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Buying your first car: a checklist

You can no doubt already imagine yourself behind the wheel of your first car! But choosing a car is not that easy. Should you go for new or second hand? Petrol, diesel or electric? Read on for some tips to buy your first car.

1. Put money aside for your driver’s licence

Ready to hit the road but don’t have your driver’s licence yet? No problem. A few months is all you need to prepare. But this will cost a bit of money. If you want to take your driving test through a driving school, you will need to pay the registration fee, the driving school insurance and the costs of practical lessons and tests, amounting to somewhere between 1.200 and 1,900 euros. To reduce the cost, having a qualified driver accompany you is another option, in which case all you will need to pay is the fees for the theory exam and practical test: €15 and €60 respectively.

2. A new car or second hand?

When it comes to buying a car, your available budget will have a significant impact on the model and age of your chosen vehicle. There are two options: purchasing a new car or opting for second hand. In the case of a new vehicle, you will be able to choose the colour, engine power and optional extras. If, like 90% of new drivers, you decide to look around for a second-hand vehicle, the outlay will be smaller.

Worth knowing

A good way to cut the cost of purchasing your first vehicle is to choose a former company pool car. These vehicles are typically purchased by a company for use by their employees for a short period of time before being sold again. The low number of kilometers on the clock means it is classed as a second-hand car under 2 years of age, which means you can benefit from a special rate on your car loan.

3. Choosing your model

It may be your first car, but you still need to ask yourself a few questions about how you plan to use it. Will you drive it every day or just occasionally? Don’t forget that a first car might well sustain a few bumps during the process of learning to drive.

In terms of fuel, remember that the more kilometres you travel (above 30,000 km/year), the more advantageous it becomes to opt for diesel rather than petrol. However, this is not a very environmentally friendly solution. It is a good idea to consider all these factors before making your choice.

4. Incidental costs

Buying a car typically involves several costs. It is important to factor these into your budget. Count on having to pay the following expenses:

  • Vehicle registration fees, depending on your region and the age and power of your car (fiscal horsepower)
  • Fuel, depending on the type of fuel and average consumption of your car
  • Car insurance premiums, depending on your claims history and type of vehicle
  • Initial road tax to be paid when purchasing a car and the annual road tax: for an average car between €120 and €800
  • Basic technical inspection, a fixed price of €30 required annually once the vehicle is over 5 years old
  • Regulatory safety kit, costing around €15.

5. Finance options

Depending on the model you select, you will need to consider a finance option. The average budget for a first second-hand car is around €3,000.

Choosing a car loan to finance your car purchase.

“The average budget for a first second-hand car is around €3,000”

What next?

Would you like to find out how much a car loan would cost with ING?

Article written in collaboration with

Attention, borrowing money also costs money.