5th October 2017 | General News

What To Look For When Buying Your First Car

First things first, your parents are likely to say something very safe, compact and cheap to run and insure. Where as, A younger first time driver is more likely to say they want something that looks good, has a few gadgets and all the mod-cons. This however isn’t always practical or affordable for new drivers, so there needs to be a compromise.

So, Driving Advisor have put together a few tips on what to look for when buying your first car…


This really one of the main thing to consider, you can have a list of ideal cars or ideal extras you might want but if you don’t have the money to pay for it then it’s a non-starter! Sit down and figure out what you can afford as far as buying the actual car as this will be your biggest outlay. You can get a great first car for under £2000 if you shop about so you don’t need to break the bank for it. But always do your due diligence, as if it sounds to cheap to be true it probably is, and you may end up with a faulty car.

It’s also key to consider other costs. Insurance, tax, fuel, servicing etc. Look at your monthly income and consider your current outgoings and then plan what you can afford after that. Whatever your budget, make sure you can afford to stick to it, if you can’t then you could miss payments which can result in a bad credit score.


For first time drivers we would recommend going for a small car, typically a 3 door or 5 door hatchback. Smaller cars are mostly cheaper to buy, run and insure compared to larger saloon cars. You will also feel more comfortable and safer in small cars. Larger cars are harder to handle and more awkward for parking. Chances are you have learnt to drive in a small car so you will feel a lot more at home driving one once you have passed your test. Engine size is also something to consider, as the more powerful the car, the higher the insurance bill.

Where Are You Buying Your Car?

There are lots of different options for where to buy your car, here are the main ones explained:
Franchised Dealer – You are most likely to find good quality second hand cars at a franchised dealership, but at a higher cost. Franchised dealerships are often part of a large, powerful group. You will receive good sales assistance and maximum legal protection. There are however some dodgy franchised dealers, so ask friends, family and your parents for advice and recommendations on known dealerships to visit.

Independent Dealer – Independent dealerships will offer a much wider variety of used cars at lower prices. However, this means that the quality of the cars is likely to vary too and you can never be sure on the after sales service that you will receive. Again, it’s always good to find out about known or recommended dealerships to visit to make sure you’re buying from someone reputable. We can all picture in our heads that dodgy car salesman, with a cigar in one hand a bunch of notes in another!

Check the Service History

If you are buying a new car then this bit doesn’t really apply. But, if you are buying 2nd hand then this is crucial!

When you are considering buying a car, make sure to ask the seller for a copy of the full service history manual alongside the user manual. This contains details of all services the car has had and will give you a good idea of what sort of state the car will be in when you buy it. Check how often the car has been serviced and when it is next due to be serviced, as well as making sure there are no gaps or glaring omissions from the history. If there are any gaps then you should be very, very wary of buying. Also check things such as the mileage, oil, and general quality of the car.

Test Drive

Whatever car you buy you need to be comfortable and happy driving it, otherwise you won’t find your first car much fun. No matter how amazing it might look, if it doesn’t drive well then it’s going to become a chore!

So good luck buying your first car, I hope you consider some of our tips!

Categories :