4 Things to Think About Before Purchasing Your First Car

It’s exciting to think about getting your first car or updating an old one. Many people end up going to car dealerships even before researching about what they want, which is fine until they meet the salesman who offers them the deal of a lifetime. Before they know it, they are driving off in their shiny new purchase, without even thinking about how they are going to pay for it. If you are thinking about buying a car, it pays to be prepared. You don’t want your pride and joy to become a source of financial stress, hence setting a budget is crucial. Check out these handy tips before you purchase your car.
 
Can I afford the repayments?
If the repayments are going to eat up most of your budget, after food and accommodation, perhaps you need to set your sights lower. A good rule for calculating all car expenses, including repayments, is that they should not exceed 20 percent of your wage. Another option might be to drive an older vehicle that you own outright while you save for the car of your dreams. If you are able to wait, you will save a lot of money on interest by paying for all or most of your car upfront.
 
What is the insurance?
Insurance can be surprisingly expensive, depending on the age and condition of the vehicle, the age of the driver, and the type of vehicle. Young drivers may have to pay a premium price for insurance, while performance vehicles, models with a poor safety record or high theft rate may cost more to insure. Do your homework before you buy, and avoid a nasty shock.
 
What are the servicing costs for this model?
There is a lot of variation between models when it comes to servicing. Larger vehicles, luxury imports and performance vehicles will be more expensive to service and maintain, but there can be nasty surprises amongst unlikely contenders too. It’s a good idea to research the cost of services and ask what they cover; some services don’t cover certain parts, which will be an extra outlay. Research the cost of commonly replaced parts or items. Some vehicles use prohibitively expensive engine oil, for example, and maintenance items such as oil filters, air filters, and fuel pumps cost far more for some models than others.
 
What are the running costs?
Knowing the running costs of the vehicle you are interested in can save you from unexpected expenses after you buy it. Read the fine print; some cars require more frequent services than others, and if you are thinking of doing some of the services yourself to save money, you will probably find that doing so voids your warranty. Fuel costs are often a large portion of the weekly budget, especially if you do a lot of driving. Knowing the car’s fuel consumption rate before you buy it will allow you to decide if you can afford this particular car or not.
 
Being prepared and knowing what you are taking on is the best way to avoid financial stress in the future. Plan your budget, research your options thoroughly and purchase wisely, and you will have years of stress-free driving ahead of you.