Have you just passed your driving test and are ready to hit the roads? Perhaps you’ve been saving up money for a while now and are finally ready to purchase your first vehicle. Buying your first car is an exciting – albeit daunting – process. Not only are you making your biggest purchase yet, but you’re gaining a sense of independence and freedom.

Being a motorist can be expensive, and there are many costs to consider. Purchasing the right vehicle that fits your budget is the first and most important step to make. Below, we have a list of the essential things you should keep in mind as you start shopping for your first car. These should help you manage your finances throughout the process.

1. Assess your needs

Do you regularly haul goods? Need extra seats to transport the kids and family dog? Or are you looking for a nifty hatchback to squeeze into on-road parking spots? Assess your needs to narrow down the search.

For example, if you commute long distances to and from work every day, you will want a fuel-efficient vehicle that can handle lots of mileage. For that reason, you might consider a newer car with very few miles on the clock. If you need plenty of room in the back for transporting goods, you might consider a minivan or SUV over a hatchback. The right vehicle should complement your lifestyle and daily needs.

2. Determine your budget

Buying your first car goes beyond having the money to pay for it. You have to factor in the additional costs, such as vehicle tax, car insurance, MOTs, servicing and fuel. Work out how much you can comfortably afford to spend monthly and how much your deposit could be if you decided to finance your first vehicle.

Financing gives you more freedom to break up the cost of a whole car into easy and affordable monthly payments, which can help you buy the right vehicle for your needs. Consider working with car credit specialists to land the right finance plan for your budget.

3. Review your credit report

Lenders will check out your credit history when you’re applying for car finance. Even if you don’t think you have a history, if you have a phone plan, credit card or rent a flat, these items will be marked on your report.

Review your credit report to ensure there are no errors or anomalies, correcting any mistakes before you purchase your first vehicle. This can save you a lot of interest over the long-term.

4. Consider second-hand

The new car smell, pristine seats and the sparkle of a fresh paint job may have you eyeing up a brand-new vehicle. But this isn’t the only option you should consider. A new car’s value plummets the minute you drive it off the dealership’s lot, and you may be able to find a suitable used vehicle for a much better price.

Consider looking at used cars, and you may be surprised to find a nearly-new make and model of your dreams.

5. Do your due diligence

Check any car over before buying to make sure it’s roadworthy. If you don’t know what you should be looking for, take a knowledgeable friend or car mechanic with you to be sure.

Check the tyres, oil, engine, mileage, brakes, MOT history, and ensure all functions and features are in full working order. It’s also worth finding out if the vehicle has been in previous accidents or if there have been modifications or repair work that could affect it further down the line.

6. Take the car for a test drive

Most dealerships will allow you to drive the car before you buy it, allowing you a bit of time to get familiar with the handling. When going on a test drive, listen out for any noises that don’t sound right (any banging, hissing or screeching) and test out the speed (when the speed limit allows) that could bring underlying issues to the surface.

7. Negotiate the price

Whether you’re buying a new or used vehicle, the price is almost always negotiable. You may be able to save thousands of pounds if you haggle. Don’t be afraid to question the price. Most dealerships actually expect you to negotiate.

Even if there isn’t much wiggle room on the price, there’s no harm in asking. In fact, the dealer may be prepared to throw in some extras to sweeten the deal, such as free car mats or roadside assistance coverage.

8. Read through the paperwork carefully

Most car agreements are binding, which means that once you sign, there is little you can do to change the terms and conditions. That’s why it’s worth spending a few minutes reading through the contract carefully. If you aren’t sure what something means, don’t be afraid to ask the dealer for clarity.

You should also ensure that the logbook (V5C), service record and car manual comes with the vehicle as well as any spare tyres and keys.

10. Enjoy the process

Owning your first car is a big milestone to reach. Even though the process of buying a car can be overwhelming, the more planning you do beforehand, the easier it will be. With competitive financing rates and hundreds of great cars to choose from, your options have never been better. Car ownership is rewarding, and once you’ve secured reliable financing, hitting the open roads in your new ride will be that much sweeter.

Financing for your first car

Ready to take the plunge on buying your first car? At My Car Credit, we make the car financing process easy, seamless and hassle-free for first-time car buyers across the UK. Our team of financing experts will walk you through every step of the process to ensure you feel informed and confident with your transaction.

Whatever car you’re looking for, we can help you break up the cost into bitesize pieces. Calculate car finance and apply online or call us on 01246 458 810 to see how we can help you.

Rates from 6.9% APR. Representative APR 13.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 13.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 13.85%, 47 monthly payments of £201.38 followed by 1 payment of £211.38 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £2,176.24, total amount payable is £9,676.24.

My Car Credit is a credit broker and not a lender.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!