When buying your first car, you want to get it right. You may not have a whole lot of money to spend, and you’ll need the car to be reliable as well as affordable. On top of all that, you want it to suit your needs. So here’s a few tips to help you along in buying your first car.
Consider the practicality of the car – ask yourself what you are really going to use it for. In buying a first car, many people will just buy a first car they feel that looks good and that makes them feel cool, which isn’t bad in itself. But also consider – how many people will you really need to carry on a regular basis? Will you need to pull a trailer? How much trunk space will you need? Make a list of the kind of trips you’d make in a fortnight – or if you currently have access to a relative’s or friend’s car, then keep a record of exactly where you go on each trip and for how long. Also keep in mind that if you are are planning to drive in heavy city traffic, an automatic is always going to be easier on you and on your car.
Don’t get caught up on “little features” in the advertisement or listing of a car. You can always add your own CD/mp3 player, for very little cost, these days. You can add as many add-ons as you like, and get them second-hand on eBay or cheap in a clearance sale. Often the price of a secondhand car will be inflated just because of the add-ons its previous owner purchased. But you can get better tech and sound system add-ons today than you could yesterday. Don’t get sucked into thinking a car is better just because of a minor, easily changed, add-on feature.
Take into account real-world running costs, such as how much insurance will be – some cars cost more to insure. How much fuel is it likely to use? Does it require particularly expensive consumable parts such as unusual-sized tires? Do your research before getting set on a particular make of car.
…So you’ve found the car you think you want. Check: does it require immediate repairs? Don’t accept the seller’s assurance that “it’s only a minor issue”. This could be used to your advantage to drive the price down, but make sure that before you commit, you call around repair shops first to see how much it will truly cost to repair.
Finally – most jurisdictions have an online service where you can check registration on a car, where you can receive sufficient information about the car’s registration status, whether it is listed as stolen, under finance, or has ever been written off.