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A basic guide on buying your first car.

Let’s get to business… You’ve finally earned that ‘L’ sign you craved for that tells other drivers that you’re a novice driver, you’re also itching to buy your first car… That highly tuned Lancer Evo X you’ve seen for just £12k in the classifieds, granted that you’re excited! However there’s a lot of things that should be read on this guide… If you don’t want to be both deceived and disappointed when you buy your first car, and to enjoy your precious right to drive in peace.

To begin, I have to inform you that car insurance is often calculated based on the experience you have accumulated. (you likely won’t have much) the location where you hire the car insurance also usually influences, the age of the car… Including the power and its displacement, the more powerful it is, the newer the car and the less experience you have will make the price skyrocket since Insurances consider youngsters to be more dangerous… than an old man with the reflexes of an anesthetized sloth

So… that modified Evo X will unfortunately be out of your reach if you don’t have a pocket large enough. And in the case that you could buy it and insure it… It will be the petrol and maintenance costs that will make you sell it before you own it more than two months. Leaving you penyless and certainly depressed looking at that low credit score in your bank account.

What to buy then? 

Picture credit: Guillaume TECHER in Unsplash

Sometimes it pays off to have an unused car in your family to start driving your first miles, however that’s not always the case and its always good to take a look in the used car market. Remember that the more mileage a car has, the more worn down it will be… So if it comes to give advice, I would recommend a car that has between 50-74k Miles if you’re looking for something relatively new and cared for (unless it is a track car/teenager car) since it’s likely been abused to hell and back.

I also have to mention something important, between a dealer and a private seller. There’s several advantages and disadvantages to take in mind when choosing from either option, Private sellers are more free from restrictions and binds that tie you to them for years. In countries like Spain, private sellers also are obliged by law to give at least 1 year of warranty on their used cars and to establish a selling contract. But you will have to take care of the tittle ownership yourself and… not to mention that most private sellers vanish when the car breaks down and you’re forced to sue the seller.

Dealerships however, offer some advantages like changing the tittle ownership for free if you finance with them along including the maintenance if the car breaks down during the warranty period (don’t) However it’s not all wine and roses for this choice. Compared to a private seller, they’re FAR more expensive… From personal experiences, my current car costed 5.5k€to buy in relatively good state. The same car in the same condition costed 10k€ in my local dealership with almost the same miles on the clock. 

What to get then?

Photo credit: Erik Mclean in Unsplash

What to get? First of all, I’m not going to say “buy a Dacia sandero!” because it’s just too ridiculous for any young person to say. Do you have to take into account the needs of your day to day commute, do you need something practical and easy to drive? a hatchback, you want to have fun? sports hatchback. Do you need an off-roader? He uses a small 4×4 like the Suzuki Jimmy.

It is also advisable to see the consumption of each car, it is not necessary for it to be as efficient as an electric one. But your wallet will certainly thank you, especially if you drive to and from work a lot. It’s also important to consider repair costs and parts availability… There’s just a lot to talk about.

To finish this short article, I will leave you with a video created by Donut Media in which they will give you a guide on what to look for in a used car. And most important, how NOT  to get screwed buying one.

-Álvaro

Published in How To / Advice

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Logan Page
11 months ago

As someone in the process of learning and looking at first cars (which I’ve done for a while) thank you for this article, it was great!

David Olsen-Fabian
11 months ago

My first car was dictated for me. My dad got me a 1982 Toyota Tercel SR5 hatch. It had 95hp (slow car for reasons … go figure). The stereo, on the other hand, had 120hp!!! Yeah, you read that correctly. My dad and I turned it into a stereo on wheels. It was nicknamed the “Thumpmobile”. 127db no distortion. You could see sign waves going through the sheet metal on the roof. It could be heard over one mile away. This also happened to be the same time when NWA hit the scene and yes, I was that kid who sat in front of the police station playing, “F#CK the police” at 127db so they could clearly hear the lyrics. Guess what happened next? I was standing in the kitchen when the Sarg came to the door and spoke to my dad. My dad turned around and said, “you heard him” and that was that. Sarg told my dad that it wasn’t a good idea for me to be sitting outside of the police station playing that song that some of the officers took it personally. I was 17, y’all. I was “that kid”. Again, don’t do the stupid crap I write about on here. I was young, dumb and full of … poop.

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