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Buying a second-hand car is a great way to start off your driving career, mainly because it will cost you less money to own one initially, and providing you look after it well, you could still cash-in at resale.
Below, Trusted Dealers provides a guide to buying a first car, the pitfalls to avoid, the tips to take on board before you enter into any negotiation, and how to ensure your first car has a long and fruitful life.
At Trusted Dealers we’d always recommend that you purchase your first car from a reputable and reliable franchised dealer. Buying from a franchised dealer will ensure that you car has been thoroughly checked and is fully roadworthy before it is placed on the forecourt. At Trusted Dealers, all of our cars have been HPI or Experian checked to ensure they have not been lost or stolen, involved in an accident, clocked or owe any outstanding finance. For more information on the benefits of purchasing from a Trusted Dealer, read our 10 points of difference promise.
If you do decide to purchase from a private seller, it’s important to spend time researching the pitfalls, so you know what to look for. Follow our guide to Buying Privately to ensure you do not get caught out.
Choosing the right car is an important decision and will more than likely save money in the long run. Do not be fooled by the initial price tag of a vehicle, always remember that there will be hidden costs such as service and maintenance costs, fuel costs and road tax to consider, so it important to be consider what you’ll pay to run the car not just to own it. Below are a list of questions you should consider before you purchase a first car:
If you will only use your car for shorter journeys, there’s no point in investing in a large car as it will cost you more money to run it. If you’re able to opt for a small city car or supermini, it will be much kinder on your wallet.
Again, if you’re intending to primarily stick to shorter journeys in your car, a petrol engine is more cost efficient for you, but if you are regularly driving longer distances on the motorway, or you have a long commute to work every day, choosing a diesel car could save you cash at the pump.
Electric cars (EVs) and Plug-in vehicles (PHEVs) are becoming increasingly popular, with registrations for plug-ins increasing from 3,500 in 2013 to 48,000 by December 2015. Most of the main manufacturers are now offering their own version of electric car, so there’s plenty of choice available to suit a number of different tastes. The government are also offering a grant to buyers of EVs and PHEVs, to help with the initial cost of owning one. For more information on electric cars, read our Guide to electric cars.
To keep costs to a minimum, it is well worth looking into the running costs of the car you are interested in before you purchase. Look at how much car tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) you’ll pay – unless you car is in band A or was built before 1973, in which case car tax is free. If your car is more than 3 years old when you purchase it, you’ll need to pay for an annual MOT test, and it will need to be serviced at regular intervals. Some manufacturers such as Kia, Hyundai and Toyota offer extended warranties which guarantee your car will be covered up to a set mileage or set year, minimising your initial costs further.
Car insurance can be one of the most crippling factors for first-time buyers. Most car insurance companies charge inflated prices for new drivers, the reason being that new drivers are more prone to an accident. If you are between the ages of 17 and 25 you’ll also be penalised. The introduction of Black Box Car Insurance has revolutionised the costs for young drivers to insure a car. Using telematics, insurers can monitor the behaviour of new drivers, and will lower insurance premiums to reward good driving. For more information on Black Box Insurance, click here.
Fuel is expensive, therefore choosing a car with good fuel consumption will help minimise your costs at the pump. Before you choose a car, look at the miles per gallon to see how fuel efficient it is. Cars that achieve over 50mpg will generally cost a lot less to run than those that don’t, and if you pick an electric car, you’ll pay nothing towards fuel as the car can run on a home-charged battery.
We’d recommend first time buyers purchase a used car to get the best value for money. Depreciation in value of a car is largest in its first year, so even buying a one year old model will save you a packet, and you’ll still have at least a 2 year warranty on it. As much as it is nice to show off the latest number plate, your new car will lose value the minute you drive it off the forecourt, so if you’re considering purchasing a new car, be thrifty in your negotiations if you want to ensure value for money.
Once you’ve decide on the right model to suit your lifestyle, spend some time researching how to get the best deal. Take a look at a number of car websites to see what similar models are selling for, so that when you enter the showroom you can confidently negotiate your deal based on facts. Trying to sail through a deal on a new or used car without knowledge will guarantee you lose money before you’ve even driven the car away – it pays to be savvy. Below are some tips from Trusted Dealers on how to negotiate the best deal when purchasing a first car:
If you don’t have a lump sum of cash saved up to purchase your first car, there are a number of finance options open to you which will help with the initial outset. You can choose how you wish to pay for your car, either by one lump sum or spread out over monthly payments. For more information on the different finance packages available when buying your first car, click here.
We would not recommend buying a car online unless you are completely confident you know what you are doing. Not actually being able to view a car in the flesh can result in major pitfalls, and eliminates the opportunity to ask all-important questions to the sales person. Although you may save cash buy purchasing a car online, buying a unseen car is a major risk. If you do decide to purchase a car online, remember to ask plenty of questions to the seller so you are more aware of the things that could go wrong.