Is your son or daughter’s sweet sixteen coming up? What about a high school graduation or other major milestone? All of these are great times to give your teen their very first car. If you’re in the market for the first time in a while, or if you’ve never shopped for a car for a younger driver, there are some special things to keep in mind while you’re looking around at your options.
Consider a New, Used Car
Purchasing a car that’s brand new leads to higher car payments along with higher insurance premiums. You can often find the same vehicle two to three years older for a fraction of the cost of the new model. Of course you don’t want to spend a lot on a car that’s decades old, but picking one that was made within the last five years or so is a great way to save some serious cash. As long as the car is still relatively new and has a reasonable number of miles on it, it should run perfectly fine for years to come.
Once you have a new driver on your policy, your insurance rates are going to climb– there’s no avoiding that. You can, however, soften the blow to your wallet by buying smart. Don’t purchase a sports car or sports edition of an ordinary sedan, as these types of vehicles automatically carry higher premiums regardless of the age of the driver. Stick with a sub-compact car or small truck, and you’ll find yourself paying less.
Bonus: if your child has his heart set on that Mustang, tell him that he can drive the first car while he goes to school, and in a few years when he has an income of his own, he can help purchase the new car and pay for his insurance. He’ll become a responsible car owner in the process.
Does your son really need a brand new king cab truck for his sixteenth birthday? Young drivers are naturally more prone to wrecks and other accidents, so it’s not the best idea to entrust them with high-dollar vehicles. Consider the things that your child needs most from their car: reliability, fuel economy, etc. Don’t feel bad or guilty if you can’t afford a brand new or luxury vehicle– it’s smarter to get a less flashy car for their first one anyway, as we mentioned earlier. Your child mainly needs a reliable method of transportation, so focus on finding that. Your options are nearly limitless.
Don’t buy from the first lot you visit. Some dealers are notorious for trying to send their customers home with a less-than-great deal. Shop around and test drive a variety of vehicles, and always check CarFax for the history of any cars you’re considering. Talk cautiously with dealers, and don’t get pressured into spending more than you can afford or bringing home a car you don’t love. Visiting multiple locations will ensure that you find the perfect car at the perfect price.
Having a teen old enough to get behind the wheel isn’t going to be an easy transition. Make the car buying process an easy one with these tips to avoid even more stress on you. Have your child test drive the vehicle and make sure they’re comfortable with handling the vehicle you choose. You don’t want something that’s too big for them or not comfortable to drive.