Don’t get ripped off by the mechanic

CarBuyer Team
car mechanic Singapore

Bought a car and wondering how to go about keeping it in good condition?


Now that you have bought a car, new or pre-owned, you’ll no doubt be revelling in the freedom of being able to drive anywhere you want, anytime you want. Of course, along with that freedom comes the additional cost and expense of maintaining a car. Scheduled vehicle maintenance is part of the ownership experience, and with a bit of personal education you can avoid getting blindsided by seemingly random problems or worse, get ripped off by an unscrupulous workshop. 

car mechanic Singapore

Get educated on the basics of vehicle componentry

You don’t need a degree in mechanical engineering nor do you need to know what every bit on your car does, but it pays to at least have an understanding of how cars work. This information is available for free all over the internet these days so even if you’re totally new to cars just a few hours of research can be of great help in knowing how your car works and what can go wrong. At very least, you won’t be hoodwinked into paying for the refilling of ‘blinker fluid’ and ‘LED headlight coolant’. 

car mechanic Singapore

Deal with an established, trusted workshop

If you bought a new car then the warranties will cover you for the first few years of ownership maintenance. However if you have a pre-owned car, or your present car is getting along in years, you’ll no doubt notice that servicing at the dealership is usually a more expensive option than at an independent workshop. 

Most mainstream car brands have specialist workshops that work only on a few brands of cars and have the ability to source for genuine parts. These are great go-to places if you strike up a working relationship with them.

However as car ownership is usually a long term prospect, working with workshops can also be a very personal thing. Some drivers prefer to have the car taken off their hands, get the jobs sorted, and handed back to them upon completion. This seems to be the method of choice for most Singaporeans.

However many specialist and enthusiast workshops are also happy to work with owners who know exactly what they need, and get their hands dirty so to speak. These guys take a more consultative approach to vehicle maintenance, which is favoured by serious car enthusiasts

Which method works best for you is largely down to how much do you want to get involved in the nuts and bolts of your car’s maintenance. 

car mechanic Singapore

Do your research on consumables, but don’t go overboard arguing your point

An average family sedan has more than 10,000 moving, mechanical parts. Some of these are consumables that will not last forever. The trick is to understand what will wear out and must be replaced, and be financially prepared for that.

High cost and labour-intensive replacement items include tyres, brake components, and parts of the steering system. Another common point of failure with older cars is the air conditioning system, and this usually needs a complete replacement rather than a patchwork repair. 

Being aware of component lifespans means that you are unlikely to be in for a surprise as they tick down towards the end of their functional lives. Still, do try not to be too much of a smarty-pants about it and argue with the mechanic on reasonable grounds of maintenance.

We could talk about comparing costs, but these days with time being a more precious commodity than ever it can be quite a pain driving your car around to get problems diagnosed at different workshops. We recommend simply finding a workshop that you’re comfortable with and sticking with them. 

See what really happens inside Volkswagen Singapore’s service centre!

car mechanic Singapore

Ask knowledgeable friends

Got car nut friends? Ask them for advice. Most are all too willing to share what they know and insider tips. There’s a caveat though, and with some friends you could end up getting influenced to throw more money at your car than you first intended to. Enhancements are one thing, but remember that most Singaporeans don’t drive the same car for more than five years so you need to realise that unlike a house, what you put into modifying the car won’t be a lifelong item, and could be subject to the same wear and tear conditions. So budget as you need, but you don’t have to go crazy accessorising, unless of course that was your plan all along. 

Looking for a good pre-owned car? Check out CarBuyer Singapore’s Marketplace for plenty of good deals to meet any budget!


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About the Author

CarBuyer Team

CarBuyer Singapore brings the most relevant, accurate and useful car news to Singaporeans in both print and online formats.

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