Everyone remembers their first car and the feelings of pride, freedom and fun that came from taking hold of the keys. It might have been a family car handed down to you, something you saved up to buy or even a gift, but it was more than just four wheels and an engine. Purchasing that […]

Everyone remembers their first car and the feelings of pride, freedom and fun that came from taking hold of the keys. It might have been a family car handed down to you, something you saved up to buy or even a gift, but it was more than just four wheels and an engine. Purchasing that first car is a rite of passage, something that helps drive us into adulthood and all the adventures that come with it. Whether you know someone looking to buy their first car or are giving someone else their first taste of the open road, here are some tips to make their maiden voyage easy.

MATCH THE CAR TO THE DRIVER

With any vehicle purchase, you want to make sure to find something that can do the job it needs to do. In the same way that you wouldn’t buy a sports car or a hatchback for  moving large, heavy boxes every day, you want to get something that will accommodate your driver’s lifestyle. Students who commute to school and job will appreciate good gas mileage, and safety features are must, especially in an environment like a school parking lot that will be full of new drivers. Another thing to consider is that insurance premiums are higher for younger drivers. Pairing a younger driver with a safe, efficient car can mean a smaller insurance payment, where putting them behind the wheel of a sports car might make the premium hard to manage.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PRE-OWNED CAR

“Another important point to consider is how long the vehicle will be in use. Is this something that needs to last through high school and on into college or a car that won’t get much road time after graduation day rolls around” says Stacey Massey, from GECU’s Underwriter and Dealer Services. She also makes an important point about a pre-owned or hand-me down car. In particular, when purchasing or gifting pre-owned vehicles she says, “you’ll want to pay attention to the mileage. Once a vehicle crosses the 100,000 mile mark warranties and service packages may not be available or can be prohibitively expensive and vehicle maintenance may be needed more frequently.”

THE 411 ON TT&L

And what about the actual purchase? Tax, Title and License (TT&L) aren’t included in a car’s price and don’t add value to the vehicle. You’ll want to make sure to take these costs into account, and if you were planning on buying a car with no down payment, it’s a good idea to have enough money saved up to pay for TT&L.

A first car is major step into a wider world, and GECU is here to help you with our friendly, professional staff that knows what it means to buy a vehicle.

When it comes to finding your next car, your credit union is here to help! You can find more car-buying tips, a step-by-step checklist, payment calculators and auto loan rates* at gecu.com.

*All loans subject to approval. Other conditions apply. Learn how to become a member at gecu.com.