Passing your driving test is a monumental moment. After months or even years of learning how to drive, successfully passing your test can feel like a weight lifted from your shoulders. However, there is one obstacle left to overcome – finding a car.

With an expected 1.3 million new drivers anticipated to take to the UK roads in a year, knowing what to look for when buying a car is essential. Understandably, not everyone will have expert knowledge regarding cars, what to look for and what is considered a good deal. Having some valuable pointers to guide you with looking can be helpful.

If you have recently passed your driving test and cannot wait to get out onto the roads, here are a few things worth considering before you purchase your first car.

Establish A Budget

Before your search can begin, having a budget in place will be tremendously helpful during your search. It allows you to refine your search, find suitable options that fall within your price range and avoid the heartbreak of finding a car you love but cannot afford.

If there is a make or model that you have your heart set on, see what the average cost for that car is. From there, you can see if your budget covers the price or if you need to save some money before purchasing a car. If you do not need a car straightaway, spend a little time saving up. This will help you to afford the car you want as your first.

new cars in showroom

Choose Between New Or Second-Hand

After discovering your budget, another step in the process is deciding the type of car. This does not mean the model of the car or what manufacturer it is from; the type of car refers to if it is a new car or a second-hand one. The difference is that buying a new car means you will be the first person to drive it. Whilst this is an appealing quality for some, the price tag of a new car can be slightly off-putting.

Although a second-hand car will have already done a few miles, the cost of the car will be more affordable than that of a new car. Cars that are only a year or two old will have a noticeable price difference from a new car. These relatively new cars will more than likely have a small mile count.

Many first-time car buyers tend to gravitate to second-hand cars which are already a few years old. Partially this is due to the more affordable price tags and insurance costs the older cars often have.

Utilise All Resources

Finding a car can be an overwhelming experience. When you are unsure of what to look for and what to avoid, it can feel like a mission to find a car that would be suitable for your first car. As you prepare to search for your first car, consider all of the resources that you have available to you.

If you have friends with a passion for cars and a solid understanding of what to look for, ask them for their opinion on the options you have found. When planning a visit to a car showroom or dealership, see if the car expert in your life will join. They can ask questions you might not have considered and point out which cars will be more worth your money.

Additionally, you might want to consider investing in tools such as an OBD scanner. If you are unsure of what an OBD scanner does, the brand Carly has created an in-depth guide about what an OBD scanner does. Investing in one could be a worthwhile purchase. When looking at second-hand cars, you can use the scanner to detect if there are any faults that you have not been made aware of. Detecting these faults before purchasing the car will help to save you money in the long term as you will not have to cover the costs to resolve these issues. Having an OBD scanner will be helpful when purchasing a car. You can use it to help you detect any car problems and fix them before they become costly issues.

Take It For A Test Drive

If you have found a car you love during your search, see if you can take it for a test drive. Most showrooms and dealerships will allow you this opportunity. Should the opportunity present itself, it is certainly worth taking. Regardless of whether you love the look of the car, you like the interiors or if the cost is a good deal considering the condition and the mileage – how the car feels to drive is the deciding factor.

You might love all the other factors about the car, but when it comes to driving it, you might have other opinions. This could be because you feel you are sitting too low or too high in the car, or you might prefer driving a smaller car. Testing driving a car can help you to form a better opinion on the choices of cars available. You might not have considered other cars in your budget are now strong options as you felt the most comfortable driving that car. Use the opportunity to test drive a car as it could help you make your final decision.

Think Of Extra Costs

Buying a car comes with multiple costs. The main cost, and the one many save for, is the price of the car. A person will often pay this fee in one large lump sum or pay it off monthly. Along with this cost, there is the cost of insurance. As a first-time driver with your car, be prepared for car insurance quotes to be fairly high, with most quotes coming in above £1,000. For younger, first-time drivers, the average cost of insurance is around £1,800. Another factor to be aware of is that the car brand can also influence the insurance cost. When saving for the car you want, consider how your choice could affect the insurance costs. This might make you rethink your preferences and look for alternate options. As you establish your budget, ensure that you also factor in the insurance price.

In addition to the cost of the car and the insurance, ongoing costs will also have to be covered. One of the obvious ones is the cost of fuel. As fuel prices are still rising, running car costs continuously become pricier each month. If you have found a car you love and can afford, ensure you can cover the fuel costs.

Another extra cost to consider is maintenance. Your car will likely encounter a few maintenance issues. These could be the need for tyres to be replaced, oil changed, light bulbs to be changed, and tyres to be fixed. All of these costs can add up over time. Maintaining your car and keeping it in the best possible condition will help reduce how much you will have to spend on repairs. Again, you will likely have to cover the cost of a few maintenance issues along the way.

In Summary

A car is an investment, so you want to ensure that you are making the best decision possible. Keep all of these factors in mind as you begin the search for your first car. It could help you to make a better-informed decision about which car you purchase. Before you know it, you will have the freedom you have wanted since you started learning to drive.