Do’s and Don’t of buying a car as a new driver

Buying a Car as a new driver The Do’s and Dont’s and what to consider.

I remember the day when I passed my driving exam; I was sitting in my friend’s car in complete shock and excitement. I was so happy that I felt like it was too good to be true, I truly thought that my instructor would promptly come back and change his mind. The piece of paper I held in my hand at the time was a determining factor of my new found “freedom”, it meant that I could go anywhere at any time…and I was overjoyed! I’m sure most of you reading this can relate to how I was feeling, and boy did that excitement creep up on my like a gust of wind.

Driving Test
Being a driver felt like I was now a part of this common group that I could now finally identify with. And the only thing left was to buy a car and start driving. Buying a car as a new driver can be bewildering and overwhelming, I know this because I was in that state once. I had previously tried to buy a car and it proved unsuccessful because I did not have a credit history. However, after doing a little research and shopping around it was easy to get the best rate and plan for financing my used Volkswagon Jetta. Below I outline some of the key factors to keep in mind when deciding to buy your first car as a new driver. I also outline some of the Do's and  Dont's of buying your first car.

  1. Buy what you can afford

It’s easy to get carried away when you see something you really want, but what you want may not favour your bank account and your monthly income. It is absolutely crucial know that whichever option you’re going to take when buying a car is not going to leave you riddling with debt or repossession. Whether you are buying with or without a loan you have to exercise caution when buying a big ticket item; like a car. It’s imperative that you calculate your monthly income and stability of that income to match what you can afford...


  1. Taking it all into consideration.

…Saving a down payment and making a payment plan are not the only major costs you have to consider when buying a car. Sure it may seem like the most important thing at the time but you have to consider interest rates, insurance, gas, maintenances, and the possibility of increased insurance premiums. These costs not only add up over time but can put a serious financial strain on you. Having a car should offer convenience and joy, not burden and stress.


  1. Insurance

Insurance is often overlooked when buying a car, it’s easy to overlook when the actual purchase of the car is the only thing that may be occupying your mind. Insurance rates are subjective to each individual which is why shopping for the best rate possible is going to save you money. You can either go to a broker, an insurance agent or a direct writer. You should try to get at least 3 different quotes and pick the one that best suits you. Rates vary depending on your driving history, the location of your residence, and the car you wish to purchase. You may want to provide the Vehicle identification number (VIN) to your insurance representative of the car of your choice prior to purchasing it to determine the monthly rate.


  1. New or used car?

It can be tricky when deciding to buy either a new car or used car especially if you can afford it. However being a new driver it is easy to understand that you are still a beginner that might end up making mistakes, I know I did. It’s a statistically proven that new drivers are at risk for being involved in collisions, which is also why insurance rates for new drivers are often higher than experienced ones. That being said it is economically wise to get a certified used car which will provide practice and practicability.

  1. Buy, Finance, or Lease?

If you know exactly which car you wish to buy and have all the money outright, then buying in full is a no brainer. But for the majority of people that wish to have a car with monthly payments, choosing between financing and leasing is based on your desire and intentions for the use of your car. However; in my personal opinion I would choose to finance hands down! Many people like me do not like the idea of borrowing and being restricted. However; if you are a person that wishes to change or upgrade your cars frequently and want shorter term contract, then leasing is for you. But if you wish to pay a monthly fee over a 3-6 year period and actually own your car once you have paid it off, then financing is the better option. Each one has a limitation and an advantage over the other; the decision is based on what suits your personal needs the best.


  • Consider your options for either buying, leasing or financing
  • Choose the best payment plan and interest rate
  • Choose a shorter payoff period for your car loan
  • Buy the extended warranty to cover maintenance
  • Shop around for the best insurance rates
  • Know what car you want, have a budget and stay within it.
  • Make sure you are able to make the monthly payments
  • Calculate your income and how much you are able to afford, stay within your means of affordability.
  • Have a generous down payment to get a better interest rate and a shorter repayment period.
  • Buy a certified used car from a certified dealership; such as new car dealers
  • Consider your credit report; it will not only determine the type of car you are able to purchase but also your interest rate.
  • Get a car history report from a private seller or from the DMV before buying a used car
  • Buy a reliable car that has passed a certified emissions test. 


  • Buy a car without seeing it in person
  • Don’t buy without test driving it because you may not feel comfortable in it or it may have engine problems that you are unaware of.
  • Don’t buy without a car history report, or a mechanic check
  • Don’t lie about income or the amount of debt you have when getting a loan
  • Don’t buy what you cannot afford
  • If it’s a new car, don’t buy without the “MSRP” sticker
  • Don’t buy add-ons and other bells and whistles you don’t need
  • Don’t buy from shady independent car lots, or dealerships that move a lot and/or change their names often.
  • Don’t buy a car that you see on the side of a road, it may be damaged, illegal, or stolen
  • Don’t buy without the proper paperwork needed, check with your local DMV on the proper car buying procedures.
  • Don’t miss payments it could result in you having bad credit, increased premiums, and in worst case your car may get repossessed
  • Don’t buy a fixer-upper and chances are you will end up paying far more than what you bargained for and may it may prove to be unsafe to drive.
  • Don’t buy before doing your research, you might get stuck with a payment plan that you can’t afford

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