Things to Keep in Mind when Buying a Car in Malaysia

by | Feb 11, 2022 | APAC - Other Countries | 1 comment

As an expat, one thing you need to know, especially if you don’t want to commute to work on public transportation, is how to buy a car in Malaysia. However, like buying a car in your home country, there are several things you need to keep in mind if you are considering buying one in Malaysia, mainly because you are an expat.

Here are some of the fundamental things you need to remember:

A Car in Malaysia: You Will Need At Least One Per Household

Roadtrips in Malaysia are fun! Source
Roadtrips in Malaysia are fun! by Unsplash

Although there is public transportation in Malaysia, especially in cities like Kuala Lumpur, I recommend you get a car for your household.

There are areas in Malaysia, including the cities, where public transport isn’t operating.

If you are traveling around the country, you will need to have a car.

A Car in Malaysia Is More Expensive Than In Many Western Countries

Whether you purchase a local car or a car from a Western brand, you will pay more for the vehicle than buying the car in Europe or America. You will have to pay 50,000 RM+ for a good car model brand new.

Local Brands Are Much Cheaper and Easier to Service

If you want to purchase a car in Malaysia but don’t want to spend too much, I recommend buying a local brand like Perodua or Proton. While they don’t look great as international brands, they are cheaper to buy and easy to repair.

If you purchase a foreign-made car brand new or second-hand, you may have to pay additional fees like import taxes. Repairing and servicing a local brand is much cheaper and faster, because the parts are available on the market, and you don’t have to call a third-party company overseas to ship the parts to you.

Banks Are Usually Eager to Give Out Loans for a Car in Malaysia

Since expats have on average considerably more income than locals and some expats don’t stay long in the country, banks may offer various loans for expats to finance their car purchases. However, they add some restrictions to protect the lenders, such as shorter payment terms and a 10% down payment.

If you get a loan for your car, you need to show your bank statement, work permit, passport, and company letter.

Beware Of Dodgy Used Car Sellers

There are many sites in Malaysia that sell cars, both new and second-hand, and you may end up getting conned by fake car sellers.

Before you agree to a deal, research the seller’s price to determine if it’s reasonable and if the business is indeed legitimate. Sometimes, dodgy car sellers sell stolen cars to unsuspecting customers, who would then find themselves in legal trouble when they discover the car’s actual status.

Always Get Insurance for Your Car in Malaysia

Old vintage cars are very common on the streets. Source
Old vintage cars are very common on the streets. By Unsplash

You need to make sure you get comprehensive insurance for your vehicle. If you purchased your car through a dealership, they would already sort out the documents for you.

Do note that they may only use one insurance agency that could ask for tons of documents before granting a claim.

Check for other insurance offers and seek the help of a finance professional to see which one fits your car and your financial situation.


As you would when buying a house, make sure you do your research and know what’s required before you get a car. As an expat, there will be some differences in how you can finance the car, what things you need to look out for, and how to protect yourself and your vehicle. Check out the tips I listed above to help you decide on your next significant investment as an expat in Malaysia.

What would I need to be aware of when buying a car in your host country? Why not share your tips with the expat community here on TCI?

by: Kally Tay