When you’re buying your child’s first car as an independent adult, it can be a little daunting. You want the car to be safe, sensible and reliable, and reflective of the driving habits you want your kid to maintain!
Good questions to ask yourself before purchasing are: “what kind should I buy?”, “how much should I spend?”, and “how safe is it?”. Keep reading to make sure you get the right car for your child, and avoid costly breakdowns in the future.
1. Cool vs. Affordable
If a cool looking car is at the top of your budding adult’s list of wants, but it’s completely out of your budget, you might have to discuss with them the realistic options. For students, it’s better to go for safe and functional for a first car. There’s plenty of time for them to save for that flashy sports model once they’ve finished their degree!
And if they want a rustic vibe or worn look for their car, get them to check out our blog on how to patina paint a car.
2. Fuel Efficiency
If they’re going to be doing a lot of driving then check the car has a great fuel efficiency rating. They don’t want to be spending ridiculous amounts of money on petrol just to get to and from Uni. Many entry-level cars have outstanding fuel economy, so check the specs when shopping around. Vintage cars should be avoided, or else your broke uni student is going to have to buy a lead additive for old cars.
3. Small is Beautiful
In most cases, the best-sized cars for students are small ones. Unless, of course, your kid inherited your tall genes, then this isn’t going to be practical! But if you can get away with a small car, then they’ll not only find parking easier, they’ll save money at the petrol pump.
4. Operating Costs
An older car may be cheaper than a newer model, but if it breaks down a lot then the additional maintenance can add up. When choosing a car, take into account not just the purchase price but the operating costs as well, e.g. petrol, servicing and repairs. A newer model may actually work out better for them in the long run.
5. Safety Features
Safety is always the number one concern for parents. You can look up a car’s safety rating on ANCAP to see how well it compares with other makes and models. Buying a car with a safety rating of 5 is recommended.
6. Don’t Forget Insurance
Getting your child’s car insured is essential. Be sure to shop around to get the best deal, some companies may offer student discounts, but expect young drivers to attract higher premiums. A car with a high safety rating may also help reduce insurance premiums.
7. Get a Mechanical Check
If you’re not buying a new car, you can get a car checked over by a qualified mechanic or workshop to make sure you’re not buying a lemon. You can do a quick inspection yourself by checking:
- For rust underneath the body, interior carpet and bonnet.
- Oil leaks.
- Thread on the tyres (including the spare).
- That the seatbelts are working.
- Signs of structural damage or repair.
8. Shop Around
Last but not least, our top piece of advice is to always shop around when you’re buying a car. Don’t just buy the first one you see online. Always visit the dealership or owner’s home in person and take it for a test drive. This way you can make sure you’re getting the best deal.