Regardless of how it is approached, getting your first car is a time-consuming, frustrating but thrilling experience. After all, with a vehicle, you can suddenly cross great distances in a matter of minutes and no longer will be at the mercy of public transportation.
However, with great power comes great responsibility – cars require upkeep, parking fees and a hefty chunk of cash to buy. Before you hurriedly run out to make your purchase, there are a few things to be aware of before you buy.
Starting doesn’t imply setting out to physically look at the cars. At this stage, you will undertake research to arrive at a decision about your first car. Before seeking an ideal primary vehicle, you should contemplate over several essential questions:
How much funds are available? Buying the physical car is not the only expense you will incur. You will have to spend on registration, titling, legalities and insurance as well. Afterwards, you’ll be spending a lot on fuel and maintenance depending on the car you buy. Try to get a car that you can afford to keep month after month.
What does your credit look like? If you have established credit, it may be beneficial to buy your car through multiple payments instead of all at once. A great way is to set up a car payment in which the rate is based on your credit history.
What type of vehicle is best suited to my needs? You might want to consider how often the car will be driven and the number of passengers it can carry. Make sure to look at the fuel consumption of the car, ease of driving, and the interior for spaciousness and comfort.
Should I buy a brand new car? Finding an ideal used car isn’t much of a big deal once you get to know what to look for when buying. However, to avoid the trouble of searching for an adequate used car that won’t cost a fortune to keep running, most people find it best to buy new, especially if you are inexperienced with maintaining a vehicle.
Once you have responded to these types of questions, you can start thinking about the models and makes of the cars you have in mind. Perform a little research on these types of vehicles. Read extensively on their safety ratings and the rate of theft for vehicles of this type.
Through the Research
It’s time for you to set off and seek your first car. As it turns out, many people prefer dealing with authorized dealers. Look for help from your local newspapers and magazines.
People generally find comfort in dealing with licensed dealers, but they risk the chance of overpaying and having a lower quality vehicle. Make sure not to forget about private sale deals because, due to life circumstances, people may be eager to sell at a much lower price than the vehicle’s worth.
Examining the Car
To understand whether or not a car is worth the price, you need to undergo a process of rigorous inspection to look for possible signs of damage and other flaws. These signs may indicate the likelihood of the car’s having being stolen or “clocked” (which is when the displayed mileage is deceptively lowered). Make sure you inspect the following carefully:
Bodywork: Hunt for corrosion, finding signs of it is a bad indicator. Search throughout the vehicle, checking the actual tire arches and other visible parts as much as you can. If you can’t have a proper glimpse of the underneath of the car, use your hand to look for rust. If you observe a small amount of rust on the bodywork, there can be more serious rusting underneath the top.
Engine: Open up the bonnet and reach for the engine. Check that it looks to be well-maintained, grubby or slightly abandoned. Take the dipstick out and check for oil. Should the oil seem to be black, this can show that oil was not changed frequently, and this automobile was not serviced on proper time intervals. The oil should appear fairly transparent for it to be acceptable.
Check to see that reservoirs, braking system, coolant and other fluid intakes are effectively loaded. If they are not, this may show that the automobile has become abandoned.
With the engine on, be sure that it doesn’t shake or make any other weird disturbance.
Tires: Check the tires including the spare ones. Ask yourself whether they are within the legal limits? Exchanging tires is expensive, so the deeper the tread, the longer they can last. Check the tires for chips and cracks in addition to bulges. If you find any traces of them, the vehicle is most likely illegal to drive.
Leakages: Check underneath the vehicle for indicators of leaky fluids, such as oil from the braking system. If the driver has the car parked outside the driveway, check for the driveway for signs of leakages.
One last word
Don’t let the excitement of buying your first car numb your senses.
You’re likely to do some paperwork when the deal is made. It involves a list of terms that the buyer and the seller must sign. These are easy to do when you’re dealing with a dealership can be difficult when you are buying your first car through a private sale.
Make sure no points are missed and that everything is outlined in black and white as it appears to be. Should you have any trouble with the paperwork, feel free to contact your local agencies for assistance.
Midlife Finance says
The first car is tough because I wanted a new car after driving a POS around for so many years. 🙂
I not sure that my first car fits in with your article, but it was my first. It was a very used 1959 Renault Dauphine that I bought for $5 in 1972. I was in high school and it actually ran, so I figured it was a great deal. We added liability insurance for me to drive the car on my parents’ insurance. It was such a beater that the insurance was something like $50 for the whole year. I rolled the car the second time I drove it. It was a single-vehicle accident on a mountain rode and nobody got hurt. A friend who was with me and I tipped the car back on its wheels and I drove it slowly home. I sold it for $10 the next day.
I had so many problems with my first car, a Chevy Cavalier (I don’t remember the year). It finally died one day and my parents and I got rid of it for parts. It was a headache, but it gave me some experience fixing small things in the car, the engine, replacing parts, etc.