So, picture this, you’re a young petrolhead and you are looking for your first ever set of wheels, now because it’s a first car, it needs to be cheap to buy, cheap to insure, cheap to tax and overall cheap to run but yet has to be decently fun to drive as well as being reliable & not much to fix, with all this in mind and with a vast array of cars out there, here’s some top ten steps to take when buying your first ever car!
1.) Set Yourself a Fixed Budget.
Now when you are looking for a first car, the main thing you have to work out is your current budget, there’s no point looking at Ferrari’s if you only have £1,000 to play with, also there is no point in looking at a £6,000 car if you only have a £5,000 budget, stick to a budget which can easily get you a car & cover costs of insurance & tax prices, that way you have a better idea of what’s exactly out there for buying.
2.) Shop Around For Insurance.
Now, while Budget is top dog when it comes to buying a first car, there is no point in buying a car if it cost way too much to insure, try & find something which is cheap to buy & also cheap to insure & don’t be afraid to shop around different quotes to find the best for you, the more you shop around and the more companies you get in contact with, you’ll more than likely find a company who’ll put you onto a ‘Young Drivers Scheme’ which lowers the insurance quite significantly compared to your typical quotes.
3.) Buy Something That Young Driver’s Won’t Normally Drive.
This may sound weird at first glance but bear with me on this, If you go for something that no other young driver has, the lower the insurance will more than likely cost, now remember to do this within reason, If for example, you are looking at a Ford Focus MK1, look instead at the likes of a Mazda 3 or Alfa Romeo 147, because no young driver is hardly seen insuring these kinds of cars compared to their rivals, the insurance companies don’t give out really stupid quotes as they’re hardly ever crashed by inexperienced drivers, also, if you disregard insurance for a second, buying something that nobody else has means that you can potentially get yourself a car which drives as good as if not better than the typical choices & is also a rare sight on the roads.
4.) Make Sure It Has a Good Community.
There is no point in buying a car if it has no following or love for it as that’ll make it impossible to get any help with it regarding parts or even fixing it, also there is no point in buying a car if the following is huge but unhelpful to your specific car in question, try if you can to find a car which has a very good owners community which will literally go to the ends of the world to help you out, not just will this help you with parts & fixing the car in question but you’ll also meet some very good friends through it as well and will make you stick around for many years to come.
5.) Don’t Be Afraid to Try Out a Classic or Retro car.
With new cars becoming ever so complicating & some small classics becoming really cheap & easy to pick up, it makes sense to buy a classic or retro car, It’s so easy to join one of the many arrays of classic car clubs around the place and fit in with the rest of the members, the best part about these kinds of car people is that most of them are of a mature age so will easily be able to help you without hurling abuse or making fun of what you drive, plus with so many different shapes, sizes, & styling it certainly makes for some fun motoring as you’ll know that you’ll be driving something that isn’t common on the roads anymore, add in the easy mechanical access & more raw driving experience a classic car gives you, it certainly makes for a wonderful ownership experience.
6.) Go on Your own Insurance Policy.
Now while a lot of people may tell you to go on to the likes of your parents insurance or even another family members insurance for a few years to lower costs, this isn’t actually the best way to go in the long run, see, insurance companies don’t give out ‘No Claim Discounts’ to named drivers on insurance policies, only those who are actually main drivers, so what does this mean exactly? Well while for the first few years the insurance will be low, as soon as you sign up in your own name, it will be more expensive, by going on your own policy from the get-go, you can build up a significant no claims discount before moving onto your next car or even changing company, even if you have to add people onto your policy then do so – just make sure it’s in your name!
7.) You Can’t Be Picky.
Remember what I said about trying out cars that no one else has? Well if you choose to do that which is very much advised by myself, you can’t be picky when choosing a car, sometimes the underrated cars are some of the best cars you could ever own regardless of badge or stereotypes, when I bought my C70, I was never considering a Volvo as I always thought they were old mans cars which drove terribly, however, while some of that may be true, it isn’t actually as bad as everyone makes out and this is the case for most cars which are never considered.
8.) Do Your Research.
whether it’s a brand new car you are looking at or a secondhand car you have your eyes on, whether it’s a typical everyday VW Golf or an expensive entry-level Audi/BMW/Mercedes, always always do your research, this will make it so much easier to filter out the good cars from the bad, too many people make the mistake of just buying what they like or what they want without even reading about its common faults or ownership issues which means that unfortunately, they are stuck in a position where they are severely left unhappy & ultimately cold with their purchase all due to lack of research.
9.) Get in Contact With People in The Know.
So, you’ve whittled it down to maybe two or three cars, they’re all within budget, have similar performance & running costs and all have good badges or a good reputation from both owners & forums/groups, how do you go about whittling it down to the right car?, well you could always go round the dealerships and find out more about the cars you’re looking at but 9 times out of ten they’ll be biased as it’s one of their products and this is something which ultimately won’t help, however there is nothing to stop you from getting contact with specialists in the know of the cars you’re currently looking at, these guys will be able to give fair honest answers without being biased and will make it so much easier for you to come to a decision & ultimately coming away with more knowledge than the internet or forums could ever give.
10.) Go Out & Actually Experience Potential Cars.
So, you’ve narrowed it down to a couple of cars, they both have fantastic reviews, both within budget & both are good buys from those in the know, how do you make the decision to actually go ahead and buy one?, well you either drive them or get a passenger ride in them of course!, This separates the good from the bad and is the ultimate turning point in potential car ownership as you will actually be able to see first hand what the cars in question are like & what they’re like to actually drive & sit in, this way you can actually get to see what kit comes with them and what everything feels like and get an overall feel for the cars in question, while reviewers & journalists can tell you how fast a car can get around a track, no one can tell you what it’s like to drive & live with on a day to day business.
I hope this list helps and guides you into first car ownership easier than going alone without anyone helping, now, even though this list does help out & makes things easier, there really is no right or wrong way to buying any car let alone your first car, this is only meant as a guide and not as the be-all & end-all of all of the multiple first car lists out there on the internet, I know that when I bought my C70 way back in 2015, I had different wants & needs to friends of mine who just wanted a cheap set of wheels to get them on the road, not everyone is the same and everyone has different needs especially when it comes down to cars.
Hope You Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson