6 Best Financial Decisions To Make As A Car Owner In 2016

Don't make an expensive mistake.

Cover image via Desicomments

Let’s face it, with the rise in the cost of living and depreciation of the ringgit, there are crucial financial decisions to be made especially as we enter the year 2016

Unlike property, your wheeled, self-powered motor vehicle is typically considered a depreciating asset – meaning, its value drops as time progresses.

But that should not deter you from making important financial decisions which would benefit you in the long run and help you save some cash. So place your wallet back in your pocket and read what we’ve got to say first!

1. Maintenance over modifications

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Your vehicle is basically your personal identity on wheels, so it’s no surprise why many invest so much money in modifying their cars to look really cool on the road.

But is fixing a flux capacitor into your vehicle really that necessary especially when the engine’s timing belt requires a replacement?

Geek puns aside, the financial resources you have should best be used out of necessity especially when you’re having budget constraints. Before forking out cash for modifications, it’s probably best to diligently check your car for any repairs and maintenance that require your urgent attention first.

2. Investing in durable tyres

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The money used on unnecessary modifications can best be invested in procuring hardwearing tyres especially if you’re someone who is on the road constantly.

The reason is pretty straightforward; your car’s tyres connect you to the road. Quality tyres serve as an important road safety feature.

By the way, here is a handy tip! Switching the tyre position from rear to front and vice versa every 9,600KM assists them to wear equally. This not only helps in the vehicle’s performance on the road due to less friction, but also increases the overall gas mileage of your vehicle and increases driving comfort for you!

3. Regular oil and filter change

Still on the topic of maintenance, an engine oil basically consists of lubricant; which ensures your engines are oiled up, coolant; which serves as a magnet to pull the heat away from the engine and cleaner; which serves to filter debris from the crevices of the engine.

Changing the engine oil and filter on a regular basis helps the engine perform smoothly and prevents dirt and debris from building up. This is because old oil tend to contain certain amount of dust particles in it especially if your car has been driven in dusty or muddy conditions.

When the engine is well lubricated, it reduces friction and again this provides better gas mileage and gives your engine extended life.

It is best to regularly change your engine oil using quality oil every 5,000km or every three months. However, this also depends on your driving habit so it is best to consult a trusted service mechanic.

4. Getting your car insured

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With road accidents being a norm, in Malaysia, there are three types of insurance available for you to choose from should you be involved in one – find a wood to touch, quick!

The third party cover is a cheap and most minimal policy that shields you against claims for physical injuries or death caused to other people along with losses or damages to their vehicles and or property.

The third party fire and theft cover is an upgrade from the previous in that it additionally allows you to claim reimbursement against accidental damages in the event of a fire of theft of your car.

However, if you’re looking to get a cover for any accidental loss or damage inflicted to your vehicle in the event of an accident, the comprehensive cover is the one to go for since it also covers all the above too.

Under insuring your car can result in partial compensations on claims but be mindful of not over-insuring your car as it can be a waste of money especially if the vehicle is insured above its market value.

Here is an excellent site to calculate the cost of insurance.

5. Researching before purchasing

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The brand New Year might lead some to consider investing in a car. Be it for personal use or family use, the first question that comes to mind is can you afford it? The next question that arises is the type of car that fits your budget range.

It is always great to compare cars of the same budget range to have ample of choices to choose from. Reading up online, researching and asking owners of the same model types on the common problems they face might give you a hint on how much expenditure you’ll be spending should such a situation arise.

Speaking of expenditure, here is an online calculator where you can gauge how much you can afford based on your salary and other expenses. This way, you can plan your purchase according to your affordability.

Meanwhile, to read up on cars, Paul Tan currently holds the number one spot as a local automotive resource site and has been reputable in providing good reviews on vehicles among petrolheads.

6. Choosing a loan payment wisely

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Once you’ve set your eyes on the car you wish to purchase, the next step is to consider purchasing the car via cash or loan.

If it is the latter you chose, then it is best to choose a bank which provides a car loan according to the interest rate and repayment duration of your choice. Typically, banks provide up to 90% of loan with the interest rates for new national cars usually in the range of 2.85% to 4.10% while new non-national cars such as Honda have a smaller range of interest rates; 2.30% to 3%.

It is recommended to fork out extra money to pay more for the 10% down payment of the car to reduce the overall loan amount. The loan repayment duration should also be ideally set to around 5 years if you don’t have any other loans to pay.

This is practical in the long run especially if you plan on purchasing a personal property in five—years’ time.

Here is a great site to check out on the car loan interest rates provided by the banks locally.

This story was brought to you by Honda. Choosing your car wisely is one of the most fool-proof financial decisions you can make if you're looking for a car.

Image via Honda

In the end, the best financial decision you can make is selecting the best car within your budget which in the long run would save you so much due to its fuel efficiency and less cost for maintaining it.

If you're looking for a reliable vehicle to suit a sporty personality and at the same time serve as a family car, the Honda City could be the smartest, most practical buy.

The Honda City starts at an affordable price of RM76,100, and not only is it known for its comfort and smooth driving, it is also fuel efficient. With the tips we’ve listed above, the Honda City could very well be the best financial decision you make in 2016 as a new car owner.

Click to see how Honda City suits your driving needs.