owner). But if I bought a first hand local car (Perodua) and maintained it well, chances are, it may last for 20 years or more. Its just the uncertainty of the 1st owners’ behaviour to the car that made me choose a first hand car. I went for a Perodua Bezza Advance and I am happy with it.

    I would go to the Perodua Sentral service centre in Petaling Jaya because it is much cheaper than third party mechanics. And due to my lack of knowledge in cars, Perodua Sentral seems like a better choice as they are the manufacturer of my car.

    Thanks for the good read!

    • Hi Jason,

      Thanks for dropping by and your wise decisions. Yeah, I’m a fan of Peroduas too, and I have no doubt that it can last you 20 years with good care.

      Recently went to Perodua Sentral service center too. I was impressed. All the best ahead!

  • Hi, I have the same thought like you. I had a second hand kancil that I bought in 2012, the car was produced in 2003. I have been driving it 6 years. I had few car accident, but it is still functional now. God bless. Everyone ask me to buy a new car as kancil sounds “unsafe”. But I would like to say it is low maintenance, pick up faster, RM50 fuel price every week, and the best is — easy to find parking even an illegal parking lot. Haha.

  • Hello there sir. Sir, i would like to know is a used Proton Waja a good car to buy? Because i’m thinking of getting one.

    • Hey Nesan,

      A bit hard to recommend just based on the brand and model. But I think Japanese cars (Toyotas, Hondas, Nissans) are more reliable. And if it’s down to Proton vs Perodua, I’ll take Perodua for now.

  • I just bought a “new” 2nd hand car because of your article. Very helpful in managing my personal finance. Can you recommend a good & honest mechanic in Ampang area.

  • Hi, a very well written article. I am in dilemma of choosing between owning a brand new car or go for an used one. But after reading your article, I have an answer now. Thank you so much.

    Would you provide me your mechanics details ? Thanks.

  • hi..stingy people tend to analyze deeper compared to non type and therefore come to a much dependable conclusion.
    Can i have your mechanics contact details.
    Thks in advance

  • Hi. May i get the contact no of your mechanic? Thanks for sharing an eye-opener post on 2nd hand car!

  • A very good piece of write up. Share the same feeling on the depreciation, could not imagine that some are willing to lose an amount of money which can be used to pay the down payment of a property or to do some other investment.

    Am looking for a second-hand car at the moment. May you email me your mechanic’s contact details? =)

  • When a friend ask me whether she should buy a new car or not, I just gave her your link! Great write up. Would like the mechanic recommendation, especially concerning car aircond.

  • Well written article.

    Something to share. I drove an old Toyota car which is as old as me (23 btw) and it has broken down numerous time. Spent much of my money to fix and properly maintain my car, plus some modification on top of it. Finally, I have one piece of a solid car which hardly breaks down and have a very low maintenance cost. Also, my fuel efficiency has improved to be as good as the new Vios. A stingy way of me to lower my expenses in the long run (but with high initial cost).

    I like the way your article is written! Keep writing and hope to see more articles from you soon!

    p.s. can you provide me with your mechanic number?

  • very informative article… mind to recommend good mechanics around KL/Selangor area? thanks

      • Hi,

        I read your article, very informative, thanks for sharing.
        I am a foreign MA student in Malaysia, what car do you advise me to buy (as a second hand)?
        My budget is 13000~15000
        btw,I used to have Prado 2001 in my country.


  • Dear Aaron,

    Could you please share the contact details/HP# of your mechanic?

    • Thanks. A little tough to recommend since I don’t know anything about your situation. Let’s just say I recommend something within 10-20% of your annual income.

  • Hi, can you pls send me the mechanic’s contact details? Thank you 🙂

  • Hi Aaron!
    Another well written article. Can recommend me your mechanic. Thanks.

  • Hi Mr-Stingy,

    Could you also recommend good mechanics or car workshops in KL/Selangor area? tq

  • Dear Aaron. You are awesome. 😀

    I drive a 14 y/o Hyundai Matrix bought 4 years ago at RM10k. Totally agree with your reasonings and commend your stand on personal value and worth.

    That said, I’d also like to get your mechanic’s contact/location. Thank you! 🙂

  • Hi there,

    Like the articles that you write on your blog. Would you mind recommending your mechanic ? Thanks !

  • HI Aaron … I like the way you think … this article hitting me as I m still driving old Proton. haha. Hear from u.

  • I want to buy a second hand vios car in area cheras can you please advice me to proceed?

    • Hey Ravin,

      I like second-hand Vioses but other than that I don’t know what else I can advise. All the best.

  • Hi sir.. can you give me list of good small second car..is it ford fiesta is one of it? Really appreciate.

    • Hey Khairul,

      I’m not an expert in cars. But over here in Malaysia what I would look for is Reliability & Ease to Find Parts. For that, I don’t think you can go wrong with Peroduas, Hondas and Toyotas.

    • Hi Khairul, please don’t go for a Ford Fiesta..You’d be paying far more for your maintenance..Consider Honda, Toyota and Perodua instead..I’m an ex-Fiesta user (brand new one) but sold off due to poor service and constant problems..????

  • Hi,
    Very good article and agree with all the points you bring up. Can you send me your mechanic’s contact? I am based in PJ / Ara Damansara.

  • Great write up Sir !! Appreciate if you could share your mechanic’s contact or if you do know of anyone near Cheras area will be great too. Thanks in advance.

  • Hi,

    Great read and food for thought on buying a new car. Considering buying a used car for my child. Will be obliged if you introduce your trusted repairman. Thanks.

  • A thought-provoking article. I’ve been debating with myself over whether I should be getting a brand new Myvi or a secondhand one. I’ve yet to reach a conclusion, but it was still a good read! Would love to get in touch with your recommended mechanic 😀

    • Hey Lin,

      Thanks. Hope you’ll consider the facts and make an informed decision! I’ll email you my mechanic’s address.

  • Hi Mr Stingy,

    Ahh, I know this post is old but the advice is timeless. Good job and good head above your shoulders.

    Keep it real

  • Dear Mr-Stingy,

    Very useful article.
    I work in the Gulf at present and contemplating to relocate to Malaysia very soon where my wife lives. My mother-in-law in Malaysia owns a Kelissa and I get to drive her car whenever I am there. Although I have no restriction using her car whenever I want, I would like to have one of my own – you know what I mean.
    I was thinking going for a new car but after reading your article, I think I would lean towards a similar decision as yours. I am grateful to you in sharing your experience and sensible thoughts. Keep it up.

  • Hi Mr Stingy,

    Wise words and advice from such a young man as yourself…how did we get so lucky?

    Can you please share the name of your trusty mechanic?

    Much thanks.

    • Hey Kim,

      I don’t know — maybe it’s because I’m already old. Haha. Let me email you my mechanic’s address.

  • Hi Mr. Stingy,

    I recently brought a second hand 2001 Suzuki Vitara and need to send for servicing.

    Could you recommend your car Mechanic to me?

    Thank you!

  • Interesting article, Mr Stingy. Yes, I need a competent and honest mechanic thanks. What makes of cars can your mechanic handle? I still haven’t decided what make and model of used car to buy.

    • Hello Jason,

      I’m not sure what exact models he handles, but I’ve seen a wide variety of national and Asian cars at his workshop. I’ll email you his address in case you wanna pay him a visit.

  • Hey Mr. Stingy!

    I’ve been considering to get a 2nd hand car recently because the 22 year-old Kancil that I inherited from my grandma is slowly falling apart. However, I’ve only been looking around websites like Carlist.my, but I’m a little skeptical about the trustworthiness of the dealers/agents. Are there any sources that you would recommend?

    Also, kindly do share some contacts of good mechanics around Klang Valley! 🙂


    • Hey Jane!

      Unfortunately I don’t know too many dealers or agents, so I can’t give a good recommendation. I’ll email you my mechanic’s contact though.
      All the best!

    • Hi Jane,

      May I know where did you end up getting the car from? I am looking at carlist.my too but I have the same problem as yours, not sure which dealer is trustworthy.

  • Hello Mr Stingy, very nice write up, Thank you
    Please do send me your mechanic details as well, Thanks.

  • Hi
    Most of my companies I work for provided me with company cars so for quite some time I didnt need to think of buying own car until my daughter going to start school. So I bought a new Axia for my wife to do that.
    My friends and most of my family members are baffled with my decision, saying I should buy a much better car to reflect my achievement. Reason for me to get that Axia is its intended for urban driving only, ease to park and very economical. And Axia is a fun car to drive around in city, thats a fact.
    Now i’m looking to get a 4 to 6 yo Grand Livina and peer pressures started to come in, mainly asking why I wont take a new Grand Livina. I explained there is RM50k depreciation loss between a new GL and a 2nd hand but this idea is not easy for some people to grasp. “New is always better” they claimed.
    Yeah, and I will lose RM50k over that? Sorry I’ll pass.

    • New is overrated. A lot of the “valid reasons” that people give for buying brand new cars are actually great marketing by the car manufacturers themselves.

      I respect you, my man!

  • Hi Mr Stingy,

    Please share your mechanic address and contact.
    It pretty hard to find a good reliable mechanic nowadays.

  • Hi, thank you so much for your article. Do you know any good mechanics in Melaka? How did you find your car? Is the cost of buying and maintaining an auto car significantly more than a manual car in the long run? Thank you.

    • Hey Sabrina,

      You’re welcome! Malacca is a little out of my scope — unfortunately I don’t know anyone there. My second-hand car came from a very trusted source: my sister. As for auto vs manual car maintenance, I don’t think the cost difference is huge. A little bit more, but not by much…

  • I’ve been driving older cars since college (> 5 years old) and it certainly teaches you how to take care of and troubleshoot your car! Also being a rather recent grad (~ 2 years), it’s probably a better financial idea. Another plus is buying an older second hand car allows you to get cars that would be out of the budget (Myvi vs City for example, a new Myvi is 45-50k? A 5-6 year old City can be gotten for the same).

    I do know a good honest mechanic as well… maybe we can trade contacts? Could come in handy 😉

    • Hey TY,

      Yeah, there’s a lot to be learned from maintaining an older car. Kudos to you for your strong financial sense!

      Let me email you right now with my mechanic’s contact.

      All the best!

  • Hi Mr Stingy,

    May I have your mechanics contacts? I am planning to buy a second had car, and would rather not buy a lemon. 😛

    Also, I need some advice on some cost saving dilemma I am having.


  • The most sensible article I have read on car ownership.

    Sadly in Malaysia, cars are seemingly as a necessity from how underdeveloped our infrastructure on public transport is – It’s odd how i’ve heard many counter arguments on ‘safety’ and ‘peace of mind’ as a key reason to purchase a more expensive (and new) car, over a second-hand locally made one.

    A little contradictory, since I work in Advertising, specialised in the automotive sector, but I am a very strong proponent for used and pre-owned goods. It something that requires a lot more homework, and generally bank loans and stores favour new purchases, and somehow negative connotations linger around things that are pre-owned – but nothing beats getting a great bargain for something gotten significantly lower than it’s retail price.

    Thanks for the article, and for reassurance that I’ve made no mistake in picking a second hand vehicle. After all… it’s just to bring me from A to B, and back to A.

    Love the content, and looking forward to more lessons on sensibility.

    • Thanks Wei Wern,

      Especially agree with this one: “nothing beats getting a great bargain for something significantly lower than its retail price.”

      I actually think “safety” and “peace of mind” are thrown about carelessly just because people want to justify overpaying for cars they don’t really need. No doubt the car manufacturers and their marketing teams do a great job too. But if people were really concerned about safety, wouldn’t they drive more carefully on the roads instead of buying expensive cars? 😉

      Thanks again for your support, and hope you’ll be back for more!

  • Awesome writing Aaron!!! My ego always tells me to get a new car while I’m driving a problem-free 18 years old Toyota Camry inherited from my Dad. Now I should feel blessing as I’m free of debt. Can you please recommend your reliable mechanic to me? Thanks!!!

  • Omg, this should be print and send out to those fresh grad . Seriously, I have a friend who just grad with 2.5k salary and then bought a car of 90k. Her parent’s even gave a support. All in all, I believe our ego will cost us in the end. Magee for dinner when your baby is crying for milk? Bad idea.

  • That’s true. With used car, you need trusted and reliable mechanics. My car I inherited from my mother is starting to break apart and I googled for value for money used car. Guess what? I stumbled upon this article. I know you for your little trick to pay your bond with Pakcik P, which I wanted to emulate but scared to do so, because I currently dont have any solid plan once I get out.

    Getting back to the mechanic part. I’m so grateful to know this one mechanic at Sri Rampai. His rate is very reasonable and he’s a pleasant guy. Always help me out with my 15-years old Kia Spectra. As a Malay, I always heard that “mekanik cina suka tipu. Nanti diorg charge mahal.” Well, to be frank I think I was scammed once by chinese mechanic lol. It was my final sem at UTP, and final exam was nearing the end. I was charged about RM 2k for initially trying to replace the brake caliper because so many parts were broken, according to the mechanic. I ended up having my car breaking down on the way back to Melaka after the repair. Major breakdown. Sent to another chinese mechanic at Malacca which my father knows well to get it repaired. Luckily this chinese mechanic at Sri Rampai is a great guy tho. I’m still sending my car to him until today even tho I moved somewhr else.

    Anyway, I think you have lots of financial knowledge that I should absorb. Care to be my hero?

    • Thanks for dropping by Arif, and the great story. I sincerely believe there are good and honest people from every race, and hope that you’ll continue to have good experiences!

      Don’t know if I can qualify to be anybody’s hero, but does it come with an allowance? 😀

  • HI Mr Stingy,
    I am planning on pushing of my continental for a second-hand affordable Toyota.
    Could you kindly email me your contact for a good Toyota mechanic?

  • Hi Mr Stingy, I’m desperate for a good honest mechanic. Pls refer me to yours ??

  • Hi Mr. Stingy,

    Thanks a lot for your article, it really opened my eyes and brought me back down to earth. I too longed to get a new car at 80-100k and im ashamed to say my ego almost got the best of me.

    But I already have a 14 yr old Kia Optima 2.0 that still drives relatively well albeit the heavy repairing im gonna need to do soon. However, a repair of 2k or so is no where near an installment of 1k a month. Being debt free is bliss.

    Hence, do you have any good mechanic friends in johor bahru? Most shops here are bloodsucking liars. If possible one with experience of repairing older korean cars.


    • Hi Mr. Egoistic,

      Thanks for the kind words, and glad to hear your car is still holding up well. Perhaps a few more years, then consider a switch?

      Unfortunately I’m not very popular with the mechanic crowd, so I don’t know anyone in JB. Hope you manage to find someone good though!

  • Hi,

    I bumped into your article after googling about buying second hand cars. It’s really helpful. I’ll be visiting several used car dealerships this weekend and since I’m a newbie in this whole used car scene, I was wondering if the dealers would allow a mechanic to conduct thorough checks on the car? If that’s possible, could you recommend a good mechanic I can bring for the checks.

    Thanks a million.

    • Hi Jake,

      Sorry for my late reply. I’m not sure if dealers would allow a mechanic to really inspect the car. However if you have a friend who’s a mechanic to bring along, I’m sure it would be very helpful!

      I don’t know if my mechanic does second-hand-car-dealer visits, but if you want the address of his workshop do let me know?

  • Hi Mr Stingy.

    This is my first time on your blog as I was browsing for guide to buy a second hand car. Good tips by the way.
    Can you share your recommended mechanics?

  • hi mr.stingy im having same thingking as u on last 3years when I bought 2nd car instead of new car

    but since last 6month I started feel frustrated with the engine condition, n had to spend hundreds of ringgit to repair but yet still no any mechanics able to solve it until now..

    do u have any contact/location of good mechanics who really expert on engine n know directly the root cause once we explain on it?

    my car is old honda city 2007, area sungai buloh

    • Hi Azlan,

      Sorry to hear about the problems. I’ll email you the contact of my mechanic — perhaps you can bring your car for him to have a look and see if he can give you a quote?

  • Wow, TOTALLY agree with you

    BTW I am using an old Wira my parents left for me also (about 11 years with 350,000km mileage). Maintaining this Wira is around RM2k-RM3k a year. But always cheaper than I buy a new car that need at least RM700 – RM1000 installments before maintenance. But still, I love my manual wira car because the fuel efficiency is still good.

    Well you might be wondering why I drive so much with this car, similar like you, I got bonded with PETRONAS and got sent to some ulu place in Kerteh, Terengganu and have to travel back-forth every weekend to see my wife and kids in KL, that explain all the mileage. (BTW, Your bond is much lower than mine as I am oversea scholars, macam tak boleh pakai your credit card method to pay back all the debt. What to do, have to serve bond lo…….).

    Anyway, wira is considered a good car since it managed to serve me up to 350,000KM but I am thinking of changing a car since it is overuse. People like me who travel 5,000km a month/60,000km a year, I still don’t know what car to change beside the reliable wira which never fail me before if maintained properly.

    Any recommendation for any good second-hand car? Myvi too small for long distance driving………

    (p/s, me too always pressure by my colleagues that at my status and rank should not drive a wira, especially as Petronas staff, malu je and that is so insulting sometimes, as consolation, at least my wira never breakdown as compared to their continental car, HAHAHA….. )

    • Hi Kelvin,

      Wow — if you have a Wira that’s very reliable then you’re really a lucky guy! Mine was giving me quite a lot of problems towards the end, that’s why I changed it. And glad to hear how you handle the negative peer pressure!

      I really like Japanese cars. Value-for-money, reliable, and spare parts aren’t hard to find. If you can find a well-maintained Toyota — that would be great!

  • Hi Mr.Stingy

    1st of all i like your thinking about the way you manage your life on car subject. 🙂
    Even now im fresh graduate & already work, im still use 2nd hand old car myvi 2005 that had pass to me & try to keep it well maintain until it cannot serve to me anymore & dont care about other opinion that need change your car to a brand new car with current brand new lifestyle.
    your articel inspire me more on how to manage the financial without worry about debt & losing the money!
    last but not least kindly can you give me a good mechanical contact as you mention in your article? im very appreciate it.
    once again, thank you 🙂

  • HI

    I need some honest and reliable mechanic, currently my 6year old start canning up problems here n there and I need some good opinions. I live in pj.

    Can you help?

    Thank you

  • Hi Sir, I too would be glad if you could email me a list of your recommended mechanics in the KL & PJ area.


  • Hi Mr. Stingy,

    I am a fresh graduate who is just a couple of months on the job with a gross income shy of rm1k to rm2k.

    I’m torn apart between new car (eyeing the persona 2016, 9 years loan/saga 2016, 5 years loan) vs a used car under rm20k.

    I’ll admit I’m a sucker for new things and can’t deny the reliability of a new car (with its much safer safety features).

    However, being worry free of loans as soon as possible brings peace to my heart with 2nd hand (with respect to our terrible economy). But then the worry of safety(luck plays a role here perhaps?) /reliability is there. It may cost me more than a new one?

    Its really hard deciding as I really need my own personal transportation soon. But do let me know of your recommended mechanic. I’ll be checking out 2nd hand cars this weekend. Eyeing proton waja cps/saga flx/wira/savvy/kelisa/kenari/viva

    I’m in the Klang valley as well.

    • Hi James,

      Most people like new stuff in general, especially cars. 🙂

      However, I think the safety/reliability aspect of cars is usually blown out of proportion. If you maintain the car well (and here is where having a good mechanic friend is important) — it’s not going to be so unreliable. Besides, even new cars (e.g. Volkswagen and their famous 101 problems) give problems too. Regarding safety — yes safety is priceless. But how much more unsafe are you in a 10-year old Perodua Kelisa vs. a new Proton Persona? Is there even a significant difference, and is it worth going into huge debt for?

      I’ll email you my mechanic’s contact.

      All the best!

  • The best secondhand car tips..very honest and sincere writing there bro.btw thanks for the article.it help me ease my emotion toward buying secondhand car without feeling guilty of myself and also spectators.

  • Hi Mr Stingy,

    Interesting article you have there, it echoes what i think. Most people will tell you to enjoy life a bit, buy a nice car. I don’t see a point of being heavily in debt to own a car. Could you also share your mechanics contact with me? Would also appreciate tips on buying a used car. Cheers. 🙂

    • Hi cchean,

      Thanks for dropping by. I’ll email you my mechanic’s contact. Tips on buying a used car? Preferably buy from someone you can trust, and who maintained the car well. I also like Japanese cars, and I think the sweet spots for buying are around 3 years and 10 years.

  • Hi Aaron,

    Your sharing came just right in time while I’m thinking to get myself a new Iriz or used City. Safety was my main concern, gonna leave my 9 year old 2nd hand Viva now.

    Would love to get your mechanic contact as well as your opinion on getting a 4 – 6 years old Honda City/Civic as a used car.


    • Hi Jun Xian,

      I’ll email you my mechanic’s contact. I like the idea of a 4-6 year old Japanese car. They’ve got a reputation for reliability…

  • Hey Mr.Stingy,
    I’m currently looking at a second hand car.
    Would you be able to recommend a mechanic / car expert that can help with the process as well as valuation?

  • Hello Mr Stingy,

    I’m also looking for a reputable 2nd hand car dealer. Any recommendations?

  • I have to say, this is one of the best post on a blog that I’ve read. Its honest, neutral and does make you think. Having said that, we all have our reasons for buying a car. Whether its 1st or 2nd hand and I am actually looking to buy a 2nd hand car, a BMW 5 series. I do have some question about that and if you are able help me out do email me.


    • Hi kalel,

      Thanks for your kind comments. While I’m not a car expert, if you have some questions — do let me know and I’ll try my best to help.

  • Hi Mr Stingy,

    Im currently 25 years old, now doing research to buy a second hand car as my sister will graduated soon and will use my current driving Myvi. Would apprecieate if you could recommend a good mechanic for me. Thank you very much

  • Hi Mr Stingy,

    I’m in the midst of looking for a Second Hand car. Appreciate if you can share with me the contact for the mechanic. Thanks!

  • Mr.Stingy,

    May be the time when I read this today, it may be a year old article but seems it will have a much longer life span. Surprisingly, in modern era with technology driven companies looking at optimization and automation to bring in more efficiency, it is good to implement certain thoughts just not only in office but @ home as well. Thanks for your thoughts and I’m looking at purchasing a car for social use as I’ll be here in kl for 1-2 years. Appreciate any advice on myvi and reliable mechanic would be helpful. Thank you.

    • Hi Raj,

      Thanks for writing in and sorry for the late reply. Considering that you’ll only be here for 1-2 years, have you considered perhaps using public transportation apps like Uber and Grab? I’m thinking that purchasing a car would be most costly than that since the time frame is so short.

      Regarding Myvi, I’ve driven the car for about a year now. It’s much better than the old Proton I used to drive, but like any old car — things need repairing from time to time. The good thing is that parts don’t seem to be too expensive. For my mechanic, I’ll email you right now.

  • Hi Mr Stingy, thanks and appreciate your article very much.

    Kindly email me your mechanic contact details as I also look for 2nd hand car. I have not so much on car knowledge and need someone advice on buying car.

    Thank you very much. =)

  • Hi Mr. Stingy.
    I’m 25 years old this years and has same thinking as yours facing the same pressure you faced as most of my friends, if not all bought new cars.

    And like many people comment before me.. I would like to know your mechanic’s contact details as I would like to buy a second hand car as I will be needing a car to travel to my new job soon.

    Thanks in advance!! And please keep writing more! This blog helped widen my thought bubble a lot!

    • Thanks for your kind comments Kok Horng. Do stay strong in the face of peer pressure — and do the things that you believe in 🙂

      I’ll email you my mechanic’s details separately.

  • Mr. Stingy,
    My Myvi of 8 years just doesn’t cut it anymore to ferry little kids on a daily basis. Looking to buy a second hand 7-seater coz that’s what I can afford. But this mama doesn’t know s*** about cars and hubs doesn’t know any more than I do. Pls pls pls email me the details of your mechanic coz we’re going to view the cars soon. Cheers!

  • people buy good looking car to impress the friends they hate they most.
    friends don’t last forever so does your new car.

    • Agree with you on this Syahill — doing things just to impress other people is never a good strategy in life.

  • Hi Mr stingy, love ur article. Could u give me the details about your mechanics since I’m planning to buy a second hand car also soon. Tq.

  • Dear Sir,
    Hopefully u can buy a Lexus without feeling bad sometimes in the future… haha

    Btw, would appreciate if you could send me your list of mechanic around KL/Selangor area, since I planned to buy a second hand car soon. I assume they should be trustworthy and skilled since they are recommended by MR-STINGY, right?


  • A very good article about buying a second hand car, I like it. Haha. Could you please send me your mechanic’s details? Thanks a lot.

  • I’d like to ask your thoughts. As I’m wondering whether it makes sense. What if a car loan is stretched for 9 years (1,000 per month) instead of 5 years (1,900 per month). And you take the 900 difference and keep in an investment that gives you a higher interest rate than the car loan interest. Would it make sense?

  • Hi, thanks for the post.

    I would just like to confirm the 10% is for the principal of the car or is the amount spent for the car each year?


    • Hey Jv,

      Thanks for dropping by. Do you mean the statement “…I can afford a car worth 10% of my gross annual salary”?

      It means that the full value of the car needs to be 10% (or below) of my annual salary. For example, if I earn RM 200,000 a year — I should buy a car worth RM 20,000 and below.

      Difficult I know 🙂

      • Wow, if I’m earning 3,000 per month. That’ll be 36,000 per year. According to the 10 % rule, I should only buy a car that’s worth 3,600. Wonder how reliable a car will be at that price and the maintenance cost for it might dig a hole in the pocket.

        • Yup, The 10% rule originated from personal finance writers in the USA — so perhaps need to adjust for local earnings.

          That being said, “Money Under 30” says 20-25% of gross annual salary for a car is acceptable. In the article I gave an example of how this could get you a car around RM 10K.

          Ultimately my idea was that most people spend WAY too much on cars.

  • Hi, Mr. Stingy. Guess I’m in a similar shoe as u, as my 2nd hand Myvi is 10 years old this year and perhaps needing a good mechanic too.
    Quite an interesting sharing from u, keep it up and do share more writing to all of us in future. Cheers.

  • Thanks for your great article. I own a 14 year old Toyota Camry bought when it was about about 5 years, at about half the price that the original owner paid. No regrets at all. Kindly e-mail me the contact of your mechanic . Thanks

  • Hi, Mr. Stingy. I love to read yr article while struggling in this city n it always helps. I m not gonna spend too much on thing that depreciating too. I may need your mechanics no. Because I think I need to buy a second hand car because somehow the public transport really inefficient n quite frustrated when it broke down n u u can’t even get taxi or uber at the road side. 🙁 .
    My email. Thanks a lot. Good day

  • Hi Aaron,
    I’m 25 years old this years and has same thinking as yours. Most of my friends bought a new car and keep asking me why I didn’t buy one . First at all, I was thinking to use public transport but it not convenient if I have to go out on midnight or for family gathering (my parents don’t have a car). Thus, I’m planning to buy a secondhand car . Would you please recommence a good mechanic for me? my email address ernianwar@ymail.com . Thanks!

    • I like the way you think Erni. You’re probably gonna be richer than them one day 🙂

      I’ll email you my mechanic’s contact.

  • Hi Mr. Stingy – great post.

    I’ve recently moved to KL from London on a work assignment for 2 to 3 years. I would be interested in some personal advice on buying a 2nd car over here – would you email me personally for a proposition I have for you? 🙂

    Many thanks,

  • My 1991 Saga is still with me. My beacon of hope. 🙂 I wouldn’t mind the mechanic’s contact and couldn’t agree more, optimization is truly awesome.

  • Hi Aaron,

    Enjoy reading your posts a lot. I love cars but hate depreciation too, two years back I have got a 9 year old Vios for my first job travelling needs. Appreciate if you can share your recommendation on the mechanic. Thanks!

    Sharing: Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is I think quite an important feature in recent years. We can look for used cars with this feature fitted in the future.

  • Hey,

    Interesting Post!

    I will be buying a second hand car soon, may i know a good mechanic for a check up before i proceed to buy?

    • Hi Bhav,

      I can certainly recommend a mechanic, but I’m not sure if he’s experienced to do check ups for second hand cars. He is pretty good at fixing problems though. I will email you his details.

  • Your insights are very helpful to me as I am considering to get a second hand car. As an expat, it is quite a challenge for me to gather round the support service info. I’d like to ask if you could share some info about the mechanics that you recommend.

      • Hi, thanks for the article. Ive been thinking of buying a used car, but some people tell me that buying a used local car can potentially rack up a lot of maintenance bills – what do you think?
        Also, could you please share your mechanics info? Im a first time driver so not too familiar with these stuff

        • Hi Vanessa,

          Regarding maintenance bills, if you get a reliable car and have a good mechanic — it should be very manageable. But it’ll still be overall cheaper than a new car.

          Here’s an example. If you bought a brand new car for say RM 50,000 — within 7 years, you would have lost about RM 25,000 in value.

          If you buy a used car for say RM 25,000 — in 7 years, let’s say you lose half the value = RM 12,500.

          And let’s assume the second hand car costs RM 1,000 more to maintain per year than the new car. So your total is RM 12,500 + RM 7,000 = RM 19,500. Still way cheaper than the RM 25,000 depreciation on the new car.

          For my mechanic — I’ve already emailed you…

  • Dear Mr-Stingy

    I like your post. You gave me the rational of buying a new or second hand car. By the way can you recommend me a good mechanic.

  • A good view widening article. Thanks bro. Makes me feels much more worth it with my second hand phone.
    Its solely the reason why I got good condition second hand phone as well.
    The value of the phone drops too fast and it gets out of the game too soon.
    And at the same time we’re not optimizing the use of our phone as well. I like the word optimizing.
    Imagine most of the people are using the same function with different value of phone for most the time.

    Thanks again bro.

    • Hi Enoch,

      Thanks for your comments, and hope you come back for more!

      I could never understand how people can spend lots of money on a brand new phone. I’ve had a couple of phones myself, and have never paid my own cash for one… Hmmm, maybe that’s a story for another day…

  • Hi!
    Very good write up, I appreciate if you can recommend me a decent good mechanic, toll car services just in case around pj or kl area as I just get myself a used myvi 09 car. Many thanks.

  • Hi Mr-Stingy,

    Could you please recommend good mechanics or car workshops in KL/Selangor area?

    I love your post much.

    Keep it up. !!

  • Hi Mr-Stingy,

    Could you also recommend good mechanics or car workshops in KL/Selangor area?

    I love you post keep it up!

  • Great post!

    There’s another way to get around this owning a car conundrum, but it require guts and hustle for a few years (or more) shared by Kiyosaki in his book. Let’s say you’d like a Mini Cooper and the monthly payment for it is 2K/month. Work to own positive cashflow houses, and let those investment portfolios paid for the Mini. Which is another way of saying, ensure your affordability. But the bottom line is, you can.

    Secondly, your girlfriend is a keeper – for sure.

  • Very good post bro… I am gonna buy a 2nd hand car. Please recommend me a good mechanic~ =).
    Thanks for sharing..

  • Very good article. A lot of young adult out there are struggling every month just to pay for their new expensive car… and they still did not own a house! I was there before, “listening” to all the comments regarding my car (a Saga inherited from my father). I know the feeling but you just need to be patient, smile and answer them politely, “New car is just too expensive for me. I can’t afford it”. People will understand, and if they choose not to, it’s not your problem. Save your money, follow whatever rules of thumbs you can found in the internet to save money, and spend it wisely.

    P/S: I just bought new car recently but this time I really know I can afford it

  • Hi Mr Stingy,

    I really like your post. I always have second thought on buying second hand car since I experienced having to wait hours at plus highway since my dad’s 2nd hand car always broke down. But I guess thorough survey and knowing good mechanic will prevent this.

    Just wonder your thought on my situation now. I have a Neo which will finished its loan next year while hubster drives a Vios. He is thinking of selling it off and buy second hand car to lessen his loan… His current loan should end in 3 years time. Is it advisable in the current economic situation?

    TQ in advance 🙂

    • Hey Jammy,

      Thanks for dropping by. Yes, a good mechanic, good maintenance, and good emergency roadside assistance can all make owning a 2nd hand car safer.

      I think the current economy is very uncertain. Good to unload debt and have more savings. Have you considered sharing just one car? I understand it might not be practical if you work in different areas. Or perhaps your husband can take public transport and let you have the car? Or my current fave: Uber!

      Lastly, I know it’s very tough, especially since cars are so expensive in Malaysia — but if you guys still really need a second car — try to keep the price as low as possible (without sacrificing safety and convenience of course). A good Japanese car which is about ten years old might do the trick. Or the local “Japanese” car: Perodua.

  • Thanks for this good write. Not easy to ‘tahan’ the social pressure of not driving a shinny new car

    • Hi Akay,

      Thanks for the visit. Indeed, it’s not easy because of peer pressure and all the great commercials we see about shiny new cars. But if you have something better to do with your money, then I’ll say it’s worth it to take the “difficult” path.

  • Thanks for the good write.
    I was about to buy a brand new car now have to revisit the plan….. save cash for other needs

  • I am gonna buy a 2nd hand myvi soon and I do need a good mechanic. Suggest a few in each locality.

  • Hi Mr Stingy…
    You are a very pragmatic person.
    We share somewhat of same trait.Once upon a time when I was active professional with good income,I don’t own any car and make do with public transport and bicycle except possess a local brand car for my wife to ferry kids to school and family use only.
    Upon my retired, I am a die hard optimization practisional.
    Enjoy reading articles, cheer!

  • Hi Mr Stingy, good post. I really like your post about credit card. I was really good u shared.

  • As long as the gov do not introduce the end of life vehicle law (after 15 years to scrap or yearly inspection), you’ll be OK.

  • Hi Mr Stingy..I really really like this post..:)
    Sekarang pandang kereta sebelah mata sahaja … bukan lagi prioriti.
    Thanks for sharing..

  • U drive the lousiest car ard ONLY cos I had to sell my 1991 Saga as scrap metal.

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