Sick of the train breakdowns? Get behind the wheel with a rented car

The efficiency of the Singapore public transportation is great – when it’s working efficiently. No one wants to squeeze with hundreds of others in shuttle buses just to get home to your serviced apartment after yet another train breakdown.

Plus, having a car to just cruise around during the weekends with the kids is great, or what if you’re just trying to get to a remote brunch place that only a car can get to? A car can come quite handy even in a small country such as Singapore. Here’s how you can rent one during your stay here.

When to rent.

It’s always best practice to book a car in advance, as you can get a wider range of choices and avoid any last minute rental charges agencies might have.

Next, most companies offer different prices for weekday and weekend rides, so if you’re looking to save some money, try to book on weekdays. Expect price hikes during the festive seasons such as Chinese New Year and Christmas as well.

Where to book.

You’d be hard press to find global rental agencies like Avis and Budget that rents car less than 100$ a day for a car, but you if you look at local agencies or an online platform, you can find cheaper rates. Websites like Drive.SG and KAYAK, are great sites that pools together information and searches for the best rental prices. Drive.SG pools from over 50 rental agencies in Singapore.

Quick tip: Don’t discount a local agency as cheap, but with bad service and maintenance. Look out for user reviews like the ones on sgCarMart, and that will give you the most honest gauge of a company.

What you need to rent.

  1. The named driver(s)
  2. NRIC number/Passport number
  3. Birthday
  4. License issue date
  5. Contact number

What to book.

Knowing your needs.

Get a car that suits your needs. This might be a simple process of getting a 7-seater if you’re travelling in a large group, but it also can mean taking more complex things into consideration.

For example, if you’re planning a Malaysian road trip, you have to look for specific listings that allow you to take the car out of Singapore. This is because you might have to pay more for insurance if you’re planning on visiting Singapore’s closest neighbour.

Quick tip: For overseas travel and adding additional drivers to the rented car, you might have to pay some add-on fees.

Also, another thing to take into consideration is your driving experience. Some car listings only allow drivers who’ve driven for more than 1-2 years or are at least past their probation period.

Private and rental company cars.

Private car owners are also allowed to rent out their cars – and this might be cheaper. However, always make sure that it is insured and that both parties have a very clear agreement on terms as disputes are not as easily settled than with a company.

Quick tip: Private owners are only allowed to rent out their cars on weekends & public holidays (Friday 7 pm to the following Monday 7 am and from 7 pm on the eve of the public holiday till 7 am of the first working day following the public holiday).

Collecting your ride.

The renter will have to produce a vehicle rental agreement, and you’ll need some documents when you collect the car:

  1. Driving License
  2. For foreign license, bring a proof of address (eg. phone bill, serviced apartment bill)
  3. Original Identification Card/Passport
  4. Security deposit (if required)
  5. Booking confirmation

Do note: This may differ slightly from different agencies/renters. 

Ironing out the rental agreement.

The rental agreement should cover both your details and the company/renter’s details, the vehicle conditions and terms.

Conduct a vehicle inspection and make sure the car is free from damages – Ensure any damages are listed out in detail in the rental agreement. Go through the inspection of the car with the renter to make sure it’s in line with the agreement. Don’t forget to inspect the interior, either.

If you have a basic knowledge of how an engine works, take a look at that as well. Googling and reading up for about 30 minutes can help you inspect a car engine a lot more thoroughly.

Quick tip: Take photos of the car with your phone, you just need a few pictures from all angles. This way you’re insuring yourself against any potential disagreements that might occur upon returning the car as you have snaps of it prior to the handover.

Returning it.

Don’t forget any personal belongings when returning the car. Also try your best to keep the car clean, as it is usually passed on to another driver after you are done with it. Make sure you get a document stating that you’ve returned the car – usually it’s part of the vehicle rental agreement.