5 Tips for Buying Your First Car as a New College Graduate

Buying a new car as a recent grad is a real big deal, even if you don’t think so. It’s your first step toward adulthood, after all! Whether you’ve landed a job straight out of UAB or are still on the hunt for a salaried position, it’s important to have a reliable form of transportation for the journey ahead. (Can you imagine failing to show up for an interview because your car won’t start?)

As you prepare to join the work-sleep cycle, take our advice and remember these 5 tips when buying your first new Hyundai or used car.

Know Your Budget

Creating a budget will give you a realistic outlook on your financial ability to finance or lease a car.
For some people, buying a pricey new car is one of the biggest financial mistakes recent grads make. With student loans already pinching your wallet to the brink of knockout, the last thing you need is to fall deeper into debt on a vehicle you couldn’t afford in the first place.
When coming up with your car-buying budget, be sure to consider all your financial responsibilities including rent, auto insurance, and monthly bills. Doing this will give you a more accurate baseline of how much vehicle you can afford. Also, be sure to check out our new car specials and the Hyundai College Grad Program for additional savings opportunities.

Identify Your Needs

When establishing your transportation needs, one of the factors to consider is the amount of driving you’ll be doing, both ideally and realistically. Are you searching for careers within Birmingham or will you branch out to other areas? If you’ll be putting significant mileage on the odometer, consider a certified pre-owned car, like a CPO Hyundai. They’re affordable yet dependable, and all of them have fewer than 60,000 miles.
Also, consider the locations in which you will be traveling. Driving in a highly populated city requires a different car than driving through cul-de-sacs and suburban streets.

Research Thoroughly

Do you buy the first product you see on Amazon? No, you don’t (unless you’re crazy). You read reviews, check star ratings, and compare prices before adding the item to your shopping cart. The same can be said when shopping for a new vehicle online or at your Birmingham car dealer.
Doing research online saves you numerous trips to different dealerships, and it also allows you to take your time. On the other hand, information-overload can become a mental deadweight. Before you start your online car research, narrow your options by making a list of the qualities and features that appeal to you.

Hint: Browse our new Hyundai models for an idea of what you can expect when shopping at Jim Burke Hyundai.

Consider a Used Car

Buying a used car is usually a safer option for recent college graduates, especially when it comes to the pocketbook. As you start your new life, the last problem you want to be added to your plate—which is already full of bill payments and student loan debt—is a hefty monthly auto finance fee. Buying a used car will give you the chance to buy a quality car that won’t overburden your finances. There’s a reason why young drivers finance used cars!

If you need a starting point, take a look at our used cars for sale in Birmingham.

Time to Test Drive

Now for the fun part: your test drive! Spend at least 15 minutes driving around town to get a feel for the car’s handling and comfort. Take it on bumpy roads. Take it on the highway. Take it through parking lots. The goal here is to identify how the vehicle reacts to different road conditions and surfaces. If you aren’t pleased with how the vehicle performs, no skin off your back—just take another model out for a run. Once you find the right vehicle for you, you’ll know it!

Scheduling a test drive at our Birmingham Hyundai dealership is super convenient. Just click here to contact our Hyundai sales team or call us at (205) 588-6283 to make an appointment.



You may have your 5-year plan set in stone, but we doubt you’ve already decided on your post-graduate vehicle. If you need assistance choosing the right car, SUV, or truck in Birmingham, AL, allow us to lend a hand. Visit Jim Burke Hyundai at 1424 5th Ave N to browse our new and used cars for sale, and you’ll be all set. Enjoy!

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