Tips for First Time Car Buyers

March 18, 2013

First time car buyers are at an important time in their lives. Buying your first car can be a liberating experience for some, and a total nightmare for others. Fortunately, if you follow these simple tips below, you won't have so many headaches and may even start to enjoy the process.

Find Out What Kind of Car You Need

This is the most important step in car buying. If you're a new driver, stay away from sports cars or fast trucks, as these vehicles are more difficult to drive, cost more to insure (even if you're on a parent or guardian's policy) and often times cost more to repair. You're better off to start with a lesser car and work up to the dream car later on in your life. Your future self will thank you, especially when it comes time to insure your own vehicle later in life.

Pay Special Attention to Your Budget

This is true no matter how many cars you own or buy in your life, but with your first purchase, it's especially important. The price of the car isn't the only thing to consider. You also have registration fees and insurance to pay for. Be sure to get an insurance quote for your vehicle, and if your parents own cars, ask them about putting you on their policy. You can pay your share, and end up saving hundreds of dollars.

Don't Rule Out Any Type of Seller

New cars are generally considered out of most first time buyer's price range, because there's payments and other expenses, including increased insurance costs. Sometimes however, you can negotiate a deal that you can make work for your budget--salespeople can be very flexible if the need arises. Also, car dealerships, new or used, have the most varied selection of vehicles to choose from, so you're more likely to find the car you want, as opposed to a car just to take you from point-A to point-B. Private-Party sales will generally net you the cheapest type of car, but be wary of these because some may require work. Remember to get any used car professionally inspected before purchase to avoid problems, or be able to spot them in the future.

Budget Money for Your Own Repairs

Cars are not infallible objects. Preventative maintenance will give you peace of mind that your vehicle will be safe, and keep working for you. However, no matter how much maintenance you do, your car or truck can, and often times will, break down, or need repair at some point in their life spans. Some of these things can be as simple as changing your oil every 3000 to 5000 miles and rotating your tires. Other services like brakes, collision repair after an accident, etc. can be more expensive and may even make your car irreparable. Make sure you save at least a few hundred dollars as a sort of "rainy day fund" for your car. You never know when a flat tire will leave you stranded, and nobody likes that feeling.

Following these 4 simple tips will ensure that you get the car you need and that it's a reliable vehicle for your daily life. Once you have that, you can't go wrong.