During the early years of driving, many young people use a member of the family’s car before using their own. Whether it is due to the lack of time or the lack of money, people are getting their first car quite a bit later than they used to do, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t something they want to do.

When buying a first car, there is a lot to consider, and people tend to have plenty of questions before they make this big decision. The size of the engine, how safe the vehicle is, how much it costs to run, and how much it might cost to repair are just some of the things that can appear daunting to a new car owner.

If you are planning on getting your first car, or you are trying to help someone on their way to becoming a car owner, then here are some of the things you need to know and look out for before and during your first vehicle purchase.




New or Used?

While many people will automatically see newer as better, because it means the car hasn’t seen any wear and tear, buying a used car does have its advantages.

First and foremost is the devaluation a new car suffers when you buy it. As soon as you leave the garage a new car is said to lose around 11% of its value on average. The vehicle will usually continue to lose value over the following 5 years too, although not as sharply as it does when it’s first driven out of the showroom.

If you are planning to take out a loan for a new car then depreciation means that you will most likely owe more than the car is worth as soon as you drive off in it. When you get a used car you are getting a vehicle that has already been through this process of depreciation, meaning you don’t have to pay the inflated price for a new car.

It’s also worth mentioning that new cars are sometimes more expensive to insure specifically because they’re more valuable. While this is not a hard and fast rule, it’s certainly something to bear in mind.

Plan Ahead and Set Budgets

Your budget will be one of the key factors that influence your decision-making process.

When it comes to owning a car, you have a lot more to think about than just the initial payment of the vehicle. Other costs include vehicle tax, car insurance, future costs of MOTs and services, fuel costs and repair costs, just to name a few.

If you are buying a car from a dealer and plan to pay for it in instalments, then you will need to make sure you add this to the bills you have to pay monthly and make sure that the vehicle of choice is cost effective.

Insurance is usually a hefty cost when it comes to car ownership, particularly for younger drivers. That’s why it’s critical that you compare quotes from a range of different insurance providers in order to find the cheapest deal.

Fortunately, there are a number of insurance comparison platforms that will enable you to compare quotes from several providers at once. CompareNI.com, for example, lets drivers compare car insurance quotes from up to 75 different providers side by side.

Prepare Things You Need

Once you know what your price range is, the next step is to evaluate the things you need – and its critical that you don’t confuse your ‘wants’ with your ‘needs’.

For example, do you need to have a good gas mileage for your monthly budget? Will you need to carry a lot of passengers, in which case you’d need to buy a larger vehicle? Do you need space for cargo? Is it best to have extra safety features such as airbags?

Record your needs and then try to stick to them when you do your research and shop about.

You Can Never Research Enough

Now that you know what you need, you have to know where to purchase your first car. If you are buying from a friend or a neighbour, then this will be easier for you.

Just make sure you follow all the local laws in relation to your car purchase. Research is something that must be embraced when looking for a car. With all the technological resources available to us, there are a number of ways you can find information to help reduce the risk of an unpleasant surprise.

The most important research method that you must remember is to test drive your new vehicle. This way, you can see that everything is in working order and whether or not the car is what you actually want.

Owning your first car is a major milestone in life, and the sense of freedom you have from the privilege in terms of convenience is a whole new feeling when it comes to being independent. Making sure you do your research, plan ahead, budget and consider everything you need from your vehicle is the direction you need to be heading in when it comes to owning your first car. Just make sure you ask for advice if you are ever unsure about anything so that you don’t get scammed or overpay.

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