It’s easy to see why so many parents experience anxiety when it comes to time to buy children their first cars. In fact, the very thought of a teenager driving unaccompanied is enough to fill some parents with a tremendous sense of dread. Still, virtually every teen who earns their license is going to want their own vehicle. Furthermore, depending on your schedule and availability, your child may actually need a vehicle to ferry themselves around town. However, while you may not be able to prevent your kids from growing up, you can ensure that they wind up with a vehicle that’s comfortable, affordable, and, above all, safe.
Safety should be the foremost concern of every parent when it comes time to buy their children their first vehicles. Before committing to purchase any vehicle, make a point of checking its safety rating. Fortunately, this couldn’t be easier. Simply visit the National Highway Safety Administration’s website and enter the year, make and model of a vehicle to be presented with its star rating. In addition, vehicles are also tested and rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit organization that receives funding from car insurance companies and insurance organizations.
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When searching for the right vehicle for your teen, size should factor into your thinking. While a compact car may seem like a good idea from both a price and fuel-efficiency perspective, these vehicles typically don’t fare well in accidents, and in all likelihood, your child is going to make a number of mistakes behind the wheel. This isn’t to say they’re guaranteed to cause and/or be involved in serious accidents, but when it comes to teen drivers, it’s generally a good idea to plan for the worst. The more sheet metal your child is surrounded by, the safer they’re likely to be in the event of a crash or accident. Furthermore, the sturdier the vehicle, the less damage it’s likely to incur after being bumped, scraped or scratched.
It’s impossible to put a price on your child’s wellbeing. As such, safety should always take precedence over price when selecting the right vehicle for your teen – or yourself, for that matter. Of course, this isn’t to say that price should be immaterial. For example, if a used vehicle that’s a few years old offers all the features you’re looking for at a much lower cost than a newer model, opting for the less expensive option may be in your financial best interest. Even an inexpensive vehicle is no small investment, and a lot of teen drivers treat their cars with the minimum of care. So, if you don’t expect your child to meticulously tend to the vehicle’s upkeep, breaking the bank on a brand-new car may not be the wisest decision. Conversely, if you believe your teen is responsible enough to properly care for a new vehicle, going the fresh-off-the-assembly-line route may not be a bad idea. Cars like the 2021 Chevy Chevelle should only be given to the most safety-conscious and committed young drivers.
Dependable cars don’t come cheap, and many parents don’t have the financial resources to simply buy their children vehicles. In cases like these, parents will often pay for a portion of the car while leaving the rest up to their children. If this describes your situation, make sure your teen understands the extent of their financial commitment before signing the paperwork.
With the cost of gas rapidly fluctuating, it’s important to consider fuel efficiency when selecting the right vehicle for your teen – especially if you’ll be the one paying for fuel. This isn’t to say that fuel efficiency is more important than safety, but selecting a vehicle that guzzles gas is bad for both the environment and your finances. If your teen is constantly filling up the tank, an inexpensive vehicle can ultimately cost you more than a pricier one in the long run.
There’s little wonder as to why car-buying is such a source of dread for so many parents. Aside from the typical safety concerns associated with teens driving, there are a number of financial elements that must be taken into consideration. While there’s no end-all solution for the anxiety synonymous with buying a child their first car, there are numerous ways to make the process less stressful. So, if you’ll soon be handing your teen the keys to their first car, take care to consider the factors discussed above.