Hot Wheels VS Smart Wheels – A Buyers Guide For Our Teens

By: anitapatterson

When It comes to helping our teen pick their first car, our tastes may vary greatly.  But, here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to come to the perfect solution.

In a recent survey commissioned by USAA, 81% of parents put reliability first when choosing a vehicle for a teen, followed by a high safety rating and affordable auto insurance.  This makes sense to us parents who never want to get the call saying our child is stranded with a broken car on the side of the road. The other fact is that teens make up of 3 times as many fatal crashes over any other group of drivers. So for parents peace of mind, use these tips to help you and your teen settle on a car you both can live with.


Used vs. New:  The price may be right for a used car, but you also may be sacrificing the latest in safety features. Newer cars tend to have the high-tech safety systems that reassure parents. Electronic Stability Control, which can help drivers maintain control of a vehicle, is standard in all 2012 cars. Front air bags are mandated, and though not required by the government, side air bags are standard in many new cars. Some models have back-up collision intervention that can apply the brakes before the driver does. (Wish it worked for the front too)  So if you are going to purchase a used car, I would make sure it’s semi new and holds up to the standards you as the parent are looking for in safety features. But if you want more peace of mind, New seems to be the way to go with not just regard to safety but also reliability of break downs.

Research Together

Enlist your young drivers to help with a little more research before you make a purchase.

* Check out Best Of Lists. Recommended cars for teens and safety including crash test ratings.


Price. Weather New or Used make sure to research the best price possible on line and with dealers

* Insurance. Teens can be pricey to cover on your insurance plan and boys more then girls. However, good grades and a good driving record along with added safety features can bring the cost down.

* Get the CARFAX history report. Using the VIN number can help track down if your used car was in an accident or if there have been other major incidents. You can also have a trusted mechanic do a full inspection of your new car before you make the final purchase.

Teach Responsibility

Once you and your teen have finally decided on a car, make sure all the rules have been set in place before they take the wheel. Make sure they know how to maintain the vehicle properly, AKA oil changes, tire rotation and proper pressure, etc…

Make sure it is clear who is paying for what. Establish if they will be responsible for their own gas and or insurance.

Finally and I feel the most important, make sure driving rules are set and that they know will be enforced strictly!

There is to be ZERO cel phone use in the car. Make them keep the phone elsewhere so they have to pull over to use it. In California, the law says that a teen can not have another teen as a passenger until the age of 18. I like this rule a lot and would enforce it no matter where I lived. Distractions are one of the biggest causes of accidents. This may also include loud music. It’s hard to hear a siren or anything else for that matter when the music is too loud. Keep the distractions to a minimum for the safest driving. Lastly, let them know that driving is a privilege and NOT a right and any rules broken will result in loss of privileges. Good luck and god bless us all ; )







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