Buying your first car is a big deal for everybody. According to BrokerLink Insurance brokerage, adults can steer the financial wheel, choosing various pricing options and navigate toward nice-to-have features for their first car.
Still, buying a vehicle for a teenager that has just received their license is a challenging task. We’re sure that you’ve educated them about driving theory and ensured they have enough practice before grabbing the wheel.
However, we also think that a teenager’s first car should promote responsible driving more than anything.
The Vehicle Size
While your first instinct as a parent might be going for maneuverability, smaller models turn over pretty quickly. Larger cars are heavier, thus, safer during accidental situations. Plus, a smaller car means less real estate for protective components inside.
As you’re looking for a medium-to-large vehicle, inspect the security features of each car you’re considering. It’s a norm for recent models to come with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC). Both act during near-crash situations to help control the vehicle.
Protection features also include side and curtain airbags in addition to the traditional ones. Seat belt reminders, proximity sensors, blind-spot alerts, and backup cameras are also a plus.
In general, organizations like Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publish car security ratings. Check them out and ensure the vehicle you’re considering hits the mark.
What Are Teen Driver Settings?
The latest models come equipped with the so-called teen driver settings. With these, parents get alerts if the driver surpasses the speed, turns the radio volume higher than a certain threshold, or doesn’t have their seatbelt fastened.
While your teenager might not like the control, these limits help them learn better driving habits from the get-go.
Used Vs. New
We’ve arrived at the eternal question. The trade-off between new and used cars can be tricky to navigate. Let’s go through a few aspects and figure out the answer together.
It goes without saying that new models are jam-packed with top security and nice-to-have features. Well, it is important to check there is a seat cushion for car to have comfortable driving.
Sure, newer cars have extended warranties. If you buy an older, used vehicle, you might not enjoy the same privileges as a new vehicle from the dealership.
Vehicles bought straight from the dealership are usually more reliable. They come from the manufacturer, are pre-checked before buying, and you have the right to turn to the seller if any issue occurs after the purchase.
In the case of used vehicles, you don’t have the luxury of taking the car back if you’ve already bought it. The solution is to inspect it yourself or have a specialist do so. This does strip from reliability. Still, you can land fantastic second-hand cars. Ensure the ride is given enough attention.
All the trade-offs we mentioned above boil down to the car’s price. The premium services, top-notch features, and reliability add to the total amount you pay for the car from a dealership. Most manufacturers offer special lease rates and deals, making it appealing to buy directly. Yet, prices in-shop can still be hefty for your budget.
On the other hand, the new cars depreciate by almost 40% once you drive away from the shop. Plenty of pre-owned vehicles have already taken their biggest hit in terms of depreciation. Thus, it’s more cost-efficient to buy a two-year-old vehicle that has been used carefully and is well-maintained. It’s still reliable enough and has the necessary security features.
Maintenance and Insurance Costs
According to NHTSA statistics, younger drivers are more prone to distractions behind the wheel, causing a higher risk of road accidents. While your child might be the most responsible, nobody is protected from incidents on the road.
Insurance for teen drivers tends to be higher than the norm and increases if accidents happen. Plus, the higher the initial price, the higher they climb.
Maintenance can also add to your monthly expenses. Newer vehicles also have higher maintenance costs.
Buying a car is a significant expense, and a car isn’t an investment but rather a liability. Thus, it needs a bit of consideration. Although your teen might be a promising driver from the start, experience is vital.
In this sense, gifting an expensive vehicle to your teen as a first car might not be the most responsible decision at times. Cars shouldn’t be viewed as a status item at this point. Instead, look at it from the practical and safety standpoint, and you’ll make the right choice.