A toy car on a stack of bills.

3 Tips for Buying Your Teen’s First Car

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One of the most important days in a teen’s life is receiving their first car. It’s also a scary day for parents. Choosing the right car can be a challenge, but we’ve compiled a list of the top 3 tips to help find a safe and reliable car for teenagers.

  1. Pay attention to crash ratings. Do your research on crash ratings prior to narrowing your search to a few models or brands. Decide if you want your teen in a small or mid-size sedan. According to Consumer Reports, large pick-up trucks and SUVs are not recommended. For young, inexperienced drivers, larger vehicles may be difficult to handle. They also increase the likelihood of additional passengers, which can lead to distracted driving.

  2. Prioritize reliability when shopping for a teen's first ride. Consumer Reports states, “Dependability is vital when selecting a used car. The warranty protection will likely expire but dependability shouldn’t.” Your teen will most likely drive their first car for a few years, so you will want a car that will last. Some of the best choices for teens, starting under $20,000 include the Dodge Avenger, Subaru Legacy, Mazda 6, Kia Optima and several Volvo models.  To see the full list, visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

  3. Consider condition of used cars. Keep in mind, every used car has been treated differently. Previous owners may not have done the proper maintenance to a vehicle. After you have slimmed down your shopping list with smart choice vehicles, have the specific car you are considering thoroughly inspected and receive a detailed car history before you sign the deal. At carfax.com you can find a detailed vehicle history report of the used car you are considering.

For more information, check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute. Both organizations are dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries and property damage from motor vehicle crashes.

Are you in the market for a teen’s first car? Share your tips below.

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