Tips for buying your teen the best used car for them

Aug 7, 2014, 10:48 PM | Updated: 10:48 pm

If your teen is clamoring for a car of their own, and you’ve been scanning Craig’s List, or the AutoTrader looking for the perfect used car, you are not alone.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently did a study and found that 83 percent of parents surveyed bought used, not new cars, for their teens to drive. The study also found that most parents were picking the wrong car for their teen to drive!

A friend recently posted on Facebook that she was looking for a good used car for her teenager.

“Not a mini-van or anything like a Ford Taurus,” she wrote.

I could see where no self-respecting teenager would want to drive a mini-van to school. Heck, I don’t even want to drive a mini-van. But I’m thinking a Ford Taurus might be the perfect car for a teen. It’s not flashy and it’s big enough for decent protection in the event of an accident.

Experts said size is important and it’s kind of a Goldilocks situation — not too big, not too small, but just right. The smallest mid-sized car is recommended and one with just enough horsepower — a four- or six-cylinder at most — is best. Definitely not one with enough power to cause problems for inexperienced drivers!

The institute survey also found that most parents reported spending an average of $9,800 on a used car for a teen, though the median price point was lower at $5,300.

The institute said it’s difficult to get a safe vehicle for a teen at the prices most people are paying. Part of the problem with newer cars is they’re extremely safe, but that makes them cost more for all those bells and whistles. Parents should assess what’s important and evaluate the economic impact of buying a used vehicle compared a newer one.

Of course, when buying used, it’s always buyer beware, right? Take any car you’re seriously considering to a trusted mechanic for a once-over. It’ll cost you a little something, so first be sure you and your teen like the car. Then, make sure all the stuff you know about works — the lights, signals, radio, windshield wipers, seat adjusters, etc. If the basics aren’t there, the rest of it may be troublesome too. And here’s a little tip from experts: How clean is the car? If someone drove it as though it was a rolling trash can, they may not have maintained it mechanically. They may do a thorough cleaning on it before showing it to you, but if you check the nooks and crannies you may find some evidence of its previous condition.

Now as far as safety is concerned, here are a couple of great tips for teen driving!

• Did you know that you can download software that disables a cell phone when the car is moving? Some newer cars have it built in, but I Googled it and came up with I’m sure there are plenty more out there.

• If you give your teen the keys to a car with standard transmission, not only will they learn something they’ll think is kind of cool, but they’ll be forced to focus a little more on actual driving! Plus it is really hard to drive a stick while holding a soda and a cell phone!

Arizona Woman Busy Smart and Strong

Lindsay Ferguson, FamilyShare

7 ways to recharge your mom battery after a busy summer

After a long and busy summer, here are a few things that have worked for me to recharge my "mom battery" that might work for you, too.
8 years ago
Meg Johnson, FamilyShare

10 reasons trials give you more out of life

God doesn't send us trials to take away, but to give us more, out of life.
8 years ago
Heather Hale, FamilyShare

How to avoid the bored and lonely mom trap

Feeling isolated? Tired of one-sided conversations with a one-year-old? You can find joy in the journey as a stay at home mom. Here's how.
8 years ago
Nicole Carpenter, KSL

MOMentity: 10 time hacks to find an extra hour each day

What would you do with an extra hour each day? Sleep? Read? Cook? Nicole Carpenter with offers 10 time hacks to help you find an extra hour each day to do, well, whatever you want.
8 years ago
Megan Shauri, FamilyShare

No sweats allowed: Bouncing back from the grungees

Ways to free yourself from the elastic waist band in order to look and feel more like a woman than a tired mommy.
8 years ago
Becky Lynn

Busy, Smart and Strong: Get your kids’ teeth cleaned FOR FREE!

If your checking account is looking a little bleak because of all the back to school “bargains” you’ve been snapping up, here’s a bona fide bargain. It doesn’t get any better than FREE! A Chandler dentist is offering a free dental cleaning for kids from 5-12 years old. Here’s the caveat: It’s one day only […]
8 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Tips for buying your teen the best used car for them