The “First Time Car Owner’ Checklist


The day you sit behind the wheel of your first car (that you have actually purchased yourself and must look after on your own without help from the bank of mum and dad), is the day you realise that disposable income is something you used to have. Those days are over, my friend. Being a first-time car owner comes with a hundred considerations, and none of them are free. Finances aside, there’s no reason to expect anything to fall into place regarding your proper ownership of the vehicle. If there’s something that needs to happen regarding the legality of owning your new pride and joy, that responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders. So, let’s get into it. These are the major considerations that should top any first-time car owner’s checklist.

Your budget

Remember when payday meant money and fun and options? Yeah. Those times were the best. But here’s the problem. When your car goes wrong, and it will, the cost of fixing it will make your eyes water (if you’ve been in a crash that wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t have to pay – speak to a lawyer). Even something as straightforward as a change of oil will seem like an unfair viking-esque raid on your hard-earned cash. That’s why, from now on, you’re going to have to be a little bit more cunning with your expenses, because fixing a broken car is something no one wants to pay for when they’ve got very little cash in reserve to begin with.

Keep the documents safe 

Cars come with papers. Lots and lots of papers. Typically, the owner or seller of the car will present you with a neatly assembled file of “stuff” pertaining to the car’s history and model type and mileage at the time of sale, etc. if you don’t receive these papers, make the relevant enquiries – they are going to be an essential part of selling the vehicle on (when the time comes). One of these documents will also be the car’s user manual – you’ll need this for figuring out how to use certain features of the car, like voice-activated calls and finding the often concealed lever you’ll need to pull to ‘pop the hood’. 

Do your research on local mechanic services

The last thing you need is to discover that there is an issue with the car that can be fixed relatively quickly but you don’t know where to go for help. Different garages offer different services. From repairs and replacements for all sorts of car parts, you’ll need to know where to find the local experts to prevent a situation in which you will likely be stood on your drive speaking to a friend on the phone who is offering some out of date and useless information about where their sister’s ex-boyfriend once had some reasonably priced brake pads fitted. Ask people now who will know the answers, before you need those answers and the best sources of information cannot come to the phone – parents, guardians, and grandparents are a great place to start for excellent advice on local garages (they’ve been using garages a lot longer than you have, and they’ve probably been stung by awful service along the way – this is your chance to learn from their mistakes!).

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