What to do after you buy a new car

Before taking your new pride and joy for a decent spin make sure you’re familiar with all its features and their operation, as well as the running in process.

Women getting keys to new car

While there’s plenty of advice about buying new cars, there isn’t much talk about what to do once you pick up your new pride and joy.

It’s worth taking the time to get to know the car before taking it on an extended drive so you’re not distracted by having to look around for buttons and switches. This is especially the case for new functions you may not have used before such as active cruise control and infotainment systems.

Even if you have driven cars with the latest features the way they are controlled varies between different brands. For example some cars have cruise control switches on the steering wheels while others are on stalks. Air-conditioner controls vary from three knobs to complex climate control systems with at least a dozen different functions. Even automatic gear shifts can be entirely different, especially across the various European brands, so study the manual or sit in the car for a while to get a feel for where everything is and what everything does.

cruise control display

New engines don’t need to be run in at slow speed like they used to but it’s a good idea to treat a new car gently within its first 1000km. This includes:

  • Avoiding driving at a constant speed for long distances
  • Not over-reving the engine beyond 4000rpm
  • Avoiding towing
  • Allowing the brakes to bed in by avoiding harsh braking

It’s also worth knowing what to expect from your new car as parts wear in so you’re not alarmed. You may experience the odd burning smell when new parts, such as brakes and plastics in the engine bay heat up for the first few times. And fuel and oil consumption may be higher before engine parts have fully loosened up.


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