Before you pick up your new car, it’s important to brush up on some basics before making such an expensive purchase. There is a myriad of things to consider other than your interior upholstery.
You’ve likely already skimmed through a car owner’s manual, so you know that there are a handful of concerns you need to take into consideration before you drive your first car out of your dealership’s lot. Here’s a succinct guide on what you need to do as a first-time car owner.
Browse all the options you have
Keeping your options open when it comes to purchasing your new car will help you get the right vehicle for your needs. Don’t purchase the first model that impresses you! Make rounds at your local dealerships, browse online, compare prices, and, most importantly, check reviews.
You wouldn’t make a quick decision when buying a house, so you’re better off being just as finicky when it comes to purchasing your very first car. Generally, used cars could be a better option if you’re looking to buy a reputable make for an affordable price. But in some cases, you may want to go for a less expensive new vehicle to avoid more frequent trips to your mechanic.
That said, while you could go back to your dealership salesman to inquire about a vehicle’s features and specs, don’t buy too much into their long and tedious plaudits about a particular car. Salesmen will try to sell you on your first trip to their lot, so don’t give in to their tactics too easily until you’re positive that you’ve landed a fair deal.
Be as picky with your insurance options
While many first-time car buyers are aware of salesmen tactics, they tend to skip being as picky when it comes to their insurance options. Different providers can offer varying quotes for the same car. Make a list of insurance companies in your area, and as you browse these options, compare their rates for the same car makes before you make your decision. Never settle for a plan that burns a hole through your wallet for bogus benefits. If you’re unsure how plans work, don’t hesitate to contact the insurance provider for an overview of their rates and benefits.
Never skip maintenance
Routine car maintenance can be a little costly, but if you skip them in an attempt to save money, you’ll just make it far more expensive for yourself when your car breaks down. Maintenance also prolongs the lifetime of your car and maintains its value.
Regular routines should include changing oil, rotating tires, replacing your air filter, and checking for any unusual sounds or noises that may indicate a change in performance. If you notice any changes like diminished braking or if you struggle to steer the wheel, make sure you get that checked and amended before it gets worse.
Don’t forget to keep all the receipts; you’ll need them whenever you feel like selling or exchanging your car for a newer model. The receipts are evidence that you’ve been taking good care of your vehicle.
Go easy on the gas
Your car needs gas to run, so how exactly can you save up on gas? Bad car habits can burn through your fuel tank rapidly, and can also damage and depreciate your engine in the long run.
Never accelerate or hit the brakes suddenly. Driving at very high speeds can also impact the lifespan of your engine, and how much fuel you use up. Driving steadily will help you save on gas money, and will also keep your engine in pristine condition.
Get regular car washes
You might think that a good ol’ oiled rag will get the job done and save you some cash, but car washes don’t just keep the exterior of your car clean. While it’s definitely a plus that you drive out of the car wash with a sparkling vehicle, regular washes protect the paint from debris damage and keep rust and erosion at bay.
Renew your wipers
Contrary to what many first-time car owners may believe, these windshield wipers will not last you a lifetime. It’s best to get them changed every six months or so, or whenever you feel like they’re not doing as good of a job as they used to.
Worn out wipers can depreciate your car’s value and put your life at risk. If they start leaving streaks, this will not only take a toll on your car’s appearance but will block your cloak your view as well.
With that said, if you notice your wipers are disintegrating and you put off their replacement, the rubber lining will inevitably peel off completely, and the bare wiper will scar your windshield immediately.
You could ask your mechanic for more durable wipers, or you could use them less often; and instead, regularly clean your windshield with a spray cleaner and some paper towels.
Keep the necessary documents in your car
Your receipts and car-repair documents should always be kept in your car. You never know when and where your car may break down and how these receipts could come in handy.
However, while your car’s registration certificate should always be kept in your car, the vehicle’s title certificate should always be kept locked away at home.
Choose a certified mechanic
Many people prefer to get their car’s routine maintenance at their local dealership, understandably, because their technicians are well-trained and specialize in their vehicle’s brand. However, many certified mechanics can offer you the same top-notch service for a much more affordable fee.
But this is something that isn’t as easy to research. Instead, you can ask fellow car owners where they get their cars repaired. When you decide on a mechanic, always try to establish a good relationship with them, as they tend to offer discounts for loyal customers.
The number one rule you need to remember as a first-time car owner is to always stay safe. Reputable insurance companies will guide you through car-safety basics, but you should always use your common sense when you feel that something is off in your car. Don’t put off repairs or tire drills, even if it’s a little costly.