You Never Forget Your First Car
When I turned 16 in the late 1990’s, my parents gave me my first car: a silver 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra. I came from a family that had enough money to buy a new car, but my parents were of the mind that it was far too risky to give their inexperienced teenage driver an expensive, or even moderately priced new car. I can’t say that I blame them. Plus, the car they chose was big and boxy, offering me extra protection in the event of an accident.
It certainly wasn’t the newest car available; you couldn’t lock the car doors in the winter because they’d freeze shut, the left turn signal stuck, and there was a spot in the ceiling near the armrest that would leak when it rained really hard. Ironically enough, I didn’t care that it wasn’t brand new, that it wasn’t the most beautiful car, or even that it didn’t run in top condition. All I cared about was that it was mine, and it was my initiation to independence on the road.
What to Look for in a First Car
When you’re looking for a used car to buy your new teenage driver, don’t think you have to spend the most money on the flashiest car to get your child to appreciate your generous gesture. They too will be so thrilled to blast their music as they cruise around with their friends on their own, that they won’t care about what they’re driving as much as you may think.
Here are some things to consider when you’re looking for your teenager’s first vehicle:
- • Size – Sedans are roomier and offer more safety buffer zones than a compact coupe. Large SUVs or full size sedans may be too difficult to maneuver, especially if you live in a more metropolitan area.
- • Safety features – Most used vehicles that have been produced in the last 5-7 years have a full range of safety features such as front and side airbags and traction control that are important for new drivers. I’m pretty sure the Oldsmobile I drove didn’t even have ABS, let alone airbags! Honda, in particular, are known for their long list of standard safety features available on their vehicles.
- • Price – Spending a lot of money on a new vehicle that could easily be in an accident within the first year isn’t a good idea. You’ll just spend more money on insurance premiums as well as repair bills. Find a moderately priced used car that fits into your budget and won’t skyrocket your premiums when you add it and your new driver on to your insurance plan.
No matter what vehicle you choose for your teenager, the memory of their first vehicle and the adventures they have in it will live in their hearts forever. And you’ll be the one who makes it happen for them.