Questions on buying a car

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Questions on buying a car

Postby Bobarctor » 03 Jul 2012, 22:21

Hi folks,

I am thinking of buying a car. Couple of questions:
- Parking: I live in Taipei, near City Hall station (north), I noticed that it is free to park in the small alleys but I have never spotted a single space available for the last two weeks. There is the underground parking under Songshan High Scool that I could use, it is a Taipei City parking. As a resident in a nearby area, is it possible to get a monthly fee ? I am not going to use the car except at the week-ends, can I expect to find something maybe 10 mins walk from my home, below 2500 NT ?
- Buying: I was spotting a website hotcar.com.tw which is apparently a chain of second hand dealers and quite famous in Taiwan. Any thoughts on this ? I know nothing about mechanics :) but would be able to run a checklist.

The parking will decide everything :)

Ju
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Re: Questions on buying a car

Postby mr_boogie » 03 Jul 2012, 22:37

you can ask sulavaca for help, he can help you find a good car for a small fee.... he is a mechanic, so for sure can give you a good one....
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Re: Questions on buying a car

Postby Tiger Mountaineer » 03 Jul 2012, 22:53

Bobarctor wrote:- Parking: I live in Taipei, near City Hall station (north), I noticed that it is free to park in the small alleys but I have never spotted a single space available for the last two weeks. There is the underground parking under Songshan High Scool that I could use, it is a Taipei City parking. As a resident in a nearby area, is it possible to get a monthly fee ? I am not going to use the car except at the
The parking will decide everything :)


In my experience the average rent for a parking space in Taipei is 3-4k per month, probably on the higher side in that area. Taipei City lots just charge by the day afaik--no monthly, and no nearby-resident rates. Closer to Shimin Blvd. there might be a cheaper private lot though. You can find listings on 591.com.tw for parking spots for rent. Best deal is to rent from sb in an apartment building who does not use their space.
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Re: Questions on buying a car

Postby kaikai34 » 03 Jul 2012, 23:30

If you are only using your car for the weekends, I would drive around and search for free parking in the alleys. The reason being, you only have to look for a place once a week. Buy a foldable bike and throw it in the trunk. That way you can increase your search radius. 2500 seems a bit low. You'll probably have to pay triple that for the area you are in. Seems like it may be worth your while to look for the free parking.
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Re: Questions on buying a car

Postby Doraemonster » 04 Jul 2012, 00:06

Bobarctor wrote:Parking: I live in Taipei, near City Hall station (north), I noticed that it is free to park in the small alleys but I have never spotted a single space available for the last two weeks. There is the underground parking under Songshan High Scool that I could use, it is a Taipei City parking. As a resident in a nearby area, is it possible to get a monthly fee ? I am not going to use the car except at the week-ends, can I expect to find something maybe 10 mins walk from my home, below 2500 NT ?

You can still conveniently park for free in some areas. For example, where I live in Muzha there's always a plenty of street-side parking spaces. I know Muzha is somehow special, but even in other districts riverside or more remote areas are also like that. Even if you don't live very close to such a place, you can keep the car there if you only plan to use it occasionally or on the weekends, which is what you say.

Parking in lanes is generally free, but people that live there sometimes "take ownership" of the space in front of their house or shop (which is illegal), and might be hostile if you park there for too long, or on a regular basis. Some might even damage your car. It will also get scratched by scooters a lot. If you really want to do this, make sure you buy a car with electrically folding mirrors.

Parking on some streets is also free (generally, when there are no numbers painted on the spaces). Your best options to find a plenty of spaces are next to a park, a school or some other public building, a fence, or some other "nobody's land" (but always make sure there is no red or yellow line where you park). Also, it's always best to park between other cars, and far away from scooters (at least if you care about the paint).

If one day you really can't find any space, park anywhere in the evening and get up early in the morning to move the car when many people drive to work and "better" spaces free up - this is what local people do. :)

If you want something better, you can rent a parking space on a yearly (cheaper) or monthly basis at a underground car park or in some larger or newer buildings that have underground garages (look for "租車位" advertisements or ask the security). Spaces in buildings are generally rented from private persons, and might be worth it if you want to commit for at least a year - usually they expect you to do this, but you can bargain the price; public car parks are generally the cheapest on a monthly basis, but be aware that you are just getting a permission to enter the car park, not exclusive use of any particular space, and people who want to park per-hour can usually park in the same spaces. Some car parks are almost always full for this reason, and you wouldn't want to pay for them on a monthly basis, because most of the time you won't be able to use them: one such example is Jinhua in Da'an.

There are always a few options. The best way is to take a walk around the area, looking at potential car parks, garage spaces for rent, etc., and decide what's best for you. You can sometimes find private spaces for rent on http://www.591.com.tw/ but not many people post such ads. For public car parks, everything is on this website: http://www.pma.taipei.gov.tw/

From my own experience: for the past year living in Muzha, I rented a space in the underground garage in my building. This was rather cheap, because only people that live in this building are allowed to use the car park, so the space cannot be rented to anyone from outside, and there is always some street-side parking available anyway. Before, when I lived in Da'an, I used the public underground car park under the Da'an Park, paying on a monthly basis. There are always some free spaces there, so finding one was never a problem (this might change when MRT Da'an Park station opens in December though).

Bobarctor wrote:Buying: I was spotting a website hotcar.com.tw which is apparently a chain of second hand dealers and quite famous in Taiwan. Any thoughts on this ? I know nothing about mechanics :) but would be able to run a checklist.

Hotcar is just some alliance of dealers. There are a few others, and the largest one is called SUM ("Serve Your Motors" or something like that). Their prices are all inflated, and cars always look shiny and polished, but it does not mean they had any maintenance done, or are even safe to drive. You will need to arrange for this separately on your own, and often it's quite a considerable amount of money (many cars are sold and not passed within family if they have some underlying issues that are difficult or costly to fix). For private sellers, you can try these three websites: http://www.ocar.com.tw/ , http://www.8891.com.tw/ , and http://tw.bid.yahoo.com/. Be mindful that most of the cars you can find through these websites will be in terrible condition, and sellers will be desperately lying about it (some of these "private" sellers are actually dealers looking to offload particularly bad cars). I've been through all this last year.

Another option you have is to use Sulavaca's services, which is what I did and I can strongly recommend him. It might not be the cheapest option when you look at it initially (that is what I thought), but it is well worth it if you consider the total cost of ownership (including maintenance), and your safety (looking on my own I almost bought a post-accident car, and only his inspection saved me from making such a huge mistake; after that I decided I really didn't have the skills and knowledge to look for a car here on my own). His website is: http://www.actaiwan.com/

Last but not least, if you hurry, you also have the third option of buying the car from me, as I'm about to leave Taiwan soon. :bow:
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Questions on buying a car

Postby headhonchoII » 04 Jul 2012, 06:38

Wow well explained, fair play. Take this mans advice, better still take his car!

Having a car in the rest of the island is just so much easier. Underground parking comes as standard in many places outside of Taipei.
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Re: Questions on buying a car

Postby Doraemonster » 04 Jul 2012, 12:01

Here's the list of all public car parks in Taipei, along with the prices:
http://www.pma.taipei.gov.tw/lp.asp?ctN ... &mp=117021

At some, there are discount prices for local residents (里民), but it's possible you'd need to have your household registration there to qualify (which would automatically exclude most "foreigners" and also people just renting, not owning an apartment).

I lived in different 里 ("li") than Da'an Park, so I wouldn't have qualified anyway.
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Re: Questions on buying a car

Postby Bobarctor » 04 Jul 2012, 20:42

Thanks a lot. I saw your offer for your car but this is not the model I am looking for :) I might go for a Ford Escape if I find a good deal.

For the parking, yes, I will go to ask around, there are plenty of underground parking near my place and it would just be bad luck if I can't find one with some free space at a fair price.

You mentioned you were parking in Da'an Public Parking, I believe those are the parking administrated by Taipei City, the one you can pay with easy card ? There is one like this near my home, I'll check if they accept monthly payment and offer a discount. There is also near my place some parking spot that are 40NT an hour from 7am to 8pm on weekdays. Anyway to have a kind of "residential" card and get those cheaper ?
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Re: Questions on buying a car

Postby Doraemonster » 04 Jul 2012, 21:36

Bobarctor wrote:I might go for a Ford Escape if I find a good deal.

Be careful not buy a car that's too high, you will severely limit your parking options. (I don't know the height of the car you mention, but it might be somewhere on the border.)

Bobarctor wrote:You mentioned you were parking in Da'an Public Parking, I believe those are the parking administrated by Taipei City, the one you can pay with easy card ?

Yeah, you can pay with Easycard there. If you buy the monthly pass, they will also encode it on your Easycard (so have one ready when you go to buy it).

Bobarctor wrote:There is one like this near my home, I'll check if they accept monthly payment and offer a discount.

Doraemonster wrote:Here's the list of all public car parks in Taipei, along with the prices:
http://www.pma.taipei.gov.tw/lp.asp?ctN ... &mp=117021

It's all in the link I posted above, but in Chinese. I can help you find the part about your nearest car park if you tell me its name or where it is.

Bobarctor wrote:Anyway to have a kind of "residential" card and get those cheaper ?

Doraemonster wrote:At some, there are discount prices for local residents (里民), but it's possible you'd need to have your household registration there to qualify (which would automatically exclude most "foreigners" and also people just renting, not owning an apartment).

See above. You can try, but don't expect you will get it. :)
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Re: Questions on buying a car

Postby sulavaca » 04 Jul 2012, 21:46

Bobarctor wrote:Thanks a lot. I saw your offer for your car but this is not the model I am looking for :) I might go for a Ford Escape if I find a good deal.


You should find nothing but good deals, or at least good sounding deals on Ford Escapes. They don't hold their prices well and suffer one of the greatest rates of depreciation on SUVs.
They are heavy on fuel and not terribly reliable.

If I were to offer my best advice, then my first advice is not to run an SUV. Many models, albeit not all don't have much of a space advantage over many mid to large sized saloons, hatches and wagons, e.g. Mazda 5, 2001 onwards Toyota Camry, Subaru Forester (if you can find one), Toyota RAV 4 (higher priced, but looses less over time). There are a few other examples I could come up with according to criteria.
My second piece of advice is that if you must go with an SUV, but only need one for the road, then go with a Honda CRV. It suffers the least depreciation, can come with a host of options, is the best fuel economy of most SUVs, is super reliable, easy to use, good interior space and drives very well.

If you absolutely must go with one of my least favourite SUVs bar BMW X5s and Mercedes MLs, and really have to have the Ford, then also be aware that an all new model will be, or I should say might be available in Taiwan as early as next year. This might kill present values on all new and used models. It shouldn't make too much difference to most people however who are expecting the Escape to generally loose quite a lot of value anyway.
I know of a very presentable recent model with low mileage if you are really interested. :wink:
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