The day you pass your driving test is an exciting one; knowing that you can take to the road and exercise a little bit of freedom is an important part of developing your independence. However, after months of frustrating lessons and a nerve-wracking test, you’ve now got to enter the daunting realm of finding, buying and maintaining your own car. So that you don’t put a foot wrong, simply follow our top tips for buying your first set of wheels:

Set your budget

As with anything, budget plays a key role when buying a car. You’ve not only got to consider the cost of the car itself but also all of the running costs, including insurance, road tax, tyres, fuel, an MOT test and ongoing maintenance. Remember, if you’re a new driver and below the age of 24 your insurance will be more expensive; the average is around £1,141 per year in the UK at the moment.

Decide between used or new

Your budget will most probably determine this, however, you’ll need to consider whether you want a new car or a used vehicle. Both have pros and cons; a new car will technically last longer and won’t need an MOT for three years, however, it will be more expensive from the outset. A used car, on the other hand, will cost a lot less, but you’ll need an MOT straight away and it may not last as long. Saying that, most used cars have low mileage so are almost as good as new.

Shop around

Now for the fun part; shopping around for your new ride. You could browse local new and used car dealerships to see what’s available and take some for a test drive. Or, why not take to the internet? Online you’ve got the option of finding private sellers on sites like Gumtree, or large directories such as AutoTrader which have thousands of listings for you to explore.

Check it over and take it for a spin

Once you’ve narrowed it down to your favourite, you’ll need to check the vehicle over. If it’s a new car, this is less necessary as you’re protected by a warranty, but you should still give it a visual inspection. Used car dealerships offer some protection as they’re often part of trade associations, so are bound by law to ensure cars are fit for purpose. However, if you’re buying from a private seller, you’ll need to inspect the car extensively, checking everything from the paperwork and mileage to the condition of the seatbelts and air con.

Whichever route you choose, make sure you take the car out for a spin. Observe the general performance of the car and most importantly, make sure you feel comfortable and enjoy being behind the wheel!

Find your go-to garage for repairs, maintenance and tests

Hopefully, you won’t have any issues with your first car too early on, however, if problems do arise, you’ll need to know who to call. If you breakdown in the middle of the night, need extensive repairs done or your car is simply due an MOT, make sure you’ve got the number of a reliable local garage saved.

Here at Adderley Green Garage, we’re proud to be the number to call for drivers across Stoke-On-Trent. Based in Longton, we provide extensive garage services from servicing and repairs to buying and selling used cars. Save our number on your phone: 01782 312 510 or get in touch with us today.