My current car is 11 years old Toyota Estima registered in May 2009. I purchased the second-hand car in Mid 2017 with a mileage of ~100K. It was decent, since yearly mileage is less than 15K which is considered low. Last year, I extended 10-year COE, which I also shared a post.
NEW CAR – HIGH CAPEX, LOW OPEX
Since 2016, I have spent relatively little CAPEX compare to years before that, where I owned two brand new BMWs from PML. I drove a BMW-320 from 2008 for 3 years and BMW-523 from 2011 for 5 over years. The OPEX is really low aside from normal regular services and tyres change. This is because of their brand-new condition and the warranty given by dealer.
OLD CAR – LOW CAPEX, HIGH OPEX
On the contrary, I have incurred significant OPEX for my current Estima, which I own for slightly more than 4 years now. Since the purchase, and aside from regular service, I had been going to the workshop regularly for repairs. It is not just the money, but also the hassle of not having a car for days is quite a big headache for me. My office is really far, and I do need a car for my work.
YEAR 2017 – OVERHAUL SUSPENSION AND BRAKES
Shortly after the purchase, the aircon broke down, but luckily it was repaired as warranty. Two front speakers of the car were also faulty and I changed it together with the car audio system costing SGD630. I also went for normal car service costing SGD225.
After driving for a few months, I keep hearing that funny “crack crack” sound near the steering area of my car. I also felt hard “suspensions”!
Stupidly, I went to a rather expensive repair shop called Autobacs. The mechanics are also great salesmen. Nonetheless, the service is great and the workshop is big, neat and tidy. Autobacs is owned by Japan company, and it did exhibit Japan quality aside from the huge price tag.
To resolve the “crack” sound, I was recommended to change the full suspension system including springs, stabilizer bars etc, otherwise there is no guarantee of correction of problem. And they only sell original Toyota parts. Since my intent is to extend COE, I “heart-painfully” said yes. At the same time, I also installed front and back car cameras, which I felt is essential.
· Suspension shock absorbers, mounting and stoppers, stabilizer links, bearings, cover, wheel alignment, disc brakes, all original parts, labour – SGD4,400
· HD camera and installation Front and back – SGD460
2017 OPEX – SGD4,400 + Normal Car service SGD225 + Audio SGD630 + Cameras SGD460
YEAR 2018 – RADIATOR, ENGINE MOUNTS CRACK, ROOF LEAK
More problems surfaced the next year. I started feeling vibration when I drove and hear “clunking” sound. My passenger automatic sliding doors also did not just automatic open, but it also “auto closed” after it was opened half-way.
During the visit to workshop, the mechanic also told me, my battery is going to be flat soon, and radiator need to change. I also rotated and balanced my steering. Luckily the motor of my auto slide doors is still ok. Service is only SGD50, compared to perhaps thousands if the motor-gearbox of slide door is spoilt.
· Radiator fan motors 640, Engine mounting sets 735, Tyre rotate and balance 40, Labour 560, Battery Bosch 239, Coolant 98
· Automatic sliding door service – SGD50
· After discount and points rebate – SGD2,160
Several months later, the car started leaking during rainy days. At the same time, the car is also due for service. I went to Autobacs workshop again, and I asked them to check once and for all the entire car, and help me changed whatever I need to change. I hate coming to workshop again and again. Below is damage to my purse.
· Moon roof leak 740
· Spark plugs 120, Valve cover gasket 135, vacuum hoses 90, Timing tensioner 280, Engine oil cap 40, Labour 180, Aircon filter 20, Air filter 39, Battery Terminal 79
· After discount – SGD1,600
The same year, I also go for another regular service and Vicom inspection.
· Normal Car Service, 103 + 118 – SGD221
· Vicom inspection – SGD66
2018 OPEX – SGD3,643 + Normal Car Service SGD221 + Vicom SGD66
YEAR 2019 – GEARBOX OVERHAUL, HEAD LAMPS, WING MIRRORS REPAIR
Next, one side of the wing mirror auto-fold system malfunction. Upon recommendation of Autobacs, I changed the whole wing mirror with original Toyota parts. My HID lights also started to have flicking problems.
· Repair entire wing mirror and painting (original) – SGD680
· Coolant and driveshaft seal leak – SGD423
· HID Lights change – SGD142
· Headlight covers polishing – SGD98
· Normal Car service – SGD118
During one service, it was also discovered that my driveshaft is leaking. At the same time, the mechanic of Autobacs also discovered that my Gearbox is leaking as well. The quotation for Gearbox overhaul is SGD2,800 from Autobacs.
I started to wonder did I pay too much to Autobacs over the years. I approached a long-time friend who is a car dealer and also own a car workshop. My friend’s workshop quoted SGD2,100 for the gearbox overhaul.
· Gearbox full overhaul – SGD2,100 (non-Autobacs)
Since then, I never go back to Autobacs anymore and started patronizing my friend’s workshop instead.
2019 OPEX – SGD3,443 + Normal Car Service SGD118
YEAR 2020 – TYRES BEARINGS AND ALTERNATOR
Early this year, I started to hear “growling” sound from my rear wheels. I changed the Tyre bearings and did wheel alignment.
During circuit breaker, my car battery also ran flat. After the circuit breaker, I started seeing “battery warning light” while driving and heard whining sound. I am sure it is alternator problem and indeed it is.
· Tyre bearings – SGD470
· Wheel alignment – SGD50
· Battery replacement at home carpark – SGD180
· Alternator change and labour – SGD425
· Normal Car Service – SGD108
· Vicom – SGD66
2020 (to date) OPEX – SGD1,125 + Normal Car Service SGD108 + Vicom SGD66
CAR TYRES CHANGE
During the four years, I changed 8 tyres and do patching once.
· 2017 : 17in Tyres x 2 Front – SGD540 (Autobacs)
· 2018 : Tyre patching – SGD10
· 2019 : 17in Tyres x 2 Rear SGD700 (Autobacs) ; Tyres punctured. Change x 2 Front, SGD390 (non-Autobacs) – SGD1,090
· 2020: 17in Tyres x 2 Rear – SGD360 (non-Autobacs)
Car Tyres OPEX in four years – SGD2,000
ACCIDENT REPAIR COSTS
It was a very unlucky year in 2018 when me and wife both have one accident each, resulting in major body works repair. Fortunately, the accidents were not involving any moving cars and no injury whatsoever for anyone.
· 2018 : Accidents. Major Body Work Repairs SGD1300 (me) + SGD1750 (wife) – SGD3,050
· 2020 : Car panel repair – SGD700
Accident Damage in four years – SSGD3,750
· Audio – SGD630
· Cameras – SGD460
Total ~ SGD1.1K
OPEX for Inspection, Normal Wear and Tear
· Car Service – SGD672
· Vicom – SGD132
· Tyres – SGD2,000
· Repairs – SGD12,611 (Annual SGD3.2K)
Total ~ SGD15.4K
Annual ~ SGD3.9K
Total Accident repairs ~ SGD3.8K
TOTAL OPEX for 4 years ~SGD20K. Annually ~ SGD5K excluding insurance and road tax.
Excluding the accident repair charge, the annual OPEX is ~SGD4K.
If we also exclude tyres replacement and regular service charges, the annual OPEX is SGD3.2K.
Overall, this is definitely not one of the luckiest cars I have owned, financially-wise. In my opinion, SGD5K of annual OPEX is quite high, excluding insurance and road tax.
Of course, it. is partly due to our negligence of accidents. Furthermore, my car is a 2.4L MPV which in general incur higher charges than non-continental saloon cars. Nonetheless, no one is injured while driving this car. This is very important.
In my opinion, SGD3-4K per annum of OPEX is pretty common for an old car of more than 7 years. The previous owner probably also did not take too good care of the car.
One thing that I can take comfort of is that the car engine is still very smooth and quiet. Toyota engine is really known for its longevity. After talking to a friend who also previously owned older cars, the repairs which I have done are mostly normal and wear. No major problem from the car thus-far.
Anyway, I intend to drive the car for at least until the first 5 years of the COE expired i.e. 1Q2024. Hopefully I had already repair most of the things that is needed for repair, and OPEX will fall in years to come.
To conclude, if you want to save on CAPEX to buy second-hand older or COE cars, be prepared to enter the workshop often, unless you are very lucky that the previous owners maintain the car really well.
How about your car?