What You Need To Know Before Buying A Car In Singapore?

What You Need To Know Before Buying A Car In Singapore?

The most current information about everything before buying a car

The issue of buying a car in Singapore seems very confusing and complicated for many. However, in reality, everything is much simpler, and if you turn to the car dealer, he will take care of all the problems, you just have to sign the necessary papers. So, let’s understand the local system of taxes and duties. By market value of a car in Singapore we mean the base cost of the car during its import. Singapore Customs determines the market value of each car, and many additional duties depend on this amount. Having paid a registration fee of $140 (Registration Fee), you will have to pay an additional registration fee (Additional Registration Fee), which is 100, 140 or even 180% of the market value of the machine plus 20% of excise taxes (Excise Duty).

 Next, you will be asked to pay another 7% for goods and services tax and road tax. This amount may decrease if you buy a hybrid car, electric car, or natural gas powered car. To become a full-fledged car owner, you must obtain a license to own a car called Certificate of Entitlement, or COE, valid for 10 years. The Singapore government uses the SOE system to control the number of cars in the country, and therefore their issuance is limited. The cost of this paper varies depending on demand. For example, in December 2019, for a category B car (engine capacity of more than 1,600 cc) it is $36,000. After a 10-year period, the certificate can be renewed for another 5 years one-time or 10 years with the right to further renewal.

Despite the fact that the cost of buying a car in Singapore at first glance may seem much higher than in other countries, remember that if you decide to sell or remove it from the country, you will be reimbursed for the cost of the unused COE term. In addition, you will return 50–75% of the registration fee. A very convenient way to pay for your purchase may be a loan. Typically, the annual interest rate is about 2%. The loan is issued for a period of up to 5 years, but only 50% of the final cost of the car, the remaining amount must be paid by the buyer at the time of concluding the contract with the dealer. All cars must be insured. The choice of insurance companies is great, and the cost of the policy is on average $2200 for cars with an engine capacity of 2 liters. Detailed information on COE, registration fees, tax fees and insurance is available at www.onemotoring.com.sg.

Car rental and leasing

If you work under a contract, it will probably be more convenient for you to borrow the car for temporary use, since a leasing agreement can be concluded for a period suitable for you. All major car rental companies offer special packages including 24-hour service, even in Malaysia. If you come to Singapore only from time to time, you can rent a car for a short time. Make sure that the car is insured, and remember that you will have to pay extra for using it in Malaysia. On average, renting a sedan will cost you $1,500 per month.

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Exchange of foreign driver’s license for Singapore

If you already have a driver’s license obtained in a foreign country, then in Singapore you can drive a car for a year, after which you will need to change them to local ones. If your rights are not in English, you must make a translation and certify it at the consular department.

To get a Singapore driver’s license, you need to pass the Basic Driving Theory Test, which is passed on a computer, includes 50 questions and checks the knowledge of local road signs and traffic rules. You can make no more than five mistakes. You can apply by personally contacting one of the following centers:

  • Singapore Safety Driving Center / 3 Ang Mio Kio Street 62 / www.ssdcl.com.sg
  • Bukit Batok Driving Center / 815 Bukit Batok West Ave 5 / www.bbdc.sg
  • ComfortDelGro Driving Center / 205 Ubi Ave 4 / www.cdc.com.sg

The cost of the exam is $6.50 (you can pay only in cash or using NETS and CashCard). A textbook on driving theory can be bought at these centers, as well as in bookstores and gas stations, or by downloading the app from the AppStore.

Getting a driver’s license

If you have never had a driver’s license, you will have to go through the standard procedure, which consists of several stages. It is necessary to pass a basic test on the theory of driving (Basic Driving Theory Test), about which we wrote in detail above. You are preparing for the surrender on your own, using tutorials, useful websites and mobile applications.

Having successfully passed the basic test, you will receive Provisional Driving License (cost $25) – rights for beginners with whom you can drive a car with an instructor. Then you start practicing with an instructor (from school or with a private teacher), perfecting your skills day after day. The number of practical classes (the cost of one lesson from $35 to $85) is not regulated in any way, 15 lessons are enough for some students, 25 are not enough for others. Your instructor will tell you when you are ready to pass the exam. When you feel confident behind the wheel and have learned all the rules, you should take the Final Driving Theory Test, which includes safety and driving techniques.

The cost of the exam is $6.50. Once you have passed the final theoretical test and passed the required number of practical lessons, you can go to the Practical Driving Test, which costs $26. The examiner, a representative of the traffic police, will closely monitor your actions at the race track and in the city. There is no clear time for the exam – you will drive until you prove to the examiner that you are a confident driver, you know the road signs, road markings and traffic rules, give way to a pedestrian, even if he is not going to cross it, you know how to park and where you can stop.

For gross violations, the test is interrupted immediately, for insignificant penal points will be assigned to you, and if the total number of points does not exceed the permissible value, then you successfully passed the exam.

It is important to know that the queue for passing exams is large and sometimes you need to wait several months before the exam day, so we recommend that you reserve a seat in advance (through the websites of driving schools), and not after graduation.

Payment of toll roads and parking lots

The gray device above the dashboard in your car — the IU, or In-vehicle Unit — is the reader into which CashCard is inserted. It works like a deposit card, with which parking is paid (the required amount is usually charged automatically upon departure) and toll roads (Electronic Road Pricing, or ERP). Paid are high-speed freeways and central areas of the city, the fare for which varies from $0.50 to $6 (depending on the place and time of day). CashCard can be bought and replenished at parking lots, gas stations, 7-Eleven stores and through an ATM, if your bank account is connected to the NETS system.

Street parking is paid through the Parking.SG mobile app. You only need to bind the bank card data, and payment will be charged automatically. The application is very convenient to use and allows you to manage the parking (start, extend and end the parking session at any time). Singapore also runs MotorPay, which allows you to pay for ERP directly from a credit card. The monthly cost of service is S $ 1.07. Details are available at www.motorpay.com.sg.

Off-peak driving

The red color of the car’s license plate means that its owner participates in the Off Peak Car Scheme (OPCS) program, a government initiative designed to reduce the number of cars leaving the streets during peak hours. In return, program participants save on registration fees ($17,000) and road taxes ($500).

The rules allow such drivers to leave at any time on weekends and holidays, on ordinary days they can appear on the road from 19:00 to 07:00 the next day. To drive the car at any other time, the program participant requires a one-day license (e-Day License), which costs $20.

Drink driving

If you are stopped and found to have more than 0.8 ppm of alcohol in your blood, you will have to pay a fine in the amount of $1000 to $5000 and you may receive 6 months in prison. In case of a secondary violation, you will be fined from $3,000 to $10,000 and imminent imprisonment for up to 1 year. All violators are deprived of a driver’s license for at least a year.


  • Using a mobile phone while driving – $1000 and confiscation of the device or 6 months in prison.
  • Speeding at 20 km / h (permitted speed in the city is 50 km / h) – $130 and 4 penalty points.
  • If you did not give way to a pedestrian on a zebra, you will have to pay $ 50 and 6 penalty points.
  • Driving on a forbidden traffic signal – $200 and 12 penalty points.

These are necessary information before buying a car in Singapore, which you will need to know.

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