If you’ve never owned a car before and are in the market for your first, you’re no doubt full of excitement and keen to head out for a cruise (call us now on 1300 787 288 to sort your finance first and hold a powerful bargaining chip for the negotiation phase). Or perhaps you’ve already bought one and have realised you’re not completely aware of the many ins and outs of car ownership yet.
There are plenty of things you really have to be aware of regarding ongoing costs, maintenance and more, to not only ensure you minimise your new car’s depreciation but also that you’re doing the right thing in the eyes of the law. Here are some of the most important tips for first-time car owners.
5 top tips for new car owners
Tip 1. Stay up to date with all maintenance - no matter how seemingly minor it may be
There are few things more important when trading in or privately selling than a fully up-to-date service history. This shows you’ve taken good care of the vehicle the whole time you’ve had it. And remember to keep all receipts as proof for any work done (store it all inside the logbook). Aside from selling, a well-maintained car will be more reliable and run better, which may even save you money on fuel and potentially bigger fixes down the track.
Tip 2. Be aware of ‘hidden’ costs
We’re not talking about annual rego, insurance or ongoing fuel costs. You should also be aware of:
- The average rate of depreciation for your vehicle: you can find this either by searching themoneycalculator.com or doing some calculations using figures found on RedBook.com.au. We strongly suggest doing this before making a final decision on make and model, as you don’t want to learn your new car doesn’t hold its value well at all after you’ve already purchased it.
- Tyre and maintenance costs: you’ll probably have fixed-cost scheduled servicing, but it’s important to keep those figures in mind when you’re doing your budgeting as it can easily be forgotten about. Additionally, your tyres unfortunately don’t last forever and will need replacing at around 40,000 k’s on average (several factors will change this estimate though).
Tip 3. Read the manual
Sure, it more than likely doesn’t hold a candle to Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher book, but there will definitely be some key information that’ll definitely come in handy at some stage of your ownership (ideal fuel type and tyre pressure, etc.). The more you know about your car, the better you’ll be able to take care of it.
Tip 4. Treat it with the respect it deserves
It may be tempting to give it a bit of a squirt now and then which is fine - provided you’re within the speed limit and are not driving dangerously. But constantly having your foot flat to the floor, accelerating hard at every green light, braking even harder… it all takes its toll and will start to show with the wear and tear you hear about (and hafe to fork out for) at servicing time. Plus, nobody wants to buy a car that’s been thrashed! Always remember that even though it’s going to depreciate, it’s still a valuable asset and you need to treat it as such. This also includes regular washing and waxing to keep the paintwork nice and fresh as well as parking it either in a garage or undercover as often as possible to protect it from the elements.
Tip 5. Buy a decent-quality dash cam
Should you ever find yourself involved in a car accident, a good dash cam may be the difference between having to pay your insurance premium and the other driver having to. For example, if you’re sitting at the lights and the person in front rolls back into your car, normally you’d be by default the culprit as it’s a rear-ender. But being able to show footage of what really happened can be your ticket to become the innocent party. And while we’re discussing accidents, do your research on different comprehensive insurance providers - don’t focus on the final price only, read the fine print too.
Get in your brand new car sooner
At Stratton Finance, we pride ourselves in how quick and easy we make the process of financing a new car. Use our car finance quote tool to find out your estimated monthly repayments, and apply online in less than 5 minutes!
Our partners at carconnect can even take care of locating the make and model you’re after, negotiate the best price for you, and have it delivered right to your door.