5 Things to Consider When Buying Your First Car

Picture of a car key being exchanged in the forefront with a man's suit and tie in the background.

12 Jul 2016

Posted in:  Buying a Car and Loans

There’s a huge sense of freedom that comes with buying your first car. Goodbye overcrowded buses and overpriced taxis - hello independence! Your own set of wheels can dramatically impact other aspects of your life, broadening your options for where you live and work, as well as where you spend your weekends. It’s an exciting time, but naturally, it can be a daunting process too. From what to look out for to applying for your car loan, here are some helpful pointers to keep in mind.

1. You can’t always get what you want...

But you might find you get what you need. Unless you’re very lucky, your first car purchase probably won’t be your dream car, and the sooner you accept that, the better. Sure, it’s important to like the design and feel of your new car but there are other important factors to take into consideration such as the brand’s reputation. Or how does it perform in safety tests? How expensive are repairs to this type of car? Is it reliable? Read plenty of reviews and opinions online, ask friends and family about their experiences, and keep an open mind.

car lot

2. Dude, where’s my car?

Once you know what you’re looking for, the next step is finding it. There are lots of popular Irish websites where you can search for new and used cars, and this means lots of results to trawl through. Although most sellers are genuine, it can be tough to discern between a car that’s great value and one that’s simply too good to be true. Another option is to visit local dealerships in person. If you go this route, look for dealers who are registered with SIMI (Society of the Irish Motor Industry). SIMI members follow a Code of Ethics to maintain high customer service standards, and if you do feel you’ve been sold a dud - you’ll have more avenues for recourse than with an unlicensed seller.

Man using laptop

3. Get a car loan, and a quick decision to boot

When figuring out your budget, keep in mind all the other expenses that go along with being a key-carrying driver. On top of your car purchase, you’ll need to pay for insurance, tax, fuel, parking, and maintenance. If additional finance is needed, check out AIB’s handy Loan Repayment Calculator to get a good idea of what your monthly repayments for a car loan might look like and what you can realistically afford. Our quick 3-hour loan decision is designed to get you on the road in no time. There are also multiple options available for car financing, so you can pick the plan that suits you best and be confident you’re getting AIB’s competitive rates.

man looking under car bonnet

4. Look under the bonnet

For many of us, a “new” car really means “new to us”, but the fear of getting duped can make the process stressful when purchasing a used vehicle. While the introduction of the National Car Test (NCT) has definitely increased the quality of second-hand cars, it can’t guarantee an engine is in working condition or tell you anything about the car’s history. Consider using services like CarTell to find reports on the car’s previous ownership and mileage based on its Vehicle Registration Number. You should also look for a seller who’s happy to provide contact details such as a home address and a landline. When viewing the car, ask if it’s been in any accidents and look out for indications of bodywork, repainting or excessive wear. If you’re not a huge car buff, try to bring someone who knows their stuff with you. Alternatively, consider investing in an AA Car Inspection for peace of mind.


5. Drive a hard bargain

Buying a new car can be a little bit like modern dating - sometimes you have to play hard to get. A little bluffing goes a long way. Casually mention that you’re considering other cars and keeping your options open. When pressed for a budget, give a more modest figure - it will be much easier for you to bring your budget up than to bring it down after a seller knows you’re interested. Use a tool like’s Free Car Valuation to find the true market value of the car and figure out how much of a discount you can expect to ask for. Remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Want to find out more about AIB Car Finance Options?

We know how difficult it can be to find the right car, so we make the loan process simple. We’ll give you a car loan decision in just 3 hours. Visit our car finance page to find out what your options are. And if you have any further questions, why not ask us on Facebook or Twitter @AIBIreland?

Some of the links above bring you to external websites. Your use of an external website is subject to the terms of that site.The information provided in this blog is for general information purposes only. AIB is not recommending any company or product mentioned.

Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Copyright Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. 1995.

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