Our Guide to Buying Your First Car
Congratulations, you're buying your first car! It's a major milestone in any driver's life and a moment you won't forget - hopefully for the right reasons. Whether you've been saving up, taking out a loan or being helped out by loved ones, it's a big step and one you want to get right.
If you've just passed your test or been driving for a while but now need your own motor, we've put together a guide on buying your first car to help you make the best choice you can.
Budgeting for your new car
When choosing your first car, unfortunately, it's not as easy as just picking the one you want. Choosing your new car often comes down to budget and what you can afford. It's important to remember that when budgeting for your first car, it's not just the car you need to consider. Remember to factor in general running costs, insurance, tax and regular MOTs and services.
How much to spend on the car
It's best to work out a general budget that will include all upfront costs including the car, insurance, tax and first tank of fuel or electricity. From there, you can work backwards and adjust the budget according to the car. For example, some cars will have higher tax costs and therefore you will need to spend less on the car itself.
There is no right or wrong amount of money to spend on a first car but remember to shop around and be savvy, if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Unfortunately, it's often young first-time car buyers who are hit with the higher insurance premiums, taking a big chunk of the budget. All cars are given an insurance rating from 1 to 50, with 1 being the cheapest to insure. The lower cars to insure are generally the more sensible and lower engine power models. It's important to remember that you can get car insurance quotes before buying a car to ensure it's within the set budget. Read our ultimate guide to car insurance to find out more.
Every vehicle has to be taxed and the cost will depend on the car's CO2 emissions. To discover cars with low tax rates, check out our website, or check out the UK Government website to find a list of all car tax rates.
Insuring your first car
Car insurance for young drivers can sometimes cost more than the car itself with those aged 17 to 19 paying around £1,800 a year and those aged 20 to 24 paying around £1,200 a year in 2021, according to moneysupermarket.com. Given the significant cost, it's a good idea to not only shop around insurers but also to pick a low insurance group car to start with. Low insurance group cars include:
To reduce car insurance costs, first-time car buyers should consider changing their level of insurance from comprehensive to third-party-only or look to install a black box. However, before making this decision, it's best to research all the options and fully understand what those insurance changes will mean.
The cost of car insurance doesn't just depend on the car being taxed but also varies on a range of factors. It also depends on the driver's age, postcode, where it's stored overnight, driving experience and annual mileage. First-time car buyers can't change any of these factors but it's something to be aware of.
Choosing and buying the car
When choosing your first car, do lots of research. There are so many options available and you want to ensure you're picking the best one for you. Make a realistic checklist of everything you would like your new car to have and work from there. There are a number of things to consider including:
- Size and number of seats
- Fuel type, whether that's petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric
- Technology including USB slots and parking sensors
- Reliability and safety ratings
- Average running costs
Why Choose Carbase?
Once you've decided on the type of car you wish to purchase, it's time to find a trustworthy seller - why not consider choosing Carbase. We're a family-run premier car dealership known for our high-quality cars and transparency and trust with our customers. That is why we're rated excellent by our customers, not only for our expert knowledge but also for our award-winning service and the fantastic range of vehicles we have on offer. We also have our own auto centres and can offer finance deals for all. So why not buy from Carbase?
Check it over
Although some used cars will come with a warranty and have gone through independent checks before being sold on, it's always best to check it over before buying including:
- Paintwork for dings or dents and that it's a consistent colour
- Any signs of rust
- All the electrics work as they should
- Check engine lights
- The engine is as it should be
- Seatbelts work
Also, remember to check over the paperwork to ensure you can see the service history, that the mileage is in keeping with the last MOT and the car details are correct such as the engine number.
Take it for a spin
If you're happy everything is in order, the next bit is the fun bit - take it for a spin! Taking it for a test drive is important to ensure you like the feel and driving position as well as to test the mechanic elements of the car including the clutch, gears and brakes.
If you have any questions, our expert team is on hand to help make your purchasing journey easy so get in touch today.