Parents of teens understand the need for their kids to have their own car. Especially if the kid hitting driving age is the oldest, and can help out with some of the transporting of younger siblings! Sometimes kids buy their own first car, and sometimes parents generously offer to buy the first car for their new teen driver. Either way it happens, it’s important to know what to look for so you are sure to purchase a safe car for a new teen driver.

Red car against grey sky and on dark road

Purchasing safe cars for teen drivers

Whatever your budget is for buying your teenager his, or her, first car, you’ll want to buy the safest car possible in your price range. Both new and used cars have plenty of great safety features, and it just takes knowing what to look for in order to find that perfect ride for your kid.

Car features to look for when car shopping for your teen

  • Size - yes, size matters in this case. Too small of a car doesn’t offer as much protection in a crash. However, too large a car may be too much for a younger, inexperienced driver, to handle. Have your teen test drive mid-size sedans, as well as smaller SUV/Crossovers. See which feels best to them.
  • ESC or VSC - Electronic Stability Control or Vehicle Stability Control. Most new cars have this as a standard feature, but if you’re looking at used cars - double-check to make sure these are features in the used car. Cars older than 2011 don’t always have this as a standard feature. It’s an electronic system that helps detect and reduce lots of traction. Basically it helps minimize any loss of control of your car. It doesn’t COMPLETELY REMOVE the loss of control, but it helps drivers maintain control of their cars in certain situations.
  • Front and Side Airbags High Crash Rating - this means it holds up well in a crash, not that it has a lot of crashes. Avoid HIGH HORSE POWER cars - it just gives kids the chance to drive faster than they should be.

Before You Buy

IF you’re going for a used car, make sure to check a few things:

  • Mileage - shoot for cars with less than 100,000 miles. Often the manufacturer warranties will still apply even with the new owner. Plus, the lower mileage means you’re teen will have the car a bit longer.
  • Maintenance Records - Make sure the owner of the car has been keeping up with the maintenance. It may look pretty on the outside, and appear to be in running order. A car with high mileage doesn’t mean the car is a no-go. If the maintenance has been done, a car is going to run well for a long time. Investigate and make sure regular check-ups were done, not just an oil change every year when the car was inspected.
  • Get a pre-purchase inspection - Have a trusted mechanic you use? Ask him or her to take a look at the car BEFORE buying it. A good mechanic will see and HEAR things the average driver won’t know to look for, or listen for.


How to best insure the newest car and driver in your household is best decided after speaking to an insurance agent. There’s many different factors, and budget is usually the biggest factor when deciding how to insure a new driver. Tango, Tango & Tango Agents are happy to answer questions, and do the leg-work of shopping around to various insurance companies! We’ll find the best way to properly insure your teen driver, and his or her new car.

Give us a call at our Long Island Offices located in Commack and Rockaway! Our number is 631.543.0500.

We look forward to helping you insure your teen driver.

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