Tips on buying your first car

There are few things more exciting than the prospect of getting behind the wheel of your very own car for the first time. Despite all the frustration – and the expense – that so often goes with learning to drive, it all seems worth it when you finally hit the road after getting rid of those L plates. But if you’re planning to buy a car, there are a few things to remember. It might be tempting to splash out or, failing that, get your hands on the first old banger you come across, but a bit of discretion could make a big difference.

Perhaps the first thing you should consider is precisely what sort of car would be most appropriate for your needs. You might well like the idea of bombing around the roads in a sports car, but you might be better off choosing a car which is better suited to your level of experience. It might sound a bit dull, admittedly, but it’s best to adjust gradually. Without wishing to generalise, younger and more inexperienced drivers tend to suffer more accidents than other groups of motorist. It makes sense, therefore, not to get ahead of yourself.

What’s more, you also need to think about running costs before you get carried away and spend big on your first car. As well as the car’s actual cost, you should budget for insurance – a considerable expense, particularly for new drivers – road tax, and any other bits and pieces that might need to be done. If you’re buying a used car, which is a particularly good idea for new drivers, it’s worth keeping some money set aside just in case you need to pay for any repairs. However, if you buy your used car from a reputable dealership you should find that it has already been put thoroughly checked before you buy as part of a quality check.

Before you buy, it’s also a good idea to do test drive. That way, you can find out whether the car is a good fit for your driving and make a more informed decision about whether or not to buy it. If you have any doubts about the feel of the steering, the brakes or any other aspect of the drive, it might be a good idea to look elsewhere. Once you’ve settled on the right motor to suit you and you’ve sorted out the road tax and insurance cover, it may also be a good idea to take out breakdown cover. For a modest fee, you can relax safe in the knowledge that assistance will be on hand should you have any problems with the car – which is always valuable in those early days when you start driving.

This post was contributed by Tom Brown, a freelancer who specialises in writing about car matters, including car finance deals.