You feel a certain level of maturity when you're able to buy your first car which can be exciting. Taking public transport isn’t always the best route, it is easy for you to be late for work and you can’t travel to all the places you wish to go to with ease.   But, buying your own vehicle can be stressful especially if you don't know where to start or what to avoid. All that stress can make finding your dream car a tiring and lengthy process. Luckily, finding the perfect vehicle doesn't need to be difficult, and if you follow these steps you won't end up with a car you hate.

Do your research

Car buyers need to understand that it’s important to do your research before choosing a vehicle. When you shop around you gain knowledge of vehicles. Knowledge can help you decide on whether you’re choosing the right car for yourself or not. When you look around and do your research can help you also negotiate for a better deal as you know what you’re talking about and what you’re looking for. If you go online or look in magazines for the latest car news you’ll then be able to compare prices when you’re at a dealership.

Feeling forced to purchase a new vehicle

Vehicles are expensive and many people in South Africa can’t afford to purchase a brand new vehicle. It’s important to understand that there are many second-hand cars for sale that are in good working condition. Just because you have car finance doesn’t mean you should purchase a car you can’t afford. You can use that money and search for a good car that can last you just as a new car would. Make sure to also look at the full car price and not how much you would pay monthly. Many people often go low monthly instalments but if the vehicle is expensive, paying low instalments won’t make a difference as you will pay for a longer time.

Not considering your budget

Once people have the means to purchase a car they often don’t look at how the vehicle price is going to affect their pockets. When choosing a vehicle at a car dealership you need to find a car suitable for your budget. When you’re on your car search calculate your budget, see how much you can afford to pay in the long run. How much you can pay monthly and think about vehicle maintenance and emergencies. If you have a low budget make sure you choose a vehicle that's affordable and that is light on fuel. One of the things people do is buy a car that uses too much petrol which makes the car unaffordable in the end.

Buying a vehicle based on looks

Everyone would love to buy a sports car or convertible but you should buy a vehicle that you can maintain. Many people buy cars that look nice then struggle to maintain or a car that doesn’t have accessible parts. It becomes an issue because cars that don’t have accessible parts normally have parts that cost a lot of money. Find cars that can be fixed anywhere as they are more affordable when buying and selling them is easier.

Test driving

Perspective buyers sometimes get so excited when they see a car that they never take it for a test drive. A test drive is very important as it tells you more about the car than when it's in the parking lot. It would be best to take a friend or family member with you, as four sets of eyes are better than two when you’re doing a test drive and other car inspections.

Avoid impulse buying

Before signing a contract, you should always think about whether this is the car you want. Purchasing on impulse is what gets people into debt or left with a vehicle they don’t really need, or worse, like. Take your time and think about the car you’re buying. Ask yourself relevant questions before buying a vehicle, and wait till you have received all your documents -  the service history book, proof of ownership, etc. It's important to have all those documents so that you can also sell your car should you want to do so in the future.

Car insurance

Some vehicle owners drive on the road every day without insurance. Not only is this reckless but it can put you in a terrible financial place. If you are involved in an accident without insurance you’re going to have to pay the money to repair either the other driver's car or your own. Car repairs are quite expensive and if you have no backup plan for those events it can be a problem. Even if you’re careful on the road you could still be involved in an accident.  Accidents aren’t the only problem, you could get hijacked and be left without a car. If you didn't take out vehicle finance you will still be liable to pay and no one wants to pay for something you’re no longer using.