Buying a car for your teen is an important step. Here’s a quick guide on the must-do’s before you buy and give them their first car.
by Atomic Mommy Editors
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Buying your teen their first car can be an exciting and stressful experience. A lot of parents try to delay this moment for as long as possible. Indeed, letting your teen drive on the road can be a source of worry. However, teenagers need to be able to commute easily to maintain their social circle and be able to find part-time employment.
If you are looking for guidance on how to manage this important purchase, this blog post is here to help. Find out what you need to do before and after handing the keys over.
The first and most important consideration every parent should know is how much they are willing to invest in their teen’s first car. As a rule of thumb, buying a brand-new vehicle is likely to become a waste of money because:
- New vehicles lose their value rapidly
- New drivers are likely to dent or bump the vehicle
- Buying new increases the insurance premium
Instead, you want to look for reliable and affordable second-hand vehicles, such as A Mazda 3 hatchback, a Toyota Prius, or a Honda Civic Sedan. These come under $10,000 and meet stringent safety criteria.
Test drive before buying
It doesn’t matter what professional experts say about a specific make or model. You want to test drive the vehicle prior to purchase.
When test driving the vehicle, you need to consider the following:
- How the car handles turns
- How the car brakes
- Whether it stays in a straight line when you let go of the steering wheel
- Whether the dashboard shows any warning signs
- The sound of the engine (if it’s not an eV)
- The sound of the exhaust and its condition (only if relevant)
- When the last maintenances were and how many you’ll need to do for updating
Have the car professionally cleaned
Of course, the previous owner is likely to wash the car before selling it. So why do you need to invest in auto detailing services? Detailing is a unique service that not only includes elements of washing and valeting but also restores the vehicle’s original condition both inside and outside.
It is especially important when you purchase a used vehicle. Most drivers will eat, drink, pick up friends, or even shop in their vehicles. As a result, the interior can accumulate stains, particles of dirt, food, and a variety of other substances including funky smells that will require professional attention.
Spend time driving around with your teen
It is worth sitting in the car with your teen while they first get familiar with their car. This will serve two purposes:
- Firstly, you can familiarize them with proper driving techniques
- Secondly, you can also provide instructions and check that they are handling the car safely on the road
This will ensure their safety on the road and help them manage their new vehicle more confidently.
Teach them some basic maintenance
Your teen doesn’t need to know how to fix an engine failure. But they need to be clear about basic maintenance gestures such as checking the oil, their brake discs, and tire condition. You can also teach them how to jump start their car with jumper cables. Knowing this simple skill could help them in a jam.
As the parent of a new driver, it is your responsibility to equip your teen with the best tools for safety on the road. Buying a vehicle is only the first step. But ensuring that the vehicle meets reliability criteria and that your teen understands how to make the most of it can make them into a considerate and safe driver.