Cars Vehicles

A Beginner’s Guide to Car Ownership

If you have just passed your driving test and are excited about buying your very first car, there’s a lot to take on board.

Aside from driving, your car requires regular maintenance, which should be carried out by a local garage (preferably a dealership that is approved to service your make and model).

If you buy a new car, the first few services would likely be free, at least the labor charges would not be included and when the warranty expires, you should have the car serviced according to the frequencies stated in the owner’s manual.

Vehicle Insurance

Like most countries, you need to pay third-party insurance when you drive your car on the road. In Thailand, it is called ‘Por Or Bor’ and it covers personal injuries and is included when you pay your road tax.

Aside from this, you should have class 1 insurance and with Google, you can find several providers and compare car insurance very easily. It is very easy with Google to get car insurance quotes and when you find the best deal, a secure online payment sees you covered to drive.

If you are buying a new car in finance, you must take out class 1 insurance to protect the asset until you become the legal owner, but most drivers prefer comprehensive insurance as it covers everything.

Buying a Car

Of course, you must decide on a budget; whether you are buying new or used, and many automakers have fantastic ranges of vehicles from SUVs to high-end sportscars. Buying new means losing around 15% of the value the day you drive the car out of the showroom and younger people don’t normally go for a new car with their first purchase.

A 2-year-old car would still be in tip-top condition and would save you a lot of money when compared to brand new. If money is tight and you are going to buy an older car, make sure you take a mechanic to give the vehicle an inspection, as there would be no warranty on an old car.

It is worth noting that when you buy a used car from a private seller, the vehicle is sold as seen, which means you have no warranty; you are advised to buy from a dealership, which issues warranties on all cars they sell.

Vehicle Inspection

In Thailand, any vehicle that is older than 3 years must be inspected when the road tax is renewed at the Land Transport Office.

This would not cost very much and the inspector would check the brakes, steering, and general condition of the car, and should there be any issues, you must carry out repairs to remedy the problem.

Owner’s Manual

This special booklet stays with the car for its entire life, passed on to new owners, as it contains the service history of the car. Of course, all the technical data is in the owner’s manual, so you can refer to it when something goes wrong.

When you have your car serviced, make sure that the garage stamps the corresponding page in the rear section of the booklet. This is evidence that critical servicing has been carried out, which is important when you want to sell the car.

Click here for tips when buying a car sound system, which might prove to be very useful.


As the four tires are the only thing that connects your vehicle to the road, they must be in good condition and have adequate tread to disperse water and give you a good grip on the road surface.

Most drivers inspect their cars before every journey, which involves a quick walk-around, checking tires and the exterior. If you think your tires are worn excessively, drive to a tire shop and ask the professionals.

Gaining Hands-On Driving Experience

While passing the driving test is necessary to drive on the roads, you do need to acquire hands-on driving experience, as practice makes perfect.

Observe all the rules and regulations, never drink and drive, and never assume what other drivers might do; always allow sufficient stopping room from the vehicle in front, as this is a common cause of accidents. Click here for information on obtaining an international driving permit in Thailand.

General Service Information

Every time the car is serviced, the engine oil should be changed, along with the oil and air filters and when you look at the corresponding page of the owner’s manual, it will tell you what to check and what to replace.

Brake pads should be inspected for excessive wear at every service interval, plus you should check the hydraulic oil level and top up when required.

When driving in Thailand, you will frequently encounter police road blocks and you might have to present your documents and license if requested.

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