What to Look for When Buying Your Teen a Car

The day has finally come. Do your palms sweat just thinking about it? Having your teen in their first car is both nerve-wracking and exciting. On one hand, they are less experienced drivers who are going to be surrounded by all of driving’s potential consequences. On the other, no more jumping through hoops and manipulating your schedule to pick them up from school and take them to their friends’ houses.

Having one last semblance of control over your teen’s life and purchasing the right car can be a cathartic experience. Not only will they be overjoyed by the surprise, but you will be able to rest easy knowing they’re in a safe, reliable vehicle. To ensure you find the right car for your teen, here some things to look out for.

5-Star Safety Ratings

You’ve managed to keep your child alive and healthy up to the point of driving a car. Now, it’s time to keep them safe when they’re outside of your control. Check with the NHTSA for crash test safety ratings to see if the car you’re considering will protect your teenager. These ratings are based on:

  • Frontal crash tests
  • Side impact test
  • Side pole crash
  • Rollover resistance

Also, be sure to communicate with your teen the importance of safe driving. Texting and driving is a growing problem among the younger generations, and it’s causing unnecessary accidents. Talk to them about installing a safe driving app. Be open about it and don’t track them without their consent. This will only create resentment if they find out. Agree to put it on your and your partner’s phone as well and try making it a game! Whoever is the safest driver each month gets to pick the restaurant of their choice. Whatever the reward, make sure to keep the conversation light in tone but serious in subject matter.

New and Reliable or Used and Affordable

In general, a teen’s first car is bought secondhand. Used cars are more affordable and will help ease your teen into the responsibility of owning a car. High school drivers can be expected to make a few silly mistakes. Maybe they thought they could squeeze into a space and scraped a corner, or they accidentally hit the curb and lost a hubcap. These minor bumps and damages are typically a rite of passage. Some parents use this as an opportunity to teach the valuable lesson of hard work and earning money. Have your teen agree to pay for any damages that occur. This will help encourage them to drive safely.

What about the reliability and safety features that come with a new car? These are important to consider, and it might be worth searching dealerships near me just to get an idea of the price. Although, with the average cost of a new car more than doubling that of your typical used vehicle, it might not be economical.

There is also a middle of the road option: a certified pre-owned vehicle. A certified pre-owned is a used car that has gone through testing by the manufacturer to ensure it still meets the original standards. This is a great way to buy cheaper than new and avoid stressing about the reliability.

Less Horsepower, Less Temptation

For young, hormone-filled teens, the chance to race down the street or beat the yellow light seems like a noble challenge. For parents who are wiser to the wind, this type of foolishness is precisely what keeps them up at night.

To assume some responsibility for your teen’s recklessness, try looking for a car that isn’t built for speed. Surely your teen will argue why having a 2,000-horsepower twin-turbo v8 engine is necessary for his or her betterment. But you, the parent, will know better. An older ’08 Honda Civic would have enough power to transport them safely from point A to point B without tempting them to make every yellow.

Best Parents Ever

Regardless of what car you choose for your teen, they are going to be overjoyed when they see the little bowtie on a key chain. To them, even a plank of wood with four wheels signifies freedom and adulthood. Anything above that and you will officially be the best parents ever.

Once you’ve researched the safest cars and found the best deals, remember to take a breather. You too were once that giddy, acne-speckled teen who wanted that same freedom. It’s always nice when you get to pass something like that on to the next generation. Enjoy this moment.

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