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To get a car

My big reason to join this community for now is just to find out how it is owning a car, buying a car in Thailand. Getting it fixed if its an older car ...
I'ts my 2nd year and 3rd trip and I'm here long enough that I expect a car is worth investing in. Any horror stories - recommended ex-pat oriented car places.

I too am in the process of looking for a car. There may be some considerations as to where you live that would be a contributing factor.

I live in Chiang Mai. Like other parts of the country there are a lot of repo's on the market. Looking at car prices, especially as a Farang, that would not look to be the case. I started looking on Facebook. What a bunch of dreamers. Then I went to a car lot and they too were dreamers. I also looked at a place that serves Farangs. They too had high prices. However I have a Thai friends who knows someone. She helps private owners sell cars, most often to Thai's. That's where I saw my best prices.

As for a repair shop that too will be a challenge. I do have a motor bike and someone to take care of it. He's good and charges a fair price. And of course I found him through a Thai friend. I will have to use my Thai friends a decent shop. Then again it's dubious as to say what is good. One of my Thai friends swears by the shop that keeps her car on the road. I questioned his ability when he said that anti freeze was for rust.

In a way it's no different from the states, only more so if you don't speak the language.

Up to you.

Over the years I have had a couple of Hondas, a couple of Toyotas and a BMW.  I bought them all new so had them serviced at the dealer for little or no expense.  Prices are high here but so is resale, if you buy a popular brand and model.  I would be wary of any business which focused on foreigners.  Blue-collar workers in Thailand are similar to the West in that their ability to work on your car or with their hands doesn’t often go hand in hand with fluency in foreign languages. 

As bill says, find a Thai friend to help you out but try to make sure it is someone who has a job and good standing in the community.  Even a local business owner can be a great source of information and contacts.  If people see you around and start to see you as a more longterm and respectable individual they will be very helpful and expect nothing in return.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t find ways to return the favor, however.

Up to you ... lol.

Yes, either you go to bat for a new car, trying to stick to a low budget you have that set of choices OR  you find someone like this person that organizes private sales. I'm out in Udon Thani - there is a website motors.co.th that gives me some idea of prices. Some you see very low prices and either something is wrong or the car is still owned by finance company. I assume something will be wrong that would be possible to prevent in Australia or USA but here - checking if the car is still owned by a finance contract ... not sure where to start.

At some point i'll have to rent a car just to go around chasing leads. I bought a car back in Australia not long ago too so have some practice dealing with the whole thing.

I heard they added a big new tax on cars not long ago but that must be imports because Suzuki's (manufactured here mostly) seem to be same price as 6 months ago.

Thanks for your reply - just joined to day. First conversation.

Good luck
S

Thanks VilliageFarang - sage advice ... i'll keep looking for locals.

In some ways I don't need the car, so i don't even mind getting a clunker that i have to fix up myself. Have a new car back in Australia - don't know exactly why I bought that right before coming here to live long term. Came into some money and pissed it away I guess.

Until I get established I don't want a shiny new car parked outside getting worn out. So i'm leaning to used car but the prices ... yeah it could be hard.

Longterm having your own car can really extend your range and open your life to new options but if you are still very new there is a lot to be learned by using public transportation or even walking or biking around it new areas.  When I first moved to Chiang Rai from Bangkok I walked as far as I could, rode a mountain bike on every trail I could find, road a motorcycle and a road bike on every road and soi in my area, I covered all the main northern routes on both bike and car.  Ten years on I can still stumble onto something new in Chiang Rai that I didn’t know existed.  No need to rush things too much.  Just enjoy the ride, learn and experience as much as you can absorb.

I've been out here over 12 months - I'm still fine with the Bus etc.
The car is because sometimes going shopping or the villages is much easier than screwing around with Song Theaw and Tuk Tuk - waiting around.  Even that I can stand but there are so many things around to see that I haven't seen because they are in-between all the places public transport takes you.

Also thinking of getting something I can use to transport wood and building supplies for a project I have in mind.

So now it boils down to the question - can you afford to buy one/it?

Yes - i can - i could buy one for millions but i'm trying to not waste money

We visited at least 30 used dealers before buying a motor 2 odd years ago. It was difficult but it got done and done again with same dealer. Brought a 2nd one from them recently and exchanged old one. Got 220k valuation after 18 months and 7k miles of use and only paid 260k for it. Upgraded to a motor just under 3 years old for less than 250 more. That's it though now for 3 years. We upgraded due to safety features and a baby on board!

I recently scouted a used car place and started making enquiries and there was a 2011 Mazda 2 for 260,000 with, apparently, low km. I figure that can be negotiated down ... it does seem doable. The dealer even spoke reasonable english. Starting to feel like it might get done.

Cheers
S

As I said, I too am looking at a used car

I noticed that Facebook has many starting at 400 k baht. For 500 k you can buy a new car. I looked up a Farang dealership, they started at 275 k. I went to a used car lot in the city and they started at 250 k. I went to local Thai's and they were from 90 k - 200k. That's my experience.

What kind of car u looking for

Sounds reasonable and I'm not an expert by any stretch but have a good look for rust and water damage etc. Few videos on YouTube in thai that provide insight which proved very useful.

The chap we brought from. Felt right in every way. We visited so many and could gauge the difference between his stock and other dealers. His inventory had the same look too and you could see he picked his stock carefully.

He had a decent look about him too and was calm yet confident in his approach. He tried it on the 2nd time but we got him down a fair bit and we got him to guarantee the motor for 6 months when normally he only does 3. I did remind the guy when we first purchased from him that we were in the market for a long term dealer of cars and not just 1 car.

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