How to Choose a Good Used Car for Your Teen

Sun Devil Auto Expert, published on 03/18/2016

Finding the right vehicle for a new driver can sometimes be a challenge. Since teens are learning the basics of both driving and vehicle maintenance, finding a car that will be reliable enough to give them the right kind of learning curve is really important. With the right guidance and a good start, new drivers can learn a lot from their first vehicle as they encounter the various tasks that go into car ownership. Knowing this, it’s tempting to think that the best choice is going to be a new vehicle, possibly with a warranty to help make budgeting for repairs and maintenance easier. While that is a great idea, it ends up being a little impractical for a lot of drivers, and buying used may be better.

The Cost and Extras

The good news is there are a lot of great used vehicles out there, and with the availability of late model pre-owned cars, finding a vehicle that looks and drives like new is possible at a fraction of the cost. It is also a great idea to consider a higher-mileage vehicle if it is in great shape, especially for a teen that will be curious about accessorizing or modifying the vehicle. This gives your new driver the opportunity to make a car his or her own, either visually or through the use of performance upgrades.

Essentials for Every Driver

Whether you are picking out a basic commuter or looking for a good starting place for customization, there are a few things that all parents should consider when looking for a new driver’s first vehicle:

  • Vehicle history
  • Vehicle reviews
  • Options and features
  • Driver engagement
  • Use of vehicle

Choosing the right vehicle is a matter of both picking the right kind of car and picking the right actual car. Online reviews and services that track vehicle maintenance histories can be really helpful, but they can only tell you what has happened in the past. When you get serious about a vehicle, having a service professional look it over for maintenance concerns is also key. It is also important to keep an eye on the options in each vehicle you check out because the configuration of safety features is often dependent on which package a car was originally equipped with.

The Right Fit for Your Driver

Last, but not least, driver engagement and use are important. There are great vehicles that challenge certain types of drivers, so picking one that has the size, handling, and features you need is a matter of knowing your teen’s driving skills and what they will need the vehicle to do. That means spending some time having them test drive options and seeing what they are comfortable with.