Tips for first-time buyers
Buying your first car?
Five things to consider when buying your first car
A car is probably the second-most expensive item you will ever buy, after your house, so you can’t afford to skimp on quality, which in turn means reliability. The safety of reliability can’t be stressed and in this arena Toyota has an enviable reputation. Do research into consumer surveys that evaluate owner satisfaction with various brands before making your final decision. To be safe, buy from one of the major brands, which all offer an extensive dealer network.
- Cost of ownership
Buy a car that will fit into your monthly budget, and don’t forget to consider all the expenses over and above the monthly hire purchase payments. A car with a service plan is cheaper to run (until the service plan runs out), for example. Investigate the service costs beyond that and take them into consideration. Linked closely to service plans are warranties – check how long they are valid for and what they cover. Also check on the cost of replacement tyres – some brands use obscure tyre sizes that are very expensive to replace, as are the tyres on performance cars. Insurance is another hefty expense that can’t be forgotten – cars that are uncommon are often more expensive to fix, and therefore command increased insurance premiums. Ask your broker for a quote to insure a car before you sign on the dotted line.
Safety is not negotiable on a new car, especially for a family vehicle. Check that the car you are considering has a full complement of active and passive safety features. Active safety features are those that are operating at all times when you drive, such as ABS braking, traction control and stability control. Passive safety features are those that only come into play in the event of an accident, such as seat belts, Isofix seat mounts and airbags.
- Important features
Buying a car shouldn’t be all about what you need and nothing about what you want. If you want features such as Bluetooth connectivity or electric windows, or a touchscreen entertainment system, then look for cars that are fitted with them. Likewise, if you want a trendy SUV, don’t be so sensible that you end up buying a compact sedan – the chances are that you’ll end up selling the car sooner than you should, which will cost you more money in the long run.
- New or used
Everyone wants a new car, but sometimes it makes sense to buy a good-quality second-hand car to get what will best fit your needs. New cars have certain benefits, like the service plans and warranties mentioned above, but buying from a reputable dealer of pre-owned cars can also be a safe and wise decision. Once again, do your research before buying, and check that the dealer offers certified used cars, like Automark does.
Bonus tip: Resale value
Once you’ve narrowed down three or so cars to choose from, have a look at how much they go for second hand, especially as a percentage of the new price. Then work out an estimate of how much your car will lose in value over the five years or so that you will own it, and add this to the asking price.