Buying your teenager a used car is a smart idea for a few reasons. First, it's a good way to get them on the road without paying an arm and a leg for a new vehicle for them. It's probably best for students to use a beater car for awhile until they feel confident behind the wheel. And since teens' insurance rates are higher, a used car is a way to control those costs too.
When you find that perfect used car for sale, there are probably a few things you will want to do to make sure the car is safe on the road.
Get a Mechanic's Approval
Find an auto services center who can help you document everything that's wrong with the car. Get their opinion on how much money needs to go into maintenance on the car before it's safe to drive. Factor that into your decision to buy.
Make a Priorities List
Obviously, an older car will have some problems. But you can probably get away with leaving some problems more than others.
Engine problems are a priority. With new drivers, you would not want them to have a breakdown on the side of the road and not know what to do. An engine problem isn't one that can be fixed as easily as, say, a flat tire.
Get brakes checked and potentially replaced. Your new driver will want strong brakes in case they are going too fast or feel like they don't have good control of the vehicle.
Check the tires' functionality. Strong tires will give the car better handling and ensure that the car doesn't behave erratically. Have your auto services check the wheel alignment while you're at it.
Teaching Auto Maintenance
Have your teen participate in some of the initial maintenance of the car. That means taking them along to auto services appointments so they can learn about some of the maintenance issues their car is having. Teach them to change a tire and check their fluid levels. Make sure they know how to call for emergency services if they need to. Teach them to keep a roadside emergency kit in their trunk with food, blankets, and first aid supplies. All of the things you do to help your teen with their first car will go on to be life skills that make them a prepared and safe driver for years to come.