How to buy your first car

Hilary Hackney

My one rule in buying a car. If you can’t afford to replace all the tyres on your car in one go, then you can’t afford the car.


Come up with a realistic budget. If you don’t have the cash upfront to purchase a car outright, you will need to finance your purchase. You will need to save up for a deposit because most banks will not grant you 100% finance for your first car.


Work out your transportation needs. Everyone wants a BMW M3, Golf GTi or some fancy cabriolet as their first car, unfortunately this is not always possible and when purchasing your first car needs always outweigh your wants. If you only need to get from home to school and back through the suburbs, then a small hatchback is what you need. If you are doing lots of highway driving, a medium hatchback would be a better option and so on.


Google. Once you have found a style of car you need, start researching the cars in that segment. The more you educate yourself about any future purchases, means you will be able to make a more informed purchase. After you have identified two car models, research common issues on the cars and familiarise yourself with the car.


Get an insurance quote on the two car models you selected. This will affect your budget, you might end up paying the same for insurance as your car repayment. Also ensure you understand exactly what your insurance quotes will cover, and that both quotes match in terms of their level of coverage. 


Go to and search for the car models you have researched or call +27 11 875 5852 to arrange a test drive for both models you have selected and researched.



The test drive. Get into the car, adjust your seat, steering column and mirrors. Take your time. Feel the steering wheel and press the pedals. Get comfortable. If you don’t get comfortable then don’t force it rather walk away. Once you are comfortable then take the car for a drive. Explain to the sales person the type of driving you will be doing everyday and get the salesperson to take you on a route that matches that type of driving. I personally like to take all cars I test out on a back route and on the highway to get the best idea of the car as a whole.



The finance. After your successful test drive, you have decided to purchase the car. Let your salesperson know. You will be taken to a Finance and Insurance person known as a F&I who will take you through the process. You will need to complete a few forms and get a final insurance quote. Submit to the banks and look at the options that you get in return. Once you have accepted the banking finance, you will need to accept the insurance quote and get a proof of insurance letter before the car can be released.


Taking delivery. The sales person will contact you and give you a date for you to collect the car, this is normally a few days after signing the paperwork. The car will have to go through a road worthy test and licensing. When you get to the dealership to take delivery of your car, Take lots of photos with you and your car. Buying your first car is s once in a life time event. Drive out the dealership and enjoy the ride.


Top Tip:

My one rule in buying a car. If you can’t afford to replace all the tyres on your car in one go,

then you can’t afford the car.