One of the most exciting times for teenagers is when they begin to get behind the wheel and learn how to drive. For parents, it can be a challenging process as they adjust to having their drive on their own without adult supervision. When you’re looking to purchase a car for your teen driver, there are a few essential tips to finding a reliable vehicle.
Research Its History
Most cars look like they’re in excellent condition and haven’t been in any accidents, but you may not know if it’s been involved in a major collision or is a salvage title. Research the history of the car online by using the VIN number to search Kelley Blue Book. You can also learn how many owners determine if it’s a reliable vehicle or was even owned by a rental company.
Hire a Mechanic
You’ll want to use the services of a trusted mechanic in the local area who can inspect the vehicle to determine if any repairs are needed. The mechanic will know what to look for when checking the belt, transmission, and fluids. The inspection should take 30 minutes to one hour to complete and will cost $50 to $100. You can expect the mechanic to recommend a few repairs that are needed to avoid liability, according to usatoday.com. You’ll need to communicate the results of the inspection with the seller to determine if they can perform the repairs or negotiate the selling price.
Test Drive the Vehicle
Test driving the vehicle is essential to determine if it runs well and is easy to handle, according to time.com. You’ll need to listen for any noises that the car makes while it’s running and determine how smooth it rides on streets and highways. Testing the alignment is also crucial to prevent it from veering as your teenager drives. It’s also necessary to check the tires of the car, which may need to be replaced if there’s not an adequate amount of traction.
Research the Make and Model
Not all car brands and models are created equal, and each has a different reputation in the industry. Research the make and model of certain vehicles that you’re considering purchasing to determine which ones last the longest on the road. Toyota and Honda are known for running after the cars exceed 200,000 miles and can allow you to avoid as many repairs while the car is in use.
Ask for Records
If you’re purchasing a used car for your teen driver, consider asking for records that detail the maintenance that has been provided. Responsible car owners will keep all receipts of oil changes and repairs that have been made, which will give you insight on how well the car has run in the past.
Talk to Friends
If you’re considering a car model that is common, ask your family members and friends if they’re happy owning the type of vehicle that you plan to purchase for your teenager. Ask if they’d buy the car again in the future and if they’d recommend it to new drivers.
Read Internet Forums
Read forums that are available online to join in on conversations about specific car models that you’re shopping for in the area. Both mechanics and drivers commonly post online and discuss their experience with specific makes and models. You can learn about any issues that come with the vehicles and if they’re reliable or are prone to problems.
Research J.D. Power Data
J.D. Power Data is a company that collects automotive reliability data and releases the information to the public. It measures any issues cars have in the first 90 days, which influences its reliability in the coming years. Research their company and look up a vehicle you want to purchase to get insight on how reliable it will be.
Ask the Owner Why They’re Selling the Car
One of the most critical questions to ask car sellers is why they’re selling the vehicle. Car owners rarely get rid of cars that they love and often have a reason they’re switching to a different model. You’ll get an idea if the car has had a few issues or if it’s been too expensive to maintain.