Watching your children grow up is one of the many delights of being a parent. One minute they’re learning how to walk, and the next they’re learning how to drive. Whether you choose to buy a new or used car, here are things to consider before heading to the dealership.

  Pros Cons
New Car
  • The latest in enhanced safety features
  • More incentive options
  • Value depreciation upon driving off the lot
  • Likely more expensive than used, resulting in higher monthly payments
Used Car
  • More affordable
  • Potential for lower car insurance rates
  • Research needed for car history maintenance
  • Limited warranties on repairs and service

With advancements in technology that help protect drivers, checking for customizable or enhanced safety features is worth every penny when it comes to your new driver’s safety. While you can’t avoid some dings and scratches, be sure to check off these three enhanced safety must-haves before signing off on your child’s new ride.

1. Tire pressure monitoring.

It’s easy to look at a tire and say, “Looks good to me,” but there can be serious consequences if tire pressure is too high or too low. According to the 2005 Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD) Act, all new light-duty vehicles must have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS),1 which helps alert drivers when one or more of their vehicle tires is either over or under the required air pressure.

2. Electronic stability control (ESC).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) continues to push this feature toward becoming a federal requirement much like seat belts. But until then, you may want to seek it out yourself. ESC systems may help prevent up to 56 percent of untripped rollover crashes – those caused by a collision avoidance maneuver – and 14 percent of loss-of-control crashes.2

3. Blind spot detection.

There are no legal requirements for this feature, but an estimated 292 annual fatalities and 18,000 injuries are due to blind zones.3

Taking time to research potential cars with your new driver on sites like Consumer Reports, TRUECar, CarFax or CarMax can help refine the search and ensure the car your child chooses is one you feel safe buying.

Safety features are essential for your child’s first car. Learn more about what it takes a vehicle to earn the NHTSA’s 5-Star safety rating.