What to consider when your child purchases their first car

child driving their first car

Your child is about to buy their first car. What do you need to consider?

Growing up is an extremely exciting time, from getting a licence to buying your first car. If you have teenagers who have just passed their driving test, it’s likely that you’ll be looking to help them find their first car.

Buying a first car can be immensely satisfying, but there’s a lot that needs to be considered. Whether looking for a brand new or used vehicle, it’s important to discuss price, size and style, fuel efficiency, and most importantly, insurance.

Here are the things you should consider when helping your child buy their first car.



Safety should always be the number one priority when it comes to buying vehicles. Whether it’s a new or used vehicle, it is essential to have the car inspected by a mechanic to make sure everything is in working order and the car is safe to drive.

If it is a used car, consider the following:

  • Does it have the correct number of functioning airbags?
  • Are the brakes in good condition?
  • Are the tyres inflated? Do they have good tread? Has the vehicle had a recent wheel alignment?
  • Is the engine in good working order?
  • Are there any outstanding parts that need fixing?
  • Is there a logbook to identify all servicing is up to date?



When buying a vehicle, fuel efficiency is often at the top of everyone’s mind. Every cent counts when you’re still a teenager, so buying a fuel efficient car makes sense. If you’re heading to a dealership, be sure to ask how many litres per 100 kilometres the vehicle will use.

If you can’t get that information from a previous owner, check online.

As a rule of thumb, however, the lower the L/100km figure is, the better fuel efficiency the vehicle will offer. For example, if your vehicle has a 40-litre petrol tank and gets roughly 9L/100km, you’re going to get somewhere between 400 and 450 kilometres of travel to one tank of petrol.



Alongside safety and efficiency, reliability is another important factor to consider. As a parent, you want to be safe in knowing that your child’s car is reliable and will get them from A to B without any issues. You will also want to know that your child’s first car will last them for years to come.

When purchasing a used vehicle, check how many kilometres the car has done. Ensure the odometer hasn’t been altered to make sure you have an accurate reading at the time of purchase. It’s also important to ensure there’s a logbook that records all services and maintenance history of the vehicle.



One of the most important factors when buying any new or used vehicle is insurance.

There are multiple types of car insurance and speaking to an insurance company is the best way to figure out what type of insurance you need. Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance is mandatory and covers you for the liability of the injury or death of others. Comprehensive insurance covers much more, including damage to your vehicle, theft, fire, or flood damage, and most importantly, damage to the driver of the vehicle.

Insurance for a teenager will cost more, especially if under the age of 25. It’s always important to make sure you get three quotes too, to make sure you’re getting the best deal you can. It can save you money in the long run and some insurance companies may even provide a discount if you have referred your son or daughter.

Finder offers a comparison service that lets you quickly compare insurance policies from a host of different providers in a matter of minutes.



Budget is another important factor when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. If your child has saved for a car themselves, looking for used vehicles is a great cost-effective option, especially when you can pick up a range of quality cars in the region of $5,000 – $10,000.

Deciding on a budget will narrow down your search significantly but remember not to cut costs at the expense of safety.


Size and Style

Perhaps the less important considerations and the factors your teenager may be more interested in is the size and style of the car.

Whilst this may seem like an aesthetic-based consideration, it may have an impact on efficiency, reliability, and safety. Teenagers have less experience driving, therefore purchasing a large car might make it more difficult for them to drive and park.

The size of the vehicle can also have an impact on how fuel-efficient the car is. For example, smaller cars will generally cost you less to fill up and will be more efficient in fuel usage than larger cars.


Other Considerations

It is always recommended to take your new or used car for a test drive before purchasing. Make sure your child is comfortable driving the vehicle and ensure it drives smoothly.

If you are buying a used vehicle, ask the owner if they have kept a logbook of services. This will allow you to be able to see how often the car has been serviced and what has been replaced or fixed on the car.

It is also handy to get a PPSR check done on used vehicles. This is a report from the government that tells you if the vehicle has been written off in the past, has had any recalls, has any debt owed or has been stolen. You can access a PPSR online for only $2.00 through the government PPSR check site.


Taking the above considerations into account will help you to assist your child in picking their first car. Whilst new drivers know the road rules and laws, they are often not taught what to look for when it comes to buying a car.

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