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Top cars for teens: These new and used vehicles rated best
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Top cars for teens: These new and used vehicles rated best

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On the one hand, you no longer have to drive them places. On the other hand, driving is dangerous. So how do you pick the right first car for your teen? 

Buying a car for your kid is a big deal. Not only will it have a pronounced and long-lasting effect on your wallet, but your choice directly influences your child’s safety on our wild roads. Picking a good one is imperative, so that’s why guides like the one from U.S. News and World Report are helpful: They take some of the guesswork out of the equation.

The U.S. News and World Report list, published in August, is broken down into two sections: new and used. To qualify for the used list, a vehicle needs to have been built between 2015 and 2017 and have the right blend of affordability, reliability, crash test results and safety features.

The list is broken down into price categories in $5,000 increments ranging from under $20,000 to $40,000 and also breaks it out into cars and SUVs.

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It’s not just about miles: If you don’t drive your car a lot, your oil still needs to be kept fresh. Even if you drive fewer miles each year than your automaker suggests changing the oil (say, 6,000 miles, with suggested oil-change intervals at 7,500 miles), you should still be getting that oil changed twice a year.

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If your car will be sitting for a long period of time, the temperature may change and the tires can slowly lose pressure. For this reason, it’s a good idea to inflate your tires to the recommended air pressure, but do not exceed the maximum.

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Don’t forget the vehicle’s power source: the battery. The battery will eventually lose its charge if it isn’t driven at least every few weeks. If you prepare the car properly for storage, though, you do not need to run it to keep the battery charged.

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Occasionally driving your vehicle around the block will help keep the battery charged and in good health. It will also prevent rust from building up on the rotors, which if left unchecked could cause irreversible damage and will also prevent the tires from flat spotting. Flat spotting is when the rubber degrades quicker in one spot due to compression, which will cause an incurable vibration.

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If you will not be using your car for more than 30 days, it’s important to fill up your gas tank. This may help prevent moisture from building up in the tank.

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