What you need to know about your teenager's first car

Where Can I Find the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)?

The vehicle identification number (VIN) is composed of 17 characters (digits and capital letters) that act as a unique identifier for the vehicle. A VIN displays the car's unique features, specifications and manufacturer.

The VIN can be found in a couple of places including on the car's registration label (1), on the compliance plate in the engine bay (2) or on the passenger side windshield (3), or on one of the door posts (where the door latches when it is closed) (4). See the image below:

Look for the VIN in these other locations:

  • Insurance card/Insurance policy
  • Vehicle title and registration certificate


Parents beware, the time has come - your teenager is ready to learn to drive.

It goes both ways. Sometimes your child is urging you to let them take the car for a lesson or two, while other parents have to push their teenager to learn to drive (and subsequently, gain independence, too).

This can be a nerve-wracking experience for both of you. Of course, it's easier if your teenager has already passed their licence and you feel as though it's time for their first car.

So, what do you need to know?

Safety first

ANCAP ratings may help you choose a suitable vehicle for your teenager.

The safety of your teenager (and everyone else on the road) should be top priority. This starts with education. Do you feel that they are responsible enough to own a vehicle, and know the road rules to drive it as such? Confidence can be an issue you deal with later, as young drivers will pick it up with enough guidance and experience.

When looking for a car, keep safety features in mind. The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) tests cars regularly, giving many models a rating out of five stars after their vigorous crash tests. Alternatively, you can look at the the Used Car Safety Rating (UCSR) for the model in mind1.

This is a key indication on which cars will be equipped with vital life-saving safety features, such as airbags, ABS braking and more.

Of course, looking at second-hand cars on the market means that they may not be in tip-top shape. A CarHistory report will be able to tell you more to help you make an informed decision.

Financing via father's funds?

How will your teenager pay for the car? As it's likely to be the first big purchase they make, it's a wise idea to let them know how to handle repayments, save up money and pay their own way.

To avoid interest fees, if you, or another family member, have the cash yourself, you can always purchase the vehicle first and have your teen pay you back in instalments. It can help them set a realistic budget and manage their own finances, as well as relieving any pressure of repayment deadlines.

Finding the right car

This will be a car your teenager will drive, so they should play a vital part of the choosing process. Test drives are highly recommended, with your teenager at the wheel.

They'll be the best person to assess the comfort of driving the car in mind. This can aid in building up the confidence your teenager needs to start driving responsibly on their own.

Remember, it can be a slow process, but keeping calm and being patient will help the both of you in the long run.

1Allianz, Features to look for when buying your kid's first car. Accessed July, 2016.

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