first time car buyer advice Watch

Foreverconfu
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#1
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#1
So banking on that i pass my driving test i will be needing a car in the next few weeks.
Ill be honest i know almost nothing about cars and whats the best option, like should i get a car on finance? or just by an old one?
any advice?
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Spanx
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Check it has 4 wheels and an engine...
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Foreverconfu
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(Original post by Spanx)
Check it has 4 wheels and an engine...
So helpful thanks boss
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Spanx
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My pleasure. Oh and make sure you give the tyres a kick and check it comes with keys.
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by Foreverconfu)
So banking on that i pass my driving test i will be needing a car in the next few weeks.
Ill be honest i know almost nothing about cars and whats the best option, like should i get a car on finance? or just by an old one?
any advice?
How old are you. If you are under 25 the insurance will be prohibitive. There are some dealers that include insurance for a year. So shop around
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James_Noot
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Well for my first car I spent £3000 on an Mk5 Volkswagen Golf 1.6 FSI SE from 2004-08. It has a decent amount of power for a starter car (0-60 in 10.2 seconds) but It's a very good car to drive but I'm only going to keep it for a year and a bit before upgrading to a better car like a BMW 3 series.

But getting the first car depends on the budget for the car and insurance as well. Just avoid a Ford Ka, Peugeots and Citroens and Hyundai cars as they're unreliable and basic. Japanese cars and German are the most reliable cars you can get and Ford cars.

Here are some started options if you're spending £1000+

Make sure it is 1.4+ so you can have power on the motorway.

Mk4 VW Golf
Ford Fiesta
Vauxhall Corsa (You'll get judged if you buy this but they're super reliable and cheap to run, Just stay away from maccies)
Vauxhall Astra
Ford Focus
VW Polo 1.4
Mini Cooper S
BMW 1 series
Audi A1
Fiat 500
Toyota Aygo
Nissan Leaf
Vauxhall Adam

Those should be good options on the table.

Make sure you get a car that's in the acceleration range of 0-60 mph in 11 seconds max
6 Gears is a bonus for efficiency
5 doors (People hate crawling in the back with fold-down seats)
100lbs of torque is good if you want a bit of a fun drive
2004+ Cars only. Don't get a shitbox from 1987
75000 Max miles on the meter
Try and get normal insurance unless you don't mind having a black box and driving slow AF for 2 years.
Do Pass Plus scheme for cheaper insurance.

Hopefully, this helps and use this website to help you. Don't PCP a car because you'll pay more than the cars worth in the end. Pay large sums first for the overall cheapest price.

https://autotrader.co.uk
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Anonymous #1
#7
Report 3 weeks ago
#7
(Original post by James_Noot)
Well for my first car I spent £3000 on an Mk5 Volkswagen Golf 1.6 FSI SE from 2004-08. It has a decent amount of power for a starter car (0-60 in 10.2 seconds) but It's a very good car to drive but I'm only going to keep it for a year and a bit before upgrading to a better car like a BMW 3 series.

But getting the first car depends on the budget for the car and insurance as well. Just avoid a Ford Ka, Peugeots and Citroens and Hyundai cars as they're unreliable and basic. Japanese cars and German are the most reliable cars you can get and Ford cars.

Here are some started options if you're spending £1000+

Make sure it is 1.4+ so you can have power on the motorway.

Mk4 VW Golf
Ford Fiesta
Vauxhall Corsa (You'll get judged if you buy this but they're super reliable and cheap to run, Just stay away from maccies)
Vauxhall Astra
Ford Focus
VW Polo 1.4
Mini Cooper S
BMW 1 series
Audi A1
Fiat 500
Toyota Aygo
Nissan Leaf
Vauxhall Adam

Those should be good options on the table.

Make sure you get a car that's in the acceleration range of 0-60 mph in 11 seconds max
6 Gears is a bonus for efficiency
5 doors (People hate crawling in the back with fold-down seats)
100lbs of torque is good if you want a bit of a fun drive
2004+ Cars only. Don't get a shitbox from 1987
75000 Max miles on the meter
Try and get normal insurance unless you don't mind having a black box and driving slow AF for 2 years.
Do Pass Plus scheme for cheaper insurance.

Hopefully, this helps and use this website to help you. Don't PCP a car because you'll pay more than the cars worth in the end. Pay large sums first for the overall cheapest price.

https://autotrader.co.uk
This was soo helpful thank you !!!!
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Rabbit2
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I bought a somewhat beat-up Jetta Diesel about 5 years ago. I got it for $780, which is more than i usually spend - but i wanted a Diesel + this one had air conditioning too. It has served me fairly well over the years, but i found that lately - it was blowing coolant out the overflow tank. It turns out that they have aluminum heads on these engines [i don't know about the petrol ones]. The head slowly warps over time - and you end up blowing head gaskets - which makes it impossible to keep coolant in it. The dealers around here want about $1200 to $1400 for another head - plus labour. I do all my own work, but the dealer price for a head was still outrageous.
I found a guy on e-bay selling Chinese made heads for $300. Figuring it was worth the risk - i ordered one. It looks very nice. Neatly machined, flat (which is important - otherwise you cannot get it to seal). I installed it, switched all the pieces over (injectors, valve lifters, etc). I have a couple of thousand miles on it so far, and it works fine. It appears to be more ruggedly built than the German head - the web re-inforcements are heavier, and the steel inserts in the alum parts of the head are heavier too. Hopefully this one won't warp.

The best advice i can give, is to learn to work on it yourself! Probably half of the expense of running a car is maintenance, and you can eliminate at least half of that by doing the work yourself. Shop around for parts on e-bay and elsewhere, and the cost goes even lower. Cheers.
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Acsel
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(Original post by Foreverconfu)
Ill be honest i know almost nothing about cars and whats the best option, like should i get a car on finance? or just by an old one?
I'm also not a car expert, but will offer some perspective.

"Old" is quite different in the context of cars. Nowadays we are used to replacing technology on a semi regular basis, every couple of years. My first (and current) car is a 2004 Vauxhall Corsa. None of us would think of using a 15 year old phone or computer, but a 15 year old car is not an issue. On a similar note, buying used is fine, providing you take precautions to ensure you aren't getting a car with loads of problems.

Buying on finance, especially a first car, is risky. Buying on finance implies you don't have the money to buy a car. Which begs the question, do you have the money to run a car? It's not simply about paying for the vehicle itself, but also covering tax, insurance, service/MOT, running costs such as petrol and so on. My general approach to buying on finance is that you should only consider it if you are financially stable, to the point you could just buy the item outright. You really want to avoid making monthly payments on something without financial stability. And if you're buying an expensive enough car to be considering finance, insurance is likely to get expensive as well. IMO the sweet spot is around £2500-£3000 to get you a reasonable car and cover your first year of insurance. I paid £2000 for the car and £1000 for the insurance (full comp, no black box). You could easily spend more or less, but at that point it's up to you. Plenty of people get a car for £500-1000 at first because it's all they can afford.

And of course, generic advice about insurance. It's often expensive for newer, young drivers but varies wildly depending on what car you get. Whatever your budget, keep in mind that some of it will need to go on insurance. This is where you need to shop around and work out what is appropriate for you.

Also important to consider your use case. When I started driving, I was only driving around town. A 1 litre engine was fine for me, and having a smaller car with low yearly mileage keeps the insurance price down. Having a 3 door Corsa may have pushed the price up though (it's a stereotypical boy racer car from what I understand). Even now, I'm commuting 150 miles a week and it's fine on the motorway but I'll be replacing it in the near-ish future. Since you're not a car person, it's unlikely you'll want something "nice" to show off with. Go for something practical that fulfills your needs and keeps costs low.
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Doones
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(Original post by Foreverconfu)
So banking on that i pass my driving test i will be needing a car in the next few weeks.
Ill be honest i know almost nothing about cars and whats the best option, like should i get a car on finance? or just by an old one?
any advice?
What age are you?
What is your budget?
Do you have a regular income (ie a job)?
Why do you need a car?

PS. Moved to Cars & Motoring

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Last edited by Doones; 3 weeks ago
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Rabbit2
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(Original post by Rabbit2)
I bought a somewhat beat-up Jetta Diesel about 5 years ago. I got it for $780, which is more than i usually spend - but i wanted a Diesel + this one had air conditioning too. It has served me fairly well over the years, but i found that lately - it was blowing coolant out the overflow tank. It turns out that they have aluminum heads on these engines [i don't know about the petrol ones]. The head slowly warps over time - and you end up blowing head gaskets - which makes it impossible to keep coolant in it. The dealers around here want about $1200 to $1400 for another head - plus labour. I do all my own work, but the dealer price for a head was still outrageous.
I found a guy on e-bay selling Chinese made heads for $300. Figuring it was worth the risk - i ordered one. It looks very nice. Neatly machined, flat (which is important - otherwise you cannot get it to seal). I installed it, switched all the pieces over (injectors, valve lifters, etc). I have a couple of thousand miles on it so far, and it works fine. It appears to be more ruggedly built than the German head - the web re-inforcements are heavier, and the steel inserts in the alum parts of the head are heavier too. Hopefully this one won't warp.

The best advice i can give, is to learn to work on it yourself! Probably half of the expense of running a car is maintenance, and you can eliminate at least half of that by doing the work yourself. Shop around for parts on e-bay and elsewhere, and the cost goes even lower. Cheers.
I forgot one item - it's a 1982 Jetta Diesel. Cheers.
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Foreverconfu
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#12
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
What age are you?
What is your budget?
Do you have a regular income (ie a job)?
Why do you need a car?

PS. Moved to Cars & Motoring

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im 18, have a monthly income of just over 1000 £ and i just need a car to get to work.
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Doones
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(Original post by Foreverconfu)
im 18, have a monthly income of just over 1000 £ and i just need a car to get to work.
Price up some options for a small starter car at, probably, the £3-4k mark and see what the insurance will cost you. Insurance is a very significant cost for new, young drivers. Do you have a parent you can add as a named (not main) driver? It can help reduce the premium.

Owning a car as a new young driver is very expensive and, frankly, might not be realistic for you.
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Rabbit2
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One of the major costs for car owners on this side of the pond [and i suspect that side too], is maintenance. This exceeds insurance in some cases. If you buy an older car, you not only save money on the purchase price, but on insurance too. This is particularly true if you only carry liability, and a low (or no) collision coverage. Insurance companies will only pay the 'salvage' value for a vehicle if it is totaled, and for a 10 or 12 year old vehicle, the premium for that coverage will total up to the salvage value in 5 to 7 years. If you have a loan on the vehicle, the lender will require you to carry collision, because they want to get their money back. If you buy the car outright, or with a personal loan (from your 'rents say), you can skip collision coverage.

It is a fallacy to think that new cars are 'trouble free'. Usually, there are a flurry of problems with 'new' anythings. Then, as the assembly, wiring, and other problems are fixed, there is a 'honeymoon' period of 5 to 10 years with few problems. Then you enter the 'wear out' stage, when various things begin to reach the end of their useful lives. For many vehicles, the basic structure is good for 200,000 miles or more. Used and rebuilt parts are readily available for most vehicles. On most repairs, the labour amounts to half to 2/3 of the repair cost. Take an 'adult education' course in auto repair. Many 'high schools' in the states (or the equivalent where you live) run these, under the guise of 'teaching the unemployable' a skill. I have taken several of these, and most of the 'students' were employed professionals [engineers, dentists, one solicitor], who wanted to get into fixing their own cars. The cost was minimal [under a quid an hour for a lighted, heated shop, with a qualified instructor]. Best of luck! Cheers.
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Doones
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(Original post by Rabbit2)
One of the major costs for car owners on this side of the pond [and i suspect that side too], is maintenance. This exceeds insurance in some cases. If you buy an older car, you not only save money on the purchase price, but on insurance too. This is particularly true if you only carry liability, and a low (or no) collision coverage. Insurance companies will only pay the 'salvage' value for a vehicle if it is totaled, and for a 10 or 12 year old vehicle, the premium for that coverage will total up to the salvage value in 5 to 7 years..
UK insurance is different. The major cost factor is the third party risk, and the insurers reckon an ancient banger in the hands of a young new driver is a bigger risk to third parties than a new car. They are more worried about the costs incurred when a new driver hits an expensive Merc and/or a pedestrian, than the repair cost of the banger (which will get written-off anyway at minimal cost to them).

In other words it can be cheaper to insure a new car than an old one.
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IWMTom
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(Original post by James_Noot)
Do Pass Plus scheme for cheaper insurance.
Respectfully disagree - Pass Plus is useless for discounts nowadays.
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xDron3
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#17
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Start running some quotes for insurance on some cars from Autotrader or Ebay. You'll probably lean towards a car then after learning what sort of cars are cheap to insure for yourself. People will say get a Polo or a Corsa but the insurance quotes may come out at 3k+ for yourself. If you see something you like, have a look in person and see if it's for you.

Would never recommend a car on finance as your first car as you're probably going to curb it, scrape it and other little things which would end up costing a lot.
Last edited by xDron3; 2 weeks ago
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