Buying a car for the first time: Your checklist before hitting the road

Buying First Car

There are few more exciting experiences than buying your first car.

The freedom to go where you want – when you want. Saying farewell to the body odour of the bus. Taking on more responsibility and levelling up in life. These are all reasons that mean people can’t wait to get behind the wheel for the first time.

If you’ve recently passed your test, or you’ve finally saved up enough for your first set of wheels, here are some things you’ll want to bear in mind before letting loose on the open road.

Budget properly

That Lamborghini poster on your childhood bedroom wall might have been there as motivation to succeed in life, but chances are you’ll have your sights set a little cheaper for your first car.

As well as finding a model that fits your budget, there are several other things to consider. If you’ve saved up enough to pay for the car upfront, great. But if you’re leasing the car or buying it on finance, then the repayments may well become your biggest monthly outgoing.

On top of this, you’ll have insurance to consider, as well as fuel costs and potential maintenance – something that will particularly pertinent if you’re buying a used car, which will likely also need an annual MOT paying for.

Get covered

So, insurance. If you’ve never driven before, it’s worth bearing in mind that your insurance premium will be higher as a result. Once insurers know that you’re a safer driver who is less likely to be involved in accidents, your costs on this front will soon begin to fall.

Once again, the used car market comes with extra considerations on this front. Extended warranties and breakdown cover can all come in handy if your car is a bit older and more likely to need work doing on it while you’re the owner.

Provided these extra costs match up to your budget, the peace of mind while you’re out on the road will help you with getting to grips with life as a regular road user.

Shop smart

From all the different makes and models out there to the endless accessories, it can often be head-spinning when thinking about all the options now available to you.

For example, say your tyre tread depth has fallen and you need a new set of wheels. Going to the garage you purchased from may leave you short on options, but finding a local and independent expert will open things up to you.

If you have the scratch to spare, big-name brands like Michelin, Hankook and Bridgestone tyres might offer bigger promises of performance and durability. However, you will also be able to find budget options, including part-worn options that will do the job just as well.

There is a similar story to tell for just about every component on your motor, so be sure to shop around for the best deal before accepting the first offer.

Know your routes and keep it safe

The temptation might be there to jump in on your own and take your new wheels as far as they’ll go, but taking things steady will pay off in the long run.

If you’ll be making a journey regularly, say to work, it’s worth getting familiar with that drive beforehand. See if you can go out with a parent or friend to get used to all the foibles and particulars of the route.

And when it comes to getting out in your car, there’s no need to be in pole position all the time. Just remember, you’re already getting there quicker than the bus and you don’t need a repair bill to go on top of all your new outgoings!

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