Friday 17 August 2018

Preparing for our first car*

At 23, I'm really at that point now where having a car is becoming a necessity. For quite a long time I've been okay with my previous journey with learning to drive (long story short, I did a lot of lessons but the theory side I struggled with so stopped) but as you get older, have more responsibility and just generally want to go further afield, there's only so far public transport can take you. With a plan in place for George and I to have our first car hopefully within the first half of 2019, I've been doing lots of research into all of the things we need to consider and think about when taking this step so I hope if you're in the same position, this post is helpful.
Preparing for our first car*

Choosing our first car

Used cars are cheaper than new - As much as I'd love a brand new mini cooper for our first car, it isn't going to happen. It works out far better value for us to buy a used car as it reduces the overall expense, insurance premiums are lower and repairs should there be any required, will cost less. With used cars though it's important you get it checked over with an MOT for any potential safety issues before getting out on the road. As tempting as it can be to pick a nice looking car, that's really not the most important factor and we've seen some great ones that you wouldn't even know have been used before.

Expenses - It's important before buying your first car that you are 100% sure you can afford it. For a long time we've been very much about putting any extra money aside for holidays and weekend breaks or just using it for other things and money for a car just wasn't a priority, or there wasn't enough spare for it to be something worth doing yet. It's only now we're in a better position we find we can do both and it's the time for us to really make a start on driving and getting that car. Unless you have a guaranteed amount coming in each month that you know you can set aside for the expenses, it's really worth waiting it out. There is so much more you need to pay for than you might first realise.

Insurance - When choosing what company to go with for car insurance, it can be an absolute minefield! I've looked quite a few times and each time there's been a different outcome. You can check for yourself online with the help of insurance calculators. The main thing to look for when pricing it up is fully-comprehensive cover. Whilst third party cover and third party fire and theft cover are also available, if you were involved in an accident, you'd have to pay for the repairs to your own car and the insurance would only cover any damage to other people involved. Fully comprehensive cover looks after your car and actually works out the cheapest compared to others.

Safety tips

MOT Testing - With a used car it's important to get an MOT so it can be checked over for any potential safety issues before getting out on the road. An MOT test will check that you car meets the road safety and environmental standards and you need to do this by either the third anniversary of the car's registration or the anniversary of it's last MOT, if it's over 3 years old. 

Check your tyres and exhaust - Tyres are the only part of the car that actually comes into contact with the road so it's vital to keep them in good order so you and your family are safe on your travels. A few things I'm already aware of are checking tyre pressure regularly, checking the actual tread of the tyres and also something else to consider is the exhaust. For a lot of people this may be something they don't really think about but it's actually an integral part of the car's engine and the main role of it is to carry out the waste gasses to reduce any pressure building up and creating issues. Choked exhausts can cause a lot of problems, but can easily be resolved by Ossett Tyre House.

Car brakes - Aswell as your tyres and exhaust, it's incredibly important that you check your brake pads occasionally. Wear and tear can occur which can prevent your car from a quick halt so it's important to look out for a few warning signs. Ensure you listen to your brakes as you come to a stop, most brakes will indicate when the brake pads have started to wear thin by letting out a loud, high-pitched sound. You should also feel your brakes as you stop, if you're pushing the brake down to the floor but it doesn't come to an immediate stop, this is another indicator, and if you feel the brake pedals are pulsating or vibrating this can mean your rotors are warped. All of these things can be checked by a professional if you're not sure, another reason why MOT's are so vital as I mentioned earlier.

Prepare for all weather conditions - In the UK we're used to the weather being all over the place but it's important to be aware of how to drive safely in any condition that could arise. In snow and ice, you need to drive a lot slower as your stopping distance becomes significantly longer. This also applies to heavy rain. If you see huge water puddles, slow right down otherwise your vehicle can start to hydroplane which means your tyres can't hand the amount of water it's encountered. Having your headlights on so other drivers can see you at all times too is important. Finally, whilst driving when it's sunny isn't usually a hazard, it can affect your visibility at times. Be cautious of other drivers as they may not be able to see you as clearly due to the sun, avoid any sudden stops and make sure to stop slowly and in a timely manner so drivers behind you have plenty of time to react.

Have you got any tips on preparing for your first car?

I just wanted to quickly add that I'm going to be taking a bit of time off from my blog now as we're away next week. I've got two scheduled collaborations but aside from that I'm going to spend my week chilling out and I can't wait. I've got lots of posts planned for when I'm back so I'm already excited to get back to it!

*This post is in collaboration with Ossett Tyre House

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