This article includes links I have been paid to include to help you in buying your first car.

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Buying your first car is an exciting time. The prospect of more independence and the freedom to go and explore. However, buying your first can be a bit of a challenge, particularly if you’re not sure what you should be looking out for.

There are some really important areas that you should be aware of when buying your first car or helping your kids buy theirs.

Insurance

Firstly, as a new driver, your insurance is likely going to be quite high. Because of this, you will probably want a car that won’t cost you a lot to run and maintain.

There can be a temptation to go for really old and cheap cars, but they may actually end up costing you more over the time you have the car.

More modern cars, produced in the last ten years, will have better fuel economy and will probably not require as much work to keep them running smoothly.

Because of this, you can save money on fuel and maintenance work which will help offset the cost of insurance for new drivers. Newer cars will also be safer, and as parents, we want our children to be as safe as possible, particularly when they’re driving.

Size

Secondly, unless there is a specific need you have which requires you to have a large car, it’s often a good idea to look for smaller cars.

Hatchbacks make a great first car as they are smaller and when you are getting used to driving on your own, not having to worry about how wide or long your car is on the road can be helpful. Smaller cars are also easier to park, and this will be useful for new drivers.

Important checks

Also, it’s essential to do some checks before buying the car to make sure it hasn’t been in an accident that could have caused structural damage.

This could make it unsafe to drive and less secure if you were to get into an accident. Checking there is no outstanding finance on the vehicle is also important.

You should also take the time to research the make and model to find out what other drivers are saying about it. If there are any common mechanical issues that could be expensive to repair, it may be wise to look at other options.

Cost

The third thing to look out for is the differences in price. If you are looking at a particular make and model and find one that is significantly cheaper than the others you need to ask yourself ‘why is this so much cheaper?’ You should also be aware of the price differences between private sellers and dealerships.

Private sellers will usually be cheaper, but you also run the risk of not knowing if there is anything wrong with the car. Buying from a dealership or independent garage should give you more confidence the car will be as advertised. Should you be considering finance or a personal loan?

Have you heard of the 10% rule for buying a car? It essentially means the most you should ever spend of your annual income on motoring as a total is 10%. Personally, I think that is a bit much, what do you think?

Getting a deal

Just because you’re buying from a garage or dealership does not mean you can’t find a good deal. Searching online is a great place to start and will save you time rather than going to all of your local garages without knowing what you’re looking for.

Asking friends and family is also a good way of finding out if any particular garages are known for having good deals. It’s also worth, particularly if you live in a big city, to look further afield as prices may be lower.

For example, if you live in Edinburgh, having a look at the kind of used cars Aberdeen has to offer and their prices compared to the capital, you may find a better deal.

Overall, it’s important to remember that you should enjoy your first car. You want it to be something you will get a lot of use out of and hopefully keep for a while. It’s therefore really important that you don’t rush into buying something you may regret later on.


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