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Help for Parents Choosing their Teen's First Car

Help for Parents Choosing their Teen's First Car

(ARA)- If your teenager recently got a driver's license, the next thing on your mind may be to put your son or daughter in a quality car. This rite of passage can bring a sense of newfound freedom for teens, but for you it can be a real headache.
For most teens, their first car will be used one. When they're ready for that first set of wheels, there are a few steps that you can take to protect them.
"Safety should be the first priority when choosing a vehicle for your teen," says Marianne Correa, director of the Carfax Safe Teen Drivers Program. "Teens are involved in more accidents than any other age group, which is why you should choose a car that will give them the most protection in a crash."
So how do you choose the right vehicle for your teen driver? Do you pick the sporty coupe your daughter is craving? Should your son get to drive a pick-up truck? The Carfax Safe Teen Drivers Program, a one-stop resource for safe driving information, offers help for parents choosing their teen's first car:
Choose a make and model your teen is familiar with. Most safety experts recommend mid-size sedans for teen drivers. Consider buying a car that is similar to the one your teen learned to drive in. This will ensure that the handling will be more familiar to them and your teen will be more comfortable behind the wheel. Also, avoid buying sporty cars, which may tempt your teen to drive too fast.
Invest in as many safety features as possible. The more safety features you invest in, the more protection your teen will have in a crash. Check the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which crash-tests dozens of vehicles each year for safety ratings. Newer cars have more safety features such as anti-lock brakes, dual front-and-side airbags, fog lights, traction control and all-wheel drive. You can also get a free Safety and Reliability Report from for each specific make and model.
Get as much information as you can about each make and model you're considering by searching the Internet and visiting dealerships. Once you've narrowed down your selection, ask your dealer for a free Carfax Vehicle History Report (or get one at, which can uncover hidden problems such as salvage, lemon, odometer problems and flood-damage. Then, get a second opinion--take the car to a trusted mechanic for a thorough inspection. Doing your homework can help you make the best decision possible on a vehicle and can help reveal any problems that may endanger your teen's safety.
Factor in all the costs of having a car. There is more to a car than just the sale price. How many miles are on the odometer? Higher mileage could mean more money spent in service and repair. How much will your teen spend in gas? How much will your insurance cost? Ask your insurance company about special discounts for teen drivers, such as good-student discounts for 'B' averages, completion of a driver's education course, or discounts for occasional drivers.
One of the most exciting times in your teen's life is getting their first car, but it doesn't have to be a nightmare for you.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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