Car Finance For 18 Year Olds: Buying Your First Car Without Breaking the Bank

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Joe Brayne

Car Purchasing Guru

Getting your first car is a huge deal – it is a sign of freedom and independence! But figuring out how to pay for it is not so much fun. Car finance is an option that allows you to spread out the cost of the car over time, making it easier on your wallet.

For 18-year-olds, car finance can be a game-changer. It gives you a way to own a car even if you haven’t saved up much cash. By understanding your financing options, you can hit the road without burning a hole in your pocket.

This guide will break down everything you need to know about car finance for young drivers. We’ll cover what it is, the benefits and drawbacks for 18-year-olds, and how to get the best deal possible. So buckle up, and let’s get you cruising!

Understanding Car Finance for Young Drivers

Simply put, car finance is a way to buy a car without needing to spend the full amount upfront. Instead, you split the cost of the car into smaller monthly payments spread out over a set amount of time. This makes car ownership more realistic for young drivers who are likely short on savings. 

Car Finance comes in different forms but the two most popular are hire purchase (HP) and personal contract purchase (PCP). Each possesses their own unique terms, but the overall idea is the same, to help you spread the cost of a car over time.

Benefits of Car Finance for 18-Year-Olds

  • Affordability: Ultimately, affordability is the biggest plus for a young driver choosing car finance. By breaking down the car’s total cost into manageable monthly chunks instead of a big upfront payment, it opens an avenue to car ownership that may otherwise have been unavailable.
  • Better Car Options: With car finance, you might be able to afford a safer and more reliable car than if you were paying cash all at once. This can be a smart investment, especially for young drivers who might be statistically more likely to be involved in accidents. A newer car often comes with improved safety features and better reliability, giving you peace of mind on the road.
  • Credit Building: Making your car finance payments on time helps build a good credit history. This is a valuable step towards your financial future. A positive credit history shows lenders you’re responsible with your finances, making it easier to get approved for loans or mortgages down the road, potentially at better interest rates.

Drawbacks of Car Finance for 18-Year-Olds

  • Higher Interest Rates: As an 18-year-old, you might be charged higher interest rates because lenders see young drivers as a bit riskier. This means you’ll end up paying more for the car overall compared to someone with a longer credit history and a proven track record of managing debt. It’s important to factor in the total cost of the car, including interest, before you commit to a car finance agreement.
  • Limited Credit History: With little to no credit history, getting approved for car finance can be tricky. Lenders might be hesitant to offer financing to someone with no track record of managing credit. If you have a limited credit history, consider including a guarantor on your application. A guarantor is typically a parent or close family member with good credit who agrees to make your payments if you can’t. This can help improve your chances of getting approved.
  • Insurance Costs: Young drivers typically face higher insurance premiums on top of monthly finance payments. This can make the overall cost of owning a car significant. Before you jump into car finance, be sure to factor in the cost of insurance alongside the monthly payments. You might also want to shop around for different insurance quotes to find the best deal possible.

Are you ready to hit the road? At Car Loans UK, we specialise in helping young drivers get on the road. Apply for a free, no-obligation quote in just 60 seconds to see what car finance deals are available for you!

How to Qualify for Car Finance at 18

Securing car finance at 18-years old can be challenging, but it is definitely achievable. Here is a rundown of what lenders are typically looking for:

  • Age: You must be at least 18 years old to apply for car finance. For 17 year olds looking for car finance, it may be possible for a parent or guardian to apply for finance on their behalf.
  • Income: You need a steady source of income to show you can cover the monthly payments. This could be a job, freelance work, or something similar.
  • Residency: You have to be a resident of the country you’re applying in.
  • Identification: You need to provide valid identification, such as a driver’s licence or passport.
  • Bank Account: Having a bank account is necessary for setting up direct debit payments.

Credit History Matters; How to Improve Your Score

Your credit history plays a significant role in getting approved for car finance. Lenders use your credit report to see if you’ve paid back loans on time in the past. 

As an 18-year-old, you might not have much credit history yet, which can make things tougher. But don’t worry, there are ways to build your credit score:

  • Open a Bank Account: If you don’t have one already, opening a bank account is a cornerstone to building your financial history.
  • Apply for a Credit Card: Consider applying for a starter or student credit card. Use it for small things and pay it off completely each month to build a positive payment history..
  • Pay Bills on Time: Make sure you pay any bills, like phone or internet, on time. Late payments can hurt your credit score in the long-term.
  • Keep Credit Card Balances Low: If you have a credit card, try not to max it out. A low balance relative to your limit shows responsible credit management.
  • Check Your Credit Report: Regularly review your credit report for errors. Disputing and correcting any mistakes can boost your score.
  • Limit Credit Applications: Applying for several loans or credit cards over a short span of time can lower your score. Each application might leave a mark on your credit report.

Tips for Getting the Best Car Finance Deal as a Young Driver

Finding the Right Deal

  • Shop Around: Compare different car finance options (hire purchase, personal contract purchase) to find the most affordable option with the best interest rates and monthly payments.
  • Deals for Young Drivers: Look for student or young driver car finance deals that might offer lower interest rates or flexible terms.

Not sure which option is right for you? Get a free, no-obligation quote from Car Loans UK today and let us find a deal tailored to your needs!

Negotiating for the Best Price:

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate: Ask for lower interest rates, reduced fees, or extra perks to bring down the total cost.
  • Play the Offers Game: If you have better deals from other lenders, use them as leverage to get a better deal from your preferred lender.

Negotiation not your style? No problem! Our team of specialists at Car Loans UK are at hand to find you the best deals and walk you through the negotiation process. Get a free quote and see how much you could save!

Keeping it Affordable:

  • Stay Affordable: Factor in ALL costs (insurance, maintenance, gas) on top of the monthly payment to ensure everything fits comfortably within your budget.
  • Don’t Overspend: Choose a finance option with monthly payments you can easily afford to avoid financial strain later.

Legal & Regulatory: Ensure any finance agreement follows Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations. Choose FCA authorised and regulated lenders for fair practices.

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