First car buyer’s guide

Buying a car is an expensive and time-consuming process. Even more so if it’s your first car. But it often ends up being your most memorable car, one that nobody forgets. Whether you’re a newly qualified driver or a parent looking for a safe and affordable option for your child, we’ve put together this first car buying guide to help you nail finding that perfect car.


Set a realistic budget with vehicle costs as well as running and maintenance costs in mind. These include:

  • Car insurance – particularly expensive for new drivers, especially if you lie in the ‘under 25s’ age bracket.
  • Road tax – you will have to pay road tax annually unless your vehicle is in Band A, electric or built prior to 1973, in which case you will be exempt.
  • MOT – it’s a legal requirement for all cars over three years old to undergo an annual MOT test to ensure it’s roadworthy. Any maintenance required to make it fit for the road must be carried out.
  • Fuel – fuel costs can vary drastically from car to car, it’s important to choose a car with good fuel consumption.

Choosing your first car

Once the budget has been set, it’s time to find a fitting vehicle. Check out our Best First Car For New Drivers post to see our top five cars ideal for new drivers.

Finding a trustworthy seller

Most people choose to go either with a dealer or a private seller, both of which have perks and downfalls. When buying from a private seller it is usually much easier to negotiate a price, especially if they have a pressing need to sell. On the flip side, using a reputable car dealer often takes a lot of pressure off you, the buyer, because typically the dealer handles things such as paperwork. Furthermore, buying from a dealer offers more legal protection than buying from a private party, giving you peace of mind.

Checks and test drives

Whether you are buying from a private party or a dealership, it is important to establish the car’s history before buying. Identify the following:

  • The car’s age, mileage and service history
  • The number of previous owners
  • Any modifications or repair work that has been done
  • HPI Check – observe a full vehicle history check

If you are satisfied with these details, it’s time to take the car for a test drive. As you drive, keep the following in mind:

  • Test the clutch and biting point
  • Listen out for any unusual sounds or vibrations
  • The transmission should feel smooth when shifting through gears
  • Test the brakes, they should feel firm

Car buying options

It was once the case that only a trust fund or generous parents would allow a brand new first car, but the most popular option nowadays is low-rate car lease and finance schemes. Through just small monthly payments new cars are made more accessible for young drivers.

Special offers with low-interest rates and deposit deals mean that if you are shopping for a small first cat, it could cost you as little as £100 per month.

If you are interested in leasing a car, Zero Deposit Car Leasing have hundreds of vehicles and deals to choose from. Simply enquire here, give us a call on 01282 506 000 or email us at [email protected].