Tips For Buying Your First Car

Young teen driver and his father with a car salesman looking at the bonnet of a car looking to buy his first car

Tips For Buying Your First Car

Everybody always remembers their first car – not only is it a useful possession to have, it also signifies a new age of freedom as you shake off the shackles of public transport and relying on family and friends. However you want your new car to be remembered for the right reasons and that means making the right choice and paying the right price.

The choice can be bewildering… there are over 500 models of new cars available in Australia. Multiply that out over the last ten years or so, add in factors such as transmission, options, colours, then multiply by the range of different conditions and kilometres travelled and you have literally 10’s of 1,000’s of options for every price point when it comes to pre-owned cars. But let’s keep it simple and remember it’s your first car. The first thing parents will demand is safety – and they’re not wrong. Of course, their first car was probably a death-trap on wheels, no ABS, no airbags… maybe even no seatbelts! But thankfully today’s cars are so much safer, even at the lower end. Stringent testing and industry ratings means that cars are not only better equipped to withstand impact but they all have many more bells and whistles to prevent it in the first place.

Here are my top tips to choose a safer car:
  1. Choose a quality manufacturer. Steer away from the uber-cheap imports that sell on price and price alone. Chery and Proton are a couple of examples that spring to mind
  2. Go small but not micro. No matter how well-built, physics dictates that a smaller car will not fare as well in a collision as a larger car.
  3. Performance. No question that a powerful car has its appeal but it’s inherently more dangerous. Plus, it’s likely to be more expensive, less reliable and have poorer fuel economy. Stick to the middle of the road for your first car.

But aside from safety there’s so much to work out when making that decision. Size, colour, style, features, shape, fuel economy, price point… the list goes on and there’s too much to cover here especially as much of it is personal preference so it will take time as you research your options.

Young teen driver getting the keys to her new car from a salesman
Here and my top pointers to research efficiently before you hit the car yards:
  1. Narrow your range by price-point first. One crude but effective way to do this is to search a price range on one of the big classified websites (choosing a few must-haves (eg transmission, size #doors etc) see what comes up then prune out the makes you don’t fancy.
  2. Think about cars you’ve been in and ask your friends and family. Who loves their car and who doesn’t? Will they let you take it for a spin? First hand opinions are invaluable.
  3. Get an idea of price before you actually inspect a car. The internet is useful but remember that the prices you’ll find are generally asking prices, not what they sell for. Find the lowest priced example the take off 10% for get a target.

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