Top Tips for Buying Your First Car

AD – This post is a collaboration with ATS Euromaster, but all thoughts and experiences are my own

It has been many years now since I was buying my first car. In fact, I’ve just been trying to sort out a new car which will be my third, after changes in my mobility which means I need a higher car to help me get in and out.

Buying a car, be it your first or third, takes a lot of thought. From looking into a car service history to checking for rust to making sure it fits all your needs, getting a car is a big decision.

I remember buying my first car almost like it was only yesterday and not over 10 years ago. Due to my anxiety, it took me a while to pass my driving test. As such it gave me a long time to think about what car I would like.

The original car type I was looking at ended up being out of my budget. However, I found a little red Fiat Panda, which seemed to be a reasonable price and decided it was the one.

Honestly had it just been me I would have just bought the car without thinking. However, luckily I had my Dad on my side, who thought a bit more about the car’s history. It was pure luck on my side that this car ended up being the right one.

However, why am I looking back on this? Well, I was recently contacted by ATS Euromaster to take part in the “I Wish I Knew Campaign”. So here are some things I wish I knew about buying your first car.

Dealer New Cars Stock. Colorful Brand New Compact Vehicles For Sale Awaiting on the Dealer Parking Lot. Car Market Business Concept.

Check The Cars History

When you are buying a second-hand car it is important to know the car’s history. From how often it was taken into service, to if it has been in any accidents and of course how it has performed on previous MOTs.

I was lucky with my Panda as we were able to find out it had originally been owned as a show car, it had by an owner who had hardly used it. Despite rarely driving it, the Panda had been kept inside a garage and regularly serviced, before it was sold back to the garage where I found it.


Before I settled on my Panda, I had my heart set on a different make and model. While the car just about fit in the budget I had set for myself, I wouldn’t have been able to get insurance and tax within my budget.

Insurance costs, particularly when it comes to your first car, can be high because you are a new driver.

As such it is really important to make sure you factor in the cost of insurance and tax, rather than just the price of the car.

It is worth remembering as well, that different cars cost different amounts to insure. Things like engine size will help keep insurance prices down while CO2 emissions and fuel type can influence the cost of road tax. 

It is also worth looking into the MPG (miles per gallon) your car is expected to achieve, as long term this will have a large impact on your outgoings, especially if you drive long distances on a regular basis.

Women and man stood in a car sales room talking

What Type of Car Should You Get?

This is a really individual question and answer and perhaps something I want to include more from my future car choices than my first.

There are no steadfast rules for the type of car you should get as your first. Although again engine size is definitely something to consider.

Many people start off with a small hatchback, which still offers 5 seats and room for shopping in the boot.

However, you need to think about how it will work for you. For instance, if like me you have mobility issues, you are likely to want a car that offers a higher seat and comfortable driving position. This is where making sure you test drive the car comes into play. If need be, spend some time just getting in and out.

Does it Come with a Warranty?

Even if you buy a second-hand car it may come with a warranty. Some garages offer a 30-90 day warranty with cars bought from them. While if you buy a car that is just a few years old it may still be covered by the maker’s original warranty as well.

For instance, Hyundai offers a 5-year warranty while Kia offers 7.

row of different european marques of used cars for retail sale on a motor dealers forecourt all logos removed

Make Sure you Buy from a Trusted Source

This is especially important when buying a second-hand car. While it is often cheaper to buy via a private seller it can come with more risk compared to buying from a dealer.

If you are buying from a dealer, make sure to look into previous buyers’ feedback. While with a private seller, it is definitely worth taking someone who knows cars with you to give it a check over. In both cases, check what legal rights you have should something go wrong.

Remember no matter which source you buy your car from, make sure you can get hold of the full service history.

These are just some top tips for buying your first car, make sure you check out some of the other people taking part in the I Wish I Knew Campaign to find out what they think as they look back on their first car purchase!.

What is your top tip for buying your first car?

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Are you looking into buying your first car? Then here are some top tips to help you think about the right things as you head on that journey.

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