• Published: 26 January 2022

Want some practical advice about buying a car as a learner driver? We have collated a guide to buying a car for the first time as a learner. 

Set a budget

When buying a car it is important to discuss budgets with outside parties who may be helping you choose or aiding you financially. When it’s your first car, there’s bound to be bumps along the way. So nothing too extravagant where there could be upsets from multiple parties if something gets a little scraped. 

Do some research on learner driver cars

Buying a used car in today’s current climate can feel daunting with the shortage of new car sales. Used car sales are skyrocketing, and ultimately increasing prices of used cars. Don’t let this put you off, as first car prices are still very reasonable. However, watch out for some people using this as an excuse. Selling their independently sold car for inaccurate and overpriced figures. Just make sure you browse widely, car dealerships are your friend.

Come up with a shortlist

As a learner driver, as simple as it sounds, you want to like the car. You should take pride in how it looks and want to take care of it. However, take into account it might encounter some bumps or scrapes. A learner car is going to earn a scratch or two somewhere along the line. 

Make sure you’re checking insurance prices too. Some cars are faster, bigger engines or just prone to breaking down when they’re that little bit older.

Most of all have fun browsing for a car you can see yourself loving learning to drive in. Go and sit in a few, have someone with a license test drive it and get a feel for what you think you would like to own. 

Choose a learner driver spec

Be mindful when choosing what additions the car you like has. Some of the main things people look for are air con, central locking, immobiliser and some sort of phone connectivity, bluetooth or aux socket. You won’t pay much more for higher spec versions of the cars you like. The used car industry focuses on age and mileage, so there’s often only a hundred pounds or so between low and mid-spec versions of cars of identical age and miles.

Move fast

Once you have figured out which car you like, look everywhere and move fast. Cars for learner drivers tend to come up for sale and disappear fast, whether that's private sellers or dealerships. If you like the car, don't forget to call up and book your test drive or viewing. There is no harm in viewing and not buying, just be wary that if you later want to buy that car it might not be there.

Check everything

Trust your gut when viewing and test driving. From bodywork to steering, make sure the car is accurate to its description. Make sure to take with you someone who can test drive the car, preferably someone who knows about cars and how they should handle when driving. Other things to look for are a clean interior, working lights, up to date MOT and service history. 

Looking to buy a new car? Head over to our used car search. 

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Transport For London

Cars need to meet minimum emission standards when travelling in the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) or the daily charge must be paid.

Minimum emission standards

Petrol: Euro 4
Diesel: Euro 6

The ULEZ will be enforced based on the declared emissions of the vehicle rather than the age. However:

Information from Transport For London

Check this car on the TFL website before purchasing: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/check-your-vehicle/

Spencers Car Sales

At Spencers Car Sales we charge an admin fee of £50 when you purchase a used vehicle from us. The admin fee pays towards the preparation of your new car, to make sure it’s safe and immaculate when you drive it away.

Admin fee is charged as listed below:

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