Setting Up & Getting to Know Your New Car

Jack Dreyer | Monday 20th May 2024 12:30pm

Man smiling in car whilst dangling his car keys out the window.

Smell that? Thatís right ó new car smell. The freshly-wiped dash, the cool leather, the clean vents. Thereís nothing quite like a new car straight off the forecourt.

Getting a new car can be exciting, but it can also be a slightly overwhelming experience, with new features to discover, different operating systems to learn, and a new driving and vehicle handling style to adapt to. Familiarising yourself with a new car can actually be a source of anxiety for some drivers ó especially if itís their first car.

If youíve just purchased some new wheels, use our expert guide to get yourself acquainted with the ins and outs in no time ó from documentation to additional features.

First things first: documentation

Before you even think about driving your new car, itís essential to know where you stand when it comes to paperwork ó especially ownership, insurance, tax, and registration documents.

Much more than just a little black book that hides in the glove compartment, your carís manual is a treasure trove of information about your vehicle. Not only does this manual contain guidance on maintenance schedules and troubleshooting advice, but it also provides operational tips - and can even help you learn of any hidden features you might not have discovered otherwise!

Spend time reading through the manual and be sure to keep it ó and the other necessary paperwork for your car ó in a safe space. Speaking of, make sure you are familiar with the following:

  • Your carís warranty
  • Your insurance policy
  • Your vehicle registration documents

Keep these organised, safe, and easily accessible should you need them.

Setting up your car

Now that the bureaucracy is out of the way, itís time to get hands-on and up close and personal with your vehicle.

Thereís nothing worse than when someone else has been driving your car and your typical adjustments are out of line. Similarly, when you get a new car, expect to spend a good amount of time tweaking things to get them how you like them ó the seat positioning, the mirrors, the steering wheel, and so on.

In-car technologies

This Ďsetting upí phase also extends to the advanced features and technologies in your vehicle. Cars are getting increasingly sophisticated nowadays, with numerous device pairing options and smart technologies. So, take the time to suss this out. Itís much better to get this all figured out before you pull away than to try and Ďlearn on the jobí while driving.

Setting up your carís technology might look like any combination of the following:

  • Pairing your handheld device with your car
  • Working out the sound system (if your car is slightly older, this might even involve adding your favourite CDs!)
  • Adjusting the air con vents to hit you just right
  • Getting to grips with certain comfort features, like climate control and heated seats (if youíre lucky enough to have them)
  • Figuring out the navigation system or sat nav
  • Installing apps and learning how to use them (this is especially the case for iPhones who often have Apple pairing features available)

Now that youíre familiar with your carís features, itís essential to give a thought to safety before moving off.

Person adjusting car phone holder on the dashboard.

Initial tyre & safety checks

While it might be tempting to assume that a new car doesnít require any safety checks, itís always a good idea to have a cursory inspection yourself ó especially if purchasing a second-hand vehicle or one that has been stationary for a long period of time.

For your own peace of mind, as well as your passengersí, before driving away in your new car, have a quick check of the following core safety features:

Essentials to carry in your new car

It would also be worth familiarising yourself with any safety equipment that your vehicle comes with.

As always, it is recommended that you carry some yourself ó especially a warning triangle and a high-vis jacket, in case of breakdown. You may also want to arm yourself with some antifreeze and a windscreen scraper if itís cold. Equally, if youíre setting up your car during the warmer months, add in a bottle of water (for if you get stuck in traffic) and some sunglasses to avoid road glare. Keep some jump leads somewhere in the boot to save you from a flat battery, and youíre golden.

Check out our list of driving essentials for more inspiration.

Give your new car the best chance of success

We know full well that, at this point, all you want to do is take your new ride out for a spin ó and we donít blame you. But, if you can hold on for just a bit longer, there are a handful of essential steps to take in order to make sure that your new car stays feeling new for as long as possible.

Firstly, itís crucial that you understand the necessary maintenance for your car. How often does your car require a service? When was its last MOT (if it is second-hand)?

Think about your driving habits, here: Are you going to be doing a lot of short, quick journeys around town? If so, youíll want to book an Interim Service every six months (unless this is a brand-new car, in which case, wait a year).

Itís a great idea to start off on the right foot and have an idea of the maintenance needs your vehicle has, especially if it has had a previous owner and some previous issues with, say, the steering.

Itís also optimal to know where your nearest garage is should you need to book in for routine procedures such as an Engine Oil & Filter Change or a battery health check. Kwik Fit has over 600 centres across the UK ó so youíre never far from expert vehicle maintenance support.

Lastly, do yourself a favour and make sure you know the tips and tricks when it comes to saving fuel when driving. You might want to give our blog titled, Ď11 Easy Ways to Save Fuelí, a read.

Now, youíre ready to goÖ unless you want to make your new car a little more you first.

Mechanic doing a check on new car engine.

Personalising your new car

This final stage is definitely exciting, especially for new drivers who have never had their own car before. Car accessories ó from air fresheners to steering wheel covers ó are an excellent way to personalise your vehicle, make it stand out, and enhance your general driving experience.

Thinking of adding some finishing touches? Consider the following list for some inspiration:

  • Air fresheners. These can be bought from any garage, supermarket, or motor retailer, and can be personalised with quotes or even custom images. Plus, they make your car smell like sunshine, or fresh towels, or whatever youíre into.
  • A smartphone mount. It is against the law to be on your mobile phone while driving. And, in recent years, even to touch your phone behind the wheel. So, adding a phone mount is a great way to keep your phone visible for sat nav purposes, without it impacting the safety of you or other road users..
  • Seat covers. If youíre particularly precious about your new car (which, we totally understand), why not add some seat covers to keep the upholstery protected from dirt and debris? This is particularly effective if you have kids or pets!
  • Cleaning materials. Many people find it easier to stay on top of their car cleaning if they carry a few handy essentials in their vehicle. Dashboard or leather wipes are always useful and not too heavy ó remember, the more weight in your car, the more fuel you use!

For any larger modifications you wish to make ó to the vehicleís performance or exterior in particular ó we recommend that you keep a close eye on the current government guidelines to ensure that you stay compliant. Things like exhaust modifications are highly regulated (mainly due to emissions laws), as well as window tinting, engine enhancements, and adding new rims to wheels. So, while customisation is an exciting avenue to explore, make sure you know exactly what you can and canít do legally.

Keep your new car new

Now, all thatís left to do is enjoy cruising in your new car ó armed with the essentials and a handful of core safety tips. If itís your first time having your own car, or youíve just passed your test, we have plenty of helpful guides to driving, just search in our blog.

In the meantime, for any questions you might have about your new car, its tyres, brakes, or any other features, get in touch with our team of expert technicians who can point you in the right direction. Happy driving!

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Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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