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How owning a car has changed since I was 17


This is a collaborative post.

I am 41 now, I started learning to drive at 17 and passed my test at 18. Back in the day when theory tests were new, driving lessons were £10 an hour and fuel, well let’s not talk about that!

Learning to drive

How much do driving lessons cost nowadays? Upwards of £25 an hour from what I understand depending on who you learn with. Not only that but the costs of tests including a theory test, practical test and insurance are much higher.

When I was learning to drive I am sure my mum added me to her insurance for quite a small cost. Now there is so much about young drivers being more likely to have an accident I am sure the costs have increased dramatically!

Buying a car

When I was first looking at cars there were diesel, unleaded petrol and a few leaded fuel cars were still about too. Now there are fully electric cars, hybrid cars, and even LPG cars occasionally.

There is so much to consider, the running costs day to day, for example, fuel, tax and insurance and the longer-term costs such as repairs, depreciation in value and how long the car will last.

Once you have an idea of what you are looking for you can find out what you can afford using an online payment calculator and then work from there. It might be that you had hoped for an electric car but finances just don’t make that possible. Alternatively, you might be pleasantly surprised and be able to afford more than you realised with finance options etc.

If you use an insurance comparison site you should easily be able to find what the insurance costs would be for each car you consider. This may help you decide between two you like equally if one is much cheaper to insure!

The effects of world issues on buying a car

In recent years there seems to have been a lot of impacts from around the world on buying a car. From Covid-19 stopping travel and people’s need for cars to the war in Ukraine increasing the cost of fuel, it hasn’t always been easy for car owners.

These last few months fuel prices have gone through the roof. What are they where you are? Here I was thoroughly impressed this week when a local filling station had diesel for £1.82.9 a litre. I can’t believe it was around 69.9p a litre when I passed my test, nothing else in life seems to have increased that much!

3 top tips before you go to a car dealership

If you are looking for a new car then here are my three top tips before you even step foot into a dealership. Those places often sell you things you didn’t realise you wanted because you didn’t! If you go in with a good idea of what you want then you will only spend what you can afford.

  1. Do your research online as to what is available locally for the budget you have, taking all the above factors into consideration. This includes looking at their website to see what they have to offer.
  2. Look at insurance costs for your chosen car model and the age of the car if it is second-hand. If you are looking for a new car then consider if different builds change the insurance band. For example, will the sportier build cost you more to insure? If you know this before you go you won’t easily end up tying yourself into a more expensive purchase than you planned.
  3. Take someone with you who knows about cars if you don’t. Someone who can hear if the engine sounds a bit dodgy or who is comfortable talking money and negotiating!

How old were you when you passed your test? Has much changed since then for you? Do let me know in the comments!

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