Congrats on owning your very first car! How exciting!
Now, you have the freedom to drive wherever and whenever you want!
Just because you saved up all that cash, researched cars for sale, and purchased a vehicle doesn’t mean you’re done with vehicle-related responsibilities. On the contrary, you now have a lot of work to do! But it’s okay.
Here are some important things that first-time car owners need to keep in mind:
Read your owner’s manual
This isn’t exactly the most fun thing in the world, but it is very important. The owner’s manual will teach you about your vehicle in all its glory. These manuals will explain (in simple terms) all of your car’s cool features that you might be unaware of, as well as what specific oil or fluid to use, what your maintenance schedule should look like, and any other important details about your car.
You don’t have to read it all in one day, but as soon as you own the vehicle, start taking a look at the manual to get more familiar with your new car!
Take care of your vehicle!
At all times, you should ensure that your vehicle is in great shape and able to safely operate. Make sure there are no cracks in the frame, the breaks are working properly, there is plenty of gas and oil, and nothing else looks weird with your vehicle.
Before you get behind the wheel every single day, there are a few quick checks that you must perform to make sure that you, your family, and everyone else out on the roads are safe. Even skipping the smallest step could result in an expensive and potentially dangerous roadway situation. For instance, if you neglect to check your vehicle’s tire pressure, you could be driving along and your tire problems could cause you to swerve off the road.
Rotating your tires is vital and most tire manufacturers recommend a rotation interval every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Most truck tires are rated to last 50,000 or more miles.
Find a trusted mechanic
If your vehicle is in need of serious repair or work, and you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to have to take it into a professional mechanic. Hopefully, you won’t have to do this often or right away, but at some point, you certainly will.
Instead of waiting until the last second and panicking over where to take your car for repairs, start finding a quality, experienced, and trusted mechanic now. Though there are plenty of people out there who try and take advantage of vehicle owners, there are just as many — if not more — mechanics that are hard-working and want to actually help you out. So start calling around and asking your friends who they deal with — it will really save you some trouble down the line!
Additionally, here are some great tips that should help you if you’re in the process of searching and buying your very first (new or used) vehicle:
- Check the car out in person — Car shopping and even buying online is easier than ever before. You can research just about everything from the comfort of your home. It’s very convenient. However, it’s crucial that you actually get to the dealership so you can actually see the vehicle before you buy. Even if you can’t drive yourself to the dealership to inspect the car, you need to get there in person before you spend even a single dollar. If you have to, get a ride to the dealership from a family member or close friend. Even public transportation is a great option if you’re in a pinch. Approximately 26 million daily trips are taken on public transportation, so make sure you’re getting to the dealership so you can physically take a look at the car you’re possibly going to be driving!
- Get a Carfax report — A Carfax report is extremely helpful during your search for a used vehicle. Keep in mind, however, a Carfax report doesn’t necessarily tell all, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates approximately 10 million crashes go unreported annually.
- Always go for a test drive — Whether you plan on driving this new vehicle for a year or two or for decades, you need to make sure you’re comfortable driving it. The car could seem perfect online and look amazing in person, but if you don’t feel right driving it, you’re going to regret buying it! Be sure to always ask to go on a test drive so you can truly get a feel for the vehicle.
Car buying and car-owning can be a little daunting — especially for first-timers. But if you’re taking your responsibilities seriously and are continually doing research, you’re going to enjoy driving for a long, long time! Drive safe!