Buying your first car is a big deal, and so it should be. Maybe you’ve just got your license and can taste the freedom on the road. While it’s tempting to go for the flashiest looking car you can afford, there is a little more to it than that. So let’s go through some of the key aspects when choosing your first set of wheels.
How do you choose the right car?
How much you can spend on your first car is a big factor. Brand new cars cost more, so if you’re working with a tight budget, going down the used car route will give you more choice (or may turn out to be your only option).
Everybody’s lifestyle is different and finding a car that has the features that suit your daily transport needs is important.
If you’re a student that needs something to get to and from school or uni, then a small, reliable hatch will do you just fine.
If you’ve just graduated and started a new job, then you might want a car that’s plush and sophisticated that you can take to work or more suitable to take clients around in.
Similarly, if you’re the drummer in a band or opening batsman in the local cricket team, you’ll need a car with that extra boot space that can fit and carry all your gear to a jam session or weekend match.
You get the point… make sure the car you buy suits all your needs.
What else you should consider
Safety is important, and it is easy to overlook in the excitement of buying your first car. A good rule of thumb is to choose a car with as many safety features as your budget allows. If you’re looking to buy your first car, chances are you are an inexperienced driver (don’t worry we all start out that way), and having safety features like automatic emergency braking, electronic stability control, lane departure and blind-spot warning to back you up on the road is a good idea.
Fuel efficiency is important, especially if you’re in a situation like that of a struggling student. Fuel costs can add up over time, so that’s something to think about too.
What’s the deal between new and used cars
The age-old question and a very common one you will ask yourself at some point is whether you should buy a new or used car. There are pros and cons to both which you will have to deal with against your needs, and ultimately it may simply come down to what you can afford.
New cars come with all the latest and most advanced safety and in-car technologies. You also get a new car warranty, meaning you’ll be covered for any faults and repairs for the first few years of owning your first car. Also if you’re in a bit of a hurry to get your wheels, check with the dealer to see if they have the car you want in stock, as you may have to wait up to months for a model that’s in high demand.
Used cars are much cheaper than new cars, but you typically don’t get any warranty apart from the statutory warranty if you buy from a dealer. The safety systems and technology in older cars will not be as advanced but do come pretty close to the newer the used car you buy. Older used cars also depreciate in value at a much lower rate, so they are a good choice if you don’t intend to keep your first car for long, and you get back more of your money when you decide to sell.
Where to go to find cars for sale
A long time ago, newspapers and automotive publications like “Autotrader” were the places to go if you wanted to look for a car, especially used cars. The arrival of the internet has opened up a whole new way to quickly and conveniently access cars for sale online. First, you can look up the dealer sites (for example you make a search for Mazda dealers Perth). Then there are the car listing sites such as Carsales or legitimate dealerships selling the cars. And finally, you can search online marketplaces like Gumtree, eBay, and even on Facebook marketplace.
What to do when once you find what you want
No matter if the car is new or used, you must always do a test drive to see if you like how it feels behind the wheel. I mean, what’s the point of buying something you don’t like driving? If you decide that it is the perfect first car for you and everything you expected then the proceeding steps are a little different between buying a new and used car.
If it’s a new car you’re buying, all that’s left to do is basically contact or walk into a dealer (eg. Mazda dealership), and figure out any customisations or additions you want.
For buying a used car, the process is slightly more involved. Firstly you must do a thorough inspection of the vehicle to make sure that everything is in good working condition. For more peace of mind, get a pre-purchase inspection done by a trusted independent mechanic. Test driving a used car is more important as this may also reveal any problems with the car when moving. Don’t forget to do an online Personal Property Security Register (PPSR) check using the VIN/Chassis number of the car, to make sure there are no nasty surprises, such as any financial encumbrance (if there is, you risk losing the car).
Don’t forget to negotiate. There is always room to move on the price, especially if you’re buying a used car.
Now you are armed with the lowdown on how to go about and buying your first car – happy hunting!