Car Buying

The Guide to Car Buying First Time Around

When it comes to buying your first car, or even just buying a car for the first time around, there’s a lot involved that you need to keep in mind. Cars are complicated enough as it is, and if you have never bought one before, it’s really hard work trying to make sure you have all of your bases covered. With the right advice, however, it’s more than doable, and we’re here to give you just that. check mot history.

We’re looking at everything we can possibly think of when it comes to buying a car first time, putting together every stage of the journey from pre to pose purchase, helping you stay on the straight and narrow. Buying privately

Step 1 – Set a Budget

First things first. Before you go and buy your first car, you need to do the groundwork. The best way to get that stated is by taking a look at where you are right now. How much can you afford to pay, what would you like to pay, how much will you have leftover… all of the important money questions. You need to be able to buy the car but keep it too, remember. We’ll get more onto payment options later, but for now, stick with these. View car buying horror stories.

New or used

Firstly, decide whether you want your first car buying experience to come from a new car or a used car. That’s one of the fundamental questions when it comes to buying a car. A new car has benefits like not needing an MOT, the latest features, warranties… the works. Because of that, it’s a lot more expensive too.

Used cars, on the other hand, can be a gold mine that you never knew existed, as well as a money trap waiting to happen. Cars are complex machines after all, and there’s a lot you need to look at before buying one (but that’s what we’re here for after all). If value for money is the aim of the game, used cars are almost always a better idea, but think about it. You need to know your stuff. Get to know your rights.

Long term plan

One the same kind of lines, we have to look at other factors too. Namely, what’s the long-term plan once you’ve bought your first car first time around. Do you want something that’s going to last you 10 years until it’s on its last legs for scrap value, or are you looking for something that’ll be worth a penny or two when it comes to selling down the line? Different ways to buy used car.

When it comes to any big financial decisions, it’s always smart to think ahead of time. Plan where you want to be in a few years’ time and see how your choice will affect that. Remember you need to think about things like MOT, tax and insurance costs too, for example, as well as fuel (which is why the diesel vs petrol argument is out there).

How you’ll pay

Once you know what you want, you need to think about the payment options out there for you to choose from. Again, we’ll get onto this later as it’s a big thing to think about, but it’s smart to think ahead of time. If you’re going for a finance scheme of monthly payments, it may be a lower starting cost but more expensive in the long term.

If you’re buying outright with your own money or with a loan, that’s often a better choice in the long term. With that said, it can be hard work in the short time since it will use a large amount of capital that could take some time to build back up. It all depends entirely on you and your situation. Even a rough idea will help you out a tonne in the long run.

Step 2 – Find a Car

Next, we need to move onto the fun part. We need to look at what car is actually going to be the lucky choice you make to be your first ever car. It’s a big deal after all, and chances are, it will be something that you remember forever. Relax though, it’s only the start of your driving journey! 10 worst cars check out.


One of the easiest places to start in all this and to help you get a feel for prices and what cars are out there, it’s often a really smart move to check out some car dealerships. There are tonnes out there, ranging from the small to the international, and any of them could have good opportunities for you.

Ads and Magazines

If dealerships aren’t really your thing or they don’t seem particularly reliable for you, another great way to take a look at what’s out there can be by checking papers and advertisements. Even driving around with someone else often results in seeing a load of cars parked up that have for sale signs in the window. All of these can be great ways to find yourself a great car at a fair price, but again, it’s up to you.


Thirdly, one of the best places to look by far is to check out online what’s available to you. You have so many options here that it’s hard to miss a good deal. You can check out anywhere from dealers and ads all the way through to sites like auto trader and auctions. Almost every car you see is going to be available online, so have a browse at what’s out there!

Step 3 – Do Your homework

Once you have a car (or ideally a few cars) in mind, then it’s time to dig deeper. It’s always easy to get caught up in what seems like an amazing offer, but sadly, that’s often just a front. There’s always a lot more to cars than meets the eye, and to get the best deal that you possibly can do, you need to be one step ahead at all times. That’s where doing your homework comes into a league of its own.

There are a lot of different ways you can go about this one, and they are all pretty important things to do. The basics range from things like checking the listings carefully to see all of the details that you can, but there’s more to it. Other important things you should do include HPI checks, service history, and even getting a used car inspection can be a lifesaver to make sure there is nothing hidden beneath the surface.

Whatever you decide to do, just make sure that you are protecting yourself and your investment. Buying a car first time around is something that can easily go wrong if you aren’t quite sure about what you need to do. You can’t be too careful.

Step 4 – Test it Out

Once you have your car and you know where it is, the fun really starts. Buying your first car is an amazingly exciting thing to be doing after all, and it’s something you should be enjoying. Once you’ve picked a car you like and you know it’s available and where it is, it’s time to get things moving.

Contact the seller wherever they may be and see when your potential new first car is going to be available. Find a time when you can get to it, and let the magic happen. Take your car for a test drive and see it in person. Get a feel for how it drives and how it feels with you in it. It’s going to be your car after all, and it needs to be something that you’re comfortable with. Some good questions to ask yourself are things like:

How is the biting point?

Can you see well?

Where are the blind spots?

Does it feel safe?

What’s the turning like?

All of these little things can have a huge impact on your driving in the long run, so make sure you give it due consideration. It’s not something you want to regret, and this is all about you after all.

Step 5 – Reach a price

In just about every situation when buying your car for the first time, you are going to have some wiggle room with what you pay. It’s very rare to have a black and white price on a car when you are buying used. Buying from a private seller is likely more negotiable, but it depends on the car you like and what it is actually worth.

The final price comes in a lot of different forms, so bear with us. A lot of this information comes from our guide on what a used car costs, so feel free to head there for more info too. In this situation, as we mentioned in step 1, you need to find out what your budget is and how that will affect your first car purchase. You have options open to you after all.

Cash Buying

One of the best options to go with for the cheapest possible car experience is when you are buying with cash. Cash buying means you have a lot more buying power, and there’s less work involved for every party. It’s a done deal once you have your car, so people are often quick to try and close a deal this way. As a result, chances are you’ll be able to negotiate a lower price since it’s so smooth.

If you don’t have the cash at that particular moment in time, another common choice is to get a bank loan too. A lot of the time if you borrow enough money, the interest rate on your loan should be better than that of a finance scheme, and you can end up paying less. Of course, you get fewer benefits than you do with a finance scheme, so there’s always pros and cons. You usually have to borrow around £5000-7000 for this low interest, but it varies.

Finance Schemes

While cash buying is usually much cheaper than finance schemes, finance schemes are still a great choice for many people for what they have to offer. There are many different schemes to choose from too so it’s not a black and white decision, but it will usually have a greater end price. Remember that at the time.

What finance does have to offer you though is pretty unique. You can get a car usually of much better quality than you could elsewhere that you are sure is going to be up to scratch if it comes from a dealer also selling you the finance. You can get an almost brand-new car with low monthly instalments, even if you do end up paying more than the car is worth. If you don’t have much cash at the time of purchase, you don’t have to settle for low utility. That’s the trade-off.

Finally, once all of the dealing is over and done with, you have one final thing to be done. That’s making sure that you have everything you need to be able to drive legally. It sounds obvious, but there’s actually a lot that goes into being able to drive and doing it in a safe and secure way.

The main causes of this come from the documentation that you need to have for your car.


The easiest one to get that you should already have when you buy the car is from an MOT. The car will likely have some of its MOT left when you purchase so make sure that you know how long you have until you need a new one. If you bought your car brand new, it should be exempt for 3 years, but always be aware and make sure you don’t forget it.


Car tax is another big variable depending on what can you have gone for, but even if your road tax is 0, you still need to register it every year. It is essential to drive and if you drive without tax or even keep your car on the road, you’ll almost definitely get pull over for it if not clamped before you even know about it. Stay on top of it, and check what it’ll cost you.


If this is your first car then chances are you are already well aware of this, and sadly, insurance premiums for first-time drivers are an expensive thing. Make sure you shop around to get yourself a good deal if that is what you want to do, but in any case make sure you have it before you drive, Make the information in your quote as accurate as possible and stick to what you say. Mileage is a big one to remember there.

Step 7 – Enjoy Driving

Now that everything is said and done and you are all ready to go, that’s just about all there is to buying your car first time round. You’ve done the hard part, and it should only get easier from here! Remember the tips you have learned and the experience you’ve gone through and try to enjoy your new vehicle as much as you can. Get used to driving and see what you do and don’t like about your car and do the same thing again when you’re ready for a new one (although that time, you have part exchange as an option too). How to look after your car.

Take as good care of your car as you can to protect it and you in the future as well as holding value and enjoy life with your new car! Check other options: Autotrader, Check Gumtree, CarGuru, Ebay, Motors, Facebook marketplace, online buying guide.

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