What Used Cars are Best for Your Teen Driver?
If your teen has just completed driver’s education and passed their state driver’s test in the Cincinnati region and you’re seeking a used car for them to drive to work and school, please visit McCluskey Automotive to look at our complete inventory of used cars. Our sales reps are happy to help you determine which vehicle is best for you and your teen. Here are a few important tips to consider.
The most important move that you and your family need to undertake is to have a parent-to-teen meeting. You’ll need to explain your family’s finances and what money, if any, your teen is bringing to the table to purchase this used vehicle. Spell out that not only does the vehicle cost money, but you need to take into consideration gas, maintenance, and insurance costs. Studies have shown that if a teen contributes to the cost and ownership of their car, they are more inclined to accept the responsibilities and take better care of the car. While your teen is going to be head-over-heels excited about the prospect of having his or her own vehicle, it’s up to you as the parent to manage those expectations. Take the time to teach your teen the importance and responsibility of driving a car. Let them know that owning a used vehicle is not a birthright or a gift, but a privilege that they have earned. While you and your teen will shop for this vehicle, the final decision will be yours. Don’t fall into the trap of purchasing their choice, which will probably be a flashy, high-powered coupe. The best bet is to buy the newest, most reliable used model at McCluskey Auto, equipped with the best safety features.
Everyone is enticed with receiving a reward for good behavior. Your teen is no different. Set long-term goals with your son or daughter, such as 12 months of driving with no accidents or tickets, and decide how you will impose a penalty or reward them.
Write a Checklist
Before you visit us at McCluskey, sit down with your teen and write a checklist of the important factors you would like in this used vehicle. It’s almost like having homework and it will help you to find the best used vehicle on our lot.
Your first order of business is to determine the size of your used vehicle. Your teen, of course, will want something bright, powerful, fast, and sleek like a red Corvette or a large pickup truck or SUV. Let them know right away that those vehicles are not on the list. Why? A sports car only encourages speeding and has a higher rate of accidents. On the other hand, large pickups and SUVs can have a tendency to roll over especially when driven by a young, inexperienced driver. A mid-size sedan is probably your best bet. Or look for vehicles with small engines, such as a four-cylinder; it will be more economical to own and harder for your teen to speed.
At McCluskey Automotive, we want you to walk out of our showroom with a safe, reliable car for your teen driver at a fair price. That’s our goal. Before you visit us, research such websites as Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book, IntelliChoice.com, and TrueCar.com to help you compare prices based on a vehicle’s age, mileage and condition. There’s even an annual online used-car guide with reliability rankings published by Consumer Reports. Another alternative is to check out our certified, pre-owned models. These are usually only two to three years old and are backed with a limited warranty. They usually cost a bit more since they’ve been examined and are in very good shape.
Safety is a Priority
When discussing a used vehicle with your teen, you can’t do enough to emphasize safety. It’s the most important priority for parents of young drivers. On your checklist, make sure the used vehicle has advanced safety features, such as electronic stability control (ESC) and antilock brakes, especially if you’ve chosen a crossover or SUV, as well as good crash-test results. Ask about the vehicle’s air bags and where they are located. It’s best to choose a car with at least six air bags: the two required in front, plus side-impact and side-curtain air bags. You should be able to find the air bags on door panels or the rear-seat headliner clearly marked with the letters SRS (supplemental restraint system).
Finally, research the safety ratings for your particular used vehicle. Find a used vehicle with at least four stars out of five on government crash tests. Go to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website to see if your used car has earned an overall “Good” rating or a “Top Safety Pick.” By seeing how the potential used car is ranked, you’ll feel much easier with your teen driver behind the wheel.
Visit Our Showroom
Now it’s time to visit our showroom at McCluskey Automotive to look at our used car inventory and take a test drive. Remind your teen to bring their license so that they can drive the car. Ask our sales rep to let your teen drive the vehicle on a variety of roadways to get a really good feel for the car. And don’t be confined to just one car. If there are a few used vehicles that are attractive, take a test drive in all of them.
Once you’ve settled on a used car, do a background check and rely on a reputable organization, such as Carfax or AutoCheck. These firms will give you a dependable history of this particular used car. If you want further confirmation, have a mechanic perform an inspection.
Set Driving Rules
It’s no wonder that you’re worried about your teen driver. Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death for American teens. In fact, kids between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely to crash than older drivers. Now that your teen driver has his or her own vehicle, it’s important to set rules and insist that they are followed. These safety basics should include that everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt. Drinking is never allowed; neither is texting or phone calls. You might even impose a rule to turn off their cell phone before starting the ignition. Since your teen will be driving to school-related activities, these might last into the dark of night. It’s been proven that more teens increase their crash risk in the evening. Set a curfew that works for both of you or require than an adult or other parent is in the car with them.
While it sounds like common sense, drill into your teen other common distractions that can cause an accident. These include eating in the car, applying makeup, wearing headphones, or driving while upset or after a fight with their friends or significant other. Finally, impress upon your teen driver that you are willing to pick him or her up at any time if she’s been drinking or isn’t comfortable letting a friend drive her home. You want them to know that you need them to arrive home safely – no matter what.
Hopefully these tips will have taken some of the stress out of your vehicle decision for your teen driver. By working with our staff at McCluskey Automotive, you’ll walk away with a safe, reliable used car for your teen driver.