Buying your first car

Published on 13 January 2014

Getting your first set of wheels is a rite of passage for all of us, but it’s getting harder than ever to save up money to buy one and include expenses such as fuel, car insurance and tax. There are some tips which can help lighten the load for young people wanting to get on the road for the first time.

Strength in numbers
Rather than buying a car alone, consider sharing the expense with a sibling, partner or friend. Insurance costs for two drivers may be higher than for one, but the reduction in running costs is likely to cancel this out. Parents may also be willing to lend the money required to buy the car, or guarantee loan payments for a hire purchase agreement.

Second hand is more economical
A brand new car loses a huge percentage of its value as soon as you drive it out of the garage forecourt. A far more economical choice is to buy nearly new or ex-demonstration models, which do not depreciate as quickly but are still almost new and are still under manufacturer’s warranty.

Second opinion
When buying privately or from a car dealer, either take a parent or friend who knows about cars to give the vehicle a thorough check, or pay for an independent check on the car to ensure there are no hidden problems which will result in expensive repairs. The money spent on this check may seem expensive, but could save thousands in the long run if major problems are found with the engine or the bodywork of the car.