Things you need to know about buying your first car

Getting the keys to your first car is one of the most exciting experiences in motoring. You might’ve been training for some time and finally passed your test, or you may be purchasing a car in order to start learning. Either way, it’s a very enjoyable thing indeed.

However, there are some things worth bearing in mind to ensure that the whole process is as smooth as possible. Here, we’re going to take a look at some of the things you need to know about buying your first car.


Before you start anything, having a budget in mind is something well worth doing. If you set yourself some boundaries then it’ll mean there are no disappointments down the line - and you won’t find yourself in a tighter financial situation than you first expected, either.

Don’t just think about the total price of the car, either. Consider how much it’ll cost to insure, tax and keep mechanically sound. All of these can quickly add up and transform what first appeared to be a cheap car into a far more expensive one.

Choose between new or used

A consideration to make right at the start of your first-car journey is whether or not you want to buy new or used. A new car will have many benefits, such as complete warranties, more technology and a wider variety of financing options. However, it’s often a more expensive route than buying used.

And though buying a second-car does bring down the initial price, you do have to factor in that a used car might require more maintenance and, if it hasn’t got a complete service history, you won’t have a full picture of its background. That said, a used car will also have already taken depreciation on board - something you’ll have to deal with when buying new.


It might sound odd, but it’s good to get an idea of what size of car you’re comfortable with. So if you’ve been used to a smaller car over your learning period, then it might not be worth going overboard in terms of size for your next vehicle. Though it won’t take long for you to get used to a slightly larger car, a big vehicle could prove challenging if you’re relatively new to the road.

Broken L plates
driving a car

Automatic or manual

Of course, if you’ve taken an automatic-only test, then you won't be able to buy a manual car. However, if you’ve got a manual licence, then you’re free to pick either one. Remember that used automatic models do tend to carry a premium, while many smaller-engined cars (that are often targeted towards first-time drivers) are only offered with manual gearboxes.

However, if you’re spending plenty of time in traffic, then an automatic could be a more comfortable option. Many new cars are only being offered with automatic transmissions, too.

Make sure you check everything over before buying

If you’ve found a car that takes your fancy, then make sure you put in some checks before signing on the dotted line. If it’s a used car, then this means making sure that you’ve got a good idea of the car’s background. You could also run a car history check, which usually costs around £10 but provides you with a huge amount of information about a car. It’ll also flag up if there’s any outstanding finance - something you could be liable for if it’s left unchecked and the car goes to you.

If it’s a new car, then it’s worth making sure that you’re getting the best deal by shopping around. Also, enquire as to what type of warranty the car comes with and if there are any servicing plans that could be worth signing up for. Plus, enquire as to when the car’s first service - often known as the ‘running in’ service - is, so you don’t miss it.



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