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Renewing your motorcycle COE. Expert tips.

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Motorcyclists in Singapore have not had a great time of things of late, with both increased taxes and soaring COE premiums adding to the costs of two-wheeled transport.

For some, the taxes and charges have put a new motorcycle out of reach, in which case renewing the COE is the only option.

For the most part, riders will renew when the COE falls due, and the process is straightforward enough:

  • Renew online here at One Motoring (be advised your bank’s transfer limits may need adjusting before renewing); by post (details here, or in person at the LTA Customer Service Centre at 10 Sin Ming Drive with this form.
  • Be prepared to pay the PQP, which is the average of COE premiums for the last three months for a 10-year COE extension. Check the PQP rates here.
  • You can reduce costs by renewing for five years, and paying half the PQP – but be aware that at the end of that five-year COE your motorcycle will need to be scrapped – no further renewals are allowed.
  • You can renew up to a month after your COE expires but will pay a $50 late renewal fee, and if you miss the cutoff you will need to scrap the motorcycle, so remember to do it in time!

Be aware that the road tax for older vehicles increases by 10% per year until the vehicle reaches 14 years old, from which time your road tax will incur a 50% surcharge. Older motorcycles that require a lot of maintenance and incur that surcharge may not be worth keeping.

Cheap COE premiums may seem like winning the lottery but remember: you can choose to renew early and take advantage of cheaper premiums.

For early renewal simply follow the same process as regular COE renewal, but be aware you will forfeit whatever remaining time that is left on your existing COE.

Why do it early? In some senses picking the bottom of COE premiums is like picking the bottom of stock markets (and if you’re good at that, then COE premiums are not a problem for you).

There can be arguments in favour of early COE renewal though – as you’re paying the PQP, which is the average of the last three months, you know exactly how much you’re going to pay. The disadvantage is that you don’t know what COE premiums will cost in the future – they may be low now, but will they drop further, or will they go up?

Motorcycle COE premiums did drop by around 40% when the global financial crisis struck in early 2009, so there is the potential for savings, though probably only worth the forfeit of remaining COE validity if it is already near its end. Get your calculator (or crystal ball) out to see whether it adds up for you.

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