Buying your first car can be tricky. You need something safe and reliable but usually within a pretty tight budget. You’ll also want something that’s easy to learn in if you haven’t already. There are a lot of things to look out for when buying your first car but these are the most important.

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Safety First

As this is your first car it’s pretty safe to assume you haven’t had a whole lot of driving experience. You may not be a learner but you probably don’t have a huge amount of hours behind your seatbelt either. According to a study by the University of Adelaide, young drivers are 15 times more likely to have an accident once they move from their learners to a provisional licence.

Craig Kloeden from the University’s Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) said “The study indicates that it is many hundreds of hours before young drivers become competent in a vehicle. Given that young drivers are 15 times more likely to have an accident once they move from their learners to a provisional licence there is a strong case for extending the length of the learner phase even more.”

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Given that this is your first car and you’re less experienced than many on the road it’s important to put safety first when considering what kind of make and model to choose. According to ANCAP you shouldn’t choose anything with a rating lower than 4 stars.

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Finance Responsibly

Before you decide how much you want to spend on your new car, you’ll need to decide how much you can comfortably and responsibly afford. Don’t forget to factor in the cars running costs and maintenance into your budget. A medium sized car costs around $200 per week in upkeep (including fuel, repairs and servicing).

You’ll also need to factor in depreciation costs. Remember you won’t get that money back even if you plan on reselling your car later.


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Always Negotiate

Never simply pay a car dealer the sticker price for a car, even if it seems like a good deal, without first negotiating. Try to bring the price down whether you’re buying from a dealer or a private seller. Always be patient when buying a car and sleep on it. Never buy a car (or any large purchase for that matter) on a whim, without thoroughly thinking it over first. Sleeping on it will help take the emotion out of your decision and help you make a rationale one.