Many people have never dipped their toes into the world of car buying, car finance, negotiations, and valuations. Whether you’re sixteen years old and ready to start driving or thirty years old and tired of taking public transport, seeking out guidance when buying that very first set of wheels will help you get the best value for your money.

At MotorCo, we’ve helped many first-time car buyers find their perfect vehicle, so we know quite a lot about the process from both sides of the car sales looking glass. Our tips for buying a used car is sure to become your companion as you seek out your first set of wheels!

Begin with Your Budget

Buying a car requires a bigger investment than the money in your savings account. It also requires two more equally important factors: your time and your energy, and you can avoid wasting all three by setting a budget.

Budgeting isn’t just about the sale price in the window, but also the cost of ownership. What can you afford in gas, in repairs, and in regular maintenance? Larger vehicles will cost you more in gas, while some stylish foreign models will require that you import expensive parts for basic repairs. Newer cars may cost you more upfront but will require less frequent maintenance.

Here are some good questions to ask yourself when determining a budget:

  • What is the maximum amount I am willing to spend on a car right now?
  • What do I expect my financial situation to look like over the next five years?
  • According to that estimate, how much can I afford to spend on upkeep and gas for my new car?
  • Am I going to buy this car using a pre-approved car finance plan, and how will weekly or monthly repayments factor into my budget?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you will already have narrowed the field significantly! You can now begin your search for a car that fits these criteria.

Consider Your Needs and Your Wants in a Car

Once you’ve got your budget all set out, it’s time to compare the things you need with the things you want.

Consider the role you’ll need your new car to play in your life. Will you regularly have passengers? Do you like to travel offroad? Do you have hobbies with heaps of equipment? How often will you be driving and how far? How much of that driving will be done in city traffic, where fuel economy is lower? By answering these questions, you are establishing your prospective car’s essential features.

Now, consider what you’d enjoy in a car. Do you have a favourite colour? Do you like to listen to music? What kind? Might you be swayed by a sunroof? Leather seats? A reverse camera? These are the perks that can help you narrow your choice once you’ve made a list of cars with all your essential features.

Do Your Due Diligence

Research, research, research. Check out ratings and reviews for your top choices, research dealerships across New Zealand, and make sure you know what a good finance policy looks like!

Google is an excellent resource for this, but you can also choose to talk to your local dealerships to get information on local finance policies; auto-shops to know what to look for in vehicles; and friends or family who know their stuff!

Here’s a list of some things you should research before buying:

  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer and professional reviews
  • A simple breakdown of specifications
  • Prices from different dealerships
  • Common issues with the vehicle, and ways to identify them
  • The finance plans on offer at your local dealerships

Once you have researched a vehicle that suits your budget and meets your needs, you may have found a winner! All that’s left to do now is find the dealership with the highest quality model, the best price, and the most accommodating finance plan.

Go forth and get that new set of wheels!

Be sure you’re getting the best car for you with MotorCo.

At MotorCo, we sell high-quality, curated European and Japanese used cars at amazing prices. Our friendly team is dedicated to matching you with the perfect car for your budget and lifestyle, and we’re happy to guide you through the process of buying your very first vehicle.

Give us a call today, visit us at our dealerships, or browse our stock online!