You might refer to your car as your “wife” and have spent many loving hours polishing its rims. But no matter how much care and attention you lavish on your vehicle, braving the tarmac and the elements isn’t an easy task, and sooner or later something unfortunate is likely to happen to your car with the possibility of getting into an accident.
If an accident does happen, the range of repairs needed could be from a tiny fix to a full-scale replacement. Either way, you’re going to find out that the COE isn’t the only thing that makes car ownership expensive in Singapore. Here are money-saving tips that can help you mitigate the loss in 5 sticky situations.
Maybe you left the light on in your car or the battery has just reached the end of its lifespan. Either way, a dead battery could result in you having to pay to get your car towed to the nearest workshop, which will add on to the pain of having to replace your battery.
This problem can be alleviated simply by always making sure you have jump- starter cables in your boot. You can get them easily from any petrol kiosk in Singapore for approximately $30. Find a kind soul to jump start your car with the help of their car battery and hot foot it to the nearest workshop to get the battery checked out.
Singapore is not one of those places where having a beat up old car full of battle scars is a sign of a life well-lived. But if you run to the workshop for a touch up each time you discover a fresh scratch, you’re probably looking at an outlay of at least $200 per door. Invest in some scratch-removing polish instead and try to get rid of the damage yourself. It’s surprisingly effective at banishing light to moderate scratches, and even minor paint stains.
Depending on the brand, scratch removers are available from between $20 to $30 and can make quite a huge difference.
Fixing a flat tyre on your own is one of those things that everyone knows deep down they should learn to do, but tons of Singaporeans don’t bother to. If you learn how to fix a flat tyre, interchange your tyres or at least pump a punctured tyre and stick on a DIY patch, you can save yourself a ton of money by not having to get the car towed.
Learn to remove and replace a flat tyre with the spare one in your boot, it’s really not that difficult, and can save you from calling the towing service which could set you back approximately $50. Switch to the spare tyre and again, drive to the nearest tyre shop to get the puncture fixed.
Another easy solution is to arm yourself with DIY patches and a foot pump or electric pump, which should enable you to temporarily fix the tyre in time to (slowly) drive to the nearest car workshop. Some shops will give you a free tyre repair kit when you buy spare tyres.
So you got into an accident and you’re about to reach for the phone to call your insurer to make a claim. Before you do that, always estimate the cost of the repairs first, and then do the math to see if it makes sense to make a claim.
If the repair costs are higher than your excess, you’ll want to check if making a claim will affect your No Claim Discount (NCD – the discount you get off your insurance premium for not making a claim). For small amounts, it’s usually not worth it to forfeit your NCD.
In addition, when you’re picking an insurance policy, it’s a good idea to select one that offers additional cost savings perks. For instance, HL Assurance’s car plans not only gives you comprehensive coverage but also a 50% discount on the excess amount if you get your car repaired at one of their approved workshops.
But do remember to still call your insurer to report the accident within 24 hours or by the next working day, regardless if you are making a claim or not. Otherwise you may find yourself in a position of having your claims being prejudiced or declined later by insurers.
If you haven’t been checking your water and coolant levels or haven’t been servicing your engine regularly, you might find yourself with an overheating situation, especially in the unbearable Singapore heat.
If you find your temperature gauge going through the roof, don’t try to be smart and drive to your destination as quickly as possible. Otherwise you may risk damaging your engine, which is going to cost you a fortune. Stop by the side of the road, wait for the engine to cool and then top up your water and/or coolant. When the temperature has gone back down to normal, drive to a workshop immediately and get the problem checked out.