Are you missing out on these seven things that every new car ought to come with?
SINGAPORE — Given how much they cost, you would think that all cars in Singapore come with a two bedrooms and a kitchen sink.
Come to think of it, what a car should deliver isn’t too far off from the feelings that your home gives you: the fuzzy sense that even though you paid a lot for it, you made a choice that just feels right for the long term.
But with car prices being what they are, it must be tempting to buy one in the cheapest way possible, from a seller who is eager to deliver the keys but unable to do much more than that, rather than going with an established authorised dealer with a large cost base.
Yet, ignoring the authorised dealer often means cutting yourself off from a support system designed to ensure that you get the very best experience from owning your car.
That positive experience begins when you take delivery of your new car and discover that it comes with a number of important items that help to ensure a happy drive for years.
Here are seven things your new car should come with:
An owner’s Manual
An owner’s manual is like a bible for getting the most out of your new car. It tells you everything you need to know about taking care of it and how to use every single function that came with it.
How should you run in the engine properly? How do you warm it up each morning? What grade of fuel should you put in? It’s all there.
It also provides important safety info, like how to inflate your tyres for sustained high speed driving. Read it and gain wisdom.
Generally, the typical owner’s manual has three parts: a ‘how-to’ section that explains the operation of all the car’s features, a section that lists important maintenance items, and specifications pages that detail fluid capacities, bulb types and sizes, electrical fuse ratings and so on.
A car sold through authorised channels will have the owner’s manual in English, and with information pertinent to the country the car is registered in. It’s such a treasure trove of information that reading it is almost certain to tell you something useful and interesting about your car.
Most new cars come with a separate manual for the infotainment system, as well.
If your car is missing either of these, it’s a sign that the party that sold it to you has no interest in whether you have enjoy a satisfying ownership experience with your car or not.
A handy care booklet
Taking care of your car isn’t something you do on your own. There should be a support network of servicing centres (ideally, more than one so you can always find one nearby) and a table that lets you know the precise servicing intervals for your car — do you take it in every 5,000km, every six months, every time Liverpool wins the Premiere League, or when?
That lets you know exactly when you should have your car’s routine servicing done so you don’t neglect it and risk engine damage, or conversely, so you don’t take it in for servicing before it’s due and waste money.
A care booklet like this lists all the numbers you need for servicing centres, too. Think of it as the best way to stay in contact with the people who will help you to keep your car in tip condition.
Better to have an expert to call than… well, whomever…
At least two warranties
Cars are sold with factory warranties and very often, an extended warranty supplied by their authorised dealer.
Every new Toyota, for example, comes with a three-year comprehensive mechanical warranty from the factory. But Toyotas sold by authorised distributor Borneo Motors come with the Toyota Shield extended warranty, that adds an extra two years of coverage.
While the thought of a three-year warranty from the factory is a comforting one, keep in mind that you still need someone to facilitate any warranty claims — and no, an authorised distributor is not legally obliged to honour a warranty for a car it did not sell.
A ready supply of parts
Spare parts aren’t only important if something fails on your car. Someone could collide with you and destroy a bumper, for example.
Luckily, authorised distributors carry spares for the cars they sell. Borneo Motors, for example, has a $2.2m Central Parts Depot with 7,222 square metres of storage space.
The best distributors don’t just have to carry spares, but have to deliver them quickly when they are needed. This fulfillment (or Service Rate) is audited by factory representatives and distributors are scored and ranked. For example, Borneo Motors has a Service Rate of 97, which is considered high by Toyota standards.
What Service Rate score would you give a company that merely sells cars, but not the parts needed to repair them?
A full set of keys
Every new car should come with at least a main key and a spare key. The latter should also come with a small metal plate with a code that the authorised distributor can use to order you a replacement key.
That’s way more secure than going to a third party and asking them to clone it.
Membership to a loyalty programme
Some parties sell you a car and wish you well, but others welcome you to a family. One way to do this is to offer loyalty programmes.
The ToyotaME rewards programme by Borneo Motors is a great example of this.
It lets customers collect loyalty points for cash spent at any authorised Toyota Service and Bodycare Centre.
These can be used to redeem attractive rewards like Toyota premiums or discount vouchers for aftersales purchases, or even for experiences like a family day in the Toyota Alphard.
But ToyotaME members can also do their part for charity. For example, they can use ToyotaME points to pledge donations to Club Rainbow.
The Toyota ME programme is just one example of how authorised dealers go out of their way to ensure that customers get maximum fulfillment from their ownership experience.
Floormats from the manufacturer (and not from a third party)
Original floormats might not seem like a big deal, but like everything that comes from the factory, they are designed to work with your car in harmony.
So much so that not using third-party mats is a matter of safety.
Factory-supplied floormats are shaped to perfectly match the driver’s side floor area, and come with hooks or clips to keep them from moving around. Why? To prevent interference with the car’s pedals, a danger known as “pedal entrapment”.
Using aftermarket mats exposes you to this unnecessary hazard, but of course, if your car is supplied with the floormats that it ought to have come with, you can rest easy.
Just think of them as a welcome mat for your car, like the one you have at home — familiar, comforting and a fuzzy reminder of having made the right choices in life.