Before you take the plunge and buy your first car, you should know exactly what you’re letting yourself in for. To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail, and this is especially true in the world of car sales, where naivety is already preyed upon. When you’re new to the road, you aren’t armed with a wealth of experience to fall back on. It’s easy for your judgment to be clouded by low prices and empty promises.
Navigating the process of buying your first car is daunting, and nobody is going to look out for your best interests. That’s why it’s crucial that you arm yourself with all the knowledge you’ll need to avoid getting ripped off. Here are some of our most essential tips:
New or Used?
It’s an age-old debate with no clear answer, and there are convincing arguments for both. When looking to buy your first car, however, we strongly urge you to buy second hand. Unless you’re a late bloomer, chances are your first excursion into the world of buying cars will come at an early age. Whether you have the help of your parents or not, you should definitely be trying to keep the cost low. Your insurance premiums are already going to be high as a new driver, and some find themselves priced out of driving as a consequence. That’s why it’s so important to get the best deal you can. Save money now, and it’ll only help you in the long run.
Not only that, but your chances of having an accident are higher than they would be with years of experience on the road. The last thing you want is that shiny new car being written off before you’ve even finished paying for it. Talk to local used car dealerships about the best possible deal for you. With any luck, you’ll find a salesperson that will give you good advice.
Before any money exchanges hands or any documents are signed, you should perform a thorough inspection of the car in question. If you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, try to bring a gearhead along with you. They’ll know a good deal when they see one, and spot warning signs a mile away. Take this person along for a test drive and let them see, feel and hear how the car runs. If he’s any good with cars, he’ll know the things to look out for, and there’s no better way to get to grips with a car than actually driving it.
If you’re lucky enough to have a good relationship with a mechanic, use it to your advantage. It’s inevitable that a used car will eventually need some work doing, whether it’s standard maintenance or a more complex repair job. This can get quite expensive, so having someone to help out in this regard will only make your life easier. If not, hopefully your dad knows what he’s talking about, or, failing that, knows somebody that does.
Only make the purchase once you’re totally happy with the car. Enjoy the moment, as your first car will be one of your most cherished memories for years to come. But the hard work doesn’t end here, now it’s about staying safe and keeping your car healthy. Check out the 9 things you should keep in your car at all times.