Old vs. New Car for a Teen: Pros and Cons

When it comes time for your teen to get his or her own car, you may not be sure which option to choose. An older car will cost less, while a new car could be more reliable. If you’re not sure which car is right for your teen, consider the pros and cons of new vs. older cars.

Old cars

  • Pros – An older car will almost always cost less than a brand new one, and if your teen is paying for the vehicle, a used car is probably more financially feasible. And since a used car will be less valuable, there is less risk of financial loss if your teen is involved in a wreck.

Don’t forget about the other costs associated with owning a car. Older cars are generally less expensive to insure, so be sure to consider additional factors when planning your auto budget.

  • Cons – While older cars may cost less to own, they’re not always as reliable as a newer vehicle. Safety should be a top concern when considering a car for your teen, so if you do decide on an older car, have a mechanic perform a thorough inspection before you buy and make sure to ask for a complete vehicle history report from the seller.

Older cars generally don’t last as long as new cars. So while they’re less expensive in the short term, repairs and the cost of a replacement vehicle when the current one bites the dust could cost more over time. It’s a good idea to consider a middle-of-the-road vehicle that has been driven for a couple years but still has a lot of life left in it for a reliable yet cost-effective solution.

New cars

  • Pros – When choosing a car for your teen, having the most updated safety features can give you peace of mind while your teen is learning to drive. Buying a new car means you’ll have the newest safety options in different makes and models, while buying an older car limits your choices to what’s available for sale.

In terms of longevity, a new car will almost always outlast an old car. So while you may pay more up front, a new car could be a better value in the long run.

  • Cons – Your teen will definitely appreciate a brand new car, but not many people can afford that kind of up-front purchase. Auto insurance on a new car will usually cost more than a used car, so be sure to compare car insurance quotes online if you go with a new vehicle. Online car insurance comparison tools can help you quickly determine which provider offers the best coverage and value for teen auto insurance. And something can be said for giving a teen an older car so that they can properly appreciate a new car when they save up to buy one themselves.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both new and used cars, so be sure to consider all of your options when choosing a car for your teen. The decision is ultimately yours, and your teen will likely appreciate a vehicle no matter what.


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