Car Upgrades Before Your Teen Takes the Keys

Sixteen is a big year. With it comes a host of responsibility for your son or daughter, as well as a host of new dangers. From traffic tickets to automobile accidents, the actions people take on the road have consequences. So how can you make your car, and its driver as safe as possible? Here are some safety upgrades that can keep your teens safe while they take the reins for the first time.

Serious Talk

It may not seem like an upgrade, but having a serious conversation with your teen can go a long way. It’s important for teens to understand the responsibility that comes with a driver’s license. Sit down with your teen and explain the risks associated with speeding, driving under the influence, texting while driving and driving with other passengers who might be a distraction. Also talk about the consequences of these actions. Not only does handling the steering wheel involve focus, it also means being aware of surroundings, road laws and ensuring adequate insurance coverage. Take a minute to go over your policy with your teen so that he or she understands the basics of a deductible, coverage and liability.


Old and worn tires can be dangerous. It’s important to check your tires regularly to make sure they aren’t contributing to the danger your teen faces on the road. Tire width is typically measured in 1/32 inch. Concern should be minimal when the tires have more than 6/32. In order to check how worn your tires are, you can use a penny and a quarter. If multiple places within the tread come up to the top of the Lincoln Memorial when the penny is upside down, the tread is at 6/32. If the tread doesn’t come up to the Lincoln Memorial on the penny, switch to a quarter. Fit the quarter into several places on the tire. If part of Washington’s head is always covered with the quarter upside down then the tire has 4/32. If the tread doesn’t touch Washington’s head, use the penny again to check several spots of tread, this time with Lincoln’s head facing you and upside down. If Lincoln’s head is always covered by some tread then the tires has 2/32.

All of these measurements are on the low end when it comes to tire thickness. If snow conditions are a worry, then you’ll probably want to replace your tires when they are down to 6/32. Anything lower than that in snowy conditions can be extremely dangerous. At 4/32, wet conditions become considerably more perilous, and at 2/32 the risk of hydroplaning rises considerably. This is why it’s very important to check your tires regularly for tread depth. Visit and upgrade the tires before handing over your keys.

Cruise Control

Cruise control can be a great addition to a car. Not only does it promote fuel efficiency while on the freeway, but it also decreases the distractions a new driver faces. Cruise control is a great way to avoid speeding tickets as well, which can increase the cost of a new driver’s insurance. has kits for a huge selection of cars, as well as replacement cruise switches for reasonable prices. Though some car owners do their own installation, it isn’t recommended. Many car shops will be able to help you with this install.

Blind Spot Warnings

One of the most common reasons for accidents is the blind spot in cars. Even if a new driver head checks a blind spot before changing lanes, there is still a possibility she won’t see the car hanging out near the edge of the back bumper. A great upgrade for cars is a blind spot sensor. These warning sensors will blink aftermarket dash lights, or alarm in some way if you indicate you are changing lanes and a car is occupying your blind spot, or even rapidly approaching. Systems like the Gosher detection sensors are robust and difficult to install. Even full service shops take hours to outfit your car with them, so professional installation is highly recommended.