Diaries Magazine

Thoughts on Picking Your First Car

Posted on the 04 September 2013 by Ellenarnison @Ellen27
Thoughts on picking your first car
My first car looked a something like this. Or rather a much older and more battered version. I bought it because a friend of a friend had it for sale. 

Sadly it didn't go very far before conking out altogether and needing to be towed off to scrap yard. The experience didn't teach me all that much because my jolly yellow Fiesta was followed by a veritable fleet of reasonably rubbish cars. 

However, my motoring mishaps have qualified me to compile some advice for those considering a first car... or a car for an L-plate youngster. Scarily as Boy One pointed out the other day it's only three years 'til he can get his provisional. Gulp. 

Here's what I have learned about buying cars:

Don't be seduced by pretty colours or cool features. I know this is a really, really boring thing to say but it's really true. Chances are the slightly horrible looking car next to the hot orange one will be a better bet. Partly because life's like that. In any case you can always 'pimp' your ride. 

Get it checked out. Don't just take the word of a friend or family member. Knowledgeable kicking of tyres won't reveal serious engine problems. Organisations like the RAC and the AA both do proper health checks of your vehicle-to-be. I'm sure there are lots of other places that do it too. Equally you could ask your local garage...

Make friends with your local garage. If there's a local business you know and trust, then start there. Perhaps you could ask them to check out your new car - if they are reputable they will offer good advice in exchange for loyalty. 

Look at running costs. In some respect the price for the actual car is the least of the costs to consider. Look at how much it'll cost you in fuel, insurance, road tax, servicing, parts etc. A popular (common) car model means that parts will be cheaper and more readily available. 

What's doing well in the surveys. Have a look at what the car magazines and websites are saying. They rate cars on reliability which is going to be pretty important to you in the long run. Search the internet and ask on your social networks, it'll give you a feel for the kind of car you should go for. 

Join a rescue organisation. The AA, RAC or similar. It might seem like an unnecessary expense when money's tight, but it is worth it. 

Buy it from a dealer, but not any dealer. It may be tempting to get your car really cheap in a direct sale but that doesn't give you anywhere to go if things go wrong. At least if you pick a reputable car dealer then you can take it up with them if you've got a problem. That said, check out the dealer to make sure it's one you can trust. 

Look after it. Check the oil, tire pressure etc. These things are not difficult to do. Make sure you've got a spare tire and the means to use it. It might seem like there is a lot of dull and unnecessary advice on what to carry and how to maintain a car, and you're right. Only the thing is, most dull thing about car ownership is the time spent dealing with a broken down car. 

This post was created in association with Clickontyres who asked for me to share my wisdom. 

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