Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eyeing a 2nd Hand Avanza

The Toyota Avanza is without doubt one of the most popular 7-seaters on Malaysian roads. Reasonably priced at around RM70,000+ for the 1.5L variant (without ABS and airbags), the Avanza is the kind of family mover that's bound to remain popular well into the next decade.
When cleverly done up, it can look really attractive, as can be seen from the featured Avanza.
Not surprisingly, Avanzas can still fetch a reasonable resale value.
Nonetheless, as with all second hand cars, one of the main things to look out for is engine trembling caused by damaged engine mounting. The most obvious tell-tale sign is rough idling, which is audible enough to be discerned and can even be felt right through the steering wheel.
When in good condition, a car shouldn't vibrate so badly that it sounds rough and shudders at the steering wheel. So, regardless of the "tip-top" assurances by used car sales persons, walk away from an Avanza that feels rough to the touch. Otherwise, use that as a leverage for further discounts.
Another thing to look out for is the smell of cigarette ash in the passenger compartment. Experience shows that people who smoke in their cars don't really have much regard for them. So, you can imagine how "well" they have taken care of their cars.
As a result, cars that used to be owned by smokers tend to fetch lower prices. Again, either walk away or use this as a bargaining chip.
Yet another thing I like to look out for are worn out shocks. Test drive the Avanza you're eyeing over humps and potholes, and feel how well the car responds.
If it gets too bouncy, then you know the shocks would need changing out soon. Again, use this as a bargaining chip or simply walk away.
And of course, test out the aircon through and through. Old cars tend to develop aircon blower problems - you can't turn it up without causing the blower motor to overheat.
Look out for visible condensation. This is a sure sign that there's something really wrong with the aircon blower.
And if the passenger compartment doesn't cool down quickly enough, then it could be a compressor problem.
Personally, I don't know when I'm going to get an Avanza, if at all I'm getting one. The wife doesn't like it, albeit my assurances that it's pretty good.
What I do know is that, aside from the things mentioned above on 2nd hand car buying tips, the Avanza I buy would have to be equipped with anti brake locking system (ABS) and airbags. The former would help greatly in avoiding accidents, whereas the latter, well, would or should be useful in an accident.
Also, I hope I get a 7-seater soon (whatever it may be) because ferrying my wife, two kids, two dogs and my mother in-law can take quite a toll on my Ford Focus S2.0. Although this doesn't happen very often, the Focus is a pocket rocket for goodness sake, not a heavy load hauler :P
(The Avanza featured is courtesy of Siakap at

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