Getting your first care can be a really powerful experience. In fact, there’s so much meaning tied up in the ritual of getting your license and then your first car, that it may actually seem like a major life milestone to you and others. Something like a coming of age ritual, if you’re a young person.
Finally getting your driving license and then your first car can seem to open up a whole new world of possibility to you. Suddenly, you’re able to be the master of your own destiny in a way you never were before. You can go on major road trips, or even just to the store, at any time day or night, whenever you want. At least, in theory.
But as the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility”, and there’s plenty that you’ve got to keep in mind when you become the owner of a car.
Just for the sake of getting the most out of the experience, and keeping yourself on point, here are some tips for things you should do when you get your first car.
Learn basic maintenance skills
It’s much universally agreed on that the golden age of DIY car maintenance is in the past. These days, stripping down your own car in your garage, dealing with problem areas, and then putting it all back together again, is not by any means on the cards for most people.
Unlike in the past, modern cars are almost always too complex, containing sensitive computer technology, proprietary components, and engines encased in plastic, to allow you to do all of your own mechanic work.
Nonetheless, there are still plenty of basic maintenance skills you can, and should, learn for yourself. Such as, for example, how to replace a car battery. Or how to check your oil levels. Or, for that matter, how to correct the air pressure of your tyres.
Drive as much as possible in order to build up much-needed experience
When you get your first car, you’re likely not an experienced driver by any stretch of the imagination. Likely, you’ve just passed your driving test in the last few months.
Also commonly the case — and much worse — you might have had a license for years, but have never actually driven. In this case, you really need almost to start practicing from scratch again with an experienced driver in the car, or things can go badly wrong.
Whatever the case, once you get your first car, you should drive it as much as possible to build up much-needed experience and road sense for longer trips and so on. Stick to simple, familiar routes for a while. But drive daily.
Use a GPS, but try to memorise common routes, too
GPS technology is great for all sorts of reasons, not least of all that it’s prevented a virtually unlimited number of navigation-related fights and arguments.
When you get your first car, you should absolutely get a GPS, too. But you should also learn to develop your route awareness by trying to track and recognise familiar paths in spite of the GPS.
While driving around common routes, try to get a sense of your position relative to various landmarks, pay attention to signs, etc.