After years of settling for used vehicles, accepting the dents, scratches and stains, you might just find yourself in the financial position for your first car fresh off the lot. You’ve never been a part of the new car club, so you’re excited, staring out the window, waiting for the dealer to show up with your new ride.
As tempting as it is to grab the keys and drive off with excitement, you will most likely need to sign a document stating you’re happy with the car. Sure, the vehicle is brand new and travelled less than 100km, but this doesn’t guarantee the car is perfect, so take some time before you sign on the dotted line.
- Is it the same car you purchased? Is it the right colour, shade, pearl, and does it have the correct features?
- Take time to carry out a visual inspection of the paintwork to ensure there are no scratches, swirls or dents.
- Ensure the panels are all aligned and blemish-free.
- Inspect the windshield and window glass for cracks or chips.
- Check all the lights – interior and exterior.
- Check all the controls, like windscreen wipers, demisters, radio and air-con, are all operating as they should.
- Check under the bonnet and ensure all fluids are topped up.
But it’s new right? Well yes, it’s a new car, but at the end of the day mistakes do happen. There could have been an error in the assembly process, or even a little scratch from when it was being transported. Once you have accepted the vehicle, it will be more difficult to prove that minor cosmetic damages happened before you took over ownership, so be sure to go over the vehicle with a fine toothed comb.
Take the guided tour
Before you set off on your first drive around the block, get the full guided tour of your new vehicle. You may know where the fuel cap release is or how to check the oil, but with technology constantly changing and improving, there could be a few things that need a bit of a demonstration.
Besides, all vehicle manufacturers are different, and simple things like tuning the radio or selecting gears can take a bit of getting used to. A good salesman will take the time to go over all of the features, so make sure you’re paying attention. Feel free to take down notes and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Start your engines
A new engine means a running-in policy applies. The hundreds of components that make up a car need time to settle and running in is believed to be the best way to do this.
Sometimes the running in process will be described in your owner’s manual, but the basic idea is to put your new car through its paces with varying loads in different driving conditions and using all gears at changing speeds.
- Don’t run the engine at high revs
- Don’t drive at a constant speed, accelerate and decelerate often
- Avoid extended idle periods
- Avoid extra loads like towing or carrying excessive weight.
During the first month spend some quality time with your new vehicle and learn all its ins and outs. If you happen to hear or feel anything out of the ordinary, call the dealer who sold you the vehicle who should be able to resolve any issues. Following all of these steps will make the new vehicle ownership experience much easier - not to mention safer.