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First car chronicles: Important things you need to know

First car chronicles: Important things you need to know

By Zuko Komisa

So you’ve finally decided to buy yourself a new set of wheels?

You’ve are ready to let go of public transport and want to transition into driving your own car. These are some important pointers to look at as you search for the car of your dreams.

 Find out if you can afford the vehicle

The most important stage in any car purchase is getting this part right. Every car purchase should be in line with your income, which will ensure you don’t’ live above your means. Financial experts state that an ideal way of ensuring you can afford your car is to make a deposit of at least 20%. Make sure you don’t go over four years of financing your car. Your total monthly vehicle expense, including principal, fuel, interest, and insurance shouldn’t exceed 10% of your gross income. When doing this you are planning for the future, where there’s inflation, repairs raising fuel costs and other expenses.

Get covered

Insurance is one of the most important expenses you should budget for, especially if you are a first-time buyer or driver. In most cases, banks and car dealership make this a prerequisite before processing your purchase. Insurance covers you in case of theft, accidents, malfunctions and other risk factors

Have a realistic budget

Think about insurance, petrol, repairs, maintenance, taxes, and registration. Speak to a friend with a car, spend as much time as possible understanding how much money you will be spending.

First car chronicles: Important things you need to know. First time car buyers

Take a test drive

This will give you an idea of what your new ride will feel like on the road. In many instances, many consumers change their mind about how they feel about a car after they’ve test driven it.

Apply for a loan

The quickest way to figure out what you can afford is to apply for a car loan and doing a calculation of how much you will be spending. Also, remember not to overexert yourself with buying brand a new car that depreciates in value as soon as it leaves the dealership. There is a big market for quality second-hand cars suited for every budget.

Save for a deposit

Your repayment of a car drastically decreases when you put down a deposit for your new ride. It also means you can borrow even less, helping you have less debt.

What’s your credit score?

Your ability to get good rates on a car loan is based on how well you pay your creditors. The better your credit score, the better is your borrowing. Go on credit score sites to see what the bank will see before lending you money.

First car chronicles: Important things you need to know. First time car buyers

READ: How not to fall for the ‘Blacklisted vehicle finance’ scheme

Other important tips

  • Go for a white car, it’s cheaper on insurance
  • Check the car’s warranty, when buying secondhand, see if it’s transferable.
  • If you are buying secondhand, ask for a roadworthiness test certificate
  • Get a car that suits your lifestyle: check the fuel economy, space in the boot, gear type, car safety features
  • Avoid balloon payments if you can, doing so saves you lots of money in the long run.
  • Don’t be too trusting of car salespeople, always question everything
  • Find out who the previous owners of the vehicles were and if the car had any accidents and what panel beaters fixed it.

The most important thing to remember about this process is that you need to take your time. Committing to long-term monthly repayments should be done with a sober mind, put everything into consideration.

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