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College Students Buying Your First Car? Here are 4 Tips to Keep in Mind

Nov 27, 2015

There’s nothing more thrilling than the thought of getting around campus in the driver’s seat of a new car. No more carpooling or public transport, just you and your ride.

Making this dream a reality, however, takes a bit of planning to ensure you are driving away with a good deal because as any experienced motorist will tell you, owning a car offers a tremendous sense of freedom and independence, but it also comes with a big responsibility.

So to help you make your first car purchase a little less bumpy, Tyre Compare is here to help out with a few important tips.

1. Set a realistic budget

Everybody wants to drive the slickest wheels but not everyone has the cash for it. And as a young driver, it’s important that you understand what you can afford.

If your parents are helping you with the purchase, get them to help you set a reasonable budget. If you are looking to take out a loan, it’s important to take all expenditures into account, the most important numbers being the down payment and monthly payments. Taxes, registration, and insurance costs must also be considered.

And remember, the bigger the engine and/or the faster the car, the more gas it will consume. Better go for small or midsized sedans and hatchbacks instead if you are on a tight budget. They might not turn heads, but they are cheap to buy, cheap to run, and cheap to maintain.

2. Do your research

Once you understand your budget, it’s time to create a shortlist of vehicles that match the price range you’re going for. Reading online reviews from industry experts as well as consulting owners of different car models will help you narrow down your choices.

If you are on a budget, look for practical options and vehicles with a strong track record of affordable maintenance and reliability. While a shiny new BMW can no doubt bump up your street cred, you might want to think twice once you realize the maintenance costs of such European cars.

Test-drive your top picks

If you’re ready with a shortlist, it’s time to head to your nearest dealership and take your top picks for a test drive. This is your opportunity to see whether you will be comfortable in your car and whether its performance suits your requirements and expectations.

Regardless of whether you’re buying new or used, it’s important that you spend a reasonable amount of time getting to know the vehicle on the road. It’s also a good idea to bring along a checklist to assess the vehicle, taking into consideration factors such as exterior and interior appearance, ride comfort, braking handling, acceleration and more.

If you are buying used, there are pre-purchase inspection services out there that will take the risk out of buying something of unknown history. There is a fee for such inspections but you can treat it as buying peace of mind.

3. Negotiate like a pro

If the vehicle looks good and it meets your budget and requirements, then it’s time to negotiate the sale price. Nervous about negotiating? Then have an experienced adult come along and assist you. Salespeople are charming charismatic creatures who are trained to part you with your hard earned cash. If you go to the dealership on your won, you may run the risk of making costly, impulsive decisions on unnecessary additional products such as extended warranties and rust-proofing.

It takes a lot of patience and persistence to get a good deal on the right car—but the rewards can be worth all the effort. Following these tips, you can be well on your way to getting behind the wheel of your dream car as painlessly as possible.

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