Public transport is great. No arguments there. But there’s no substitute for the freedom you get with a car. So, you’ve saved a few quid and now it’s time to get on the road and roam free.
There are loads of things to consider when buying a new car. Engine size, safety ratings, fuel consumption, mileage, age, and the list goes on.
At My1stMotor, we don’t want your 1st experience (or any experience) of buying a car to be a bad one, so here’s a few tips to sharpen up your car buying senses and keep you from making costly mistakes.
1. Start with your budget.
Buying a car is more than just the upfront cost of the purchase. Running costs, like insurance and petrol, and maintenance like regular servicing, tyres and tax all need to be accounted for. It’s probably best to start with your living costs, like mortgage/rent, food expenses and nights out, then work out what you have left over. Planning to put money aside every month for running costs and maintenance is not a bad idea. Anything you don’t spend can be put into a kitty for car repairs if needed.
As a first car, it might be wise to buy a used car, under insurance Group 5 – so up to 1.2L engine size. Running costs and maintenance for smaller cars are usually quite predictable, and because smaller cars are popular, parts for repairs are usually available from lots of places with lower costs for labor.
2. Start with your budget.
It’s a difficult thing to do, but as a first car, it’s a good idea to go for what you need, rather than what you want. But, don’t punish yourself with a super functional car that you feel upset looking at. There is a fine balance between what you need and what you want.
You should think carefully with your first car. Try and write down what you think you need from a vehicle. Extra air bags so your folks don’t worry? Good MPG (Miles per Gallon) if you’re regularly travelling long distances? Or a big boot if you’re going to live out of the car or need space for the dogs? Make a list of what you need. Lists are good.
3. Research options and do your Homework.
It’s very important to understand what you need to do to complete a sale on a car. Local laws will vary, but in the UK, you’ll want to check the History of the car – Has it been in any accidents? Make sure you read the previous ownership on the log book and ask for service history. HPI Checks are a useful (and quick) way to validate if a car is as legit as it looks.
Talking to other people who own the same make/model of car you’re researching may yield some valuable information – are there repeat problems with the model you should be aware of? This is not uncommon and won’t necessarily prevent you from buying – but it’s always good to know about common problems. Other owners of the same car model can give you nuanced information about the car, like average running costs on a monthly basis, and other random info you’ll benefit from knowing.
Online forums and reviews of the make/model are also a useful resource and a great place to learn more about the car you’re researching. You can always reach out to us at My1stMotor – we may also be able to offer up some assistance.
Critically, when you go to see the car, don’t be shy of asking for a test drive. And when you’re behind the wheel, be thorough. Check all the knobs and dials work and ask the owner if there are any problems, they are aware of: again, it may not stop you buying, but you want to know what you are getting into, and if any work is immediately pending.
Just a few things to think about when buying you’re 1st car. You’re welcome. Be safe, be free with My1stMotor.