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Money Matters Blog

Monday, April 21, 2014

Checklist for Parents - Buying your Teen's First Car

Whether it’s your first child, or you’ve already sent a few down the road, getting your teen ready for the driver’s seat can be a little overwhelming.  If you’re getting ready to buy your teen’s first car, read through this checklist to make sure you are getting your son or daughter the safest and most affordable vehicle possible.

Car Choice
Midsize sedans tend to be the safest for new drivers. The higher mass of a midsize sedan provides your teen with more protection in a crash, and their relatively low center of gravity makes them less likely to roll over. Purchasing a vehicle with a smaller engine will also be more economical.
Use a website such as, Kelley Blue Book, or to help you determine a fair price for a vehicle. Another source you can use is Consumer Reports, as they publish used car guides with rankings on reliability and price. A few scratches and door dings will also help you negotiate for a lower purchase price; chances are your teen might add a few more to the car, too. 

Another option is to look for certified, pre-owned models that are two or three years old. These cars are often from an expired lease and cost more than other used cars, but have been examined for wear and tear. With a certified pre-owned vehicle, you may be able to get a limited warranty and better financing rates. 

For a small fee, you can pay for a service like Carfax or AutoCheck to tell you if a vehicle has been in an accident. These reports aren’t always foolproof though, so it’s a good idea to have an expert you know and trust give you an opinion about the car’s condition before you buys. Also have them check for items such as:  radial tires for safer road handling, power steering for quick reaction control, and high quality brakes for better handling of spin-outs in the rain or snow.  

Insurance Choice
Make sure your car insurance, credit card company, or auto dealer includes road-side coverage. The last thing you’ll want is for your teen to be stranded or for you to receive a hefty tow bill. 

Communication With Your New Driver 
Regularly review with your teen their knowledge of how to handle their car in a variety of driving situations, like dealing with sudden stops or being on the road with another car that is spinning out of control.
Finally, be sure the communication you have with your teen about driving is strong and open enough that if they find themselves in an accident, ditch, or other situation where they can’t drive home, they feel comfortable calling you for advice or for a ride.
Our Auto Loan rates are as low as 1.74% APR. Visit our Auto Loan webpage for more details on how to apply for an auto loan at our low rates.

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