Buying your first car is an exciting experience – there’s a new sense of freedom as well as the inevitable pride in your vehicle, no matter how old it is. It’s a process that you should take your time over to ensure you get the best possible model for your money. We’ve got some tips to help you pick the ideal option.
The bigger picture
When you’re buying your first car, it’s easy to forget the bigger picture, by which we mean running costs. You may be able to afford a top end model on finance, but can you afford the servicing, insurance and fuel costs? Consider your annual expenditure when choosing a vehicle, not just the price of the car.
Don’t buy the first car you see
Having considered your budget, it’s time to start looking in earnest. Research normally starts on the internet, and it’s easy to compare several vehicles side by side on many websites. Don’t set your heart on the first model that meets your budget – look at what you’re getting for your money and select a few vehicles to view.
Choose a reputable supplier
Used car retailers are typically a more reliable option than private sellers, unless you have a good understanding of the mechanics of the vehicle. Many retailers thoroughly inspect models and carry out background checks before they resell them, giving you extra peace of mind.
Check the paperwork
When you buy your used car, make sure that the seller can provide you with all the relevant paperwork – log book, MOT certificates, service history and anything else that may be pertinent. If you find any discrepancies, get a satisfactory explanation or simply go elsewhere.
Go for a spin
When you’ve shortlisted a couple of models, take them for a test drive – it’s one of the best ways to determine how well they’ve been looked after and if they suit your needs. Aim to be behind the wheel for around 15 minutes and if possible drive through an urban environment as well as on a higher speed road such as a dual carriageway.
Don’t be pressured
Ultimately, the car you choose is going to be with you every day for some time, so it’s important to be sure it’s right for you. Don’t let yourself be pressured into taking a car that you don’t want because you’re told there’s interest from other people or the deal runs out soon. Consider all your options and make a balanced decision.
Don’t get disheartened
If you don’t manage to find something that suits you to begin with, don’t get disillusioned. Dealers have new stock coming in all the time, so there are always options becoming available. It may take several weeks, or even months to find what you’re looking for, but it’s better to spend longer searching and be completely sure of your choice than rushing the decision and regretting it.