Many teens cannot wait for the moment when the drivers test is passed. They view this milestone as a ticket to freedom. Along with this new found privilege, parents frequently add to the family fleet by buying their teen a car. Since there are virtually unlimited options for making this purchase, a few hints to give the parents some direction on buying the right vehicle are in order.
New drivers do not need a car loaded with excessive horsepower.
It is tempting to make that first car a sporty model that leaves everything in the dust. However, teens, and especially boys, have a tendency to want to drive too fast too soon. With limited driving experience and skills, teens who are given this type of car end up in an accident. The problem is that with a fast car, the accident is likely to be worse than with a less flashy model.
Aim for reliable and safe.
You do not want your teen stranded far from help. To help avoid this possibility, purchasing a reliable car will give you a measure of mental comfort. The car should be easy to start. It needs good brakes and tires. Make sure the steering and front end are tight. A slightly larger car will be safer than a subcompact. It may cost you a little more for gasoline. However, it is likely to be a little cheaper to insure and will hold up to a dent or two without passenger injuries. A larger car tends to discourage some of the fast risky driving, also.
Make the car fit the family budget.
By the time a teen starts driving, you are in the middle of trying to sort out the finances for a college education. While this vehicle will almost certainly be your teen’s transportation to college, you can find plenty of lesser priced cars that will fit the budget. Buying a car that is 10 years or so old with reasonable miles on the odometer will provide your teen with a decent vehicle for the next six or seven years. Teens do not tend to add on the miles as quickly as adults. Buying a car with 50,000 to 100,000 miles left in its life will easily last the duration of what your teen needs to complete the educational process.
Set aside an extra $500 dollars to use for upkeep on the car.
Since you do want to keep the car in top running condition, you will need to allocate a little extra cash for this purpose. During the first two years, you will need to add tires, keep the oil changed, and do minor repairs in a timely fashion. This cash cushion will allow you to do this without taxing the budget. If you borrow money to buy this car, try to borrow a little extra if possible to provide this money. It will keep you from being tempted to put your teen at risk because you put off getting needed repairs accomplished.
Buy a car that you can use as an extra family car until the teen leaves for college.
Most family have times when they really could use one more car. This can happen when it is necessary to have one of the family cars out of service for repairs. It might occur when a trip is planned but a vehicle is needing work. Having an extra car makes this type of predicament easy to live through. Make sure that your teen understands this fact when you buy the car. This will help you to avoid conflict when the car must be used for pressing family needs.
Unless your are a mechanic, avoid buying a car that needs a lot of work.
This type of car can be purchased cheaply. However, the cost of repairs can easily exceed the extra cost of buying a better car to begin with. You will have a much more positive experience if you only need to tweak a good car than to do extensive repairs to a broken down one.