Passing your driving test is one of the best feelings, especially when that means you can finally turn your attention to picking your first car. And, while you might have had your heart set on the latest model, it’s time to start thinking sensibly about the purchase.
With plenty of things to consider, including setting your budget, getting expert help, and test driving your options, we know it can get complicated. So, we will be offering our top tips to help you buy the perfect first car.
Set a realistic budget
Before you commit to a sale, you need to make sure you can afford it, despite whether you’re paying the full cost up front or over a certain number of months. Being a student will have an effect on the budget you can set, especially if you’re paying monthly and your student loan comes in termly.
You’ll also need to calculate the running costs, so consider fuel, insurance, and servicing as well as maintenance. The Money Advice Service has a helpful guide to finding the right car for your budget, with information about what to look for and where to buy from, to make your choice easier.
Inspect the car thoroughly
To ensure you’re correctly inspecting a car before purchase, you should take someone who is an experienced car buyer, as they will be able to pick up on things you may not.
Look out for any visible problems including damage to the exterior, and check everything inside the car is in good condition and appears to be working. It’ll also be important to check that the stated mileage of the car matches up with the condition of it, especially if you’re going to be paying higher prices for one deemed to be brand-new.
Test drive the car
Before you pay for your dream car, it’s important that you give the vehicle a test drive so you can see whether you like the feel of it, and ensure everything is working as it should.
Mark Barclay is from GSF Car Parts, a retailer of automotive parts. He believes that a test drive is crucial in the final purchasing stages: “Taking a car for a test drive is the best way to decide whether it’s the one for you. As well as ensuring you feel comfortable in the specific model, you’ll need to watch out for any warning signs.
“This could include looking out for any warning lights on the dashboard, listening out for crunching gears, and paying attention to how the tyres feel. Dealers will usually have special insurance in place for third party cover during your test drive, but if you’re buying from an independent seller you may need to speak to your own insurer about getting a short-term comprehensive policy that’ll cover you while you’ll be testing many different cars.”
As well as all of the above, make sure you ask to see the car’s documentation, such as registration and MOT certificates, to check its legitimacy before you commit to the sale.
Buying your first car can be incredibly exciting, but make sure you don’t forget the important things. With our top three tips, you’ll be well on your way to choosing a safe and reliable first car that’ll carry you through the years!
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