So it’s finally that time, the time that you’ve been waiting for (and possibly dreading) when your pride and joy finally reaches driving age. Well, even though this might be a certifiable nightmare for you, it’s more than likely a joyous and exciting time for your teen.
Buying your teen their first car is a rite of passage, both for your teen and for you. And this is an experience that is sure to be remembered long down the road.
But what exactly should you be looking for when it comes to buying your teen their first vehicle? Are you going to buy a used car, or are you getting them a brand new set of wheels even better than your own?
All in all, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying your teen their very first vehicle. And in the following, we’ll explore the more important factors you need to consider before you ever open your wallet.
Insuring a teenage driver can be costly. But while knowing that the cost for insuring your teen will likely be higher, the type of car you buy will have a huge impact on cost.
When you’re out considering cars for your teen, keep in mind that several factors can raise your insurance premium. And a few of these factors are listed below:
- Age of the driver
- Amount of doors
- Safety features
- Age of the vehicle
- Style (sports car or sedan)
Though there are many other factors, three that remain the most prominent and that can affect the cost of insurance are make, model, and age of the driver, the latter often being the biggest factor
Further, believe it or not, trucks are often about 5 percent lower to insure than sedans. And vehicles that are frequently stolen (such as a Honda Accord) are sometimes more costly to insure depending on your insurance company.
If you had it your way, your teen would probably be driving down the road in an impenetrable tank, free to smash into anything without being harmed. But unfortunately, we’re not allowed to drive tanks down the road in the United States as of 2022.
As safety is probably going to be your primary concern for your teen driver, you’ll want to make sure that you choose the safest vehicle that’s within your budget, and one that also allows your teen to remain a bit stylish as well. But there are a few factors you’ll want to pay attention to. A few of these are as follows:
- Front and side airbags
- Accident avoidance systems
- Crash test safety ratings
- Traction control
- Anti Lock brakes (ABS)
You should also note that a safety rating is based on a 5-star system,i.e., the more stars, the better the rating. As such, choosing a vehicle for your teen with at least 4 or 5 stars is often considered the safest option.
If you’re going the traditional route and you’re considering buying your teen a used vehicle, it’s extremely important to pay close attention to the vehicle’s history. And this is because if the vehicle is fairly old, it could have already been wrecked and have underlying issues.
When looking at a used vehicle, obtaining a car history report such as via Carfax is a great starting point. Additionally, ask the dealer as many questions as you can about the vehicle’s history, and if they had to do any improvements or repairs on the vehicle before placing it for sale.
Though you might expect that the dealer might not be as honest with you as you hope, there are other ways to see if a car has any previous damage. As such, taking it to a competent mechanic before finalizing your sale is often a recommended practice.
Infographic created by Capital Auto Auction, an online car auction company
Making Your Teen Happy
If you truly believe that your teen can handle the throaty roar of a V8 Mustang Cobra, then more power to you. But is this the type of lifestyle that you want for your teen? It might look and sound cool, but that’s a lot of power under the hood for an inexperienced driver to handle.
Keeping it simple is often the best approach when it comes to buying your teen their first vehicle. As such, pick out a few models that you feel are safe and affordable. And you may be surprised at what choice your teen gets excited about. Because chances are, any car will be a great buy simply because it will be theirs.