What every first-time car buyer should know

Just graduated, headed out to the real world and need something to get you where you need to go? If you’re like many recent college graduates, you may be in the position to buy your first car without the help of mom and dad.

If it’s your first time buying a car, it’s easy to overlook some of the finer points that go into making a sound purchase. While entertainment features like satellite radio and iPod connections will certainly catch the eye of young car buyers, buying a car that keeps you safe and lasts a long time should be given major consideration.

Here are some important things to consider for your car search:

Safety features

Today, even most used cars on the markets are equipped with airbags, so you should have no problem finding a car for a decent price that contains these life-saving devices. For an explanation on different types of airbags and their safety features, visit www.safecar.gov/Air+Bags.

Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) have been common in cars for years now, but newer developments like electronic stability control (ESC) have also given drivers assistance in keeping control of their vehicles. When researching different cars, take a minute to research safety ratings registered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. When buying your first car, there are many possibilities to consider, but don’t let safety be the one that slips through the cracks.


When you’re buying your first car, it’s easy to consider only the price you pay for the car while forgetting about the associated costs that go along with owning it. If you find that you must take out a loan to pay for your car, be sure to factor in possible repair, fuel and insurance costs into your budget. One particular situation you may want to avoid is taking out a loan that outlasts your car.

Leasing a car also has its advantages if you aren’t ready to commit fully to buying a new vehicle. The most common leases span 36 months and require monthly payments. If you decide to lease a car, look for one that carries a warranty that will cover major repairs during your lease term. Make sure you understand what types of repairs are covered by the lease and which ones you’ll be expected to cover. Also, be aware that many leases contain mileage limits during the term of the lease and exceeding them can be quite expensive.

Buying a car is an exciting rite of passage into adulthood and by making a smart purchase, you’ll ensure that you’ll be satisfied with one of the first major purchases you’ll make as an adult.