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  • Writer's pictureDennis Toh

4 Checklist Items to Note Before Getting Your First Car

Now that you have carefully weighed all the pros and cons and finally arrived at the decision to invest in buying your first car, you need to take a few more things into consideration before you put your foot on the accelerator. This article sheds light on some of the important topics that you need to consider before finalizing your purchase.

1. The Purpose

It is always a good idea to ask yourself "why" before deciding "which car" to buy. In this regard, try to identify the must-haves first before you weigh your "nice-to-have" options, this will make your decision-making process much easier. For example, purchasing a convertible may seem to be a good option if you are looking for a highly pleasurable drive, but may not be a good choice if you live in a country that has frequent rains.

Similarly, if you are buying a car to ferry at least three people, instead of going for the sexy convertible, consider getting a less sexy but spacious station wagon. If you travel long distances and you face a lot of traffic jams, make sure your future car has a well-insulated cabin and a good sound system to keep you safe and well-entertained if you ever get stuck in gridlock.

If you are faced with parking issues at your work or at home, try to get a car that comes with proximity sensors on the sides and front/rear. This is because even the best drivers find it hard to park in narrow lanes.

In brief, try to buy a car that is well-suited to your needs in the medium-to-long term.

2. Budgeting And Car Insurance Are Also Very Important Considerations

There are plenty of options when it comes to purchasing your next car, you can buy a sedan car, an SUV, a sports car or a big truck, the choice is yours. Without putting a tab on your budget, you will have a hard time deciding which way to go. So, before going out there, it is better to set the amount of money you want to spend on purchasing your next car. Once you have decided how much money you are going to invest in buying your next car, add another 20% buffer to account for all other car-related expenses. You should also keep in mind the running cost associated with using a car. In order to pay for Monthly fuel bills, service bills, taxes, insurance cost and traffic violation tickets, you should set aside a considerable budget.

By keeping all these related expenses in mind, you will be in a better position to decide whether to go with a brand new car or buy a second-hand car, for the time being, both of these options have their own pros and cons. If you decide to buy a brand new car, you will be able to save a lot in your maintenance cost, but you may have to make a huge initial investment. Buying a second-hand car may not put a lot of load on your budget initially, but it can drain your bank account in maintenance costs down the line.

Whether you decide on buying a brand new car or a used one, car insurance is a mandatory requirement with every purchase. Keep in mind; car insurance rates for brand new cars are always high, so think twice before making your final decision.

These are some of the things that you need to consider before deciding which option is best for you.

3. Tips For Buying A Second Hand Car

If you have made up your mind about buying a pre-loved car, you need to keep the following important points in mind before browsing the market.

You need to shortlist some car brands that you are interested in buying. Now visit various online owner forums to find about some of the common complaints the car owners have experienced. If you find out that there are plenty of complaints of the people who drive cars of the same make and model that you are interested in purchasing, you need to change your mind. Once you are able to find satisfactory reviews about the make and model of a second-hand car that you are interested in purchasing, you can move to the next stage.

It is time to visit different car dealers that sell those second-hand cars. Once you are able to find the make and model of the second-hand car you are interested in buying, perform a thorough body inspection. Look for the paint condition, bumps, and scratches, tire condition, out engine condition and other physical characters. Make sure to ask the dealer and also inspect whether the car has been in a major accident. Avoid buying such car, as its structural integrity may have already been compromised and it may give your problems in the coming months or years.

Once you are done examining the car externally, it is about time to sit on the driver's seat and have a test drive. Before you turn the ignition key, make sure to check the electronics, breaks, lights, and air conditioning are in working condition. When you start the engine, make sure to pay special attention to the way the engine is starting. Does it seem to struggle or starts with just one shot? While driving, check the breaks, suspension, and ride of the car. If you feel uncomfortable test driving the car or spot any major issues with the engine, discuss them with the car dealer. A good car dealer will address those issues before handing you the car keys.

4. Take A Close Friend With You For A Test Drive

If you have a trusted friend who knows about used cars better than you, it is advised to take him/her with you for a test drive. An experienced driver will be able to identify potential problems that you may fail to notice.

Before going on the test drive, make sure to check the condition of the tyres. Check whether the treads on the tyres are deep and that the tires are not worn out. Never go on a test drive if the tires are not in good condition. You should also pay special attention to the breaks and how the car is behaving when you accelerate it and lose the speed. If you feel any jerks or abrupt stops, you need to double check the transmission or brake system before going for the test drive. In case you are test driving a manual car, make sure to check the gear-clutch system. It should work smoothly as your shift through different gears.

While you are on the road test driving the car, make sure to listen for abnormal sounds in the cabin or emanating from the bonnet area or tyres. If possible always take the car to test drive on a quiet road.

Buying your first car is a landmark moment in your life, so make sure you do not end up repenting your decision of purchasing your first car.

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