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The First-Time Buyers Cost Guide to Running a Car

first time Regardless of whether you have just passed your test or you have been using public transport while you save up, buying your first car is a big deal. A lot of people think that the only financial consideration that needs to be taken into account is the price of the car itself. However, that is only one small part of owning a car. After you have purchased the car, there are a number of other bills that come your way, and you should be prepared for them so that you can factor them into your monthly budget. Keep reading to find out more.

The Running Costs

There are several costs associated with the running of your car. First things first, the fuel costs. Obviously, your car cannot run without fuel. There are several things that can affect your fuel costs.

First, there is the type and price of the fuel itself; then there is the efficiency of your vehicle and lastly, your driving habits. In most cases, diesel tends to cost more than petrol, but diesel cars often get more miles to the gallon. The price of fuel can vary depending on your location and even the different petrol stations in your town. Try to find the cheapest one and stick to it. A lot of drivers tend to fill their cars once a month and do their best to make it last, which works for those who don’t do too many miles. When purchasing their first car, most people tend to go for an older model because they are cheaper, and it doesn’t matter as much if you get into any scrapes.

If your vehicle is three years old or over, then you will need to get an MOT every year. This is a legal requirement and therefore non-negotiable. The MOT determines whether your vehicle is safe to drive or not. It is also recommended that you get your car serviced regularly, although this is not a legal obligation. MOTs and services cost money; often, you are charged a flat rate. However, if there are any issues found, then the costs can quickly escalate. When your car needs work doing, you are often charged for labour and parts. The cost of labour can vary between garages, and the cost of parts tends to remain somewhat steady regardless of where you are having the work done. Before you consent to having the work done, you should always ask for an estimate. In some cases, it may also be worth having a second opinion to ensure that you aren’t being taken advantage of.

Annual Charges

As well as running costs there are several other annual charges to consider. You cannot legally drive your car without having it insured and taxed. Now, there are two options when it comes to insuring your vehicle; you can choose to pay annually, which is one payment a year, or you can pay monthly. Often paying yearly, while initially constituting a higher cost, is actually the cheaper option in the long run. When it comes to finding an insurance provider, you should do your research and use comparison sites to get the best deal. Taxing your vehicle has to be done through a government website, and again you can choose to pay your tax annually or monthly. Also, depending on the vehicle, you might not have to pay any tax, although you will still need to register the vehicle.

Depending on how you paid for your car, you might have repayments to make. You either have to pay upfront using your savings if you have enough, you can also get a car on finance if you qualify, or you can take out a loan. Qualifying for a loan or finance can be an arduous process, especially if you don’t have the best credit score. This can put vehicle ownership just outside of your reach. However, there are other options. There are some loans that don’t have as strict an application process. For example, payday loan brokers like Payday UK can help you find a loan that is more accessible and quickly give you a quote. Think about how much you can afford to pay back each month and remember to take into account the interest rates too.

When it comes to choosing a car, there are several things that you need to think about. Obviously, you will have to choose between petrol, diesel and electric vehicles although for first-time buyers petrol or diesel tends to be the most affordable option. After that, you need to consider how big you need the car to be, is it just for you, or is it expected to be a work or family car? This will determine the size of the car. There is also how many doors you need. If the car is just for you, then a three-door will be fine; however, if you have a family, then a five-door makes more sense because it will be easier for everyone to get in and out. Engine size determines the power of the car, which is something that you will need to think about.

Lastly, there is your budget. Regardless of how much the car is, you need to be aware of the fact that it will depreciate in value. This can affect your return should you want to sell the car on or part-ex it when it comes to buying your next vehicle. New cars tend to depreciate much more quickly, whereas older cars often keep their value a little steadier. You can also minimise the depreciation of your vehicle by keeping it clean, tidy and in good condition. You should also do your best to keep the mileage as low as possible, have your car serviced regularly and perform any repairs as needed.

The final cost to consider is breakdown cover. While it is by no means a necessity, it does make sense, especially again for new drivers. Depending on the level of coverage and the provider that you choose, it won’t necessarily be that expensive. It does give you peace of mind should you have the misfortune to break down somewhere and need your vehicle recovering. When choosing breakdown cover, you should read the policies carefully to ensure that you know what is included because sometimes there are catchment zones, additional costs for roadside repairs et cetera.

The Takeaway

Getting your first car is incredibly exciting; for a lot of people, it is a rite of passage. It marks their first significant experience of independence. Realistically, first-time buyers are usually better off choosing an older vehicle instead of a brand new one for a number of reasons. However, even when purchasing an older model, it is also one of the biggest financial commitments that a person will make, falling just behind the purchase of property. The truth is that buying a vehicle is an expensive process, the cost is not limited to the price of the car itself either there are a number of ongoing costs to consider. The above offers a great breakdown into the kind of ongoing expenses that you can expect to encounter. Luckily, there are a number of things that you can do to try and minimise these costs, such as using comparison sites and thinking about your payment terms and the interest rates too.


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