1 It doesn’t need to be a Ferrari…
Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make as a first-time buyer is going out looking for a fast car with a big powerful engine. It makes sense that you would want this – everyone wants a fast car right? But you have to realise that this is something that drivers work up to over time.
If you are a first time buyer, then presumably you have fairly limited driving experience. So while a sporty little number may be attractive, it really isn’t the best place for you to start out. Instead, look for something with a smaller engine, because this way it will be far easier to control and build up experience behind the wheel. Also, any mistakes made in a slow car will be far less costly.
An added bonus here is that cars with small engines will be cheaper for road tax and insurance purposes.
2 Size does matter
This follows on from the previous point really. If you are quite new to driving, you probably won’t want a big, heavy car with a large turning circle. Bulky cars, like the Alphard for example, are tricky to manoeuvre. It will take some practice to get a feel the kind of spaces your car can fit through, and how much room you need to leave either side. This is tough in big cars because as well as there being more car you also often have reduced visibility.
These sort of concerns really come to the fore when reversing or parking your car, something that new drivers are often nervous about. As such, a small, nimble little car is probably a better way to go.
3 Think Long term
It can be tempting when buying your first car to just pick up some cheap wreck of a vehicle, with the intention of running it into the ground and buying a ‘proper’ car further down the the line. While this could look like a smart move, it is worth thinking a little more long term. After all, even a cheap used car is a serious investment. You may think that you are saving with a low price, but you may end up spending more if it breaks down or fails an MOT. Also, old cars in poor condition are not going to be particularly efficient, so you will be spending more on petrol.
On top of all of this, you still have to drive the thing most days, so you want it to be a relatively pleasant experience. Spending time every day wrestling with an ancient gear box in a cold and rusty car is not fun…
4 Don’t skimp on safety
Following on from the previous point, while a cheap, old car seems an attractive option, it is important to realise that newer cars are far safer. Although it is unpleasant to think about, accidents do happen. With this in mind, you will want a car that has all its safety features intact. After all, driving is dangerous and modern cars are designed with this in mind.
5 Think about servicing and maintenance
I have already mentioned how a low price can be a false economy once you take into account repairs and MOTs. There is something else worth considering too though, and that is how easy it is to get a car serviced and maintained. Different types of car will vary wildly in service price, with luxury cars normally costing far more. Also, parts like brake pads and tires vary in price for different cars.
Also, what dealerships and garages are near you? If you have to drive a long way to get your car serviced, it might be worth considering a different car with a closer dealer.
Finally, if you haven’t bought a car before, you may be a little shy when it comes to the crunch. However, be brave! When selling cars, people expect to have to negotiate on price, so you should try your luck.