Tips for First-Time Car Buyers

Need-to-Know Tips for First-Time Buyers and Teen Drivers

Buying your very first car is exciting, and it's a huge milestone--especially for young people. But, if you don't know what you're looking for or you don't know where to start with financing, it can be really daunting.

At AutoCenters Herculaneum, serving the greater St. Louis area, we take the responsibility of helping people get their first car very seriously, and we want to make the process as easy, informative, and stress-free as possible.

Read our top tips for first-time car buyers.


Consider What You're Going to Need

Establish your priorities.

For your first car, you want to focus more on convenience, convenience, and capability than anything else--will a sedan have enough space for you, your gear, and your (someday) dog, or will you need a hatchback? If you'll be moving into a dorm or apartment soon, will you be better served by a small SUV or a truck? Car shopping tools from online car sites like Autotrader and Kelly Blue Book can help you learn about a range of vehicles and what they've got to offer.

If it'll help, consider making a pros and cons list to help narrow down what the right car may look like, rather than what the dream car looks like. There will always be time in a few years to come back to AutoCenters Herculaneum to trade in your first car for your newer car!


Be Budget Smart

Make a budget.

Unless you're paying in cash, you'll want to know exactly how much you can afford. First-time drivers need to be extra careful that they don't get wrapped up in the excitement of buying a car and spend more than they can feasibly pay per month.

Make sure that you're considering costs of insurance, service and maintenance, gas, etc.


Be Flexible, and Get a Feel for the Car

Test drive and re-evaluate.Β 

Get your hands on the car that you're considering, especially if you're buying in private sale. Buying from a used car dealership near St. Louis can be a great move for first-time buyers, because you get a bit of a safety net built in with on-site financing options and inspected vehicles. Test-drive the SUV, sedan, or truck that you're interested in before committing.


If you have questions about buying your first car--or helping your teen buy their first car--our team of experts is happy to help. Schedule an appointment or explore our full inventory online.

60 Second Pre-Approval

See your loan approval amount & credit score in seconds! No SSN required! No affect on your credit report!

Get Pre-Approved
  1. AutoCenters Herculaneum

    1225 Mcnutt St
    Herculaneum, MO 63048

    • Sales: (636) 232-0333
Loading Map...

Get in Touch

  • Contact our Sales Department at: (636) 232-0333
  • Monday9:00AM - 8:00PM
  • Tuesday9:00AM - 6:00PM
  • Wednesday9:00AM - 8:00PM
  • Thursday9:00AM - 6:00PM
  • Friday9:00AM - 8:00PM
  • Saturday9:00AM - 5:00PM
  • SundayClosed