Buying a car for your kid

First carNormally when your kid passes their driving test they’ll be itching to get behind the wheel of their own car.

Sometimes they’ll have raised the cash themselves, but more often than not they’ll be looking to you for some help. In either case you should be on hand to offer assistance and advice.

Buying a car in itself can be a tricky thing to do. And with a huge number of accidents on the road, you’ll also want to make sure that your child is going to be safe when they’re out and about on their own. It’s worth having a talk with your kid before you go about this, so you know that you’re both on the same page. Most importantly, though, you should have a set of criteria and ideas for what is most important before you even set foot in a showroom or open a web page.

Here are a few of our best tips. A great list of things to consider when you’re buying a car for your kid.


We said it above, but we’ll say it again. Safety is the number one concern of parents buying motors for their children. As new drivers, they are infinitely more likely to be involved in an accident and put their lives at risk. Safety concerns are legitimate for parents. Look at the car you’re thinking of in rankings of car safety online, and think about how much extra you’re willing to spend to make gains in this area. Try to take the car for a road test to get a general feel for it, paying special attention to handling and maneuverability.

Look around at what other people are buying for their children. Often the safest cars are hugely expensive SUVs, so you won’t want to go down that route. You may feel more comfortable striking a balance between safety and affordability. Visiting an online showroom like can often be an invaluable experience. It should allow you to view vehicles side by side, making an informed choice.


It’s your kid’s first car. They’re probably not expecting something outrageously sporty or expensive. Practicality is key.

Talk through the practical aspects of the car they want to address. They’ll probably want room for friends, but you shouldn’t be looking at people carriers just yet. Think about how powerful the car needs to be and how much mileage they want to get out of it. Presumably they’ll be paying for petrol themselves, so they’ll want to keep costs down. This is also a great way to coach them for the future, and they’ll remember your advice when they come to buy their second and third cars.


Although you’ll be helping out with the funds, it’s still important to preach affordability to your kids. This will probably be their first car of many, so it doesn’t have to be made to last. You may be reselling it when they head off to university in a few years, so you probably aren’t going to be thinking long-term. Talk to them about the resale value. They should be looking to buy something that will preserve its worth without costing too much in the first place. They’re sure to be happy to gain that extra cash when you sell the car before they go off to university.


Consider having a new car to be shared by your kid and someone else in your family. Most families probably can’t justify having three cars, so if you can you should try to cut back. If this is the case then you have to think about a variety of other things. How will the other people sharing the car use it? Will it be used for family trips, or is it likely to be used solely for commuting?

If you aren’t going to splash out on another car then this shared vehicle can be of a higher calibre. A shared family vehicle is likely to be used for years to come, so you should consider its life expectancy in addition to its economy and practicality. You may need more spaces for family trips than your kid would need for travelling to and from school.


Insurance is costly for new drivers. It will be one of the biggest considerations when you come to look at new cars. The power and size of the car will have a direct effect on the amount of insurance you pay, indicating that it will also contribute to the likelihood of an accident. You probably want a car in the middle bracket of power. On a motorway it is not ideal to have a car that can’t accelerate out of a tricky situation, although obviously you want to balance this with overall safety concerns.


Ideally you’ll want a car that is easy to maintain. It should run for months at a time without needing attention at all as it is likely to be neglected. But you should also be able to use it to teach your child the basics of car maintenance.

This will probably be the last stretch of time that kid will be at home, as buying a car tends to be a precursor to moving out. Seize the opportunity to show them how to change oil, jump start the engine and change a wheel. In the long run, it’s a fantastic idea for them to have some basic maintenance under their belt, as it will save them a lot of cash. It will also mean that when they come to buy their next car they’ll know how to look out for a well-maintained vehicle.

It’s a good idea to turn the purchasing of their first car into a lesson. Practical skills like this will serve them well in the future, whether they’re looking to buy another car or their first house. When it comes to spending a lot of money, it’s good to teach them the importance of forward thinking and logical analysis. That way they’ll be able to buy a car without being taken for a ride.

Written by