Most teenagers dream about their first cars long before they even get their license, and you will remember it for the rest of your life. Whether it’s a brand-new car or just new to you, there’s nothing quite like that first experience of owning a car.

While you may have certain features in mind, such as a powerful radio and great rims, it’s best to approach the decision somewhat differently. You’ll need to consider things like safety, reliability, fuel economy, technology features and resale value. When it comes to your first car purchase, a little research and a lot of common sense goes a long way.

Here are four important things to consider before you decide on a vehicle:

Set a Budget
Start by figuring out a price range you can afford, then set your budget. Keep in mind, it’s not just about the sticker price, you’ll need to pay for taxes and registration.
 
Used or New Car
An older car is likely to cost less up front, but it might also come with unexpected repair bills down the road. A new car will likely be safer but will cost more and have higher insurance rates too.
 
Total Cost of Owning a Car
This goes beyond what you’d actually paying for the car. You’ll need to factor in gas costs, oil changes and insurance rates.
 
Safety
Some safety options that are good to have are antilock brakes, airbags and if possible, backup cameras.
 
Selecting your first car is an exciting decision and you should do plenty of research to weigh your options. Your first car will provide many memories, so it’s a decision you’ll need to consider carefully.