Tips for Buying Your Teen Their First Car

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A child’s teen years can be emotionally and financially stressful for parents. After all, you may be watching your child move closer to adulthood at a rather fast pace. You may also be faced with huge expenses, such as preparing to pay for college, helping your child get established in a dorm or apartment and buying your teen’s first car. The vehicle that you select for your child will play a major role in his or her safety and personal budget over the next few years. It also impacts the practicality of their transportation and many other important factors. You understandably need to make a smart buying decision while also selecting a style of car that your teen finds appealing. These tips can help you to narrow down the options intelligently.

1- Set a Budget

Some teen vehicles are paid for entirely with cash, and others are financed with an auto loan. In some cases, parents pay for the entire cost of the vehicle. In other instances, the parents and teen split the cost in an equitable manner. Before you can realistically begin shopping for a new car for your teen, you need to have a firm budget in mind. Understand how much money you and your teen can afford to pay. If you intend to finance the vehicle, it is helpful to use an auto loan calculator online and to get prequalified for a loan. These steps will help you to define the budget that you are working with.

2- Understand Your Teen’s Functional Needs

Some teenagers want to drive as sports car, and others may be interested in a classic car, a rugged utility vehicle or even a large truck. Before you begin trying to locate a vehicle that is aesthetically pleasing to your teen, focus on practicality and functionality. How many passengers should the car accommodate? Will your child need ample cargo space to transport personal items to and from the dorm regularly? These are some of the more common questions related to functionality that should be explored in detail. After all, the primary purpose of a vehicle is to serve as a mode of personal transportation.

3- Focus on Safety

Your teen’s safety on the road is understandably a top concern. Many vehicles are deemed to be safer than others, and you can easily research safety test results to get accurate information about performance in this area. In addition to looking at safety features and safety test ratings, understand that insurance companies generally will offer higher insurance rates for vehicles with more powerful engines. It may be safer and more affordable overall if you give your teen a car with a less powerful engine. This way, you do not need to worry about rapid acceleration or other types of aggressive driving behavior.

4- Think About Cost of Ownership

Even if you intend to pay for the sales price of the vehicle in full on your own, your child will eventually be faced with the cost of ownership. This includes auto insurance premiums, vehicle maintenance and repairs, fuel expenses and more. You can research the cost of auto insurance premiums on several leading contenders that you are thinking about buying. By comparing auto insurance premiums upfront, you can choose a vehicle that is more affordable to insure. You can also compare fuel economy ratings through online research. In addition, all vehicles will need repair and maintenance work. However, domestic vehicles generally have lower repair costs than foreign and luxury cars. Keep in mind that a vehicle with a lengthy warranty period may have reduced ownership costs for at least the first few years as well. Review all anticipated costs of ownership and ensure that your child can cover the costs. Otherwise, be prepared to chip in and cover some of the expenses as needed.

Buying your teen their first car is a milestone event that you both may remember for the rest of your lives. The decision about which vehicle to purchase should be based on much more than just finding a style of car that your teen loves. Focus your attention on each of these important tips fully so that you can make a smart car buying decision.

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