We all remember many milestones and occasions in life, like our favorite party, first kiss, best Christmas, first job, and more. One that most of us can’t wait for, and that is one of the formative times in life, is getting our first car. 

Whether you’ve been saving up for years to make this happen or have family members or others helping you get your set of wheels, it’s vital to choose carefully. Here are some top considerations when the time comes to select your very first car.

Determine Your Budget

Start by determining how much you can afford to spend on your vehicle purchase and how much you feel comfortable outlaying. Consider whether you want to pay for the entire amount yourself or are okay with getting a loan from a bank, your parents, or another lender, and if so, how much you’ll need to pay out and for how long. If considering a loan that will involve paying interest over the years, don’t forget to calculate what this will add up to, as well.

When deciding your budget, always factor in costs other than just the initial price of the car, too. For example, there’s insurance, change of ownership transfer fees, annual service costs, and repairs over the years. Plus, you may want to purchase some mechanics tools for basic maintenance and repair work. If there are additions or changes you want to make to a vehicle, too, such as upgrading wheels, the entertainment system, seat covers, etc., factor in these costs. 

Consider Which Car Type is Best for Your Specific Needs

Next, decide which type of car will best suit your specific needs. Consider more factors than just the color, style, or brand. For example, think about how durable a car will be, what technological and safety features it offers, the gas mileage it gets on average, and the type of weather it will need to drive or sit in where you live. Think about the size you require, especially if you need it for work, and the type of manufacturer-backed warranty that may be available. 

You need to know the maximum number of miles on a vehicle you feel comfortable with and the range different makes and models generally sell for up in relation. 

Ask Yourself if You’re Ready to Buy 

It’s also wise to ask yourself if you’re really ready to buy your first car. While you may be excited about having the freedom that comes with your own set of wheels, this purchase also brings with it plenty of responsibility. Ask yourself if you can truly afford to spend money on this right now and over the long term and if you can still manage loan repayments if your job or other financial or living situations change. 

Think about if you’re ready to handle maintaining and cleaning your car, filling it up with gas regularly, getting it serviced, and other responsibilities involved with ownership. 

Research Preferred Makes and Models and Read Reviews

Once you have a good idea of your budget and the type of car you want, you can start narrowing down your shortlist of preferred makes and models. As you do so, complete plenty of research on numerous factors, such as the reputation of different car manufacturers and how well different makes get rated. 

Don’t just read vague advertisements for vehicles but also find out details such as what miles cars have on them, if they have any damage that needs repairing or parts replacing, if they have been in an accident before, and more. Read plenty of customer and industry expert reviews to get an overall feel of how vehicles rate, too. All this time and effort will help you clarify what a good deal is on the cars you’re considering and what isn’t so that you can proceed to the next step.

Test Drive Vehicles

Never buy a car without first test-driving it. You need to inspect vehicles in person to see if they’re in the condition the advertisers claim and feel nice to drive. Get behind the wheel of your potential car to see if it handles well, suits your size (don’t forget to adjust the seat and mirrors), and has enough space for your needs. It’s wise to measure the height and width of the vehicle to ensure it will fit in your garage or carport, too. 

Once you find a suitable car, it’s time to organize financing, or you might like to prequalify for it if needed so that you’re ready to say yes to any great deals you spot. Then, negotiate a deal and sort out payment, transfer of ownership, and insurance ASAP. 

The car-buying process is filled with uncertainty, especially the first time. However, when it’s time to get on the road, completing the above steps will help you navigate the process and end up happy with your purchase.