How to buy your first car

Buying your first car is one of life’s most memorable events and for young people, it brings new independence and freedom. In this article, we’ll help give you the advice to buy a safe and reliable car that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re a parent looking for a car for your teenager or you’ve just passed your test and want to get on the road as quickly as possible this guide is for you.

Set a budget and stick to it

When getting your first car it can be tempting to let your imagination run wild and start looking at cars out of your budget. To help stop this from happening, work out your budget before you begin looking for your cars as this will help stop you getting disappointed when you realise you can’t afford your dream car. As well as the cost of purchasing your car you’ll need to bear in mind associated costs including insurance which for the average 17 year old can cost upwards of £2000 a year.  

Used vs new cars

Most people automatically assume that a used car will be much cheaper than a new car for a new driver but this isn’t always the case. Car brands such as Peugeot offer a great incentive for new drivers with their Just Add Fuel scheme which means that new drivers can enjoy a brand new car for an affordable monthly cost. With deposits as low as £500 and monthly payments starting at just £176 this is a very attractive option for enjoying a new, safe and reliable car with insurance included.

Those who’d prefer to own their car outright should use websites like AutoTrader to find the best used cars for their budget. Popular cars with young drivers include the Fiat 500, Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Ka to name just a few. For your first car, it is probably worth paying the premium of buying from a dealer as they will often be able to provide a warranty as part of the package, you’re also better protected if something should go wrong with your car.


For new drivers, the cost of insurance can be extremely high, especially for male drivers under the age of 25. Before purchasing a car make sure you take the time to compare insurance costs against different makes and models of vehicles as they can vary widely, even for cars with very similar specifications. An insurance black box is a popular way to help young drivers to keep their insurance premiums low and rewards safe drivers with lower premiums.


The bigger the engine the more expensive your car will be to run. Younger drivers will benefit the most from having a car with a small engine as it will be more fuel efficient as well as cheaper to drive. Yes, we know you had your heart set on a sporty convertible, but realistically this will cost way too much to insure and run for a new driver.

Maintenance and MOT test

One way to keep the cost of car repairs down is to have your car regularly serviced and maintained. The annual MOT test is required for all vehicles aged 3 years or more but this doesn’t mean that you can skip your annual car servicing. Generally speaking, smaller cars will be cheaper to maintain with costs such as tyres lower than prestige and sporty vehicles.