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Love at first car: How to take care of your first vehicle

Love at first car: How to take care of your first vehicle

woman happy with her first car

Do you believe in love at first car?  Everyone remembers their first car, whether it is a sensible hatchback, a speedy little Italian number, or Mom’s old minivan.  Whatever your first vehicle was, you probably still have fond memories of that car. 

If you’re just buying a car for the first time now, you’ll want to take some steps to make sure your beloved automobile lives a long, healthy life.  Get started with these 5 tips before you hit the open road.

Naming Your First Car

First things first: all great cars have great names.  Herbie, General Lee, Metallicar, KITT, Christine, the Ectomobile, the Batmobile… the Popemobile... So obviously, the first thing you need to do is give your car a name.  Even if it’s not James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5, it deserves a memorable moniker.

Maintaining Your First Car

If your new car is pre-owned, start its life off right with a full inspection.  Then, regardless of your car’s age, check the owner’s manual and ask your mechanic about how often you should change the oil and other fluids, rotate the tires, get your filters checked, etc.  You should also pay attention to your inspection sticker’s expiration date.  Getting caught with an expired annual inspection sticker is a ticket no one wants to pay.

Budgeting with Your First Car

It’s no secret that car ownership is expensive.  Be smart about your first car by factoring all the right expenses into your budget.  Take into account car payments, insurance payments, how much gas you’ll need each week, cleaning costs, and how often you’ll need to take your car to the shop or work on it yourself. 

Insuring Your First Car

If you are a teen when you get your first car, you should be especially careful on the road.  In fact, the chances a person has of being in a car crash are highest in the first 6 months after they get their driver’s license.  When choosing auto insurance for teen drivers, non-standard auto insurance may be the best option.  Non-standard auto insurance is also ideal for drivers who need the minimum amount of insurance to get on the road, or who need a policy with a customized payment plan.  Because the penalties for driving without insurance are steep, you should keep your non-standard auto insurance card in your glove box at all times.

Safety First in Your First Car

Give yourself time to adjust to your new car.  For the first few weeks you drive it, you’ll notice its quirks and blind spots, how it reacts to sudden acceleration and hard braking, and how it handles U-turns, sharp turns, and traffic circles.  Take it easy for a while until you get a good feel for your car.  You should also keep your passengers safe by making sure everyone is always buckled up.   Additionally, keep jumper cables and a small emergency kit in your car and make sure you have the number for roadside assistance saved in your phone in case you are ever stranded.

More Tips and Non-Standard Auto Insurance from Direct General

For more tips from Direct General, check out our Automobile FAQs.  What do you remember about your first car? Do you have any questions about insurance or maintenance as a first-time car owner?  Let Direct General know by finding us on Facebook and Twitter.

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