Buying a Car for a Teen
Once teenagers receive their driver licenses, their attention turns to getting their own cars. As the adult, it is your responsibility to ensure that this vehicle is safe. Buying a car is always a big decision but especially so when the auto will be transporting your most precious cargo. Experts recommend delaying this purchase until teens have had their licenses for one year. When the time comes, consider several factors in order to make the best choice.
Listen to Yourself, Not Your Teen
Teens often want the fastest, sportiest cars on the market because they want to appear “cool.” Unfortunately, these cars tend to encourage speeding. New drivers lack the knowledge and skills to safely test the performance of such vehicles so do not give them the opportunity to do this. Instead, look for a mid-size or full-size car with plenty of safety features. Front, size, and curtain airbags reduce the chance of injury and anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control decrease the likelihood of a crash.
Many teens prefer big cars such as pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles. Since these vehicles are large and heavy, they may seem safe. However, they are more likely to roll over so they are not the best choices for teens. When encountering a hazard or becoming distracted, new drivers have a greater tendency to over-correct their steering or head off the roadway, contributing to rollovers. Passenger cars equipped with electronic stability control reduce this risk.
Do Not Rule Out Used Cars for Teens
Though your teen may have eyes for a shiny, new car, the household budget may not support this. New cars are expensive and quickly lose their value. In addition to the purchase price, the buyer must consider costs to insure, maintain, and repair the vehicle. This gives parents an opportunity to discuss money management and responsible vehicle ownership with their teens.
Many late-model, used cars are safe, reasonably priced, and have low mileage, making them good options. Parents should decide whether their teens will contribute to monthly car loan payments or repairs. It is typically cheaper for parents to keep teens on their car insurance policies for the first several years but teens can still help with payments.
Considering these factors will put teen drivers in their own vehicles without putting parents into debt or causing excess worry. Before purchasing cars for their teens, parents should read expert vehicle reviews and check rollover and safety ratings on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration websites. A smart purchase can reduce risk of a crash while giving teens freedom to explore the open road.