It’s tempting to say that a high-mileage clunker with four wheels and an engine is the right car to start a teenager out with. Odds are the car doesn’t go fast, and your kid will learn about cars by needing to have it fixed on a regular basis. On second thought, an old car will more than likely get bad gas mileage and regularly breakdown. One of the joys of buying your teen a new car is that you should no longer have to play the role of “school-run mom” and “dad’s taxi service.”
Buying your teenager a car should make life easier for you and them. Here are some words to the wise when looking for the best starter car for a teenager.
Safety is paramount. Safety isn’t just about having a vehicle in good working order. Safety includes features such as airbags, ABS brakes, power steering, and door locking activated automatically upon starting the engine. It is vital that you make safety features non-negotiable. When buying a young driver a used car, make sure the vehicle is easy to drive and all electrical systems have been checked. Not all cars these days come with a spare tire and the tools to change a wheel. Therefore, when you buy a new or used car, be sure to ask.
Consider the start system, size, weight, fuel economy, and engine capacity of the car. Remember, bigger is not always better. Cars that are physically big and powerful take skill and experience to control. There are mid-sized and small cars that are also fun to drive and offer many of the same safety features as bigger cars. Before purchasing a used car, consider having a mechanic check the car for starter problems and to make sure the car battery is functioning properly.
A test drive will also give you an opportunity to check the visibility and find blind spots. You should only have to turn your eyes to see in all directions, not your head. If you can’t accomplish this, chances are an amateur teenager driver won’t be able to as well. Good visibility is crucial because other vehicles can appear out of nowhere in a flash. Inexperienced teenager drivers need to be able to spot these cars quickly.
All cars can and will eventually break down. This usually happens at the most inopportune times or in the most inconvenient places, sometimes simultaneously. If a used car belonged to your grandma or grandpa, only buy it if you know the vehicle was taken care of. Yes, even if it has low mileage. Be wary of low-mileage cars that are being sold for less than market value. Oftentimes, this is an indication that it has been in an accident and isn’t in the greatest condition.
A good rule of thumb is to find your teenager a car around the $8,000-$12,000 price range. Take the condition of the car and fuel efficiency into consideration when looking at vehicles in this price range. When deciding what to spend, take the time to get quotes and guidelines from your car insurance provider to see what insuring your teenager will cost you. Remember that the engine size, driver age, and car mileage will all affect insurance premiums. Fancy gadgets and car modifications also raise insurance premiums.
Cheaper insurance usually comes with higher co-pays for teen drivers come claim time. Some insurers will offer discounts to drivers who have completed classes like advanced driving. Not only do these classes save you on insurance costs, but they will also teach your kids safe driving skills. Some insurance companies insist that insured vehicles have a speed regulator or governor for a teenage driver. In exchange, insurance companies will offer a cheaper premium.
Owning your first car is always exciting. However, driving comes with more responsibility and independence. That starts with respect for the law and respect for other drivers. The most dangerous part of a car is often the person behind the wheel. Therefore, no license, no driving, no ca. Period.