Millions of people buying their first car are not carrying out essential checks before signing on the dotted line, claims a new study.
Cars are traditionally one of the most expensive purchases to make, with motorists typically spending around £3,000 on their first set of wheels.
Choosing the wrong vehicle can be costly as well as dangerous – but 63 per cent of new drivers failed to research their purchase properly or carry out relevant checks.
Seven in 10 admitted they didn’t really know what they were looking for when buying their first car, while 40 per cent didn’t even test-drive the vehicle.
As a result, the study, commissioned by Parkers.co.uk, found 49 per cent of the 1,000 first-time car buyers polled regretted their purchase.
“Buying your first car can be very much a head vs heart decision, with drivers often excited and overwhelmed by the experience,” said Keith Adams, editor of Parkers.co.uk, the UK’s largest consumer advice and car review website.
“Our study has revealed a lot of people are jumping straight in and buying a car without doing the necessary research or carrying out the relevant checks and this can create problems down the line.
“Buyers who rush their purchase or don’t carry out the correct checks could end up with a car that has outstanding finance on it, is an insurance write-off, or has technical and safety issues which could put them and others on the road at risk.
“We recommend new drivers buying their first car do their research by reading buying guides, learning car jargon and speaking to friends and family to ensure they get the right car for their needs.”
Government figures revealed 578,347 passed their driving test between April 2018 and March 2019 – with a pass rate of 45.7 per cent.
It also emerged 15 per cent of new car buyers didn’t bother to look at any previous documents such as servicing history, MoT certificates or even the logbook before buying the car.
When checking out the vehicle, the history, overall condition, insurance costs and mileage were of the most important things buyers looked at.
The study, via OnePoll, showed first-time buyers typically view four cars before making the purchase.
Parkers.co.uk, which has hundreds of pages car buying advice and more than 1,000 car reviews, has now created a free and easy quiz to test people’s knowledge of automotive jargon.
Keith Adams added: “With more than half-a-million people passing their driving test in the UK each year, there is no shortage of motorists looking for their first car.
“It can be a complex process getting to grips with insurance, road tax, knowing what to look for during a test-drive as well as the pluses and negatives of each car.
“We advise everyone to do their research to make sure they end up buying a safe and legal car that’s perfect for their needs.”