UNITED STATES—You’ve finally saved up enough money and you’re ready to buy your first car. Congratulations! This is a huge milestone. But before you head to the dealership, it’s important to do your research so you know what to look for in a car. Here are seven things first-time car buyers should keep in mind.

Safety Features

One of the most important things to look for in a car is safety features. These days, there are a lot of options available, including blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.

Safe cars are also the cars that are cheapest to insure, so it is doubly beneficial to choose a car with good safety features. Do your research to figure out which safety features are most important to you and make sure the car you’re considering has them.


If you’re in the market for your first car, congratulations! This is an exciting time. But before you head to the dealership, it’s important to consider your budget. After all, a car is a major purchase, and you don’t want to end up overspending.

One way to figure out how much you can afford is to take a close look at your monthly budget. How much are you currently spending on things like rent, food, and entertainment? Once you know how much you have left over each month, you’ll have a better idea of how much you can realistically spend on a car payment.

You should also keep in mind that there are other costs associated with owning a car, such as insurance, gas, and maintenance. So when you’re looking at cars, make sure to factor in these additional expenses. By taking the time to budget before you start shopping, you’ll be in a much better position to find the perfect car for your needs and financial situation.

Fuel Efficiency

Another thing to consider is fuel efficiency. If you’re buying a gas-powered car, you’ll want to make sure it gets good gas mileage so you don’t have to spend a fortune at the pump. There are also hybrid and electric cars available if you’re looking for an even more fuel-efficient option.

Maintenance Costs

Before making your purchase, be sure to look into how much it will cost to maintain the vehicle over time. Some cars require more frequent oil changes or have parts that are known to break down often and need to be replaced frequently. This information is readily available online, so be sure to do your research before making your decision.


You want your first car to be reliable so you don’t find yourself stranded on the side of the road or in the shop every other week. Talk to friends or family members who own the same make and model of the car you’re considering and see if they’ve had any major issues with it. You can also look up reliability ratings online from sources like Consumer Reports or Edmunds.


When you buy a new car, it will likely come with some type of warranty from the manufacturer. This warranty covers defects in materials or workmanship for a certain period of time after purchase, typically 3 years or 36,000 miles (whichever comes first). Be sure to ask about the warranty before making your purchase so you know what’s covered and for how long.

Test Drive

Of course, one of the most important things you need to do before buying a car is take it for a test drive! This will give you a chance to get a feel for how the car drives and handles and if it’s comfortable for you. It’s also a good opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the car before making your final decision.

Financing Options

If you need financing to buy your car, be sure to shop around for the best interest rate and terms before going into the dealership. You can get preapproved for an auto loan from your bank or credit union ahead of time, so you know how much money you have to work with. The dealership may also offer financing options, but they may not be as favorable as what you could get on your own.

Purchasing your first car is an exciting milestone, but it’s important not to do so without first doing your research. Keep these seven things in mind as you look for your perfect set of wheels and enjoy driving off into the sunset.