How to Buy a Car for Your Teenager

Buying your teenager’s first car is equal parts exciting and stressful. On one hand, you’ve arrived at one of the major unforgettable milestones as a parent. On the other hand, you’re letting your baby, now in their teens, go out into the deep end of the carpool. 

This guide will take the anxiety out of buying your teen’s first car so you can focus on making memories and backseat driving. 

Your teenager’s first vehicle.

There are several key areas to consider when deciding what car to purchase for your teenager. They are safety, dependability and price. 


It’s no secret that teenagers are more prone to accidents than other groups of drivers. Therefore, it’s essential to choose a car with safety features that can reduce the risk of injury in the event of a crash. Some late-model vehicles come with more preventative safety features and are worth considering. Here are a few of the ones to look for:

  • Front, side and/or curtain airbags
  • Electronic stability control (ESC)
  • Daytime running lights
  • Antilock braking system (ABS)
  • Adjustable or lockable headrests.


Another key aspect of gaining peace of mind is selecting a car for your teenager that is dependable. The last thing you or your teen wants is a car that breaks down and is unreliable. Consider these dependability factors when vehicle shopping:

  • Age and excessive mileage
  • Remaining or extended warranty
  • Maintenance and vehicle history (CARFAX)
  • Get a pre-purchase inspection


Deciding which car to purchase will often come down to budget. While your teenager may want a vehicle with “cool” features, discuss the importance investing in safety and dependability. Buying a car that’s in budget, safe and reliable makes for a confident driver and stress-free parent. These tips will help you get the most mileage out of your purchase.

  • Think about gas mileage
  • Look into insurance costs
  • Research the auto market
  • Consider wear and tear

Remember choosing the right car for your teenager is the first step. Vehicle ownership and driving is a process, not a one-time event. Let this experience be an opportunity for you and your teen to enjoy the journey.