Your first car should be something you look back on in years to come with a sense of fondness rather than something that fills you with bad memories. There’ a lot of decision-making involved when choosing a car. Here are some tips that will ensure you buy the right vehicle.
Learn to drive first
Many people buy a car before they’ve even started lessons. Until you’ve got behind the wheel of a car you won’t know what it is you’re looking for. Learning the ropes first will allow you to test-drive the car, you won’t have to have somebody else with you to buy it and you’ll be able to get it in it straight away. There are lots of forms of drivers training that can get you learning fast but thoroughly (you don’t want to have to take multiple tests after all). You can consider buying a car if you’re about to take your test – accompanied with somebody that can drive you may be able to give it a test-run and you’ll have more of an idea of whether the feel of the car is right for you.
Research the insurance costs
The purchase cost of the vehicle isn’t really the issue. You’re likely to find second-hand cars out there that are very cheap. When it comes to insurance rates however, finding a cheap deal as a new driver isn’t easy. If you’re shopping online, have an insurance site open in another tab so that you can get an idea of the cost of each vehicle you look at. This will help you to find the most affordable combo out there. Black box schemes can lower the cost of insurance further, whilst advanced driving courses can also make a dent. Other options such as raising your deductible or sharing an insurance scheme with another more experienced driver could help to bring down the costs.
It needn’t be high performance
Be realistic when it comes to choosing a vehicle. Not only will most high performance vehicles be uninsurable, they may even be too challenging to drive if you’re just getting used to the road. Some high performance vehicles can be surprisingly affordable – we’re not talking under a grand, but certainly under fifteen grand as is the case with Mazda RX8s and even some old Chevrolet Corvettes. However, these still should be avoided as the insurance will be sky-high.
Some specs that could be worth considering as a new driver are fuel consumption, safety and miles left on the clock (on second-hand vehicles). Fuel consumption and mileage travelled will give you an idea of what you’ll be paying in the future on fuel and repairs. Safety ratings meanwhile will let you know protected you’re likely to be in a crash. Almost all new drivers have some kind of accident (usually only something small) in their first couple years on the road, so it’s best to get something that isn’t a deathtrap.
It needn’t have to be boring either
Just because a sports car is ill-suited doesn’t mean you have to go for a car that’s utterly boring to drive. There are lots of older cars out there that are a little more eccentric and fun to drive that won’t cost you an arm and leg (financially and literally). There are older BMWs and Audis that can be very fun to drive. There are Ford Mustangs for a few grand that will get you noticed from the pavement. And then of course there’s the classic choice of a Mini.
Take your time
This is the golden tip – don’t rush into buying your first car. Shop around online (it’s where we all look for cars nowadays) on numerous sites until you find a few cars you like the look of. Once you’ve decided on the cars you like, arrange to see these cars in person. Take them for a test drive if you can as this will tell you whether they’re nice to drive. Whilst you’re with the seller/dealer ask as many questions as you can and don’t let them talk you into a sale there and then – tell them you’ll think about it and then go home and mull it over.
When visiting sellers and dealers, it may help to have someone with you who has been through the car-buying process before, as they can help ask all the questions that you may have overlooked. They may also be able to help negotiate costs.