What did your first car mean to you?
Did it represent the freedom to explore the world? A vehicle (no pun intended) to escape the confines of your family home? Or perhaps a chance to grasp a few stolen moments with your crush?
Whether you bought it after spending months saving your money, or it was a hand-me-down from an older family member, there’s no doubt your first car left a lasting impression.
However, you wouldn’t use the same car for the rest of your life.
There are points in your life when a new set of wheels is a necessity. In fact, I’d say that there are four distinct moments in your life when choosing a new type of car will be a huge decision to make.
Car 1: The training wheels car
Chances are this is the car that will only get you from A to B. It’s a little rough around the edges, but it will get you through the Maccas drive-through easily enough.
This is the chariot that will carry you to eighteenth birthday parties and the key to your weekend beach getaways.
While your first car will most likely be second-hand, your safety shouldn’t be. You’ll probably feel antsy to finally have your keys in hand but it’s important that all the safety bases need to be covered first. That means the brakes, airbags, lights, engine, power steering and everything else under the hood need to be in excellent working condition.
Car 2: A car for a young adult
High school is now in your rearview mirror and the road ahead leads to university, travel and full-time work. However, the beat-up car you were driving a few years ago should be left in the dust by now. You’re a young adult ready to come into your own, and that means your ride should truly reflect who you are as a person while also meeting your needs.
Are you conscious of your environmental footprint? Seek out a car that is certified as environmentally friendly. Do you look after a couple of rescue dogs who love the great outdoors? Embrace your wild side with a ute or wagon that can handle off-road terrain. Or perhaps you’re a real gearhead and long for the classic aesthetic of older cars? Join thousands of other enthusiasts and try your hand at restoring a vintage Cadillac or VW Beetle.
Car 3: A car for the family
Ah, the circle of life. From unruly teenager to ambitious young adult, you’ve transitioned into an adult with family on the mind.
Whether you and your partner are thinking about starting a family or already have a few little ones in tow, the third type of car should ably service your lifestyle needs while accommodating the needs of your brood.
Does that mean you need to sit behind the wheel of the stereotypical family minivan? Hardly. Just because you have a family doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your style. If anything, your growing clan gives you more options to express not only your style, but your family’s style through your car choice.
Car 4: Downsizing when you’re older
They say 60 is the new 40, and if that’s the case then there’s no reason why you should stop customising your automobile experience.
The kids are out of your hair and you have more time to enjoy the things that make you happy. The golden years indeed. Depending on how much time and money you’re willing to invest, the fourth type of car in your life should appropriately suit a lifestyle that once again is entirely yours.
Perhaps you’re ready for a tree change and a quiet life. Or maybe you finally have time on your hands to explore every nook and cranny this great red land has to offer. Carefully consider a car that will be cost effective while working in conjunction with your evolving lifestyle.
What to consider when buying a car
No matter what stage of life you’re in, there are a few things to consider when looking to buy a new car. Taking the time to do some research before you purchase a vehicle is the best way to ensure that you don’t waste your money buying a car that doesn’t fit your needs.
Choosing between buying a new or a used car is one thing many people consider. Buying a new car will help offer peace of mind with a new car warranty. A new car is often much more reliable, but a used car is often more affordable.
There are also optimal times to buy a car. Often around the end of the financial year, you will find many dealerships offer a sale on last year’s models. There might also be offers for reduced interest on finance through the dealership, free servicing offers or large discounts on your purchase price.
When you’ve found a car you love, always make sure to go over the paperwork thoroughly. Check that all details are correct on the paperwork, such as model specifications, extras and delivery date. Ensuring the cost breakdown is all accurate is a must. There are often terms and conditions when buying a new car, so be sure to ask your sales manager what these are.
In NSW, a one-day cooling-off period may apply when purchasing from a dealership to help with the organisation of finance. In Victoria, a cooling-off period of three days usually applies. In all other states, there is no cooling-off period for vehicles that have never been previously registered. This is something to bear in mind when purchasing a car and organising finance.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to purchase a car throughout your lifetime. You may find there are times when your car is perfectly fine for your needs, in which case a change of vehicle wouldn’t be necessary. However, knowing when to buy and align your needs with your vehicle will help you to choose the right car at the right time.