10 Tips for Choosing Your Kid’s First Car

Nowadays, parents are in the peculiar position of trying to convince their child that he or she needs a car of their own. The freedom that generations of young adults have sought in a car — preferably a fast, cool car — is now available on a touch screen. We never received the fast, cool automobiles we deserved as teenagers, but the junk cars we ended up with got us to the next town, which was thrilling. Maybe even forbidden.

But, a child with a smartphone would not care. She has access to both political uprisings in the Middle East and Candy Crush. He has free access to the complete works of H.G. Wells and his best pal on Skype. It is impossible to travel through time and space in an automobile, but it occurs every few minutes for Internet users.

But if you live in a remote location without public transit, or if you’d want someone else to drive the family taxi, you’ll likely want to purchase your child a vehicle. Hopefully, the following suggestions will make this procedure as painless as possible for both of you.

10 Tips for Choosing Your Kid's First Car

10: Don’t Go Small

This advice may seem outdated given that we have inexpensive, compact cars with numerous safety features and little carbon footprints. Nonetheless, experts believe that you should wrap your child with metal. In the first couple of years he gets this car, he will almost certainly make a mistake, and knowing your child, it will probably be a large, stupid one. Hence, you will want to place him in a large, stupid vehicle that can absorb part of the impact of whatever idiotic maneuver he executes. For experienced drivers, small automobiles have several safety features, but for novices, nothing surpasses mass when calculating accident probability. Having a low center of mass also helps, so no SUVs. Something with the weight and height of a tank would be fantastic.

10 Tips for Choosing Your Kid's First Car

9: But Don’t Guzzle Gas

Unless you somehow raised a computer prodigy who has made a million dollars selling an app she created in her bedroom, your child is probably broke. Yet if your child is more likely to be lying on her bed while using apps and yelling at her younger sibling to get out of her room, she is likely to be broke. And since you have children, you likely are as well. So, you should opt for a vehicle that gets at least 20 miles per gallon (8.5 kilometers per liter), which is not difficult to find in the twenty-first century, even if you’re purchasing a large, safe automobile. In addition to the issue of money, there’s also the matter of your child’s ability to live on a livable planet as an adult. The greater the fuel economy of this vehicle, the greater the likelihood of this happening.

8: Be Safe Out There

There are a few organizations who actually place crash test dummies in brand-new automobiles and bash them to death. Several times. From all angles. Hard. In fact, it sounds like an incredibly cool job. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, also known as IIHS, maintains a list of Safety Picks that awards “good” as its top rating in five tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a 5-Star Safety Ratings program that evaluates (measures) the three most likely situations that result in fatalities and serious injuries and assigns one to five stars to vehicles based on their performance. As always, more is always better. As manufacturers improve their safety technologies and design, the IIHS and NHTSA increase their performance to account for these systems. Newer vehicles undergo more rigorous testing than earlier vehicles models.

7: Think Long-term

Let’s be honest. You want to purchase your child a car for one reason: to get him out of your house. Initially, he is sent to pick up his siblings from ballet and basketball practice, but later, he is driven to his after-school employment. The one you’ve already converted into a sewing room. If you’re purchasing a new or used vehicle, keep in mind that this may be the vehicle he drives into adulthood. Purchase a car that you anticipate will last that long and won’t require too many repairs; the next vehicle he needs will be his responsibility.

10 Tips for Choosing Your Kid's First Car

6: Go Automatic

When you were younger, you likely had to learn to drive a manual transmission before your parents would give you your own automobile. You had to learn how to tell time on a conventional clock before they would purchase you a Casio digital watch with buttons, didn’t you? Parents, let me welcome you to the future. No one in America now drives a manual transmission. In fact, less than 10% of cars sold in the past few years were equipped with a manual transmission. Indeed, they are a bit more affordable, typically about a thousand dollars less than the automatic version. But, check the gas mileage. You will notice that manual transmissions no longer provide the same fuel savings as their automatic counterparts. Choose an automatic transmission for the first car you purchase for your child. It just adds complexity for those who must still consider which pedal is the accelerator.

5: Win Parent of the Year

A small amount of technology goes a long way with a child who wanted a new iPhone but instead received this silly automobile. A connection between the iPod and iPhone is necessary. Why? Because radio music is terrible. Simply ask her. The ability to connect any type of phone or music player is ideal, and the majority of vehicles manufactured in the last several years include a USB port as standard equipment. Modern automobiles respond to voice commands, which can prevent a distracted youngster from touching the touch screen in the center console or, worse, the mobile device propped up in the cup holder. Yes, talking to the stereo is still somewhat distracting, but she will at least have her eyes on the road and her hands on the steering wheel.

4: No Cool Old Cars

You’ve undoubtedly always envisioned gifting your daughter a classic convertible Volkswagen Beetle, possibly in pink. Or of fixing an ancient Camaro along with your son in the garage while using Bondo. This is not “Better Off Dead,” and your child is not a young John Cusack — he won’t even understand the movie allusion. Several of these automobiles have simply lap belts, no shoulder belts, and certainly no pretensioning system. Until recently, anti-lock braking systems (ABS), stability control, and tire-pressure monitoring were the stuff of science fiction. And if you’re still tempted, know that the insurance cost for a new driver in an old car will be sky-high.

3: There’s No Shame in Used

A classic car is a poor idea, but a used car that is not too old is a decent choice. ABS and airbags have been available for some time, therefore the majority of used vehicles on the lot should be equipped with these. They will likely feature a few of the technological bells and whistles that your child adores — the ones that make you want to live in a tree with the squirrels. The disadvantage is that the safest, most dependable used automobiles keep their worth reasonably well. They will still be less expensive than a brand-new vehicle, but they will not be the $500 beater you drove in college. Also, many of these secondhand cars are midsize sedans! True, am I correct? Nothing says “cool” to your child more than a four-door car likely driven by a woman of two toddlers who spilled Cheerios all over the back seat! In all seriousness, midsize vehicles are often rather safe.

2: Buy Boring

This is ancient advice, passed down from the very first parent to buy an automobile for their child: buy a boring vehicle. Do not purchase a vehicle with anything like power. Ensure that the speedometer, which is usually optimistic, reaches 100 miles per hour (160.9 kilometers per hour). It’s a fair bet that no matter how hard your child tries, that car will never hit 100 miles per hour. Additionally, do not purchase anything turbocharged. Do not purchase anything that even appears quick. Children mistakenly believe their automobiles — and themselves — are capable of performing actions they cannot. Instead, choose a vehicle that your child feels slightly embarrassed to be seen driving. So, he is less likely to make any moves that could attract attention. Yet again… compact automobiles What the…

1: And Lose Parent of the Year

You’re having your child use an iPhone 4 despite the fact that he begged for a technologically advanced automobile. If you’re going to purchase something new, you’ll give it to him. Huge time. In fact, you can track his every action. So that your child cannot leave you stranded in the driveway on the way to work in the morning, Ford’s MyKey system restricts the car’s top speed and audio volume, enforces seatbelt use, and delivers earlier low-fuel alarms. The BlueLink technology from Hyundai sends you a text message on your phone if the car exceeds a defined speed restriction or if it is out past its curfew. It’s a technological informant.


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