When it comes to purchasing your first car is can be both exhilarating but also a little scary. You sometimes don’t know what you are meant to be looking at, and your main priority will be to get on the road as soon as possible. Before you consider purchasing a car you will want to know exactly how much you have to spend on a vehicle; we highly recommend for your first car not splashing out on an expensive vehicle as it may be slightly prone to a little bump here and there along with the occasional scratch. Your first car may be with you for a couple of months or a couple of years, so we have answered your question: How can I make my first car last?

How to make the most out of my first car?

One of the first things you are going to want to think about once you have purchased your car is to look at insurance. When it comes to your car insurance it can be a little tricky to find the right one for you, some may seem much cheaper than others, but they might not always have the right type of features. You may also want to consider adding an additional adult or parent onto your insurance who has no claims and no points on their licence as this can instantly reduce the price of your car insurance.

A black box may also be another option for you to look at, most people are put off of a black box due to the restrictions, but there are some benefits to having on installed into your vehicle. Not only do they bring your insurance down, but they also mean you are more likely to become a better driver for having one. You are less likely to speed or use your car in an incorrect way.

Now that you have the car and it’s fully insured there are a couple of things you are going to want to do to ensure your vehicle is kept in the best possible condition before you decide to resell it.

Always get your vehicle serviced

One of the most important things you should keep in your diary is your annual service. Many people believe a service is a waste of money and shouldn’t be done. However, a service is there to ensure your car is in the best possible condition as well as being road safe. There are two different types of car servicing in Milton Keynes you can have here at Unit18. We offer a basic service which is an 8 point check carried out on the car, which includes a full oil change and oil filter replacement. Then there is our interim service which includes a 28-point check and also includes the oil change as well as filter replacement. We would normally recommend to first-time car owners to have the interim service as it is normally more beneficial to older models to have this check completed. If anything does need replacing we source all original parts and will discuss replacements and repair with you before we go ahead.

Having a regular service means parts of your car you would not think to look at get checked. As a first-time car owner, you may not think to have the cambelt checked on the vehicle, but if there ever was anything wrong with it the damage could be detrimental to your car. Once your cambelt goes, or there is not enough oil in your car then the damage can be so severe, sometimes it is not worth fixing because it will cost you so much. So, by keeping on top of your servicing, you eliminate the risk of causing any damage to your vehicle.

getting car serviced

Fuel costs and care

It may seem as though fuel is very expensive, however the bigger the engine in your car the bigger the fuel tank which only means your fuel will be expensive. If you do not have enough money to run the car on sufficient petrol or diesel, then you may have to take public transport for a while. We have seen a number of cars in a fairly rough condition, due to young people leaving their engines so low on fuel. The damage you can cause by leaving your fuel tank so low can be more costly in comparison to the fuel itself. While a fuel gauge is there to assist you by telling you when your fuel is running low, you may not always want to rely on it. Some cars may tell you; you have 70 miles left when realistically you don’t. We normally recommend to any young driver as soon as your tank reaches a quarter full then you should consider filling your car up with petrol. Leaving your car to run extremely low on petrol can also be fairly dangerous for young drivers as you may not have a safe place to stop, you could also be stuck in the car for hours before someone comes to help you. Read on to find out more about why you should avoid an empty fuel tank.

A few tips from us here at Unit18:

  • If you know you are going on a long journey make sure to fill up before you leave. You will also want to make sure you keep an eye on your fuel tank while you drive, so you are never left rushing to find a petrol station.
  • Do not rely on your fuel gauge, be sensible and fill up when your car reaches a 1/4 tank.
  • Do not use the same fuel from the same garage all of the time, you can cause internal damage by using the same fuel. From time to time, use premium fuel if you can.

filling car up

All you need to know about your tyres

Another expense which often is not incorporated into your budget is the price of new tyres. Depending on how many new tyres you may need can vary in price. If you notice you are having to change your tyres a bit too frequently, then you may want to think about the way you are driving and handling your car. Braking heavy and taking corners too fast can all have a significant impact on your tyre wear.

There are a couple of things you can do to ensure your tyres are in good condition. Replace them every 20,000 to 30,000 miles. Make sure to check the tyre pressure on a regular basis; otherwise, if they are too low or too high, it can have a dramatic effect on your fuel economy. You can check your tyre pressure at most petrol stations or you can look at buying your own tyre pressure gauge from GearBest.

You should also make sure to check the tyre tread, as many young drivers tend to leave their tyres fairly bald before changing them. Without sufficient tyre tread, you can cause a severe accident, or you may find that your car aquaplanes across water rather than driving straight through it. The legal minimum for your tyre tread is 1.6mm so make sure yours is always above this.

car tyre

Keep on top of warning lights

Warning lights can be a little daunting when you are a young driver you often tend to ignore the flashing light on your dashboard. The warning lights on your car are often an indication something needs checking, or there is something wrong with the vehicle. Leaving warning lights can be extremely damaging to your vehicle, they are there to make you aware something needs your attention, so it is vital you understand what they mean.

Some drivers who have been driving for 10+ years still do not know the difference between the colours of warning lights on their vehicles. If you ever have a red warning light then this will indicate that there is something wrong with the car that could potentially be a danger to yourself if it is not looked and fixed, it is often a more severe problem or safety issue with the car. It can also act a reminder too, i.e. to let you know when your oil is running low or when the vehicle is in need of a service. A yellow or amber warning light appears it will mean there is a part that needs replacing or repairing. Green or blue warning lights are there to inform you that you have activated something in the car or your systems are working.

When you first get the car, it is highly recommended that you look through your owners manual for information on warning lights. Alternatively, you could take a look at one of our previous articles on What do warning lights mean?.

warning light board

Give your car a regular clean

Who really takes care of the car from the inside out when it comes to cleaning. Cleaning the exterior of your vehicle can provide a massive range of benefits. We are all guilty of leaving bird poo on our car from time to time; however, not many of us truly know how much damage it can cause to the paint on our vehicles. Bird deposits are extremely acidic due to the way in which they digest their food. Unfortunately, they produce high levels of avid, which can damage the paintwork on your car, leaving patches of fading or balding. We highly recommend when it comes to your car, as soon as you see bird droppings on the vehicle make sure to wash them off.

When it rains you also should consider washing your car, you may think that it is having a rinse on the vehicle while it rains. But rain can hold a significant amount of acid, which if left on the car, it can sit in the paintwork causing corrosion and damage to the colour. The reason cleaning is so important is if you leave dirt, grime and salt on the paintwork too long you can experience paintwork damage. So, either keep a regular cleaning routine or make sure you take your car to a car wash.

The same goes for the interior of the car if you tend to eat inside your vehicle or even smoke without regular cleaning your car might start to have a stale smell. To people who smoke they cannot always smell this, but by having your car regularly cleaned you eliminate the smell from occurring. Food can also go mouldy very quickly, especially in your car, so make sure to empty your vehicle after every journey.

For more information on how you can keep your car looking good as new take a quick read of Motorway’s article on: How to keep your car looking new.

hoovering car

Making your car last

When it comes down to it, there is not a lot you have to do to have your car in the best possible condition. You want to ensure that when it comes to selling the car, it’s in a pristine enough condition. If it is, you are more than likely to get a much better price for the vehicle not to mention a large number of potential buyers.

Taking your car for its MOT in Milton Keynes and service will make a massive difference to the way your car runs and handles. By taking your vehicle for a service, it allows mechanics to inform you if there are any damages to your vehicle which need addressing straight away or if there is anything that may need replacing in the future. It also means you will have a full service history which is extremely appealing to potential car buyers, as it shows them you have taken care of the vehicle.

Don’t forget to check your tyres monthly, if not after each long journey. They can be a rather costly replacement so you will want to make sure you are keeping them in the best possible condition all year round.

Finally, do not ignore warning lights, you may not only be putting yourself in danger but also others. Take the time to understand what your warning lights mean and when you should deal with them.

We hope you enjoy your first car and keep it in good nick!

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