Should You Buy Your Teenager a New or Used Car?

Should You Buy Your Teenager a New or Used Car?

Your teenager just passed their driving test, and suddenly you have a new driver in the family. You probably have lots of thoughts running through your mind right now, but I’m sure the purchasing of a car for (or with) them is on the forefront—it’s surely on your teen’s mind. Should you buy new or used? Let’s look at some pros and cons of each.

Buying a New Car: The Pros

We’ll start with the pros to buying new. A new car has all of the newest features, including the newest safety features like rearview cameras, collision detectors, and even parallel parking assistance.

No doubt the safety of the vehicle is of utmost importance. Your priority is keeping your child as safe as possible, so the more safety features the better! Buying a new Volkswagen for sale means getting the latest features available—that may not be the case if you picked out a used Jetta with outdated safety options. When it comes to your child’s well-being, you may prefer to get the peace of mind a new car offers.

Another advantage to buying new is that many cars come with a standard warranty that covers everything for the first few years. Used cars come with limited warranties for maybe only a year, if at all. So, by paying a higher cost for a new car upfront, you’re pretty safe from having any repair bills in the first couple of years of ownership. And, of course, that new car smell! Ok, so that’s way less important, but still it’s amazing, and deserves to be on the pro list.

Buying a New Car: The Cons

Now for the cons. We know that the brand new car you just purchased depreciates in value quite a bit the moment you drive out of the lot. Yes, you do have a car with all of the latest features, but not without a price.

You’ll not only pay thousands more for a new car than a used one, it’ll be more costly to insure it as well. Buying a new car for a new driver may be a waste of money, considering 16-19 year olds have the highest risk of vehicle crashes among all age groups. Having them wreck (or just dent) a used car may be a little easier to swallow than something brand new.

Buying a Used Car: The Pros

The most obvious pro to buying used is price! For most families, a used car is more within their budget. The insurance rates are cheaper, and they can be just as easy to maintain as a new vehicle. If it’s a fairly new model, it’ll still likely have a lot of the safety features you find in the new cars, just for less money.

Buying a Used Car: The Cons

Buying used has its downside too. A used car’s technology and safety features will be dated. Even just 5 years can make a huge difference in the advancement of safety (and other) features. With regulations constantly changing, the car that got a five star safety rating 4 years ago would not get the same rating now. Another con is you don’t know the history of the car you are buying. Be sure to ask for a vehicle history report before buying. You want to know the accident history, previous ownership history, and lemon status of the car you’re considering.

Consider Pre-Owned Vehicles

If you’re still on the fence about which way to go, there is one more option. It’s kind of a happy medium. You can purchase a certified preowned vehicle. Although technically they are used, these are a step above a regular used car because they are typically only a couple of years old, most often lease returns with lower mileage. Their advantage is that they have been fully inspected and meet safety standards to ensure that they are safe on the road. This is a great way to feel good about knowing you’re buying a safe car for your child, without paying full price for brand new.

Should You Buy Your Teenager a New or Used Car?
Should You Buy Your Teenager a New or Used Car?

Bottom Line

As with any major purchase, there are lots of positives and negatives to sort through. It may help to write them all out and make a priority list of what’s most important to you in this car. Is it price? Is it safety? The main objective for most parents is finding the safest car their budget allows. Do your research, do some comparing, and ultimately, you’ll end up with the right car for your needs.


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