Owning a vehicle is a big step towards being independent, and the dream of owning your first car makes it easy to forget all the other responsibilities that come with first time car ownership. If you are looking into purchasing your first car, there are a few things you need to be aware of.

Debt & your first car

If you are still young and fresh out of university you don’t want to be burdened with debt repayments for a new car. Rather drive your parent’s old car and save up for a better vehicle, and not have to battle to pay it off.

There is also the temptation to trade in your car every few years to get the latest and best, but it is advisable to stick with your first car, pay it off and be without debt. This puts you in a position where you can save or invest for another, better car in future.

Many costs

Many first-time buyers are caught unaware by additional costs of ownership. Always remember that the price of the car is only a part of the total cost. Always keep the following in mind when doing your research and making your choice:

  • It is a bonus if your new car has a service or maintenance plan, however, some items may not be covered. These include tyres, which can cost thousands, depending on the make of car. One would have to keep a separate budget for these types of maintenance expenses.


  • It is most definitely worth it to pay a little more for a decent motor maintenance / warranty plan.


  • Also be aware of fuel consumption figures when shopping around for a vehicle. If you do a lot of driving you should be aware of this. Rather go for something that is more economical.

Test drives

Once you have a shortlist of vehicles you like, start booking test drives with various dealerships. A test drive is the only way to get a proper feel or impression of the vehicle’s dynamics, comfort and features. Remember to take notes so that you can compare afterwards. Be sure that this is a vehicle that you can live with.


Once you have done all your test drives, research and decided on the vehicle that you want, then you are ready for the next step – applying. A sales or finance representative at the dealership will happily assist you and explain everything about the car loan application process.