Buying your first car is exciting, where you’re faced with balancing your emotions and cost. Often there is plenty of helpful or hindering parental advice and the journey is different for everyone.

This article aims to help first-car buyers better understand the car buying process and what to look out for when taking those first steps toward owning your first set of wheels.


Set Your Budget

The first step of buying a car is to set your budget. You can be flexible, but always have a maximum price that you stick with. It’s also worth considering additional costs like car registration, insurance and a vehicle inspection cost, as these can often be overlooked.

It helps to think about what you are going to use the car for, and decide which features are the most important to you. Bear in mind that manual cars are usually cheaper than automatic and certain makes and models can be more expensive to service than others (e.g. luxury European cars).


Buying Your First Car from a Dealer or Private Seller

When you’ve decided that it’s time to buy a car, next you should decide where to buy it from. Buying privately is often cheaper than through a dealer but buying through a dealership you’ll be getting a statutory warranty on cars built in the past 10 years.

Car dealerships are often viewed as the safest bet when buying a used vehicle because of the warranty. With it, if anything goes wrong with the car within the warranty period, the dealer will be required to fix it at no extra cost to you. Dealerships also generally offer finance which can be useful.

That said, buying your first car from a dealer can be more expensive and you may feel pressured into a decision, as you’ll be dealing with a professional salesperson.

Private sellers are generally cheaper than going through a car dealership, however given they are not required to offer warranties, it’s a good reason to have an independent mechanic carry out a pre-purchase car inspection.

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As a plus, the seller might be in a hurry to sell their old vehicle and may accept a lower offer in light of a quick deal. It’s a plus if they’ve taken good care of their vehicle but be sure to do some research before making the purchase and be sure to inspect the car well when you see it.


Sunrise motorway


Buying Your First Car Second-Hand or New

When purchasing either, it’s important to do your research.

With a second-hand vehicle, the car’s service history will tell you how well it’s been looked after and whether it’s had any recurring problems. A car that’s had a single owner with low kilometres, is often the best-case scenario and likely to give you the trouble-free driving you’re after.

Give the vehicle a thorough inspection pre-purchase, looking for imperfections or damage (or attempts to cover up the damage). Check under the bonnet to make sure the engine bay is clean and whether the engine oil is visibly in good condition.

Buying a car brand new may or may not be the best option financially, but there are clear pros and cons. A new car is covered by a warranty and the car’s present-day technology likely means better fuel economy and safety features. On the other hand, new cars depreciate faster than second-hand cars, and be sure to do your research before visiting a car yard to negotiate with a salesperson.


Test Drive and Inspection

If you’re still interested in a second-hand car after test driving it, your next step is to get it inspected by an independent mechanic. The seller should permit you to have the car inspected; if they don’t, it is a red flag that the car might have hidden problems.

If everything checks out and you decide to buy, proceed to notify the relevant transport authorities of the purchase, and organise your car insurance.

Buy your first car with confidence. If you are looking to buy a second-hand car, take the guesswork out and have the cosmetic bodywork and structural integrity professionally checked before you purchase.

Gino’s will assess any existing damage, whether the car has been repaired properly and advise you of what to expect with wear and tear moving forward. With 3 different inspection options available, count on Gino’s for your next pre-purchase car inspection.

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