Car Sharing in Malaysia with SoCar — How to & What to Look Out For
SoCar is one of Malaysia’s largest car-sharing app that started operation in 2017.
I’ve never had the chance to use them until now (end of 2021). So hopefully, they’ve ironed out all of the kinks by this time & I’d have a great car rental experience.
Here’s why I booked SoCar:
We sold my wife’s car & currently only use 1 car per family. This arrangement seems to work fine for us as I work from home.
But from time to time, I have to run errands like right now, there’s a pipe leak in my rental property in Cyberjaya, and I have to deal with that mess.
I had 2 options, pay for GrabCar, or rent SoCar. It seems that SoCar is 50% cheaper compared to GrabCar, so here’s my experience:
My SoCar Experience Summary
Total price I paid on SoCar (roundtrip) vs the price for GrabCar (one way):
What Do You Need to Book a SoCar?
- Download the SoCar app (link below).
- Register an account & upload your ID to get your account verified.
- When you’re ready to book a SoCar, you have to use their app (not their website).
- After booking, you’ll need to bring your own Touch n Go card.
- You’ll need your smartphone with internet connectivity & enough battery to unlock & lock the car.
If you find this helpful, register your SOCAR account with referral code: QLWOW6 to get to drive a Passat, CX-5 or CR-V, and get it delivered to you with SOCAR-2-YOU. Download the SOCAR app to book from over 2,000 cars in KL, Selangor, Penang, JB, Ipoh, and Negeri Sembilan: https://link.socar.my/40df0M72Qgb
Booking Your SoCar
Once you have downloaded & verified your account with SoCar, you can book the car you want.
Unlike many car rental companies that usually focus on budget cars, with SoCar, you can get desirable car brands like Volkswagen, BMW & Mini Coopers for dirt cheap prices:
Besides the car selection & rental prices, the other thing that I look out for is insurance coverage. When it comes to rental cars, I always get insurance coverage.
SoCar has 3 insurance coverage to suit most people’s budget:
When you’ve made your selections and proceed to the checkout page, don’t forget to check out their promo tab.
During my booking, there was a promo where I got 1 hour free when booking a min of 3 hours.
Finding Your SoCar
Once you’ve made your booking, they will tell you how to find the SoCar within the building. For example, in Berjaya Times Square mall parking lot, level B1 at pillar #22.
They even give photos to help you navigate, which I think is a nice touch.
Inspecting Your SoCar Before Driving
When your booking time arrives & before you can unlock your SoCar, you have to:
- Take a selfie through the app to verify that you are the person who booked.
- Inspect the car and submit any pre-existing damages.
In my example, there was an obvious ding on the left pillar from the previous users. To save me from any blame, I had to upload the picture of the pre-existing damages during the inspection process.
Your SoCar Parking Pass
If you’re picking up your SoCar from a mall parking lot, you’ll need to figure out how to get out of the parking area & drive back in after you’re done.
For SoCar rentals, there are 2 options for parking:
- SoCars in malls are usually parked next to the parking management office. Check with them about the parking details.
- Or, there should be a parking pass inside the cabin (dashboard, glovebox, or card compartment).
For SoCars from Berjaya Times Square, you don’t need any parking pass. Drive out to the parking gate & press the intercom.
For Berjaya Times Square SoCars, just talk to the intercom to exit or come back in
They should be able to verify you through their security camera & buzz you out or in.
This was not made clear to me when I first booked. So I wasted 20 minutes talking to the customer service rep & also finding where the parking management office is.
SoCar Driving Experience: Mazda 2
The Mazda 2 that I rented was a lovely car, but I can tell that it had some form of abuse:
- The interior smelled like an inside of a club. The previous user probably chain-smoked in there. It was pretty rancid.
- The left rear wheel alignment or balancing was off, resulting in a significant wheel wobble as I drove it. (Check my video).
But apart from that, the engine, gearbox & AC seemed to run smoothly.
Problems with the SoCar App
App bugs & connectivity issues were the most annoying part of renting with SoCar. Even though their app is state-of-the-art & modern, sometimes, it simply does not work.
Here’s how the app works:
- You need your phone, an internet connection & the ability to receive SMS to log in to your SoCar account.
- Once you’re logged in, the app will use your phone’s Bluetooth to connect to your SoCar.
- If the app is working correctly, there should be a button with a key symbol in the app to lock, unlock & start the car.
- Without your phone, or the ability to connect the app to the car properly, you’re screwed.
Connectivity Problem 1: When I was picking up the car at Berjaya Times Square, I noticed that the key symbol did not appear the first time I tried it (app glitch). I had to close the app and relaunch, where the key symbol appeared after several relaunches.
Connectivity Problem 2: I parked in the basement after reaching my destination, where I had no internet service on my phone.
Because I couldn’t get any service, I can’t log in to my SoCar account and thus can’t unlock the car.
I had to walk out of the basement to get a signal then jog back to the car to establish a Bluetooth connection to unlock the SoCar.
When I reach the car, the Bluetooth won’t establish a connection to the SoCar. The app asked me to close the app & relaunch it.
But if I relaunch the app, it will ask me to log in, which I can’t as I’m in the basement with no service. This brings me to an infinite loop of impossibility.
Connectivity Problem 3: I drove the car back to Berjaya Times Square & want to lock the car to return it.
Yet again, the app can’t establish a Bluetooth connection with the SoCar, preventing me from locking & returning the car.
All 3 issues I mentioned above were known bugs by SoCar, and their response was to close & relaunch the app until it works. Since its launch in 2017, I thought they would have fixed the major bugs by now.
My SoCar Verdict
There you have it, that was my experience. With the promo code, I only paid RM36 for 3 hours, which is ridiculously cheap.
Can SoCar replace your main car? For a family, I don’t think so. But it can replace a family’s 2nd or 3rd car.
Also, if SoCar’s car condition & app were more reliable, I would think that people can start using their services even more & not rely too much on personal transportation.
I was a little disappointed with my experience, but would I book with SoCar again?
Yes. I would still book SoCar in the future. I want to try booking the Hyundai IONIQ, BMW 3 Series, or the Mini Cooper.
If you find this helpful, register your SOCAR account with referral code: QLWOW6 to get to drive a Passat, CX-5 or CR-V, and get it delivered to you with SOCAR-2-YOU. Download the SOCAR app to book from over 2,000 cars in KL, Selangor, Penang, JB, Ipoh, and Negeri Sembilan:
Originally published at https://balkonihijau.com.