You are ready to join the global tribe of motorists. Congratulations! But before you get zooming down the road, with fresh air in your face, there are some things to ponder.
Owning a car gives you full control over your mobility and style. However, many first time car owners do not realise that owning a car brings with it many new expenses. Selecting a quality vehicle is newer as important as when you buy a car for the first time. Quality must not mean expensive luxury – bottom line is, as a new car owner, last thing you need is dealing with unexpected technical issues.
Here is my guide to top five things to consider before buying your first car.
The debate over new or used cars has been around since the times of Mr Henry Ford. Buying new will give you that new car smell, but more importantly, it will support a decent warranty period, which is a great thing to have. New cars are generally expected to run trouble-free for a several of years, but this comes at a cost: a car is said to lose quarter of its value as soon as it leaves the dealership. If you are budget-conscious, you will be looking at used cars – which is not at all a bad thing. Just make sure you take time to check the mechanical and accident history, and ask a technically inclined friend to check that everything works.
There are literally hundreds of options out there. Take time to research your vehicle. Make a list of your preferred models that fall within your budget. Check their safety ratings and fuel efficiency and decide what features you absolutely must have. Read customer reviews for clues on reliability and ease of maintenance. Avoid focusing on a single model– draw up a short list of options and know their market value.
Once you have your short list, get to shopping. Narrow your local area search through tools like cars.com and then visit each location. Don’t just fall in love with the first car you take for a test drive – take emotion out of the buying process. And never feel pressured into buying just because the dealer gave you their time.
You need to know that the cost of car ownership goes beyond the purchase price. Annual registration, road tax, insurance, and regular oil change are some of your guaranteed recurring expenses. Your car also has a maintenance schedule – check the manual and ask the dealer to give you an idea for annual cost. When buying second-hand, check the maintenance log and be aware if there is a major maintenance scheduled in the near future.
If in your research you come across a deal of a lifetime, beware. When someone is prepared to sell a car well below its market value, this should throw an immediate red flag. Don’t end up with a lemon. Remember, if a deal is just too good to be true, it most likely is.