May 25, 2021

How to Help Your Teen Pick Out Their First Vehicle

Your teen has worked to earn their driver's license. Now comes the moment they have been waiting for and the time you may dread: picking out their first vehicle. It may be scary to think of your child hitting the road without you in the passenger's seat. You can, however, make the most of this exciting time in your teen's life by helping them pick out their first vehicle. 

Buy New, Buy Used, Or Lease?

Most parents want their kids to have the best of everything. Purchasing a new car outright for your teen may not, however, be the best idea in terms of economics.

New cars come with higher registration fees and insurance rates. You are already paying more every month for your teen to be on your policy because of their lack of experience behind the wheel. A new car can drive the insurance bill to heights you may struggle to pay for every month.

Some parents opt for used cars instead of new autos for their teens in order to save money on registration, insurance, and interest rates. After all, 30% of Americans have bad credit that places them in a position to fall prey to subprime loans.

While economical, it is important to remember that a used car does not have the latest safety features. Choosing to buy new or used, then, is largely a matter of personal preference.

Weighing the Costs

Google processes more than 3.5 billion searches per day, according to Internet Live Stats. Some factors to consider when thinking of buying your teen a new car are:

  • Insurance rates.
  • Maintenance, as new cars tend to need fewer repairs.
  • Reliability, as new cars tend to be more dependable because of low maintenance bills.

Still, there are benefits to purchasing older models for your teen. Used cars have been on the road for a few years, which means they have performance records. You can essentially determine which makes and models are more reliable based on years of experience instead of relying on the manufacturer's suggestion that is often biased. Older vehicles also eliminate inflation costs that come with new car purchases. You will likely pay what the car is worth if you opt for a used vehicle.

Safety Features to Look For

Size is an important factor when considering safety. SUVs are by far the most dangerous types of vehicles for teens because of their general makeup. A sports utility vehicle is elevated and bulky, which creates a challenge for inexperienced drivers. Your teen is more likely to turn the vehicle over when turning left or right because he or she lacks awareness in terms of speed and hydroplane.

Compact and subcompact vehicles are not necessarily ideal for teens, either. The likelihood of your child suffering injury after an accident in these vehicles is high. However, if you plan on purchasing a high-end vehicle, such as one of the Mercedes-Benz vehicles that are manufactured in 30 countries around the world, then a smaller car may be a safe option.

Many parents look to mid-sized sedans as the middle ground for their teen's first car. These vehicle types are big enough to protect the driver yet not overwhelming in terms of size.

The Reliability Factor

Purchasing a new vehicle increases the reliability factor by default. The likelihood of your teen being stranded because of mechanical breakdowns is rare. There are, however, recalls that could impede reliability. It is best to check with the manufacturer when determining which vehicle is most dependable.

Used cars come with the benefit of a track record that shows their reliability, or lack thereof. You can request repair records to see how often a vehicle may need tune-ups and other significant maintenance. Searching the Internet for the Carfax report of your teen's desired vehicle is another way to access records that speak of the car's dependability.

Buying a first car is an exciting time in your teen's life and the family at large. You can be present to provide wisdom so your child picks the vehicle that provides the most bang for their buck.

Devin is a writer and an avid reader. When she isn't lost in a book or writing, she's busy in the kitchen trying to perfect her slow cooker recipes. You can find her poetry published in The Adirondack Review and Cartridge Lit.

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