Cars for sale - creative commons licence by Paul Harrop

For most teenagers in the UK, turning 17 and passing their driving test means the exciting prospect of buying their first car.

As a parent, helping guide them through this process can be daunting.

Here are some tips on how to help your teen pick out their first set of wheels.

Involve Them in the Process
Make sure your teen is actively involved in selecting their first car.

While you may have opinions on safety, reliability and affordability, it’s important that they feel a sense of ownership in the final choice.

Take them along to test drives and let them research different makes and models online.

Set a Realistic Budget
Sit down together and determine what you’re able and willing to spend on their first car.

Explain how setting a realistic budget will give them more options than having no limits.

Research insurance costs as well, as this can greatly impact affordability.

Let your teen know if you expect them to contribute any money from savings or part-time jobs.

Prioritise Safety and Reliability
While style and extra features are tempting, the most important factors for a first car are safety and reliability.

Recommend choosing a car with high safety ratings and low repair records.

Airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control are must-have safety features.

Consider Used Over New
For most teenagers, a used car is a smarter and more affordable option.

A used car with reasonable miles costs significantly less, and the insurance rates are usually lower too.

Look for pre-owned models which undergo rigorous inspections and come with a warranty such as Birchwood Motor Centre’s cars for sale in Essex.

Help Them Find Good Options
Search together for cars in your area that meet the budget and criteria you’ve set. Look at listings from both dealers and private sellers.

Expand the search if needed to find cars that are the right fit. Test drive top contenders together.

Inspect Before Buying
Buying from a reputable used car dealer provides more protections than a private sale.

Used car dealers must legally warranty vehicles for at least 30 days and fix any issues that arise.

They also handle all registration paperwork. Additionally, dealers allow test drives and have cars inspected by mechanics before sale.

In addition, used car dealers offer finance so you can spread the cost of paying for the vehicle.

If you buy from a private seller, have a mechanic inspect the car first, which costs around £50-£150.

They’ll check for issues not immediately obvious that could require expensive repairs later on. Review the V5C vehicle registration certificate as well.

Add Them to Your Insurance
Most insurers allow teenagers to be added to a parent’s policy. Adding them as a named driver keeps costs lower than if they took out their own policy.

Make sure you select suitable coverage limits for a new young driver.

Helping your teenager buy their first car is an important rite of passage.

Follow these tips, and you’ll both feel more assured in finding a car they’ll enjoy driving safely.

(pic under creative commons licence by Paul Harrop)

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