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5 Tips For Buying A Car For A Teenager

Teen who just bought a used car in Gainesville, FL, sitting behind the wheel and holding the keys triumphantly.

Few events are more exciting for a teenager than buying a first car. But not all vehicles are created equal. Paul West Used Cars assists teen drivers across North Central Florida with finding their ideal used cars for sale. Whether the vehicle is a birthday or graduation present or a practical gift to help your teen get back and forth to school or a job, here are five things every parent should know when buying a used car for their teen.

1. Know Your Budget

Every used car has a sticker price that displays the total cost for that vehicle. While some customers pay the full amount up front, most choose to finance. Our used car dealership in Gainesville makes it easy to determine the financing costs for the vehicles we sell. In addition to the sticker price, we also list the down payment. For example, a pre-owned, 2006 Chrysler 300 might have a total price of $11,995 but a downpayment of only $1,800. That downpayment, plus any registration or dealer fees, is the amount that it costs to drive that vehicle off our lot today. The remaining sum is then paid off in monthly installments based on your credit. As a buy here, pay here dealership, we can take care of all of this in an afternoon.

Before you arrive at the dealership, have a budget in mind. Knowing how much you can afford in monthly installments and a down payment allows us to direct you toward the pre-owned inventory that best fits your budget.

2. Consider Fuel Economy

Fuel economy is an important fact for most used car shoppers, but it has particular relevance for teen drivers. While many drivers adore the Ford F-150 SuperCab, which delivers generous pounds-per-foot of torque for effortless towing, teens might not be able to afford to fuel a powerful V8 engine. Fuel-efficient cars are good for the planet and your teen’s wallet. However, if your teen believes performance is the most important criterion, then sacrificing a couple of miles-per-gallon for greater horsepower makes sense in that circumstance.

3. Check The Mileage

The mileage on the odometer tells how many miles a car has been driven. Not all mileages tell the same stories, though. High mileage on a newer car implies the car was driven mostly on the highway, probably while commuting. But highway miles, which are traveled at near-constant speeds, put less stress on the engine than city miles. Mileage can also provide insight into what maintenance costs might be associated with a car. On average, teens won’t care about the mileage number, but they will care about spending excessive money on maintenance.

Compare a car’s mileage to the service sticker in the drivers-side corner of the windshield to calculate when the next oil change might be needed. Most cars also have manufacturer-recommended maintenance at 30,000 miles; 60,000 miles; and 90,000 miles (known as the 30-60-90 schedule). When a vehicle is nearing one of these mileage landmarks, it might require a new air cleaner, brake fluid, tires, and other engine parts. Additionally, most cars need a timing belt change at every 100,000 miles (60,000 for older cars).

In most cases, used cars have electronic service records associated with their VINs (vehicle identification numbers). To find out what information is available about a car you’re interested in, just ask our sales team!

4. Measure Interior Cabin Space

When a parent shops for a car, one of their main considerations is whether a vehicle offers enough seating and interior space for their family. But teen drivers have different passenger needs. Some teens might commute to school or work with friends. But in general, it’s best to avoid distracted driving by restricting how many passengers your teen chauffeurs. A compact coupe or sedan might offer all the interior space your teen needs. On the other hand, if they have younger siblings who they’ll be driving around regularly, opting for a passenger-friendly SUV or even a minivan could be ideal.

5. Emphasize Function & Form

It’s easy as a parent to get carried away with practical considerations of your teen driver. Modern safety features, reliable performance, easy maintenance, these are all important when finding the right car for your teen. But you also want to avoid depriving them of a car they’ll enjoy driving. Teens who love their cars are more inclined to wash and maintain them regularly, as well as hold onto them for longer durations. On the other hand, a teen who’s embarrassed by the car they’re driving might neglect the vehicle or find an excuse to trade it in early. Like with most activities involving teenagers and their parents, car shopping is all about the give-and-take.

Paul West Used Cars features an extensive pre-owned inventory with vehicles that’ll appeal to all teen drivers (and their parents), we even have a honda civic available. Come visit our dealership in Gainesville for a test drive today!