First-time driver and newbie car owner? If you’ve got a parent, sibling, close relative, or spouse who can walk you through all the details you need to know, then you’ll do just fine.
But if you’re going at it on your own, worry not: We will help you get everything in place before you take your car out and onto the road.
Seven Things You Need To Prep For As a First-Time Driver or Newbie Car Owner
1. Know Your Driving Capabilities and Limits.
Take stock of your capabilities and limits as a new driver. What can you do now? How well are you at pulling out from being parallel parked? Are you backing out into the road safely?
This is not to limit you---far from it. It’s about setting expectations for yourself and building up your experience as you drive along. It’s going to be very tempting to rev up and zoom away, so be mindful of what you can and still can’t do. Why? Because of two things: First, your own safety. Awareness of your space on the road and your placement in relation to everyone else on the road is crucial. It will take some time to develop this skill, so driving carefully as a rookie is key. Remember: Accidents can and do happen when you least expect them. There’s no reset button.
Second, your car. Whether you’re getting a brand-new or a used or repossessed car, taking care of it should be second nature now that you’re a driver. A little TLC will get you where you need to be.
2. Gather and Keep All Your Car Documents.
What are the car documents that you need to keep in your car in case you need them?
- Your payment documents, including, but not limited to:
- - Deed of Sale of Motor Vehicle
- - Purchase Receipt
- - Certificate of Ownership or Car Title
- Photocopies of your driver's license
- LTO Registration Certificate (or, more popularly known as Certificate of Registration, or CR)
- LTO Original Receipt
- CTPL Certificate of Cover
- Car Insurance Certificate of Cover / Car Insurance Policy (or a print copy of it, if you have a digital form)
- Roadside Assistance card or emergency number. Most car insurance policies provide this.
If your car is brand new, make sure to keep the following:
- Original Sales Invoice
- Your Owner's Manual
- Warranty and Service Record booklet
Note: While most used and repossessed vehicles may no longer come with their warranty and service record booklets, you might find them in a few others. If you do find the booklet for your newly purchased repo car, go through it and see if the previous owner was following the maintenance schedule. It's one of the ways you can determine if the previous owner took care of the car.
3. Get Car Insurance.
Sadly, Filipinos seem to have second thoughts about insurance. In fact, according to the Insurance Commission of the Philippines, insurance penetration in the country is still too low. How low, you ask? It was just at 1.71% as of September 2020 (compared to 1.64% in September 2019).
However, ignoring the importance of your auto insurance is just plain risky---even life-threatening. Whether it’s brand-new or used, your car needs to be covered.
Auto Insurance isn't just about covering any damages involving your car. It can also protect you from the financial burdens an unfortunate accident may cause by covering for the medical and hospitalization expenses for you, your passengers, and other parties involved.
Financial literacy is not simply about managing your expenses and saving your money. It’s about making sure that you’re prepared for uncertainties that may happen in the future (but hopefully, won’t). Do you want to know more about car insurance and what coverage would be best for you? Ask Assurance.Ph today.
4. Drive-Test and Make (Necessary) Repairs.
If you bought a brand-new car, you won’t have to worry much about the integrity of your vehicle, nor concerning issues or repairs. It is standard for dealerships to conduct a final inspection before releasing your vehicle to you.
Used or repossessed cars, on the other hand, are another matter. The excitement of getting your car might be at an all-time high now, we know, but keep a level head about you and do the following immediately after getting your car:
- During a repo car pullout, a used car advisor may be present (like Automart.Ph’s Advisors) to help you with any questions you may have about your vehicle. This is a good time to:
- - Ask for help to become familiar with your car’s instrument and gauge panels, interior controls, head unit, mirror settings, and AC.
- - Ask about how to adjust your seat so you have a comfortable placement of your feet on the pedals, and your hands (for the steering wheel and gear stick), plus the best view of the front, side, and rearview mirrors.
- Take your ride to a mechanic and have them inspect the car for any issues. Then, with your mechanic’s help, you should also do the following:
- - Replace your car’s engine oil, fluids, and filters. Your car may have been sitting in the yard for at least a month and injecting new fluids into it is the best way to ensure your safety on the road. Don’t forget to have your oil, fuel, transmission, and air filters replaced, too.
- - Check your tires and inspect your brakes. Tires have an average lifespan of 4 years. Check for cracks and dry rot. Your car’s braking system is your primary protection and safety system. Make sure the brakes are in tip top condition.
- - Check your car’s battery. Like car tires, car batteries have an average road life span of four years, so check the battery gauges (usually found on the top of the car battery unit) and see if it needs changing. If you can’t determine that, ask your mechanic and replace it with a brand-new one, if recommended.
- Clean your car. You don’t want to wear someone else’s used unwashed clothes, right? The same goes for your used car. While many used and repossessed warehouses offer car wash services prior to pullouts, you can opt to take it one step further and get your car professionally cleaned and disinfected (even detailed).
5. Stick to Your Car's Maintenance Service Schedule.
Remember when we mentioned the warranty and service record booklet earlier? Don’t ever miss your maintenance schedule.
Brand new or not, your car needs regular maintenance. This may differ from one model to the next (and from one brand to the other), but the general idea is to get it inspected and maintained regularly.
Brand-new vehicles will come with an owner’s manual and a warranty and service record booklet. If you purchased a used or repossessed car, ask the dealer if you can get the records. If these records are absent, consult your mechanic and your car’s odometer. Once you get your mechanic’s assessment, start setting a regular schedule for your car, which is usually every three months (or every 5,000 kilometers).
A well-maintained and cared for car will give you peace of mind and confidence, knowing that your car will perform at its optimum best while you learn to navigate the road.
6. Keep Your Car Close, Your Documents Closer.
While it does not quite roll off the tongue as the famous Michael Corleone quote, it does ring true: bring all your original documents with you (and keep them safe somewhere else) and keep printed high-quality clear photocopies in your car.
Not only will doing this give you more peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to worry about losing them (or worse, getting them stolen), you won’t have to worry about getting new originals, which can be oh-so challenging and time-consuming.
Drive as often as you can and as far as you can. The more experience you have on the road, the more confidence you'll have in your new skill. With more experience, you will also learn to read the road, anticipate other drivers, master all the road signs, the types of lane lines (not just the theory), and become a better and safer driver.
Now, if you're getting a used or repossessed car, expect that you won't be able to take the car you buy for a test drive. But once you do get your new baby from the auto warehouse, take it to your trusted mechanic for an overall check. If your auto doctor says it all good, then it’s time to take your car for a test drive.
Do a short one first, probably around your village or neighborhood (and not on the main roads and highways, at least, not yet). Understandably, you wanna stretch your legs and see how far you can test your limits and driving skills. But take it easy and do not go full throttle on your first few outings as a driver. Get a feel for your car---how it moves and how it responds.
Check your mirrors and driving position and adjust your mirrors and seats that will help you see around your car and set so you’re comfy enough if you’re going to be driving for the next hour or eight. Test your acceleration and braking. Make sure the pedals respond appropriately. Once you’re comfy and confident with driving around your neighborhood, take your car out to the main road and have at it.
Assurance.Ph is your partner in providing financial protection for your vehicles, passengers, and properties in the Philippines. Together with Automart.Ph and Motomart.Ph, we help vehicle owners have easy and affordable access to choosing the protection plan that suits their needs and budgets. Start a chat or call with one of our Assurance.Ph advisors today at 0915 705 2031, 0905 205 0402, or 0956 302 9631, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more about our vehicle insurance prices and packages.