Guest blog: guide to buying your first car

Published on 23 March 2017

Laura, guest blogger and Liberty employee brings us through her experience of buying a new car.

Buying my first car was an extremely exciting but overwhelming experience. There was so much involved in the process and it was unlike any purchase I have made before. Hopefully my story on buying my first car will help get you on the right track with yours.


Budget for me was the first thing I had to think of as a first time car buyer. Buying a car is unfortunately not just a one off cost, therefore I couldn’t solely think of my budget in terms of the purchase price of the car itself. I had to consider the running cost as well e.g petrol/diesel, insurance, tax, maintenance and repairs.

Factors like insurance, tyre prices and fuel economy can be completely different depending on the car make, model and year. So I would urge any first time buyers to consider all these factors in your budget when buying your first car.

The next thing I had to think of was how I was going to pay for it. I was presented with 3 options – get a loan, pay with cash from savings or PCP financing from the dealer. After considering these options and doing the maths I worked out which was best for me.

Choosing a Car

The next step for me was choosing the car. Again there were a lot of things to consider here. I am quite fussy when it comes to make, model, and style so I knew the type of car I was looking for. I narrowed it down and was stuck between 2 cars.

I started by doing research on the Internet. I looked at the manufacturer websites to compare models, watched videos on ratings and read content from people who have owned the cars I was interested in. In my eyes, reviews from people who had actually owned and drove the car were invaluable.

Some of the things I considered when choosing my first car were:

1. Standard - I am a nervous driver and I knew I wanted something that was reliable and would hopefully cut back on the maintenance and repair costs associated with an older car. Thus I opted for a newer, lower mileage and a well-known and respected make of car, Renault.

2. Used or new – I decided to go for a used car but fairly new (152). Obviously the main reason for opting for a used car is it’s less expensive. Having said that I wanted a new enough car for depreciation reasons i.e. how much the car you buy will be worth when you decide to sell it, and how much lower that figure may be compared to what you are paying now. Another added bonus of going for a newer car is the warranty. For example, because my car is just over a year old it still has a warranty of 4 years on it so if anything goes wrong I’m covered free of charge.

3. Dealer or private - if you are buying a used car you have the option to buy private or from a car dealer. I was told that private was cheaper, but looking back I feel this was only a perception. I also wouldn’t have gotten the same benefits I received from buying from a dealer. Every dealer also has a reputation to protect. Because my car still had warranty, they made sure it was in perfect working condition.

Finally, when I went to actually buy the car, it was so helpful having experienced people with me as they knew exactly what questions to ask and could complete a proper evaluation of the car itself. I was told to take my time when assessing the car over but after seeing it and taking it on a test drive I just knew I had to buy it and that’s exactly what I did.