10 Commandments of Buying Your First Car

So you learned how to drive, you have the money, and you want to buy a new car — your first car.  At last!  But you’re facing a dilemma, you’re not so sure of the first steps to take.

“The cars we drive say a lot about us”, sayeth Alexandra Paul.  And it’s true, our car is something that will accompany us in our journeys so it must be something that we really like and something that will suit our needs.  Choosing and buying a car takes a lot of planning and decision-making.

Here are the 10 Commandments of Buying your first car:


1. Thou Shall Not Rush

Once you’re determined in buying a car, slow down and think.  Buying a car isn’t something that should be taken lightly.  Try to research about it and compare prices and specs.  You might be surprised, the car you’ve been eyeing for a long time might be replaced by a better car — one that is cheaper.  Avoid impulse buying.  The same way you wouldn’t just jump on a beautiful property that says, “House For Sale”, so you shouldn’t with one pretty car.  Explore your options first.  You would not want to end up paying more than you probably should.

How Do You Buy a Car Buying a Car Find Me a Car Autos 10 Commandments of Buying Your First Car

80x15 10 Commandments of Buying Your First Car
Brandon’s First Car by Tobyotter, on Flickr.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

2. Set Yourself a Budget

Take note of your budget and stick to it.  Do not be easily persuaded with too-good-to-be-true financing deals.  Remember to account the budget you’re willing to pay for a weekly or monthly basis and for how long, make sure you are able to calculate the car chattle mortgage before giving a go to a deal.


3. Research is the Key

What do you find most important in a car?  Is it the style or the functionality?  The safety and reliability?  Sellers would usually tell the pros of the product they’re selling but they won’t tell you something negative about it.  So it’s best to take initiative to research on the car that you want, get its specifications and compare it to other brands.  You may even consider seeking advice from a friend or an uncle who knows a lot about cars.


4. Do Not Buy a Car on Your First Visit

This is one of the most committed mistakes by car buyers.  Once you go to a car dealer, salespeople would normally convince you to buy a car immediately.  But don’t get pressured — you wouldn’t want to regret the decisions that you make.  Don’t be settled in only one dealership, take time to shop everyone’s prices or from competitors.  That way, you will know other places to go if the first dealer isn’t willing to give you the price you believe you deserve.


5. Do Not Pay a Deposit Until You Have Completely Agreed on a Price

Sellers would want your deposit so you won’t be able to shop elsewhere.  Once you give your deposit, you accept that a purchase has been made.  Remember that you are free to shop anywhere if you don’t get the deal that you want.


6. Avoid Taking the Car Home Unless You Already Have a Written Agreement on the Price

Do not fall for the “take it home on the spot” strategy.  Usually salesmen would tell you to take a car home overnight for you to try it out.  If you do, you may become too attached to the vehicle that you might feel obliged to buy it.  You will lose the chance of negotiating with the price.


7. Avoid Mandatory Arbitration Agreements

What is a mandatory arbitration agreement?  Mandatory arbitration agreements or dispute resolution mechanisms are used to protect dealerships from accountability when they defraud consumers.  Arbitration is a process by which the consumer’s claims are settled outside the courtroom with only a private judge without the decision of the jury.  Usually, mandatory arbitration agreements are designed to protect the seller and takes away the right of the consumer to sue or appeal even if the dealership committed fraud.  For instance, a dealership buys wrecked vehicles, repairs it and sells it to unsuspecting customers.  When the consumers start having repair problems, the dealer refuses to take any responsibility.


8. There is Never Any Pressure to Purchase

Very simple, don’t push through with the transaction if you’re not comfortable.  If you feel that you’re not sure and confused, you can stop anytime.


9. Take a Friend When Shopping for a Car

The purpose of a friend — much better if he is knowledgeable about cars, is to prevent you from impulse buying and can advise you whether the car is worth buying or not.  This friend can also help you with negotiating with the dealer and you can work as a team in testing out the car.


10. Enjoy the Experience of Finding “The One”

You may be going through a lot of car shops finding that car you’ve been wishing for.  It may be tiring but it can be a learning experience.  And once you found “the one” it will be a very satisfying reward.


Your car is the next biggest investment aside from your house.  Make sure your decision won’t be something you’ll regret  –  ‘cause you’ll have to live with it for a long time.

+Lara King is a student of finance completing her MA in Sydney.  She likes to write about loans and refinancing and is doing a thesis on loan practices in Australia.

This article is a guest post.  If you would like to write for Money Soldiers, you may visit the Write for Us menu for details.

 10 Commandments of Buying Your First Car

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  1. I completely agree your points! Next week only I planned to buy a new car so your points are very worth for me. Thanks for sharing this valuable information.
    Andy @ Land in Chennai recently posted..Hints for Buying or Selling Land in ChennaiMy Profile

  2. Excellent post. Buying your first car is always a real challenge. Make sure you download a checklist from one of the road assistance compaines. RACV have a good one on their website which covers the technical side of what you need to check!
    James recently posted..A Centrelink loan for low income families in SydneyMy Profile


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