What to consider when choosing your first car
The time has come - it’s time to do some shopping for your first car! This is an exciting decision, but not one to take lightly. Here are our top tips on what to consider when choosing your first motor.
Whether you are a learner driver and you are looking for a car to practice in, or you have just passed your test, it is very important to know which elements you need to consider when shopping for your first ever car. So let’s get started.
Start off the second hand route!
- We say this because the moment you drive away from a car garage in a brand new car, it loses 11% of its value. Saying that, take this in: after just 5 years of purchasing a brand new car, it would have lost on average 63% of its value.
- A used car is also likely to suit any budget; will pay less and lose less money in depreciation over the years.
- As well as this, you don’t want the dismay of potentially damaging a brand new car with bumps and scratches. Sorry, but the stats show that you’re more likely to damage your car than any other group of drivers!
Work out a realistic budget first!
- Also, when working out a budget, make sure you take in to consideration the fuel consumption of the car, the cost of insurance, servicing pricing and tax. This is why most new drivers get a car with a small engine, as all of these costs will be lower.
- If you decide to finance a new car over 2-4 year period, you will need to work out how much you can realistically afford per month (and ensure you have the deposit saved!). When buying your first car, it is all a bit exciting and it is easy to bypass your budget. Think about whether you will want to be paying out a lot of money every single month for the not-so shiny, no longer new-car smelling car, three years later.
Buy a car with your eyes wide open!
- Take a trusted family member of friend to check out the car with you.
- Listen to the car when on the test drive – any engine, gearbox or brake noises could prove expensive.
- Check the condition of the car in daylight – outside and underneath! Odd panel gaps could indicate the car has been crashed previously.
- Always check the interior of the car – including the dashboard for mileage, emergency lights and the boot! Never forget to test all of the interior electronics, too.
- Check tyres are consistent all-round and ensure the tread depth is good (ideally 3mm or more), otherwise you could be spending £100s straightaway.
- Always ask for vehicles documents including V5c, Service history and MoT. You can always check the vehicle documents online.
Head over heart: shop around!
Nowadays, shopping around for cars is a lot easier. With all the online sources available to us, you are able to start some research for a car in your area. You can look on websites like AutoTrader. You can also shop on second hand websites including Gumtree and eBay. Don’t always just go for the first one you see and like the look of, always shop around and keep comparing:
- Cost vs Mileage and Age
- Overall condition of the car
- How comfortable you feel driving it
- The equipment levels (e.g. air conditioning, Bluetooth, electric windows)
- Safety equipment such as airbags and ISOFIX
- Rear legroom and boot space
Insure can you get insured!
It is always important to check how much a car insurance quote will be before buying a car. As a younger, inexperienced driver, many cars you will simply not be able to get insured on, or you will be charged a premium that outweighs the purchase price of the car!
To get an idea of costs, simply find an advert on one of the aforementioned classified websites and get a quote based on a registration number of a car you like.