When it comes to owning a car in Thailand, there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping around. It is always best and easiest to buy locally, as the paperwork increases if you live in one province and wish to buy a vehicle from another. Overall, it is far cheaper to own a car from a local source in Thailand, than to bring one into the country. The taxes to import your own new vehicle can be as high as 200% of the vehicle's value, as well as require a great deal more paperwork, approval and fees. Overall it is makes a lot less sense to import a vehicle than not taking advantage of the local market. Between the growing used car market and increasingly affordable pricing, it is becoming quite popular to buy a used, instead of new, vehicle in Rayong.
Like many areas in Thailand, Rayong has a large market for used cars, and it only predicted to get even bigger over the next few years year. The two places to go are through dealers, or online. Dealers tend to give less savings over individual pricing, but can offer financing and warranties that individuals cannot.
It is also important to remember that vehicles have to pass inspection every 5 years, so paying attention to the age of the car and its documents can help determine if the individual is really giving a better deal, or trying to avoid going through inspection with a vehicle that may be having issues. Being allowed to have a mechanic that you trust, or yourself, to inspect the vehicle is a sign that you are dealing with a good seller.
Check under the hood: Potential buyers should check the fluids and examine for worn belts and excessive oily accumulations. Low oil, or coolant levels can be signs that vehicles has not been properly cared for, or that there are issues lurking. Excessive oil can mean an oil leak, while low coolant can mean problems with three different systems, that is if lack of maintenance is ruled out. The engine should be run as well so the motions of the belts can be checked to ensure there are no inconsistencies.
Examine the exterior carefully: The bodywork and tyres on a vehicle are both listed areas that need to pass inspection. Use your eyes and hands to examine the body for signs of dents or areas that have been repainted. Rusted spots are sometimes painted without being properly filed and can have a rough texture, which is not evident with a glance. There should be no outward sign of defect with the lights and bumpers as well.
Inside the vehicle: With the interior, the main thing is to check and make sure the indicator and headlights work. Testing the brakes and steering are the other two items on the government's inspection list, but those require a test drive.