Owning a car gives you a sense of freedom and more independence than you could’ve imagined in your wildest dreams, which is why it’s one of the most special feelings in the world! However, it also comes with a ton of responsibilities, so getting informed about owning a car beforehand is crucial. Therefore, here are five tips you need to pay attention to when purchasing your first car.

Do you really need a car?

Before even starting to think about buying a car, first establish your transportation needs and think about whether you need a car after all. Do you travel often? Do you commute? Do you have a family living far from you? How often do you use public transportation? Will you be able to pay for the fuel, insurance, parking and other costs?

Take all these things into account and try to be truthful to yourself – do you really need a car or do you just want to own one? If you won’t able to support it month after month and use it that often, don’t buy one – it’s as simple as that. Renting a car, borrowing it from a close friend, purchasing a bicycle or sticking to public transportation are still good options.

A new or used car

Choosing between a new and used car seems like the hardest decision in your life, but it essentially comes down only to one thing – what can you afford? If you have enough money for a new car, don’t think twice before going to the dealership and buying the newest model they have. If not, don’t even think about a new car because fantasizing about it without being in a position to purchase makes no sense. Therefore, take a look at your bank account and see if you’re able to finance a new car. If the answer is positive, the only thing left to do is decide which model you’re going to buy.

Manual or automatic

This is another hard decision for lots of first-time car owners, especially if they lack proper driving experience, and choosing between manual and automatic transmission can make a huge difference in your driving in the years to come. However, this isn’t the case in some parts of the world where people almost exclusively drive a stick, but what about the USA, Canada and other countries? In Australia, for instance, the sale of manual cars is rapidly falling year after year and it seems that this trend is here to stay.

Again, it’s all about the perception – if you don’t feel safe and confident driving a stick, choose a car with automatic transmission and you’ll never have to worry about changing gears during the rush hour. On the other hand, if you’re a fan of the stick, don’t follow the manual trend blindly and stay true to what you’re comfortable with.

Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade

Everyone loves a pimped-out car that looks different from everyone else’s and separates you from the crowd. That’s why many first-time drivers spend a bit more money on various accessories and are interested in the future of the car industry. They upgrade their vehicles with hydraulics, cool 22-inch rims, tinted windows, reupholstered seats and a funky fresh paint job that makes their car stand out.

However, if you really want to become a part of 21st century driving, you need to think about driverless cars and what these models can do for you. They really are the future of driving and a trend that’s been gaining attention in the past several years. Autonomous cars are able to function on their own and are generally much safer than regular cars, so look into them as soon as possible.

Negotiate the price

Once you’ve reached your decision and found the perfect car, think about negotiating with your dealer. Keep in mind that their job is to sell you a car at the highest price possible – and that they’re very good at this! – so try to lower it as much as you can. A couple of hundreds of dollars won’t make a huge difference to the car dealership, but it surely will mean the world to you, so find out how to negotiate and use all the tricks you could think of, from acting uninterested to not mentioning money at all. Some of these methods might just work and save you a ton of cash.

Other tips

Among the other tips you should consider when buying a car for the very first time are things like looking at lots of models instead of picking the first one you like, buying a car in December as dealerships have a tendency to lower the prices before the end of the year and taking your potential vehicle for a test drive, just to be sure everything’s all right.

Peter Minkoff

Peter Minkoff

Freelance Writer

Peter is a gay lifestyle writer for TheGayUk magazine from Brisbane, Australia! He worked as a freelance writer for local newspapers in before blogging. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.