3 Steps to Buying Your Teen’s First Car: Keeping Your Loved Ones Safe

Chances are if you are reading this blog, your teen has just gotten their driver’s license, or they are close to it! Buying your teen’s first car can bring up all sorts of emotions; anxiety, fear, excitement, and so much more! So many questions come to mind:

  • What kind of vehicle does my teen need or want?
  • What is my budget?
  • How do I decide which vehicle is best for my teen?
  • Where do I learn about vehicles?

Look no further, I have you covered. I am going to give you some tips that you can follow, which will help make the task of purchasing your teen’s first car less daunting and much more exciting! These tips will also help you choose the right vehicle for YOUR teen.

Step 1: Research, Research, Research!

The first step before making any big purchase is to do your research! Start to think about what type of vehicle would suit your teen’s lifestyle best… perhaps a car, or an SUV, maybe even a truck. Once you have narrowed that down, it’s time to start researching what type of car, SUV or truck that may be of interest.

Your/your teen’s budget does play a significant role in deciding what type of vehicle is chosen, so before you start investigating different cars, think about budget. Are you looking to pay for the vehicle in one go or make monthly payments? How much can you afford to pay each month? Once you have a general basis for your budget, you can begin to look, for example, an SUV under $20,000.00.

Once you have a few types of vehicles chosen, you’ll need to narrow the list down. Continue to research these vehicles on the following aspects:

  • Safety features
  • Gas mileage
  • Yearly maintenance costs
  • Features that are important to you/your teen
  • Cost of insurance

Visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s website for a great resource tool.

Step 2: Test Drive

Once you have your options narrowed down, it is time to get out there and test drive some vehicles with your teen! Test driving a vehicle lets a person really get a feel for how it handles. Does your teen like how it accelerates, how it brakes? Carfax provides a great checklist on what exactly you need to know for taking a vehicle for a test drive. Ensure your teen takes their time when test driving and asks all the questions they have. The more information you have, the better of a decision you can make.

Step 3: Decision Making

You have done your research and your teen has taken the top contenders for a test drive, now what? It’s time to make a decision. Try to take your time to really think about which vehicle is the best fit for your teen. If you are buying from a third-party seller, you should consider taking the specific vehicle you are looking to buy for a vehicle inspection to ensure there are no surprises.

I wish you the best of luck and remember this is a very exciting time in your life and your teen’s, a first car is the one you remember forever! For some extra tips visit this page that gives the most important factors for vehicles for teen drivers.


Coaching New Drivers was developed to educate new learners and reduce the number of collisions caused by the 8 danger zones. We are here to prepare, prevent and protect. To learn more, visit our home page.


Carfax. (2020). How to do a Proper Test Drive. [Blog]. Retrieved from https://www.carfax.ca/resource-centre/articles/how-to-do-a-proper-test-drive

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (2020). Safe vehicles for teens. [Blog]. Retrieved from https://www.iihs.org/ratings/safe-vehicles-for-teens

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.iihs.org

Coach Bill

Coach Bill

Bill is the Managing Partner of Coaching New Drivers and has a vast background in driver education. Bill is passionate about technology-based driver assessment and has gained extensive knowledge and experience through lecturing on driving topics across North America, Australia, and Asia. Bill is a parent to two teens who he has also successfully coached during the Learner’s permit stage.

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