A Mini Guide To Buying Your First Car

Whether you begin taking driving lessons at 17 or you get behind the wheel later in life, passing your driving test is a learner driver’s greatest achievement. After hours spent trying to master the art of manoeuvres, it’s time to say goodbye to the L plates and start searching for your very own set of wheels.

While buying your first car can be exciting, it can also be complicated. From choosing your make and model to getting to grips with finance deals, there are any number of things to consider – and without the necessary knowledge, it can be costly, too.

If you’re looking for some handy hints to help you on your way to owning your first run-around, our mini guide to buying your first car will get you on the road as quickly and safely as possible.


1. Should I buy a new car or a used car?


Buying a new car brings with it several benefits – from reducing the risk of wear and tear to exploring your colour options, new cars can be custom-built to suit the driver. Whether storage options and seating adjustments are high on your agenda or wheel trims and in-car tech take priority, buying new means you can choose the best spec for you.

While new cars come with bags of appeal, second hand motors still hold a prominent place on the UK’s roads – proving to be an easy and efficient car-buying option. Older cars come with one or more previous owner, meaning they have more character than a brand new model and are far cheaper than used cars meaning you can get a lot more motor for your money – so choosing between a new or used car really comes down to personal preference.

Top tip: if you decide to buy a used car, make sure you book a Pre-Purchase Inspection from ClickMechanic to have an independent mechanic check the vehicle over before you seal the deal.


2. Should I buy a car outright or through car finance?


As a first time buyer, you’ll have already shelled out a small fortune on driving lessons – so funds are likely to be a factor when considering your buying options. Buying a car outright means no monthly fees, but can be expensive – while finance allows you to spread out your payments, but can cost more in the long run.

Car finance means you could potentially opt for a newer, more expensive model, but many drivers avoid applying for car finance because they have a poor credit history and assume they will be automatically refused – however, this isn’t always the case. Finance companies will often offer flexible bad credit car finance deals – meaning you don’t have to part with a large amount of cash to secure your perfect car.

Whether you opted for an attractive finance deal or you’ve saved enough cash for the car of your dreams, the first step towards your new set of wheels is setting a realistic budget – so make sure you settle on a limit before you begin shopping around.

Top tip: don’t be swayed by attractive monthly instalment figures. Think of the cost of the car overall – taking into consideration its value and the amount you can realistically pay back.


3. What paperwork do I need to do?


Once you’ve signed and paid for the car, you become responsible for tax, insurance and MOT certificates. From printing out your insurance documents to checking the address on your driving licence, failing to keep your documents up-to-date could result in a hefty fine or even legal action – so organisation is key.

If you’re buying from a dealership, short-term insurance is often offered to allow you to drive your vehicle home – where you can set up your own insurance policy – and this should be a priority. Although you no longer have to display a tax disc, your vehicle still needs to be covered – so whether you do this online or at your local post office, be timely in getting your vehicle taxed.

Top tip: keep all of your car-related documents in one place – this way, you know where everything is when it comes to renewing your insurance or arranging your next MOT.

Whether you’re a newly qualified driver or thinking about taking your driving test, following these actionable tips will help you on your way to buying your first car – meaning you’ll be ready to hit the road as soon as possible.


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