Buying a car is stressful enough as it is. When buying a car for your child, suddenly there’s a lot more to think about…
Is this car safe enough?
How much is this all going to cost me?
Will they be able to afford the gas?
Car shopping takes a lot of time and research. Don’t rush into buying your teen’s first “I gotta have it!” First, consider the following:
- Who’s buying?
Sit down with your teen and decide who will be held financially responsible for the car. Although most parents are the ones who actually take out the car loan and pay for the car itself, teens can help out by paying for the insurance, gas, and repairs. How you split the cost is up to you, but if you decide your teen will have to contribute financially, it’s a good idea to set them up with an ATM card. That way, your teen will always have gas money on hand and can save for unforeseen car expenses.
- New or used?
Once you’ve established who will be financially responsible for the vehicle, it is time to decide if you are going to be buying a new or used car. We would recommend buying a used car because not only are they considerably less expensive, they cost less to insure. However, it is important to first make sure the car is reliable and in good working condition. Repairs on an older vehicle can end up costing more than the price of a new car. Whether you buy new or used, be sure to check the make and model’s reputation, crash test ratings, and if there have been any recalls.
- Big or small?
While car shopping for your teen, look into getting a smaller vehicle. Your teen will have more control of a sedan than an SUV. Plus, tall SUVs put your teen at risk of rolling over. But don’t go too small. You still want to maximize the protection between your teen and an oncoming vehicle. Other benefits of smaller vehicles include more fuel efficiency at a lower cost.
- How about safety?
Now that you know what kind of car you are looking for, it’s time to think about safety features. Safety is the most important consideration while buying a car for your teen. As much as we don’t want to believe it, teens are more prone to accidents due to driving distractions and lack of experience. Whatever you do, DON’T be frugal when it comes to safety. Paying extra for a car with more safety features can ultimately save your teenager’s life. While test-driving the car, check for front and side airbags, a good anti-lock breaking system and electronic stability control. Also check for blind spots and accessibility to blinkers, windshield wipers, and stereo system.
- What about insurance costs?
Be prepared for insurance premiums to increase when you add a first-time driver to your plan. Nonetheless, you will be saving money by doing this. Rather than putting them on their own plan, you can take advantage of multi-car and good student discounts. Sports cars and SUVs are more costly to insure because of the greater risk of an accident. If you want to save money on your insurance rates, then buy a small, safe car with more anti-theft features.
- What’s the value in education?
No matter how safe the car is that you choose, what’s really going to keep your child safe is proper training and education. Getting as much practice as possible behind-the-wheel is crucial. Also getting the proper drivers education beforehand can make all the difference in the world. It is both you and your teen’s responsibility to make sure your teen feels confident in the driver’s seat no matter what kind of car they drive.
By first discussing these things with your teenager, you will buy a car that satisfies both of your needs.