Your first car is a huge deal. It’s the first car that takes you through the drive-through, to school, to your first job, or on your first big road trip. And your first car tends to be the one that will inevitably break your heart too. Sure, they are only cars, but it’s hard not to get attached to something that gives you so much freedom. Many people, in fact, name their vehicles, which is a testament to how much they actually mean. 

People who are in the middle of taking driving lessons will already be dreaming of a big 4×4 or a fancy sports car. But unless you have the money ready in the bank or a job that you know can cover the payments they tend to cost a lot more than you think. 

It’s not always feasible to buy something new outright. So you can take the time to shop around and find a top-rated garage.

Here are a few things that you can think about when buying your first car.

Reality

Do you know what you really need? Well, you might be yearning for the latest, largest, and most impressive Land Rover around because we all know that 4×4 monster is beautiful. The fact that you probably live in the inner city and couldn’t find anywhere to park it might be an issue. 

The size of the tank is going to eat through money-gas isn’t cheap. And if you’re not in a position to swap half of your paycheck just for fuel every month, then that’s something to consider.

Do you need room for car seats? Do you need space in the boot for a lot of shopping? Do you need something that is very small and convenient to park? Think about what is actually realistic for you and then try and find a car to match.

Budget

Do you have enough spare cash each month that you can do without? Running a car can be expensive. So you need to be exact with what you can really spend. Include things like breakdown cover, fuel costs, regular maintenance, and shop around insurance companies to get the best deal.

Purchased day

Most people will browse the Internet when looking for cars. This means they can read all of the specifications, and decide if it’s actually worth the money. Sometimes you can be really lucky and get your car delivered to your door, but you do well to go and see the car in person. 

You’ll probably want to sit in it, look around, and take it for a test drive. If you haven’t passed your test yet, what a pretty nervous about going to the garage, then ask someone you trust to go with you.

Things to check:

  • Move the seats

  • If you are going to have car seats fitted, then ensure the seats are the right shape 

  • Sit with the engine running and check the lights and the dashboard 

  • Open the boot

  • Check for rust spots

  • Wind all windows up and down

  • Test the horn

  • Park on a slight incline to check handbrake for rolling after parking

If the car has particular features, then it is worth checking that those work too.

Test drive

Although mentioned above, a test drive, it is, it is essential before you purchase the car. What a quick spin around the block isn’t going to cut it, you won’t get to drive it for hours and hours either. When test driving, you need to take the car on the drive that will allow you to hear and feel gear changes on automatic, and how it handles in manual. 

If you aren’t comfortable going on the dual-carriageway, or pushing the speed a little then ask for the dealer oil car buying buddy if they are prepared to do that for you.

Sometimes, however, you will see a car, and you will know that it is the only car for you-rust spots, strange-sounding horn, and springy seats won’t make a difference.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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