New or Used? Considering A Car For Your Teen

The start of the school year is just around the corner! With that being said, there are many teenagers and college students looking for that perfect ride to get them to and from classes.  So what is the perfect vehicle for the young adult driver?

Beyond looking at a vehicle’s price, reliability, safety, and economy rating,  many other factors must be considered when buying for that young teenager or college student.

As any parent knows, personality plays a large role when considering purchasing anything for a teenager. The car that is chosen must be one that fits their needs, budget and style.  Other factors to consider are:  climate conditions  (i.e. lots of snow all year ’round) and whether they live in a rural or metro areas (compact cars are recommended for tight parking).

A few top priorities when considering a car for that teenager or college student:

  • Ability to purchase (cost)
  • Ability to maintain ownership (insurance, maintenance, etc)
  • Credit approval
  • Style/amenities

The difference between purchasing a new car and a used car is tremendous. Let’s contemplate the facts. The fact is that a used car is initially much cheaper. Many used vehicles sell for under $10,000. In addition, credit approval for a used vehicle also tends to be a little easier to get (especially for the young adult who has no prior credit history). A used vehicle can be researched online, meaning, one can look for a specific make and model and find out if it is reliable, dependable, etc.  Although the upfront cost is low, there are risks associated with buying a used vehicle. One major important thing to consider is where to buy a used vehicle. Many dealerships offer certified pre-owned vehicles who have been mechanically checked and have a clean bill of health. However, most used vehicles that are 3 years or older DO NOT carry warranties. If they do have the balance of a factory warranty, there isn’t much remaining. Often times used vehicles have high mileage, may or may not have been in an accident, and may or may not have been taken care of by their previous owner. It’s all really a gamble.

New vehicles are expensive up front. The average cost for a new vehicle in 2010 is somewhere near the $29,000 mark. That’s a lot of money for a young teenager or college student working at the local coffee shop. There are some new vehicles that are on the market that sell for around $10,000 brand new…but at that cost, one wonders the long term longevity of such a vehicle? New cars do offer peace of mind, with warranties ranging from 3-10 years. Maintenance costs should be relatively low, and with a lot of manufacturers offering roadside assistance, parents need not worry about their kids being stranded somewhere.

With that being said…it’s really a toss up between a new or used vehicle. There are both pro’s and con’s to either decision. Perhaps the smartest choice is to get a new used vehicle. This option offers the best of all scenarios. A new used vehicle is one that is a year behind (for instance, a 2010 model, when 2011 models are now being sold) and has been driven for various reasons (the dealership used it as a rental, etc). Typically they have under 5,000 miles on them, have ALL The warranties from the factory, and you get a nice break on the initial cost of the vehicle because the dealer is making room for the 2011 models.

No matter what you decide to get, make sure that you do your research. Find a vehicle that is priced right for your budget (or the student’s budget), find a vehicle that makes your college bound teen happy to drive, and find a vehicle that makes you happy at the same time. Seem like an impossible task? It’s not! It just takes a little patience.

Interested in seeing Jack Maxton’s Inventory of New Used vehicles?

Click Here to view our “Courtesy Car” inventory.

These are new 2010 models that have been slightly driven (2000-4000 miles), still offer factory warranty, and still have all the same bells and whistles of a new vehicle…without the new vehicle price.

2010 Chevrolet Impala
2,205 miles
dual climate control
heated driver seat
leather seats
CD player
Side air bags, key-less entry and more!

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