So that happened. You sent your car to the workshop and will be carless for a few days. You have to go somewhere far and the Grab fare will be too high. You need to pick up a person (or an item) in person.
Either way, You. Need. A. Temporary. Car.
I get into one of these situations sometimes, and it’s really mafan. Usually I just bite the bullet and resign to paying high Grab fares but this time around I decided to give the car-sharing platform SOCAR a try.
And let me tell you. It solved my problem so well, and saved me so much money, that I decided to do not just a SOCAR review but also include tips to make the cost even CHEAPER for you. What can I say – I am a personal finance blogger 😀
Here are my 7 tips you can use to get the most value for money out of your SOCAR car rental:
#1 – Pick the cheaper car model
According to the SOCAR website, they have 21 car models to choose from, from compact cars to luxury cars. To save money, choose the cheaper models. Some options which cost between RM8-RM15 per hour include:
- Perodua Axia
- Proton Iriz
- Kia Picanto
- Perodua Myvi
- Perodua Bezza
- Honda City
- Toyota Vios
- Perodua Alza (Weekday)
- Honda BR-V (Weekday)
Don’t worry about the price now, you haven’t seen Tip #2-7 yet. Also, weekday rates are cheaper than weekends, so pick that if you have the choice. For more info about car models and SOCAR car pricing, please click here.
You can get the cars from various SOCAR zones in Selangor, Penang and Johor. There are more zones than you think! This is a snapshot of SOCAR zones in Petaling Jaya area alone. It’s easy to look for SOCAR zones from the SOCAR app too.
If the car you want is not available at a SOCAR zone nearby you, you can also request to get it delivered to you (!! new feature called #SOCAR2YOU) (I think T&C applies)
#2 – Use SOCAR coupons!
Now THIS makes the cost way cheaper than it is. Let me share with you the actual cost of my trips.
- Trip 1 (Weekday – 6.5 hours): Total fee RM60.68. I paid RM41.12. The same trip would have cost me ~RM70 in Grab fare
- Trip 2 (Weekday – 12 hours): Total fee RM84.80. I paid RM69.90. The same trip would have cost me ~RM180 in Grab fare
- Trip 3 (Weekend – 10.5 hours): Total fee RM97.01. I paid RM73.10. The same trip would have cost me ~RM150 in Grab fare
Did I mention the price INCLUDES petrol cost?
SOCAR coupons are so easy to get – just download right from the SOCAR app (see pic below), or check their social media (SOCAR Instagram). Last I check, at least 5 different SOCAR coupons were available, including discounts for school holiday, for nighttime usage and more.
#3 – Use my referral code to get 4 hours free on first booking!
I’m quite upset I missed this, but no reason why you can’t make use of it. First-time SOCAR users can get 4 hours free by registering with the referral code ‘QWGLNG’ or click this link: https://go.socar.my/Ju9fEaTVQ1
Note: It didn’t specify WHAT car. So I assume you can redeem it for ANY car 😀 (The BMW 330e car model costs RM48 per hour on the weekend. Just sayin’) (They also have various Mini Coopers car models)
Edit: Reader Arif confirmed that BMW and Mini Cooper models are excluded from this 🙁 Still, 4 hours free is 4 hours free.
#4 – Link it to your Grab ewallet
To pay for your SOCAR car reservations, you can either link your SOCAR app to credit/debit card, or to Grab ewallet.
Pick Grab ewallet. Two reasons:
- You can earn Grab points – redeem that for Grab rides, or whatever
- You can top up your Grab ewallet with credit cards and get your cashback/collect points there too
(I use my Maybank Amex for 5% weekend cashback)no longer available
Using SOCAR a few times gained me enough Grab reward points to redeem a RM15 Grab ride cash voucher 😀
#5 – Earn SOCAR points
SOCAR has their own points system too! Use this hack if you’re going to use SOCAR a few times (not one-off).
You can earn SOCAR points by filling up the car you’re renting. This option is only available if the car doesn’t come with a petrol card. I don’t know how common the petrol card is – all the cars I used so far doesn’t come with one.
If you can fill up the car to full tank, do it – you get 10% bonus. Filling up RM30 in petrol will give you 33 SOCAR points, which is pretty much equal to RM33 and immediately redeemable for next usage.
#6 – Use SETEL app to get cashback on petrol
If not mistaken, you can only fill up SOCAR cars from Petronas petrol station ONLY. That’s totally cool, because you can also use the SETEL app – Petronas’s ewallet – to earn cashback and points!
Use my SETEL referral code ‘8ebtv’ or click this link to download the app: https://111.setel.my/ref/8ebtv. At time of writing, that referral gets you RM5 if you purchase RM30 worth of fuel. You also get 3 x 10% cashback for minimum RM90 worth of petrol (so… RM30 per fill-up, 3 times, get back RM9).
You can also link the SETEL app with your Mesra card, if you have one. Can earn 3 points for every litre of fuel.
(Use your cashback or petrol credit card to make the petrol purchase too – earn cashback/reward points there).
#7 – Reload your Touch n Go card with credit card
While petrol is included in the fare price, tolls are not, so you need to have a Touch n Go card ready. And yes, you can reload your Touch n Go card with credit card 😀 I’ve been doing it for years.
Another tngo card lifehack – top up at places yang accept credit card. Can earn points/cashback also. I use my Maybank Amex and get 5% weekend cashback https://t.co/bubqM7d6Tn
— Suraya Zainudin (@surayaror) November 4, 2019
Places to reload Touch n Go card with credit card include:
- Touch n Go Self-Service Kiosk – Nu Sentral
- Touch n Go Self-Service Kiosk – Customer Experience Centre (Tower 2A), Avenue 5, Bangsar South
- Highway – Subang Toll Plaza
- Highway – Ebor North Toll Plaza (Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan)
But sometimes you can find places to do Touch n Go reload with credit card at pretty random locations too. For example, the Jaya Grocer at Main Place, USJ21 Subang provides this service. Go figure.
Know other locations? Share in the comments section!
(If you’re concerned about reload fee – just get the MYNews-branded Touch n Go cards. Reloads there are free and you go there to buy oden anyway).
Final SOCAR Review + Verdict – A Good and Cheap Car Rental Option?
I would give SOCAR a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Saved me a lot of money and time, and the app’s UI/UX is pretty cool and more intuitive than I thought. Love how I can layer discounts and cashbacks and points-collection too. Much-appreciated service especially for someone carless like me!
The only reason I’m taking out 0.5 stars is because they don’t seem to be good at answering angry customers on social media, the ones who get their accounts blocked for whatever reason.
(can’t help to wonder what they did that got them blocked from using the platform again tho)
Have you used SOCAR before? Share with us your reviews in the comments section 😀
Related: Another service which helped me a lot, as someone who doesn’t have a car – grocery delivery service