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Steering Clear: Tips for Buying a Car / By Christina Dennis


Buying a car is a big investment. Before you buy one, there are several things that you need to consider: the price of the car, the safety features and the condition. Cars can be very expensive. In fact, 23% to 27% of teens in America report they are struggling to pay for gas, maintenance and repairs for their car (Leonhardt, CNBC, 2018). Also, teen auto insurance happens to be more expensive because teenagers having the highest accident rates among all drivers. According to InCharge Debt Solutions, the average annual insurance rate quoted for a teen driver is $2,267 (2019). Be sure to include the costs of insurance and upkeep in your budget calculations.

Safety is another factor that is very important to keep in mind when searching for the right car model. The size of the vehicle, crash test performances, and safety features like airbags and back up camera sensors are some of the most important factors you should consider when it comes to choosing your first car. In general, you want to make sure that the car model you eventually buy has all of the updated safety features and is reliable. Another big decision when buying a car is deciding whether it will be brand new or used. This all comes down to the budget you have for a car and if you care about the new car decreasing in value. Kiara Hardin, a young adult automobile owner says,

“Buying my first car was stressful yet exciting because there are so many steps and so many things to pay for. I saved half my summer jobs checks to ensure I had enough to pay for everything.”

From personal experience, I own a 2016 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye. I was sixteen years old when I bought my first car. After going to several car dealerships with my dad, I finally found a car that caught my attention. I used all of the information available when choosing the right car. It was like love at first sight (yes, it was THAT serious). By owning a car, I drive responsibly: I check my mirrors and blind spots as I’m driving. I also try not to speed because it will increase my insurance rates. Expert tip: Make sure your car is insured. It’s the law!


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