Buying your first car can be extremely exciting, and when it happens, you will be far from alone – in Great Britain, for instance, there are no fewer than 35 million vehicles licensed for road use.
However, with a car also likely to be the most expensive thing you ever buy other than a house, there are many potential pitfalls along the way.
Here are some of the most important things to consider.
The big ‘new or used’ question
This may be the most crucial decision that any first-time car buyer has to make, and it’s a slightly more complicated choice than you might first presume.
A one or two-year-old used car may seem the most logical choice for many, given that much of the depreciation from its original purchase price will have already occurred and the manufacturer warranty – typically three years long – probably won’t have expired yet.
Buy a car that’s too new, and the upfront cost may be too high… but if you buy one that is too old, there may not be any warranty left, which could force you off the road in the event of a breakdown.
Remember that it’s not just about upfront cost
Yes, leasing deals in particular can be great for bringing a previously unattainable car within your reach – but you also need to think about the ongoing costs once your vehicle is on the road.
Have your factored in the expense of fuel, tax, insurance and servicing for the car on which you have your eye? If you don’t have many savings to fall back on, it’s a great idea at this point to set a budget and calculate exactly how much you are likely to be spending on your vehicle each month, alongside your other usual costs like your mortgage or rent.
Size and body shape
These will always be vital factors to consider when choosing your first car – is that sleek two-seater really such a good idea, for instance, if there’s even the tiniest chance of needing to bring more than one passenger, such as a child, work colleague or even prospective client, with you on a trip?
It’s a similar situation with body shape, as you’ll need to think about whether specific areas of practicality or just outright style are most important to you. Certain sacrifices will always need to be made at this stage, whether you ultimately opt for a hatchback, saloon, SUV or coupe.
Could a van actually be a better choice?
If you intend to use your vehicle for work rather than for recreational activities such as taking the children on holiday, you may want to compare the various van leasing deals on offer from companies like Leasewell, to see whether they may represent better value than a car.
Don’t be put off by the old, unglamorous image of vans – the best ones have come a long way since the ‘white van man’ ’80s, boasting a refinement on a par with even many of the finest cars you could hope to buy on your budget.
The above factors are far from the only ones that you will be required to contemplate when the time comes to purchase your first car, and we’re sure that you have some ideas of your own. If so, why not share them with us in the comments section below?