How to Get Used to Driving a New Car: 5 Practical Tips

First of all, congratulations on your new purchase. And welcome to the exciting world of driving a new car! It’s an experience filled with a blend of excitement and some apprehension. Driving a new car, whether it’s brand new off the lot or just new to you, brings a unique set of challenges and joys. This article is here to ease your transition, making the shift as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. We’ll guide you through practical tips on how to get used to a new car, ensuring your journey is smooth, safe, and satisfying.

1. Familiarise Yourself with the Controls

Every car has its quirks, and a new car is no exception. Spend some time getting to know your car’s features - from the steering wheel and climate control to the windscreen wiper and hazard lights. It's essential to familiarise yourself with these controls before hitting the road. This understanding can significantly improve your response times in unexpected situations, enhancing safety and confidence while driving.

2. Adjusting to a New Car Clutch and Steering Wheel

For many drivers, getting used to a new car clutch can be a challenge, especially if it feels different from your previous vehicle. Practice in an empty car park to find the bite point and understand the car's response times. Pay attention to steering and braking as well, as these can vary significantly from one car to another.

It is important to remember that when you first start driving your car, the handling will feel very different from when you have broken it in a bit. This is partly due to the fact that your tyres will be coated with a thin oil-like substance, which is a result of the new rubber and the release agent used on the tyre mould. The coating can take some time to wear off completely. In the meantime, the grip of your tyres may not be what you are used to, especially in wet weather, so extra care is needed.

3. How to Break In a New Car – Take It Easy

The first 1,600 kilometres are crucial for a new car. This period, known as the break-in phase, is when you should be particularly mindful of how you drive. Avoid pushing the engine too hard, maintain steady speeds, and monitor oil consumption and coolant levels. This care will ensure your car maintains its efficiency and longevity.

As well as keeping your driving speed reasonably low when you start travelling in your new car, you should also keep an eye on your engine speed. Diesel engines shouldn't exceed 3,000 rpm for the first 1,000 miles, but they should reach this level regularly.

Petrol engines also shouldn't go over 3,000 rpm but only for the initial 800 kilometres. After this point, you can take the engine up to 4,000 rpm. Things, of course, are different again if you drive an EV car.

4. Understand and Manage Your Car’s Technology

Modern cars come equipped with an array of technology, from advanced car safety systems to entertainment and navigation features. Take time to understand how these work. Reading the manual, practicing in a safe environment, and gradually integrating these features into your driving routine can help you feel more comfortable and in control.

With modern cars there are a myriad of features designed specifically to improve your driving experience. From the infotainment system to driver-assist technologies like lane-keeping assist or adaptive cruise control. Understanding and utilising these features can not only make your drive more enjoyable but also significantly safer.

5. Embrace the New Driving Experience

Adjusting to a new car isn't just about mastering its mechanics; it's about embracing a whole new driving experience. Every car has its own personality, and getting in sync with it can transform your driving journey into something truly special. The feel of the steering wheel, the sound of the engine, even the way the seat hugs your back - these distinct feelings are unique to each vehicle.

Take the time to savour these nuances. Notice how the car responds to your touch, the smoothness of gear shifts, and the way it runs over different terrains. This heightened awareness not only enhances your driving pleasure but also helps you intuitively understand your car's capabilities and limits.

Pay attention to how the car handles turns, accelerates, and brakes. Each model has its own dynamics, and understanding these can make your driving more intuitive and safer. For instance, your new car might have a sharper turn radius or a more responsive brake system than what you're used to. Practicing in a variety of conditions - be it a busy city street, a winding country road, or a slick, rainy highway - can help you get a real feel for these characteristics.

Can I Drive a New Car Home Without Insurance and Tax in Ireland?

In Ireland, it’s illegal to drive a new car home without first having insurance and vehicle tax in place. Before you drive off the dealership lot, ensure that you have at least the minimum required insurance coverage. You can arrange for temporary insurance coverage if needed, and it’s wise to sort out your annual car insurance policy promptly. As for vehicle tax, this should be arranged before taking the car on public roads.


Adapting to a new car is a journey filled with learning and adjustment. By familiarising yourself with the car’s controls, adjusting to the clutch and handling, caring for your car during the break-in period, understanding its technology, and embracing the new driving experience, you’ll find yourself more comfortable and confident behind the wheel. Remember, safety is paramount, so ensure your car is insured and taxed before driving it in Ireland.

For more insights into car care and driving tips, explore our content hubs on car maintenance and safe driving tips. Happy driving!

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