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What To Know About Buying Your First Car

What To Know About Buying Your First Car – Are you in the market for your first car? We have written a beginner’s guide to buying a car that may help answer some of the questions you have about buying a new car. Even if you are not a first-time buyer, these tips might help you with your next vehicle. A good place to start shopping for your next car could be in the classified ads, an online auction site, a Detroit auto auction, or a weekly shopper newspaper. 


What To Know About Buying Your First Car

No matter where you look for your car, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Know Your Needs

Many people get their heads turned by shiny new cars that not only do not meet their needs but are not even practical for them. A person living in a condo on the beach may never need a big four-wheel drive truck. Likewise, someone who drives a lot of highway miles does not want a vehicle that gets poor fuel efficiency. It may look great in the driveway, but inefficient sports cars may not be a good choice for driving a 200 miles round trip to and from work every day. It might be fun, but it will cost more. 

You need to be realistic about what you need your car for. Will you be driving long distances every day, or will you simply jaunt back and forth to the grocery store a few times a week? If you have few needs, you can get by with an average car for your first vehicle. 

Another thing to keep in mind is the climate you live in. If you live where you have to contend with snow and ice for part of the year, you want to look for a vehicle capable of getting you through harsh conditions. 

You might also consider which features you need, such as safety equipment, fuel efficiency, and more. 


Know Your Budget

Once you have decided what you need, then figure out how much money you can comfortably spend each month. Unless you are paying cash for your vehicle, you need to know how payments will affect your budget. Every feature on a car adds a bit more to the cost, so figure out which features you can live without if necessary. 

Another part of your budget is the insurance premiums, which are based on the car. The premium for a sports car is more than the premium for a small passenger car. 

There are annual license plate fees, so know the cost of them, and when you buy the car, you will pay taxes on the car, which can be calculated into your loan. If you can, put a down payment on the loan of at least 10 percent of the finance amount. If you are a first-time buyer, you may need to put in a bigger down payment. 

No matter which vehicle you choose, budget for repairs, maintenance, and other miscellaneous things associated with ownership like garage fees and fuel. 


Know Your Cars

Once you know what you can spend, you are ready to look for a car within your budget. You can start by looking at what is on the road around you. One great indicator of whether or not a car is good is to notice how many of those models you see every day. If you see a Toyota RAV4 everywhere you look, it is a good indication that it is not only popular but durable. 

As you shop for different cars or trucks, read the reviews on the years and the models. Some years are better than others. A popular vehicle may have had a very bad year because many of its dashboards cracked that year. The manufacturer had to redesign the dash to eliminate the problem, but that redesign did not come out until the following model year. You will know to avoid the model year with the cracked dash. 

Take the time to read what other owners say about the problems they are having with the car.  Some of the problems might be small, but some big problems like brake issues can become dangerous. 


Know a Mechanic

It helps to have a trusted mechanic, or for you or a friend to be knowledgeable in car repair. Knowing that you or someone you know can repair a car will give you a better idea of what condition the vehicle is in. It also helps you find deals that other people may turn away from, because they do not know how to repair a problem. You might find a vehicle with problems but at a lower price, such as a salvage vehicle. The repair may not be expensive, and you get a good deal on the car. 

Shopping for your first or next car can be a lot of fun. The market is filled with a variety of cars, trucks, SUVs, EVs, and more. There are so many manufacturers today that it is easy to find something that you like, can afford, and will enjoy driving for years to come. 



  1. Thank you for talking about insurance premiums and how the price is usually based on the type of car. Speaking of other payments, I think a couple more things that a person should set a budget for are driving lessons and licensing. My brother doesn’t have either yet, so I’ll mention this to him.

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