If you’ve just bought your very first car, congratulations! A lot of people dream of their first car, and some can even remember the joy they felt when they got it. It’s a great experience getting to enjoy a brand new set of wheels. Getting to drive a new car can be fun and exciting at the same time. But there are also some things that new drivers should expect if they’re about to become owners — and so we’re here to talk about just that.
Keep up with your car’s maintenance schedule
Since your car is now an investment, you need to make sure that you’re keeping up with the maintenance schedule. Make sure that you know what needs to happen and when it needs to happen so that you don’t end up paying for expensive repairs later in life. You can also save money by learning how to do some of the basic maintenance yourself, like changing the oil or putting on new brake pads.
In addition to doing things yourself, you should also make sure that your car gets inspected at least once per year by a mechanic. These inspections will help ensure that your car stays in tip top shape and doesn’t get worn down too quickly.
If you’re buying a car, then chances are you’ll need insurance. We know it takes a lot to fully understand what is auto insurance, but trust us: there’s nothing worse than being in an accident and finding out that you aren’t covered by insurance.
The good news is that auto insurance isn’t nearly as much of a pain to get as it used to be. Nowadays, many insurers allow you to sign up for coverage just by visiting their website and filling out some forms. In fact, if you want, you can generally get your policy approved in less than 15 minutes!
How do I figure out what kind of coverage I need?
Before you start shopping around for a new car insurance policy, take some time to think about what kind of coverage would best suit your needs and financial situation. For instance, do you have any valuable assets that would warrant getting full coverage? Or do you live paycheck to paycheck with no savings at all? In the former case, it might be worth spending more on comprehensive car insurance since potential damages could bankrupt someone like yourself.
Research towing companies before you need one
You’ll also want to keep in mind that not every towing company is trustworthy, or even interested in providing an honest service. Research car towing companies before you need one so you know who to call when it’s time to get your car off the road. The price can vary widely from company to company, and some outfits will say anything just to secure a job. Don’t go with the first tow truck driver on the scene – instead, call a reliable friend for advice, or check online reviews for recommendations. Remember: You pay for the service after it’s done, so don’t give out your credit card number ahead of time.
If you’re stranded somewhere unsafe and feel like you have no other choice but to use the first tow truck driver who shows up onsite (more power to ya), make sure they take your car directly home or elsewhere—not their lot. I’ve heard of mechanics charging huge sums of money (again) just to release their cars back into people’s possession!
Don’t forget about oil changes and basic maintenance
It can be utterly disconcerting and terrifying to behold a car for the first time. You know that you’re about to take ownership of a vehicle and make decisions about it, but it’s still a little overwhelming. It’s not like that with your home, so why should it be different with the car?
Once you accept the fact that a vehicle is only going to become more valuable as you continue to drive it, there are some things you should do before becoming an owner. You’ll have to have an occasional oil change at over 6,000 miles, your front brake rotations and tire rotations will need to be done every 4-5 years (or sooner if worn), wiper blades will need replacing every 2-3 years depending on how much snow or rain your area gets, battery checks (in addition to any periodic testing done by the manufacturer) will need doing every year you own the vehicle, fluid level checks… well they’re pretty self-explanatory; keep in mind how far along your vehicle is at certain intervals and make sure that anything you may notice needs attention pretty often.
Beware of scams in the car industry
It’s not uncommon for someone to stand in a dealership and feel overwhelmed by the process. That’s why it’s a good idea to never make a deal without checking with friends or other drivers first. If you’re buying used, this is especially important. You need to know that the car isn’t going to break down after two weeks of driving it around town.
There are plenty of scam artists out there who are aware that new drivers often don’t know the difference between a legit offer and one they should walk away from. They’ll try anything they can think of to get people like you into situations where they’ll pay too much or end up with less than what they were promised.
One popular way dealers scam their customers is by saying something is wrong with their vehicle, then suggesting an expensive repair that didn’t actually need to happen in order for them to keep driving safely. They might also be unlicensed or not registered, which means any agreement you make with them might not actually be legal. Be wary of anyone who asks for payment before your car is ready, as well, because if there’s no contract protecting you and your money, you could lose it just like that.