Auto Industry Insider: Buying a Used Car for Your Teen

It can be a shock for any parent when their child reaches the age where they can take driver’s education classes. Their newfound independence can be a big worry. Contrary to those worries, these young people are often mature enough to accept responsibility. If your child is one of those, you may be interested in purchasing a used car for your youngster to use, both to help increase their independence and responsibility, while at the same time keeping them from taking their learning curve out on the family vehicle. If this is your preference, here are a few guidelines for buying a sound car for your teen.

Mileage and Wear

According to most vehicle pricing guides, the average mileage of a moderately used car is around 15,000 miles per year. If you find a vehicle with significantly higher mileage per year, pass it up in favor of a car with a lower rate of usage. If you can find a dealer who sells certified used cars, that might be the safest bet, as they do a thorough maintenance and repair job, including belts, fans, filters and fluids and the battery. They may also install new tires, if needed or replace a badly cracked windshield.


There is little sense in making the investment in a car that runs well if it is going to be an embarrassment to your child. That is not to suggest the car should not be sound, but there are a few things that could improve the looks of an older, but reliable vehicle. Replace the hubcaps with a new, updated style that all match. Have the interior detailed so it has that new-to-you feel. If the seats are worn, cracked or torn, invest in a nice set of seat covers to improve the looks and longevity of the seats. Give the exterior a new lease on life with a trip a quality shop handling auto body Westbury residents favor, and have dents pulled, a rumpled bumper replaced or other improvements done to give your child a car they can be proud of. This may have the added benefit of encouraging safer driving.


Check the ratings for the make and model you are considering for the average gas mileage, safety and repair rates. Make sure you have a dealer or mechanic nearby that can repair and maintain that vehicle. In the case of some foreign makes, you may find there is no one nearby who can help out with problems, so double-check that you are comfortable with that situation.

Trusting your child to safely drive a car, and the car to keep your child safe is equally important to you, so take the time to make that choice carefully. If they have had a good teacher and driven with you for the required time, you probably have less to worry about that you think. The first few times are the most worrisome, but in time, you can take pleasure in your child’s newfound independence.