What to Look for in Your First Car
Buying your child’s first car seems exciting in theory, but in reality it can be a real chore. There’s an endless list of things you need to consider, from insurance quotes to price to running cost. It’s expensive for anyone, but new drivers seem to have a particularly hard time. Here are a few things for the uninitiated to bear in mind…
Choosing the right car
- If you work some distance from home, there is little point in buying a car with 200,000 miles already on the clock, as there’s unlikely to be much life left in it. It might cost less initially but you’ll pay much more overall if you have to replace it a few months down the line. If you don’t have to travel long distances every day then a low-mileage, well-maintained car should be fit for purpose.
- Before deciding on a particular car, consider all the costs that will be part of ownership. Vehicles are divided into fifty groups by insurers, based on factors including their engine size and the likely cost of repairs. The higher the insurance group, the higher the premium. Before buying a new car, check its rating.
- You should also consider the car’s suitability to the driving environment. For city driving, look at fuel-efficient, small-capacity engines. If it’s for longer trips or frequent journeys down the highway a large engine may be better suited to your purpose.
- Choose a car that can be repaired and serviced locally and cheaply.
Considering the Costs
There are some costs that you just can’t avoid, so factor them into your budget before you think about putting a deposit down. Here are a few tips on how to save money in the long-run.
- Car insurance
Choosing your car carefully will help keep insurance costs down. Cars are ranked and assigned to one of fifty groups. Try choosing a car from a low rated group, as the higher the insurance group, the higher the premium. Cars from the higher groups are likely to cost more to repair and have higher running costs overall. Check the rating of any car you’re interested in before you buy it.
To drive costs down even further, find a company who guarantees cheap insurance. Enterprises such as One Sure promise that your policy will be the most economical around, and will refund you if you find a cheaper quote. No insurer wants to lose their clients, so you can be certain that the company you buy from will provide you with the best possible package in order to hold on to your custom and the capital it brings them.
Fuel is obviously very expensive, and that seems unlikely to change any time soon. Save money in the long-run by choosing a car with good fuel consumption. If you have you heart set on a model with a higher fuel consumption, consider whether you could car share to reduce your overheads. If this is a viable option, you can afford other considerations greater priority.
Check the condition of the tyres before you purchase a vehicle and consider whether or not you would need to change them. Factor your decision into your budget, as replacing tyres is a relatively big expense. Don’t be tempted to ignore wear, as driving around with part-worn tyres can have a very dangerous outcome. Low-functioning tyres will also increase fuel consumption and add to your overheads.
With ever-increasing running costs, buying a car is not a decision to be taken lightly. Decide how much you can afford to pay, factoring in the cost of insurance, MOT, road tax, petrol, repairs and servicing. Don’t rush into a decision. Shop around and look through price guides to see how much you should expect to pay for the car you want. Invest enough time and thought and you’re guaranteed to find a car to suit you, your lifestyle and your budget.