Did you know young drivers represent only 13% of the driving population? Yet, almost every teenager dreams of owning their first car. For many of them, this is their initial taste of freedom. And while the process is understandably exciting for them, it can be very stressful for you as a parent. Not only do you have to purchase a car you can afford, but you also ensure that your teen will be safe on the road. So, here are some tips for buying your teen’s first car.
Set their expectations in advance
The thought of a new car will excite anyone, and even more so, a teenager. And since they’re not paying for it, they will set high expectations if you don’t control them. So, set their expectations in advance. Start by letting them know what car you can afford and why, even if you’re planning a surprise. Next, lay down some important ground rules. As indicated earlier, owning a new car brings a sense of freedom. So, speak to your teenager about what they can and cannot do with or in the car. For example, they should know what time they’re allowed to drive, what distance they can cover, and other responsibilities regarding car maintenance.
Get your teen involved in the buying process
Getting your teen involved in every step of the buying process is beneficial. As a tip, discuss each potential car’s costs and aftercare expenses. Let them go with you to the dealership to listen to a few experts. Doing this will give your teenager a better appreciation of the hard work involved in buying a new car and the financial implications. They can also pick up a thing or two about car responsibility and maintenance. Consider sharing the purchasing or maintenance expenses with your teenager where possible.
Safety should be your prime focus
Teens can be very reckless with cars. A quick online search will reveal how often they drink and drive, exceed speed limits, or engage in dangerous stunts in their cars. Studies show that teen drivers are over-represented in car crashes, making up an alarming 20% of motor vehicle deaths and injuries despite representing only 13% of the licensed driver population.
It’s important, therefore, not to skim safety when buying your teen’s first car. Focus on helpful features like side crash prevention systems and automatic emergency braking. It’s also helpful to note that midsize sedans usually offer better crash protection features, and smaller cars with shorter braking distances than most bigger vehicles.
Take a test drive
After settling on the ideal car for your teen, you can book a drive test with a registered test center. That is an opportunity to see how they handle and control that car. Consider testing the car in different driving situations like sharp curves, major roads, and even more difficult terrains. However, ensure your teen has met all driving requirements. For example, they should be at least 16 years, have met the vision standards, and know the road rules.