At some point, most people buy their first cars. And they never forget them. How could they? After all the time and effort that goes into choosing the right wheels, everyone remembers the make and model of the first car they bought. They even recall the price, sometimes! But they might not remember all those tips for first time car owners that they learned along the way.
If you’re about to purchase your first new or used car, make sure that you consider the following tips for first time car owners. Each one will help you not just select your new addition to the family, but also take care of it for years. After all, you want to keep your car running smoothly for as long as possible to maximize your investment.
Ready to learn more insider tips for first time car owners? Read on for best practices and super hacks.
Maintain a Relationship With Your Dealership
Plenty of car buyers work with dealerships to find and finance their vehicles. However, don’t just drive off the parking lot and forget about your car dealership. Instead, keep their number in your phone and try to keep in touch with your salesperson now and then.
Why should you bother keeping up with the dealership? First of all, when you’re in the market for a new car much later, they’ll be more willing to help you out. But in the nearer future, they’ll come in handy if anything goes wrong with your vehicle. A dealership would rather have you call them with problems than have your attorney call them. Also, dealerships are the first to know about things like recalls on parts.
You may even want to use your dealership as the primary place to get all your car repairs and maintenance done. Although some tips for first time car owners suggest having an objective mechanic as part of your maintenance crew, you can still utilize your dealership for routine services like oil changes, tire changes, and other basic needs.
As a last hint, always ask your dealership if you can negotiate free general services for six months or a year as part of your package. Doing that will save you a little bit of money, and you can always put that money toward other things like car detailing or gas.
Don’t Get Distracted by Muscle Cars
This is one of those tips for first time car owners that you’ll have to remind yourself about at least once: Envy. For instance, let’s say you’re driving along in your new-to-you Chevy. You’re feeling awesome, until you see a sign by the road for used corvettes for sale. Suddenly, you start judging your decision to go with Chevrolet. Wouldn’t a corvette or muscle car be a smarter, not to mention cooler, investment?
Before you decide that you want to prematurely trade in your Chevy for a pretty face, think about the realities that come with driving a muscle car. You’re not just buying a car. You’re also buying the need for upscale service and expensive repairs. Muscle cars aren’t cheap to maintain, and they need loads of TLC. You’ll be pampering your muscle car in a way you won’t need to pamper your Chevy.
Though it can be tempting to consider tossing away your Chevy for a Corvette, just keep riding past all those signs trying to get your hard-earned paycheck. You’ve bought a reliable used vehicle with decent mileage and a lot of character. Who needs a muscle car that you won’t want to drive in certain weather conditions? As one of the tips for first time car owners, this one will help you keep on track and avoid distractions.
Remind Yourself: A Used Car Can Last Forever if You Care
Still dreaming about Corvettes, Mustangs, and all those other wonderful high-end sports and muscle cars? Stop and read through some more of our tips for first time car owners. Namely, this one.
A used car is a terrific investment for many reasons. First of all, it has already gone through the first 10,000 miles. Most major early breakdowns happen during the low mileage days. So you’re out of the proverbial woods.
Secondly, it probably cost you much less than you would have paid when it was first available. Good used vehicles are out there, and some of them are way lower than retail even though they’re only a few years old! Even if your used car has a lot of years under the engine, that’s okay. As long as it’s in good shape, you’ve chosen well.
Finally, used cars aren’t high-end vehicles that you have to worry about dinging all the time. It’s easier to feel less anxious if you run into a parking lot concrete stopper when you’re driving a used car. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give your used car the tender touch once in a blue moon. Do like more than half of American car owners and wash the outside of the vehicle monthly. As for the inside, be sure to clean the windows and wipe up spills so they don’t become stains.
Keep a Towing Service Number Handy
Into every car owner’s life, a few breakdowns will happen. And those aren’t emotional breakdowns. They’re flat tires. Or vehicles that run out of gas on busy highways at midnight.
Rather than fretting about whom to call when you’re broken down by the side of the road, always have the number of a car towing service in your phone. You might even want to keep a handwritten copy of it in your car’s console or glove compartment.
Another way to ensure that you always get a car towing service when you need it is to become a member of AAA. The AAA memberships give you plenty of perks, including free or reduced-rate towing no matter where you are in the country. Their website is also chock-full of tips for first time car owners and travelers.
Invest in Good Insurance
Ah, car insurance. Everyone talks about it, and no one really pays much attention to it until they get into a car accident. However, one of the best tips for first time car owners out there is to take your car insurance seriously.
Every state has different rules governing the minimal requirements necessary for your car’s insurance. Conduct some due diligence and find out what you have to do to stay in compliance according to your regional rules and regulations. The last thing you want to find out is that you’re underinsured if you get into a collision.
While a lot of car insurance providers have quick websites where you can fill out a form, submit your credit card number, and get instant insurance quotes, you can always ask a local agent. Talking to someone, even if it’s just over the telephone, will get you fast answers to your toughest car insurance questions.
How much can you expect to pay for your car insurance monthly premiums? The response will vary widely. Car insurance carriers take a lot of things into consideration, including the age and make of your car, not to mention how long you’ve been driving. If your driving record isn’t so terrific, you can expect to pay more than if your record has zero blemishes.
With these facts and tips for first time car owners looking for insurance in mind, try to get the best coverage you can for the lowest rate. Even if it seems high, you can always try to renegotiate after you’ve driven without problems for six months or a year. Plus, some insurance carriers will reward you for being a smart, safe driver by lowering your monthly rates automatically. And that’s a nice gift to receive!
Keep Your Car Looking Nice
Just because you buy a new-to-you car doesn’t mean you want it to look unattractive. Even older-model vehicles can be stunners, or at least glisten in the sunlight. The trick is to always take care of it.
For example, why not invest in occasional car detailing to keep it looking great inside and outside? Let’s say you’re picking up your boss from the airport. Don’t you want your car to smell nice and make a terrific impression?
Just as important as cleaning your car is keeping it from appearing older than it is. If you have nicks in the windshield, invest in glass services to replace problematic windshields and other window surfaces. A small crack in the windshield can quickly spread, leaving your window looking terrible and you spending a lot of money on repairs.
In addition to car detailing and glass services, pay attention to the way the body looks. For instance, you might find that a rust spot is starting to develop around or above one of the wheels. Take it to someone for a bid on rust removal services. It’s better to get tiny flaws fixed early than wait until the rust spreads and the job costs far more to remedy.
Get to Know Your Mechanics
Among the most frequently suggested tips for first time car owners, being on a first-name basis with your car mechanic remains high on the list. And that’s literal: You should be able to look your mechanic in the eye and use his or her name.
Having a mechanic you trust is worth its weight in gold. Tons of people complain that they’re never sure their mechanics are telling them the truth. Look far and wide for a mechanic who makes you feel 100% comfortable and always gives you the straight scoop.
You don’t have to become best buddies with your mechanic, of course. But you want a place where you know that your car repair service bill isn’t going to suddenly grow sky-high without an explanation.
Not sure where to find this type of “unicorn” mechanic in a sea of so-so options? Ask your friends, coworkers, and family for referrals. If they can’t give you any, don’t give up. Start looking on your own and make a few phone calls. Great mechanics are out there, and you deserve to find one that will serve you well for years and years, even beyond your first car.
Have Attorney Info Ready to Use
No one expects to need an experienced auto accident attorney. Nevertheless, lawyers who deal with car-related lawsuits are in every city for a reason. Accidents happen without warning, and you don’t want to have to scramble to come up with an attorney’s name if you need it.
You may have a few lawyers’ names in mind already, particularly if they advertise on television, billboards, or the Internet. Look them up and see what their reputation is like. Oh, and write down their phone numbers. Again, this is for “just in case” purposes. Ideally, you’ll never have to call an attorney to talk about serious crash injuries. But life has a way of throwing out curveballs.
Yes, this is one of those tips for first time car owners that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. Yet it’s critical because you’ll be happy you took some proactive steps if you find yourself injured because of another driver’s faulty driving behavior.
Parting Words: Your Garage Is Your Car’s Best Friend
Do you have a garage? Is it filled with junk and clutter? Do yourself and your car a favor and hire a junk removal team, pronto!
Storing your car in a sheltered place like a garage, even if it’s not climate-controlled, will extend its lifespan. Plus, you’ll get a bonus because you won’t have to scrape ice or snow off the windows on frosty mornings.
If you need to do some maintenance like making garage door repairs before you add your car to your garage, get started immediately. There’s no time like the present to ensure that your garage is perfectly suited to protect one of the biggest investments you’ve probably made so far.
Okay, okay: Enough of these insider secrets. It’s time to enjoy your new set of wheels. With these tips for first time car owners in mind, scoot into the driver’s side and take your baby for a healthy spin.