Maybe you just celebrated your 17th birthday and guess what? You can officially start applying for a driver’s license! For others, he or she may have finally saved up enough money to buy his/ her very own 4-wheeler. One of the best feelings in life is the joy you experience when you first get to own a car!
While you get the keys and speed off the highway, this also means that you are taking on new responsibilities and liabilities at the same time. To ensure your new drive lasts longer and costs less on maintenance and repairs, here are a few things we believe every first-time car owner should know!
1. Do your research before buying a car
Before you commit to a car purchase, whether going for a cheaper car or a car of your dreams, always take a step back and look at both the good and bad reasons for owning either of them.
Opting purely for the cheapest car might put you in a world of issues due to compromised performance and lower reliability. The incremental cost incurred on repair and maintenance may make it a less than ideal choice of a car. So be sure to study every aspect of the car and understand what you are getting if you need to keep within a certain budget.
On the other end, if you can afford your dream car, be sure to do some reading and reviews as well before committing the purchase. You might find that it is actually an unreliable model that frequently breaks down if you solely go after its exterior designs as looks can often be deceiving. You need to know what you are getting yourself into regardless of the type of car you plan to get.
2. Plan your budget well
While getting a car that is within your budget may seem straightforward, that is not all to it. Just because you have secured your new ride, does not mean that the expenses stop there. There are a lot more running costs and other ongoing expenses to keep your new car up and running.
You may not have been as sensitive towards fuel prices before you become an owner of a car but you will soon realise that you are checking the weekly fuel prices. Aside from fuel, you also have to set a budget for insurance, regular car maintenance, and other accessories, if any. Parking fees will soon be one of the essential expenses when you start driving to work or malls. Be sure to factor all these in as the upkeep can also be quite expensive, depending on the car you are getting.
3. Secure all the documents
Whether you bought a brand new or used car, it is important that you review all documents that were used for the car purchase transaction. If you shopped from used cars dealers, be sure to check and ask for the handbook/ manual and the service history records. If the handbook or manual is not available, check if you can download it from the Internet.
Be mindful about having all other basic paperwork like registration and insurance always kept inside the car. Keep them somewhere you could find them easily, be it on the dashboard, inside the glove compartment, or under the seat. You don’t want to be treasure hunting when you need them for any legal reasons or insurance claims.
4. Find yourself a trusty mechanic
It is very important to find an experienced mechanic you can rely on to take care of your car, preferably a local one who is within your reach. Be sure to build good relationships with them as they are going to be your first point of call whenever you have an issue with the car.
When something goes wrong with your car, you will have to trust this person to fix it for you. Get recommendations from friends, family, and neighbours. It would be ideal to choose a workshop that is close to your house or workplace.
5. Know your limits
Not everyone is suitable to go on long journey drives. While some are able to do that, there is no guarantee that you are one of them. Driving is more tiring than you thought as it requires your full attention at all times when you are on the road, for both road users as well as your own safety.
You need to learn where your limits are and make sure that you are always going to be able to drive to the best of your abilities. Driving when tired is a recipe for disaster, and should be avoided at all costs. Make stops to recuperate whenever required. Get another driver to accompany you if you are planning your first ever long journey trip, so that you may switch out to rest up whenever required.