Buying a car?First car

You’ll want to buy a car after passing your driving test and getting that all-important license. But buying a car for the first time can be a daunting experience for some. So, we have put together a guide to help you along the way.

Below is a guide to help you buy your first car. If you are as lucky as Nilee and get your dad’s car like she is and the insurance paid, there is no need to read on. If you’re not as lucky, then read on.

Setting your budget

Before you decide which car to buy, choose how much you want to spend. Calculate how much your fuel, insurance, and road tax costs are likely to be. You may want to buy the same kind of car you were learning about.

Choosing the right car

With more choices than ever, choosing your perfect car can be a bewildering process. Make sure you work out what you need from your car. Think about: • What the car will be used for • How many passengers will be regularly carried • How much will it cost to fuel, tax, insure, service and repair?

Have you seen a car?

Your first contact with a seller can reveal a lot of valuable information about the car, so it’s essential you ask the right questions, such as:

  • How many previous owners were there?
  • How often has the car been serviced?
  • Has the vehicle been involved in an accident?

Ask about its past and always view the car in daylight, preferably when dry, to make it easier to spot damage.

Inspecting the car

You don’t need to be a mechanic to inspect a used car; there are a few things you can look for. However, to be entirely sure, you may want to take a mechanic or a friend. Things to look for:

  • Get a car history check to establish if the car has any outstanding finance, has been stolen or written off
  • Examine the car’s documents—logbook, service history, and previous MOT certificates—to determine whether the vehicle has been clocked.
  • Check the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) under the bonnet at the windscreen’s base.
  • Look for rust, mismatched paint, and uneven gaps between body panels
  • Make sure all the car’s features work

Test driving a car

The test drive is your chance to assess every aspect of the car, from how it feels on the road to ensuring all its equipment works correctly.

  • Always take a test drive of at least 15 minutes on different types of roads.
  • Arrange suitable insurance cover before you drive the car.
  • Start the car when the engine is cold, and check for excessive smoke and unusual noises.
  • Check the gears, brakes, steering, and suspension work as they should, with no unusual noises and vibrations.

Going through the paperwork

A car’s paperwork is essential; it provides information on its history and ownership, so you should check it thoroughly.

  • Check all paperwork looks and feels genuine – photocopies and printouts could be fake.
  • Ensure the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in the logbook matches the ones displayed in the car and that the address and recorded keeper’s information match the person selling the car.
  • Examine the service history to ensure the recorded mileage is in line with the mileage displayed in the car and that regular maintenance has been carried out.
  • Cars over three years old should be supplied with a valid MOT – check old MOT certificates to verify the car’s mileage, and contact the garage that completed the MOT test if you’re unsure.

Sealing the deal

Once you’ve decided this is the car you want to buy, make an offer. Make the offer low and let the seller work the price up. Ask for a full tank of fuel. Make sure the buyer writes a receipt for you both. Complete the new keeper parts of the v5C (logbook) and ensure it’s sent to the DVLA

There are plenty of dealers around that you may want to consider buying from, such as: