While it’s hardly the norm anymore, many parents want to buy their kids their first car. It does make for a great gift when they’ve passed their driving test. But deciding on a car to buy your teen can be a pretty nerve-wracking experience itself. How many times have we seen in films or on TV an eager teen being disappointed by the banger their parent bought them?

Obviously, your child should just be grateful that they’ve got a car at all! But if you are concerned about the kind of car you want to get your child, check this guide.

Consider speaking to them

Here’s a novel idea – have you thought about asking them about the kind of car they want? Many people want to totally surprise their kid with the new car. Of course, this is understandable. But if you find yourself really concerned about what you’re going to get, why not get more information from them? They could already be dropping hints, so make sure to listen and take mental notes. You could try trying to get the info from them without giving away your plans, but that could be pretty difficult. So think about simply talking to them straight-up about the kind of car they want.

Don’t let the media dictate your decision

There are a lot of ways the media can influence you in this decision. It can make you ignore what your child wants and make you purchase something you’d think they want. The fact that those Fast and Furious films have made billions of dollars doesn’t mean you have to get your kid something flashy and ridiculous. And the fact that your child is a girl doesn’t mean you should buy them a pink car. Don’t fall back on popular assumptions. If you’re really unsure, see the last tip!

Remember that you can customise

Maybe you’ve found the perfect used car, from a mechanical point of view. But if the colour of the car is your child’s least favourite colour, then you’re going to be tempted to walk away. Not so fast! Remember that you can alter aspects of the vehicle. You could change the colour of the car with a new paint job. You can get a private number plate if you want to add some uniqueness or novelty. You could replace the leather with other materials if your child has an ethical problem with leather.

Provide them with helpful material

You should consider providing three things with the car you buy for your child. Get them a good mapping system so they can feel more confident finding their way. You could look into GPS or even provide them with those old-school map books. Give them all of the informative reading material that came with the vehicle. They should know exactly how that car works. And don’t hog all the insurance information! It’s sometimes tempting for parents to leave the legal side away from their kids, to save them the hassle. But your kid should become accustomed to the insurance world as soon as possible. Oh, and if you want to remind them to drive safe, make sure to put a copy of the Highway Code in there. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it, or at least lovingly roll their eyes.