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first car

A guide for buying your first car

When buying your first car it can seem like a minefield. There are so many different types of cars and different features that it can all become overwhelming, but we are here to help. We have created a ‘first-time buyers’ checklist to help you decide what you need when buying your first car.

Engine Size

Young drivers have higher insurance costs because statistics have shown the younger drivers are more likely to be in an accident. Lower engine sizes mean lower insurance costs which means it’s better to look for a vehicle with a 1.0l to 1.2l engine.

Some first-time buyers may look for cars with higher engine sizes depending on whether you have had Named Driving Experience on a parent or relatives’ car, but we do not recommend buying anything over a 1.6L engine. This is one of the most important features to look for in a car when starting out and it’s a good idea to consider what you need this vehicle for.


Ask yourself, what can I afford? You may have spent all those long summer months saving, your parents may have given you their old car or pitched in or you might have found a way to finance it. It’s important to look at all the associated costs in buying and running a car.

Newer cars are usually more expensive, nevertheless buying a used car can be better value for money. New cars can lose anywhere between 15-35% in their first year.

Smaller cars are more affordable for example hatchbacks are usually smaller cheaper cars and they are easier to learn to drive in. Insurance tends to be lower on these types of cars.

Car alarms, trackers and immobilisers are security features that insurers offer insurance discounts for. When searching through the long lists of potential cars these features can be a way of eliminating some of them.

It can be hard shopping for a car on a budget but taking some time to consider future costs that may be involved and factoring them into the price of your car may save you money in the long run.

Age of the vehicle

Aim to buy a car no more than 10 years old as some insurers won’t quote on older cars. Insurance is generally cheaper on newer cars as they are less likely to breakdown and have updated safety and security features.

Newer cars have lower levels of harmful emissions therefore lower tax costs. Older cars have had more use, this can lead to higher and more frequent repair and maintenance costs.  

It may cost more to buy newer cars but over time you will save money on insurance, tax, car repairs and maintenance costs.

Roadworthiness & NCT

NCT tests are carried out on cars to ensure that your car meets the minimum safety standards and is eligible to be used on public roads.

NCT testing centres also ensure your car releases as little harmful emissions as possible. We all need to do our part to save our planet.

Insurance companies don’t offer quotations on cars that don’t have NCT. Give us a quick call or pop us an email (01 6674985 / info@bjp.ie) and we would be more than happy to check if your potential car meets the minimum safety standards to use on the road.

Remember always call to check how much the insurance is on your car before buying it.