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Top three tips when buying your first car

Buying your first car is an exciting prospect; it’s one of those major landmarks in life that you’ll never forget, so you don’t want it to be a bad experience. If you’re looking at buying your first car and you’re looking for some key pieces of advice on what to do and what to look for, read on for our top three tips.

  1. Opt for a used car

There are plenty of second hand cars for sale these days that make fantastic first cars. You’ll most likely want something that’s economical, relatively small so that you can park it anywhere, and understated so that it doesn’t draw attention to itself in a variety of settings. Plus, you may not be very confident and you’ll naturally have a few scraps and bumps on those road trips with friends. If you buy a used car, it won’t have such a huge impact on the overall value, or be as expensive to fix.

The other main benefit to buying a second-hand car is that the depreciation value on the vehicle will be much lower than on a new car. It can be as much as 19% in the first year, but the percentage decreases with every year, so if you buy a car that’s a few years old, most of the depreciation will have already passed. When you come to sell it in a couple of years’ time, you’ll get most of your money back provided it’s in good condition.

  1. Factor in all your costs

There are often a lot of hidden costs and extra charges that first-time car buyers can easily forget. Suddenly, your budget is a lot less than you thought it was, so to avoid this happening, sit down and calculate a realistic budget based on your monthly income.

Are you buying the car in one cash payment or are you paying monthly instalments and a deposit? Have you considered insurance quotes on the kind of car you want? What about road tax? How long has the car got left on its MOT, and is this something else you’ll need to pay for as soon as it comes into your possession? Will it need a full service? Make sure you’re not left with a huge whole in your finances, and investigate how much all of this will cost beforehand.

  1. Check it out and test drive

Of course, you wouldn’t want to buy a car without thoroughly checking it out first. When you’re in the position to, make sure you take someone with you for a test drive so that you have a second opinion. Check the overall condition of the car including the tyres, the body work and note any dents or rust spots.

On the inside of the car, check all lights work from the indicators to the brake lights, and test all buttons and dials within the car. Also, go over the upholstery for tears or wearing.

Do you have any other tips for new drivers?

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