A teen’s first car is their pride and joy, but as a parent, you know that everything that glitters isn’t gold. A red sports coupe might turn their head, but you know there’s much more to buying a vehicle than looks alone. Before you step onto the lot, consider the features that make some cars better than others for teens and keep these tips in mind.
Cars for teens were once luxuries, so it wasn’t unusual to see students driving older vehicles. But long commutes to school and work are a reality today, and it’s a necessary convenience for young adults to have dependable transportation. That doesn’t mean you have to buy new, but there are advantages to choosing a late model car over one that is well past its prime. The price is a little higher, but it’s likely to be more dependable and need fewer repairs. Later models also tend to have better gas mileage, which will save money. Low-mileage, late model cars often have residual warranties, and their advanced technology makes them safer to drive.
Modern cars are safer than ever, and that’s important because inexperienced teen drivers get in more accidents than adults — especially in the first year. New cars are increasingly coming with driver assistance technologies such as collision warning systems and automatic braking. Late model used cars also have better safety features including air bags and tire pressure monitoring systems. There are quite a few cars with great safety ratings that would be good choices for your teen’s first car. The National Safety Transportation Board maintains an online database of crash test results on most models.
Cost of Ownership
Buying your teen a car gives them a head start in life, but once they’re on their own, the cost of owning a vehicle comes out of their pocket. Insurance costs, fuel economy and the price of maintenance adds up. And because the average lifespan of a newer car is more than ten years, the teen you purchase a vehicle for today will soon be an adult with changing needs, making resale value an important consideration.
Car shopping can be stressful, but it’s a major purchase, and it pays to do your research and consider value, not just price. Safety, reliability and the cost of ownership count. Someday, your teen will be thankful for your efforts.
If you enjoy reading articles about cars and driving, check out this other article with tips on how to stay safe while driving on the highway during a road trip!