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Top 5 Things to Consider When Buying a Car for Your Teenage Children

Posted on: April 8, 2016 by Platinum Direct

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Your first car is always a major life milestone. It signals a shift from reliance on adults to becoming your own independent entity, who can make their own decisions. You go from having to bum lifts off friends and family to being able to travel where you want to go on your own time.

It is also a big milestone for a parent. Your teen buying their first car is a big step towards them flying the nest and represents you relinquishing some responsibility over them and letting them make their own choices. For some parents this is nerve-wracking enough, but even if you take a laid-back approach to parenting it is important to keep in mind that car crashes are a number one killer of young people, especially young men.

This means choosing your first car, or the first car for your kids if you’re buying, is a big responsibility. And undoubtedly you and your teen will have completely different priorities. While your kids might want something flashy they can show off to their friends, you’ll want to make sure your kids are driving safely and responsibly.

Here are a few criteria to follow to help you chose a car that your teen can enjoy while making sure they are safe on the roads.


1. Safety Features

Safety should always be a top priority when considering a car for teens/young adults. Despite what their hormone fuelled confidence may tell them, new and inexperienced drivers are always going to be the most dangerous on the road, especially while they are still exploring their boundaries.

It is best to buy a newer model if you can afford it as these will come with the most up-to-date safety features. Here are a few safety features you should look out for:

  • Electronic stability control – Inexperienced drivers, especially when driving on roads or surfaces that are new to them, could lose control. The ESC helps them keep in line when otherwise they might spin out.
  • Head curtain airbags – While prevention is always better than the cure, it never hurts to prepare for the worst. Head curtain airbags could mean the difference between a scary learning experience and fatal accident.
  • Anti-lock breaks – Inexperienced drivers are prone to panicking in emergency situations, and the knee-jerk reaction is to slam on the breaks. Consumer Report recommends you rule out any car with out anti-lock breaking entirely.


2. Crash Test Results

An easy way to determine how safe a car is is to look at crash test results. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) offer an unbiased supply of information on this. Again, this is preparing for the worst – and while it may not tell you how likely a car is to crash on the road, it could safe their life if they run off it.


3. Acceleration

This might seem counter-intuitive, but it is important that your teens first car has decent acceleration. However, it is important to keep it balanced. Too slow, and they mind find it hard to merge or overtake and get caught short on the motor, too fast, and they’ll fly straight off the road like a Scalextric car with the trigger held down.

A 0-100km of around 8-11 seconds is recommended. This will help them get up to speed on the slip road so they can approach the motorway more confidently. You could go faster, but anything much faster than 0-100km in 6 seconds is just asking for trouble.


4. Model Year

As the years have progressed, so have safety standards. There are many features, such as ESC that was introduced as a standard in 2012, that weren’t universally applied to older cars.

While it may be tempting to buy your teen an old banger due to their low price, remember that they are likely to be less safe and considerably less reliable. Also, newer cars are much easier to service and repair as the parts are still in circulation. You don’t want to save money on the car only to pay it out to the mechanic down the line.


5. Size

Anyone who’s ever given a car full of teenagers a ride will know that 4 is enough – so getting your teen a 7 seater is just asking for trouble. Also, larger cars such as certain 4WDs are more prone to rolling.

As many of you may have experienced, driving a large 4X4, towering over the rest of the traffic, can give you a false sense of security. And even if your teen may be relatively safe in a large car, they can still cause a lot of damage.

If you want to get the best deal for your teens next car, make sure you get the best finance rates available from Platinum Direct Finance

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