5 Considerations for Every Parent when Buying Your Teen’s First Car
Watching your child grow up is a bittersweet thing. The years have a habit of speeding up, and before you know it your little one is flying the coop to start a new life altogether. Setting your child up to drive is one of the most practical things you can do for them before they leave, giving them the option to travel on their own terms. The ‘first car’ is a rite of passage for youngsters but choosing one can be difficult. What should you know before you embark on your search?
When it comes down to buying their first car, it is essential to make some considerations and ensure that it has all the necessary safety features. As a new driver, your child won’t be experienced on the road and teaching them the importance of being cautious, respectful of other drivers, and smart in their decision-making on the road is vital.
On the other hand, investing in the right car can make a difference! Here is some food for thought that can guide you to choose the best and safest car for your teenager!
Buying Your Teen’s First Car – 5 Things to Consider
Buying Your Teen’s First Car #1
Opt for a Used but Safe Car
Learning how to drive is an essential rite of passage and, with time and experience, your child will be able to handle most situations with confidence. However, during the first months, their car is bound to fall victim to minor scratches and bumps, and investing in a brand new vehicle is not always the smartest choice.
A simple way to bring costs down and improve the likelihood of meeting all criteria is to buy used. Luckily, today, you can invest in used or affordable cars with nothing to envy new models. For city slickers, used Audi hatchbacks are popular choices owing to their reliability and smooth driving experience; they are also just as affordable as a new car from a less reputable brand.
But buying used also introduces new risks. Used cars are more likely to break down sooner overall, and might come with increased maintenance costs as a result. Sellers can also be untrustworthy if not vetted properly, making it really important that you check all car documentation before you buy.
But don’t forget that consulting an experienced dealer who will examine and assess the vehicle’s safety is crucial!
Buying Your Teen’s First Car #2
Budget for Unforeseen Costs
First things first, you should privately settle on a budget for your car search. It’s all too easy as a parent to get haggled up’ to higher asking prices by a child quite simply excited by the prospect of owning a car. Setting your own budget in advance gives you more control over this, and allows you to narrow your search more helpfully.
The car’s price is not the only cost you will have to deal with. Of course, there is insurance and fuel. However, older vehicles can also end up costing more because of the frequent maintenance, checks, and repairs needed.
When setting this budget, you might also want to think about ongoing costs. How much can your child afford towards fuel and maintenance costs – and what are you willing to chip in in the event of an accident or breakdown?
Ultimately, buying a used car can be a smart choice, but you should ensure that it can still easily handle several kms/miles on the road before needing servicing. And, of course, it is crucial to understand the car’s fuel consumption before committing to such a monthly expense!
Buying Your Teen’s First Car #3
Search Criteria – What Will They Use the Car For?
What will your child be using the car for primarily? It might simply be a car for getting to and from university, or for navigating the new city to which they are headed. In this case, a compact hatchback is a perfect choice for weaving through city traffic. For longer-distance driving or regular work travel, they might need a diesel engine for more efficient motorway driving.
Search criteria and budget can also interplay in a number of ways here. A larger budget for a city car enables you to look at nicer models with more modern conveniences; a smaller budget for more specific needs might see you thinking more judiciously about budget bare-bones models.
Caring for the car is essential: Being a car owner means taking on a lot of responsibility and one important part of that responsibility is making sure that the car is in good working order. This means ensuring they manage a budget to get their car serviced, but you might also want to teach them a few aspects of DIY car maintenance, such as being able to change the spark plugs, replace old filters, and change tyres when they’re out on the road. It can save them a lot of money and help them keep the vehicle in good driving condition.
Buying Your Teen’s First Car #4
Start Looking for Insurance Early
Insurance is a key consideration – and especially so for younger drivers like your child. Insurance is considerably higher for newer and younger drivers, owning to their increased likelihood of suffering or causing a road incident. There are many ways you can work to bring this premium down, though, with black box insurance a strong option.
Black box insurance sees a transponder attached to the car, that measures data such as speed and distance travelled and sends it to the insurer. Alternatively, you could add yourself as an experienced driver to the policy and bring costs down that way.
So whether your teenager has already passed a driving test or has just started taking driving lessons, it is never too early to start looking at insurance policies. Most insurers will offer plans that are particularly costly, especially for first-time drivers. But, with enough research, you will be able to find a policy that is not only convenient but will also cover every situation.
Know to Handle a Crisis
You should never assume that your teen isn’t going to get into some bother on the road. All drivers are likely to get into one accident in their lifetime. How they handle that accident can make a big difference. Teach your kid the basics of dealing with a collision: how to make sure everyone is alright, avoid taking the blame, collect evidence, and how to work with car accidents lawyers to ensure justice is done right. Otherwise, accidents can be a lot more costly than they would otherwise be.
Buying Your Teen’s First Car #5
Consider an Electric Vehicle & Defensive Driving Lessons
How about an Electric Vehicle (EV): Not many ex first-time drivers could enjoy the luxury of an electric vehicle. However, today, hybrid and electric cars have become increasingly popular, and they make for a smart choice for any driver. Aside from helping you save on fuel, it is an excellent choice to limit emissions, live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle, and enjoy a long-term investment.
There’s always more to learn: Aside from the basic lessons you can teach your child about owning a car and staying safe on the road, there’s nothing like practising to make perfect.
If your teen is likely to spend a lot of time on some particularly busy roads, then you might want to look at the possibility of signing them up for defensive driving teaching. These advanced lessons can really beat into them the lessons of always being careful on the road, always being aware, and always doing what they can to mitigate any dangers that arise on the way.
Photos by Jeshoots.com – CCO Licence
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