Tips for Buying a Car for Your Young Driver

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When choosing a new car for your young or teen driver, finding the right balance between your budget and safety features can be a challenge. How do you decide which features to choose?

Like many parents, you may be considering buying your high school or college graduate a car as a gift this summer. And like most parents, you need to compromise the age of the car, safety features and the style your graduate is looking for with your budget. Most likely, you are considering a used car as a graduation gift.

According to Frank Cantor, owner of Cantor’s Driving School “Don’t even consider a car without Anti-lock brakes. This is one safety feature that is not worth compromising on.” It’s important to get the newest safety features possible when shopping for a car for your young driver.

Consumer Reports recommends with any used car purchase to have it thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic before you buy it. Jud Matthey, ASE Certified Master Mechanic and owner of Matthey Automotive in Collingswood, NJ says “Looking for a model with a history of safety and reliability is your best bet. Some of the safest most reliable cars out there are Honda’s, Toyota’s and Fords.”

“On initial inspection, check tire tread and pressure, warning lights on the dash board, fluid levels and quality (oil, transmission, brake and coolant) and look for leaks under the car. If any of these are bad, move on to the next used car” says Mr. Matthey. “Also ask the history of the vehicle. Has it been regularly maintained? Have there been any major repairs? Can the owner provide you with a service history? How many owners have there been?” These are all important things to ask before making a purchase.

Once you find a car both you and your young driver can agree on, then is the time to take it to your mechanic for a more thorough inspection. “An ASE Certified Mechanic can tell you more about the car, and if any major repairs will be needed in the near future” says Mr. Matthey. “It’s worth the investment to be sure you are buying a safe and reliable vehicle for your child.”

Tremendous advances in crash protection have been made in the past 10 years. Check the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ( and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( Web sites to see crash results for models you are considering. Both sites post results that go back to the 1990s.

Mr. Matthey also recommends looking for a vehicle with the most safety features as possible. “Look for a model that has multistage advanced front air bags, side and head-protection curtain airbags, antilock brakes and electronic stability control. All these life saving safety features are worth the extra money if you can afford it.” For help ensuring the used car you are buying is safe contact Jud Matthey at or call him at 856-854-2507.

“SUV’s and sports cars are not the best option for young drivers,” says Frank Cantor. “They are the most unstable and the easiest to drive too fast. For inexperienced drivers, it’s best to look for a vehicle with a 5-Star Safety Rating, such as the Mazda 3.” All of the vehicles used at Cantor’s Driving School are Mazda’s with 5-Star Safety Ratings. You can find all the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s crash-test ratings at

“Vehicles with electronic stability control (ESC) are my first choice for young drivers” says Mr. Cantor. “ESC is proven to keep cars from sliding which can prevent an accident in the first place. Experience is the number one factor that affects drivers in a crash. If you can help prevent the crash in the first place, it’s obviously a benefit.” To contact Frank Cantor for safer driving tips and driving instruction for your young driver visit or call Frank at 610-277-1050.

Overall, the decision of what car to buy should be based on safety and reliability. Explain this to your teen when shopping for a used car, so they can understand why some of the models and styles they like are not options. There are many sources for more information on safe cars, such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the National Traffic Safety Administration and Consumer Reports.

About Cantor’s Driving School: Cantor’s serves the Greater Philadelphia area including Montgomery, Chester and Philadelphia Counties. We have been in the driver training business for over 30 years and have trained over 25,000 drivers in that time. Cantor’s Driving School is owned and operated by Allan’s son, Frank Cantor. For more information call 610-277-1050 or visit

About Matthey Automotive: Matthey Automotive was founded in November of 2001 by Jud Matthey, Owner and ASE Master Automobile Technician. Jud has over 17 years of professional automotive experience. Matthey Automotive moved to our main Collingswood location on Route 130 over 5 years ago and is now a local Collingswood fixture. Our newest location is located in Historic downtown Collingswood at the corner of Haddon Avenue and Browning Road. We pride ourselves in offering our local community and surrounding area the highest quality automotive service possible. For more information call 856-854-2507 or visit

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