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Shopping for THEIR First Car: 5 Tips to Finding the PERFECT Car for Your Teen

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I remember my first car.  I bought it from a college student who worked with my parents. I paid a whopping $150.  It was a 19-something powder blue Chevy Vega.  I drove my little car everywhere and you couldn't tell me it didn't look like a Porsche.  

$150 for a car.  You think that's something I remember once I paid $100 for a Chevy Chevette from one of my neighbors.  I drove the heck out of that little car also.  

Flash forward and I'm the parent and my oldest recently earned their learners permits so now it's time to start looking for a car

Fortunately, I come from a long line of knowledgeable car lovers who were ready to drop tips on shopping for the perfect car.  Overall, everyone suggested making sure we bought  a vehicle with air bags but shared a few other things to consider when purchasing a car for teens.
Honda Accord Photo Credit:
Drive It.  Let your kid drive the car a few times before buying.  You want to make sure you kid feels comfortable behind the wheel.  One of our sons prefers driving his dad's pickup truck while the other likes the family SUV.   
Honda Accord Interior Photo Credit:
Check IIHS Safety Ratings.  Ever listen to a car commercial and hear the announcer say "Top Safety Pick..."  Well, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an organization responsible for performing crash tests to determine how safe a vehicle is. offers     
Kia Forte Photo Credit:
Slow and Steady.  Avoid buying a muscle car for your teen.  Opting for a car with average horsepower is a safer, more affordable choice and when you factor in fuel costs, insurance and repair costs, it just makes sense to opt for a car with average horsepower.  
Kia Forte interior Photo Credit:
Check for Recalls.  A couple of years ago, we received a recall notice on one of our family vehicles.  Hubby and I were unaware of any issues with our vehicle until we received the notice from the  NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) advising us of the recall and steps to take to get the necessary repairs.  If you're in the market for a car for your teen, be sure to visit and click on the Service and Repair tab to search Safety and Recall Notices.  
Small, Medium, Large... Size Matters  Size matters when it comes to choosing a vehicle for your teen.  Larger vehicles have a steadier base that's easier to stabilize in difficult driving situations.  This feature is known as ESC or electronic stability control.    
Ford Fusion Photo Credit:
We are happy to report our Kia Sorento received the IIHS Top Safety Pick AND a 5 star overall rating from the NHTSA in the 2017 Best SUV for Teens category.  GO ME!!!
Behind the wheels of the family SUV
What are some things you think parents should consider when looking for a car for their teen?


I can remember going shopping for our kids very first car. It certainly wasn't brand new but it was safe and great for their first car.
Kimberly said…
Car shopping always makes me sweat. The car I got was one that was within the family so we knew that it was a reliable car. I think safety is paramount - no accidents is a must.
Jeannette said…
I am very grateful that my husband is into cars. When my son gets the age that he needs a car I know my husband will find the perfect car for him. There is a lot of great tips here to keep in mind when we do need to look.
Alli Smith said…
My oldest grandson will be ready for his first car in a few years. I can't believe it! These tips will come in so handy when his parents are searching for the safest car out there.
Doria said…
Oh gosh, we're still about 5 years away from doing this but that's not too far away! I think our main concern will be safety :)
I didn't learn to drive till my mid-twenties and coming on for 7 years later I still have my first car, it was second hand for a dealer and its been a gem. It's funny as I was looking for a completely different car and this one caught my eye and we ended up getting it.

It probably is coming to a time I need to get another though and I'll have to check out
Jacqui Odell said…
These are great tips. I am so nervous for my son to start driving. It's scary.
Cheryl Lang said…
I'm getting nervous just thinking about this. My son is going to take driving lessons this year. I'm so not ready for him to grow up!
Barb Webb said…
We just went through this process with our oldest son and safety was definitely our number one focus!
These are such great tips to keep in mind! Even for myself who has yet to purchase a car!
Sue Reddel said…
How funny! My first car was a silver Vega. I had to drive around with a couple cans of oil because it burned it up so fast. You've compiled a great list of must-do's for any first-time buyer, not just teens. Thanks!
Claudia Krusch said…
My first car was a Chevette. I bought it for $500 and it lasted for years. I have been wanting to get a new vehicle. I would love to test drive a Kia Forte.
JDaniel4's Mom said…
These are great tips! I keep telling my son help to take of the car I drive. It will probably be the first car he drives as a teenager.
Ruth I. said…
You have a great list of tips that are very helpful. I should learn to drive soon.
Sandy N Vyjay said…
Buying a car does require a lot of research and especially if it is the first for your teen, then care has to be taken. Your tips are really practical and sensible.
Jen Lawrence said…
I'll be in the same boat soon. My oldest was not really wanting to learn to drive. Her younger siblings will be driving before her at this point! I'll need to mentally prepare myself for the car buying process. I'm looking to upgrade my vehicle too!
Anosa Malanga said…
I bought my first car this year with my dad and there was a lot of things to look out for but now I have one so good luck with buying one for your kid
chubskulit said…
My daughter will be driving in few years and it is making me nervous. I will definitely keep these things in mind.
Catvills said…
My first car was a Toyota Corona, second hand, M/T, but well maintained. Being petite, I always had to use boosters to see the road. My dad recognized this problem and got me a small SUV instead.
Sumit Surai said…
Good tips to follow while buying the first car. Well written.

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