What to Consider When Buying Your Teen Their First Car

May 22, 2019 | by sofia lockhart

Seeing your child pass their driving exam is sure to make you feel proud with a healthy dose of worry tossed in. Once your teen gets their license, they will probably be hoping to get a car as well. If you have the means to provide them with one – great! However, keeping in mind that your teen will now be operating a vehicle alone on the road, there are some things to consider before actually purchasing your teen their first car. Take note.

Understand the costs

Before you decide to do this, you should make sure your finances are in order. If you’ve been saving for a while for this purpose, you should have no issues. However, in case you have to take out a loan in order to purchase a car, you have to make sure you can make the monthly payments. As much as your teen may want a car, it is not worth sinking into debt because of it. This is an excellent time to discuss financial priorities and to be talking your expectations of their contributions. Depending on your philosophies, now would be a great time to talk about part-time job opportunities your teen could pursue, which would help them to meet any expenses that they will be in charge of covering.

New or used?

Sure, most kids dream of a brand-new car, and it’s a good idea on some levels seeing how new cars are often safer and come with all sorts of warranties. However, your child needs to understand that they first must prove that they are responsible enough to take care of a car – regardless of its newness, or lack thereof. This is one of the reasons why getting a second-hand car, in the beginning, is much better, plus you can save a lot of money.

Insurance is obligatory

Another expense you cannot overlook is insurance. It is best to turn to your insurance provider to see how much insuring the car in question would cost. Keep in mind that different vehicles come with different costs. For example, new and used cars have different quotes. In addition, the size and power of the vehicle also play a role. Furthermore, you can add your teen to the family insurance policy but prepare yourself for the inevitable increase to your annual premium. However, it will still be cheaper than getting them their own policy.


Safety concerns

When looking for a vehicle for your child, safety needs to be on top of your priority list. The first and most important thing is to make sure your kids understand the consequences of bad and negligent driving. They should be aware of the risks they could be posing not just to themselves but to their passengers and other drivers as well. Behaving responsibly behind the wheel is not negotiable. Once you start your search, decide which safety aspects are most important in your new vehicle. Of course, most of this will depend on whether you are going for a brand-new car or a used one. In general, it is recommended to give your teen a larger car like a midsize sedan, as they have a low center of gravity and are less likely to roll over. Other important features such as airbags can also save lives in case of an accident, while having traction control and ABS can help prevent them, to begin with.

How much power should it have?

In addition to the build and safety features of the car, you should also take its power into account. Teens often like to show off their car and having a lot of horsepower can lead to accidents, especially with drivers that are not yet that skilled and experienced. Furthermore, smaller engines are more practical because they are more fuel-efficient, and they also discourage speeding. So, the smart choice is to look into models that don’t put horsepower at the forefront.

Look into helpful technology

Technology has come a long way and there are now apps and devices which allow monitoring of the way our children are driving. Seeing as how texting while driving results in many accidents, you can have your teen install DriveSafe.ly. This app is compatible with all smartphones and it reads any incoming messages out loud and it even lets the driver respond via voice. To completely stop them from texting, you have the Textecution app or DriveMode apps. There are also apps that let you know when the driver goes over the speed limit and those that help you track the vehicle’s location.

Keep the costs of running and maintenance in mind

Other than buying the car and getting insurance, there will be plenty of other costs associated with having an extra car in the family. First of all, fuel. Going back to understanding costs, be clear in the expectations you have of your teen; again, maybe it’s time to look at part-time jobs. It’s important that they have some buy-in, literally; whatever that might look like to your family.

Teaching them about ways to lower fuel costs is also a good idea. They should also be responsible for washing it. Furthermore, maintenance can take a big chunk of your budget. Your teen should know the basics of car maintenance, such as changing the oil, inspecting the fluids and checking the tire pressure. If they notice any more serious issues, they should not hesitate to tell you so that you can contact a mechanic ASAP.

As you probably could have guessed, there are many things to consider when buying your teen a car. However, if you teach your child to be responsible and get them a car that isn’t too much for them to handle, you’re off to a great start. 


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