How To Pass Down the Family Car Safely

Learning how to drive is a significant time for kids and their parents alike. Equally exciting and terrifying, letting your child get behind the wheel of a car is a big step.

While some kids receive brand new cars, most new drivers’ first rides come from their parents or family members. While there are many benefits to passing down a used vehicle to your teen, there are some drawbacks, too.

Take a look at these pros and cons before you pass down the family car, then see what essential services you’ll need before your teen hits the road.

Advantages to Passing Down a Used Car

1.) Low or Nonexistent Car Payments 

One of the most significant benefits of giving your child a used vehicle is it likely has a few installments left or a meager monthly payment. Better yet, the car may be completely paid off!

Although new cars come with all the bells and whistles, they also come with a hefty price tag. Car ownership is a huge responsibility that comes with many costs. Lower or nonexistent car payments can save parents and their new drivers money in the long run.

2.) More Comfortable Behind the Wheel

Learning how to drive, though exciting, can be incredibly daunting to a new driver. One thing that may help settle their nerves? Driving a car they’ve spent a lot of time in.

3.) Known Maintenance History

Buying a used car may be economical, but it’s hard to know just how well its previous owner kept the car. Did they get regular oil changes? Have the vehicle’s fluids been flushed properly? It’s hard to tell with used vehicles.

But when you pass down your car, you know exactly how it’s been maintained. Knowing the state of your car and when it needs its next tune-up will give you peace of mind.

Disadvantages to Passing Down Your Car

1.) Gas Guzzlers

One big drawback to owning an older car? Many have poor fuel economy. Cars with powerful engines, have heavier weight, or those that were made less aerodynamically consume more fuel.

Modern vehicles have improved aerodynamics and advanced engine technologies. Plus, hybrid cars and electric cars are becoming more and more popular, significantly decreasing the need for gas.

Cars with fuel inefficiencies must also deal with the Gas-Guzzler Tax, a measure enforced by the EPA as a part of the Energy Tax Act of 1978. Light trucks are excluded from the tax.

2.) Dated Safety Technology

Another bonus to buying new? Vehicle safety features tend to improve year over year. Many new cars have automatic braking, backup camera systems, and side view sensors that help detect pedestrians and other vehicles surrounding you.

3.) Higher Premiums

Car insurance is mandatory if you want to drive – but it can be costly, especially for parents with new drivers.

Since teenagers have less experience on the road, they are statistically more likely to be involved in car accidents than any other age group. To combat this, insurance companies charge higher rates for teen drivers.

However, there are ways to minimize the cost of high premiums. If your child has a good GPA, your insurance agency may offer a good student discount. Practicing safe driving and not receiving traffic tickets or getting in accidents will also help your teen’s rate decrease over time.

Maintenance To Do Before Passing Down the Family Car

If you’ve decided that the pros of giving your teen the family car outweigh the cons, it’s crucial to have the vehicle properly serviced before they take the keys.

Here are the top 5 services you’ll want to have done on your teen’s new ride:

1.) Oil Change

Teaching your teen the importance of regular oil changes is crucial to your vehicle’s longevity. Make sure the car has a fresh oil change before relinquishing your keys.

2.) Check the Brakes

Brakes receive a lot of wear and tear. Have your brakes inspected and, if they’re worn, have them repaired or fully replaced.

3.) Rotate and Align Your Tires

Keep your teen on the straight and narrow while they’re learning the rules of the road. That means having the tires aligned and fully rotated to ensure they aren’t wearing unevenly.

4.) Fluid Flush

Oil isn’t the only fluid your vehicle needs to change regularly. Replacing your vehicle fluids at their proper intervals will not only help your car run smoothly, but it will help to extend its life.

We recommend changing these fluids before handing down your vehicle:

  • Coolant
  • Power steering fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake fluid

5.) Test the Battery

Batteries don’t last forever. On average, a car battery will last three years. However, if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions (like the Phoenix heat!), your battery could wear prematurely.

Take your battery to your local auto shop and have it tested. If it’s an older battery, it may be best to replace it.

We’ve Got You Covered, Neighbor.

Before you let your teen drive off into the sunset in their car, stop by your neighborhood Wilhelm Automotive for a complete vehicle inspection and quality service.

We’ve provided the Phoenix Valley with auto repair and maintenance since 1928. We only hire ASE-Certified Technicians, and we guarantee all of our work in writing. Plus, we have discounts on some of the essential vehicle services, including A/C inspections and oil changes.

Schedule an appointment online or call your local Wilhelm Auto today.

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