How to deal with new car nerves

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s a brand new car from the showroom or a new-to-you car that has been pre-loved: it’s normal to be nervous about driving a new car.

It might be a case of car buyer’s remorse. Perhaps your new vehicle is more powerful or more expensive than anything you’ve ever driven before. Or maybe it’s your first car and you don’t want to damage it.

In today’s article, we’ll explore the reasons why you might be feeling anxious about driving your new car – and how you can overcome that anxiety to fully enjoy your new ride. Let’s begin.

Why does it feel weird to drive a new car?

Learning to drive a new car is a steep learning curve. It will take some time to get used to the new controls and quirks of your new vehicle. The best thing you can do is drive your new car regularly to build up your confidence.

If you have owned the same vehicle for several years, driving it will almost feel like second nature to you. You won’t even have to think about jumping into it, starting it up and setting off to your destination.

But there comes a time in every car owner’s life when they must trade their trusty old wagon for a new model. If you dislike change, this can be a difficult transition. It also doesn’t help if you’re a particularly anxious driver.

If you’re feeling this way, know that you’re not alone. It’s an issue that affects us all – from bonafide car enthusiasts to everyday drivers. Don’t believe me? Ask your parents, teachers or friends. We have all experienced it.

Read on to find out how you can confront it.

How can you deal with new car anxiety?

The key is to get more comfortable and confident with your new car. One way to do this is by simply driving the car and spending more time in it. You’ll soon forget your worries and start enjoying the experience.

As with most things in life, the key to overcoming new car nerves is to spend more time doing the very thing you fear. In this case, that means driving the car.

Here are a few things you can do to ease the process of getting used to your new vehicle:

  • Sit in the car and familiarise yourself with the environment
  • Read and understand your vehicle’s accompanying manual
  • Join forums, subreddits and online communities for your vehicle
  • Take it slow and practise the basics on quiet roads
  • Just drive it!

It’s also important to understand that your new car will naturally be subjected to some wear and tear. You won’t be able to keep it pristine forever. Cars are subject to some really harsh conditions out on the road and marks and scuffs are inevitable.

Lots of drivers consider their anxiety defeated once they receive their first scratch or ding on their new car (see the ‘first ding’ theory). But for most of us, it’s just a case of getting over that initial hurdle and getting used to a new situation.

Your new car is designed to be driven, and driving it should always be an experience that you enjoy. You paid a lot of money for it, so don’t leave it depreciating on the driveway!

How long does it take to get comfortable in a new car?

It depends. For new drivers, it can take a month or two to get acquainted with a new car. For more experienced drivers, the ‘bedding in’ process can take as little as a few days to a week.

The more you drive your new car, the quicker you will feel comfortable with it. Don’t worry if you dislike it at first – this feeling will subside. The chances are that you will come to love your new ride just as much (if not more) than your old one.

More experienced drivers can own two, three or four different cars at a time. As we gain more years of driving experience, it becomes easier to jump in and out of different cars and learn the ropes.

Don’t rush the process. Take it at your own speed. Literally!

What is Car buyer’s remorse?

Car buyer’s remorse is the feeling of regret you might get after purchasing a new car. You might miss your old car or be unhappy with the way your new car drives. For the most part, it’s a short-term scenario that fades with time.

In more serious cases, where you are still feeling remorse months into the ownership of your new vehicle, there may be no other option than to return or exchange your vehicle.

It’s always a good idea to understand the laws behind new (and used) car purchases and what you are legally entitled to if something goes wrong. For example, if the car is faulty, this should fall on the dealer or manufacturer to put it right.

But if you’re simply uncomfortable with your new car, you call the shots. Can you wait it out? Most scenarios of car buyers remorse get significantly better with time.

The ‘first ding’ theory

OK, so we kind of made this theory up. But it makes perfect sense to me and countless other drivers.

Getting your first ding on a new vehicle can be the key to unlocking new car nerves and deleting the anxiety of driving it. Dings and scratches prove that a vehicle is vulnerable and that no matter how careful you are, your car will always succumb to some minor wear and tear.

At the end of the day, a car is just that: a car. The modern motor vehicle has been pored over by engineers for well over a century. It’s designed to get you around with maximum reliability and safety. But it’s not supposed to be perfect forever.

Plus, by the time you receive your first ding, it’s likely that you have driven the car a reasonable amount. You’re probably more comfortable with it at this point. 

So go out there and get your first ding! Remember that everything on a vehicle can either be repaired or replaced.


Being scared of driving a new vehicle is a perfectly normal feeling for any driver. Trust us, new car nerves can affect even the most experienced of enthusiasts.

The key to overcoming this anxiety is through driving it. You’ll soon get used to its quirks and features. 

But don’t rush it. Give yourself some time. Losing your previous car (and all the memories that came along with it) can sometimes feel like losing a family member. Allow yourself enough time to adjust to your new vehicle and you’ll be enjoying it in no time.

Do you have any personal tips for overcoming new car anxiety? Let us know below and help out the community!

3 thoughts on “How to deal with new car nerves”

  1. Thank you this helps a lot! I googled anxiety after buying a new car and I kept getting answers about buyer’s remorse and that’s not it. After reading this I realized I’m being overemotional bc it’s my dream car and it already feels sacred to me. I want to protect it like it’s my literal baby lol. I’m definitely bookmarking this, I’ll probably be rereading it a lot in the future

    • Hey Sky, thank you for the comment – glad to hear the article helped you! Rest assured, it is natural and will get better with time. In the meantime, get out there and enjoy driving it!

      – Neil

  2. Thanks for the helpful article. I’m about to collect my first ever brand new car (Motability) and although the gentleman in the showroom has done his best to reassure me and spent quite a lot of time showing me the controls and taking me on quite a long test drive, I am still nervous about this change. I’ve had my current vehicle for 11 years and it is over 20 years old with gearbox issues (it’s an automatic), so inevitably the time has come to retire it….We’ve seen a lot of ups and downs together so no wonder it has sentimental value. All that said, I know I just need to get on with it now and enjoy it…..wish me luck!!


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