Congratulations! We’ll assume that because you are here you have just passed your driving test, or are about to invest in your first ever vehicle. Whatever your situation, you are about to go through one of life’s major landmarks. We all remember our first car, no matter how dilapidated or beaten up it was. There’s a definite romance about it – perhaps it links back to the feelings of youthfulness and freedom. However, it can be expensive – so we thought we would go through some tips with you to make sure you are saving all the money that you possibly can.
Your first goal should be to choose the right car. Now, although it is tempting to get the very best vehicle that your money can buy, you should put the brakes on a little. Whether you have just passed your test or are buying a car for the first time, it’s going to take time for you to get used to driving on the road. That means there is a bigger chance of you having an accident, unfortunately. What you should be looking for is something that gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Look into reliability and safety first, and spend a lot of time researching your options. Even if you have a few thousand pounds left over from your budget, stick with what you have found – you can always use the rest for a new car audio system or something similar. You will find that the most reliable cars aren’t always the most expensive – Toyota, for example, offer brilliant value with their engine work.
Don’t buy new
There is little point in buying a new car if it’s your first. The second you drive it off the forecourt it’s going to lose anything between 20% and 45% of its market value. In short, it will be a waste of your money. Given that you are more likely to have a crash in your first car, you will be far better off buying second hand. As long as you check up on the reputation of a dealer, you should avoid any costly mistakes. Dealers such as carbase.biz are RAC-approved, so they will have certain guarantees in place about quality and road worthiness. Also, buying second-hand will mean that should you need an insurance payout you will get closer to the value you paid. The same applies for when you sell it on to another buyer in a few years time.
Read the manual
As soon as you have bought a new car, make sure that you spend some time getting to know your new vehicle. The owner’s manual is the perfect place to start, and if you want to save money, then there s a lot of help in there to help you do so. The manual will tell you everything you need to know, from the type of oil to use, to the optimum pressure of your tyres. Using this information and making regular checks will be the first steps in warding off accidents, problems and service charges later on down the line. Treat your car like you would a pet, and you will keep those costs down to a minimal amount.
Cut down on insurance
As a new driver, you will have to pay more car insurance than the average person on the street. Unfortunately, it’s just the way it is: you are inexperienced and are far more of a risk to insurers. However, there are ways to get your insurance costs down. Firstly, make sure you buy a low-spec car. If you are an inexperienced driver in charge of a powerful engine, it will set off alarm bells at the point of getting your insurance quote. Secondly, be careful when you are driving. If you can rack up a couple of years no claims, then your premiums will tumble. You can also consider black box insurance. This is when you allow insurance companies to monitor your driving with a black box, and you can prove to them that you are a safe and reliable driver. It takes a while to kick in, but if you can prove yourself on the road, then your premiums will come down far quicker than waiting for your no claims to come through.
It’s important to put your car through regular maintenance if you want to avoid huge repair costs. Most cars will suffer from issues at some point, but the vital difference between large and small payouts is when the problem is first diagnosed. With regular checks, you can expect problems to be picked up at an earlier stage, and there s more chance of a particular part being salvageable. Unfortunately, an annual MOT just isn’t enough protection, so it is wise to have a check up service that runs alongside the standard legalities. One big tip about check-ups is to have one completed just before your warranty ends. If there are any problems, it means that whoever sold you the warranty will have to pay for them. You never know how much money it could save you, so it is worth it in the long-term.
There’s a lot of money to be saved from how you drive your car and what fuel you use. It’s something to think about before you make your purchase, too. Petrol is more efficient for city life and the stopping and starting through traffic systems that go with it. Diesel is more efficient for longer journeys, so think about how you will be using your car. Also consider the style in which you drive. You can lower your fuel usage considerably by keeping your engine below 2,500 revs, and also anticipating the traffic better. For example, if you are coming up to a red light, don’t carry on at speed and brake hard. Just let the car drift towards the lights and apply the brakes gently. Hard braking is one of the most pointless wastes of fuel going. Effectively, you are turning your hard earned money into heating up your brake pads.
Do you have any more tips for saving money on your first car? We’d love to hear from you if you do. Let us know in the comments section below.