Saturday, August 26, 2017

6 Tips For Your Teen's First Car Purchase

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Nearly a year ago my oldest son and I started an active search locally for his first car. He had a good amount of money saved up, but aside from the price range, we were searching blindly for a car. Because we're new to the area, I don't know reputable places to purchase a car and we didn't know people to ask. We actually kept going back to an auction place next to my son's school. Let's just say that was a very negative experience.

To start with, you need to know your price range. Are you giving your teen the responsibility of earning some of that money to put towards the car purchase? I would really encourage that because it gives them a better sense of ownership of their car and are more likely to take care of it as opposed to just handing the keys to your teen and watching them drive off because they have no personal investment. has a price comparison tool which will help you figure out if you're getting the most bang for your buck compared to similar cars in your vicinity.

Next what type of car do you want your teen to drive? I would highly suggest not getting a rear wheel drive. They can be hard to handle in even the mildest of weather conditions. Even as an experienced driver, doing a roundabout on a wet road had me spinning wheels. It's a very unnerving feeling. Do you want them driving a coupe, sports car, crossover, or sedan? Keep in mind that they'll be probably driving this car into their early-twenties.

A dealer or a private seller? There are pros and cons to both. I've always preferred buying from private sellers. Some people would rather go through a dealership because they feel it's "safer" all around. Whichever you choose to do, be sure to grab a Carfax report to check out the history of the vehicle.

Go drive it! It may take a while and numerous test drives, but go get in the car and drive it around. Keep the radio off once you get on the road and listen to the car. Does it make any crazy sounds or even some subtle noise that doesn't seem quite right? Be sure to ask about whatever you might come across. If the car doesn't seem "right" then it's on to the next car. You could even schedule several test drives on a Saturday to get them done in one fell swoop! Remember you don't have to settle on the first car and you're never obligated to buy it just because you test drove it.

Grab the VIN number, make & model, and then give your insurance company a call. Find out what it's going to cost to insure that specific car. Cars can vary in insurance costs, and it's best to know up front what it will be. I could call our insurance company while standing next to a car, and within 15 minutes know what our family will be spending on that car. You could even do it at the end of the day when you're away from the cars and have time to think. Just give your insurance company a call and they'll help you out.

Put the car in your name. So, I think it's safe to say your teenager probably won't be getting a brand new car right off the showroom floor. If they are, will you adopt me and buy me a car? The reason I suggest putting the car in your name is two-fold. First, you're still in control of the car. They know it's their car, you know it's their car, but if push comes to shove, the car is legally yours. Second, when your teen becomes an adult and wants to buy their first shiny, new car, they'll be eligible as a first time buyer to get some discounts or loans. I don't know a heck of a lot about that as I never knew about it when I bought my first car, but I know it's out there. We put my son's car in our name for that purpose specifically.

Whatever you end up choosing, make sure you choose a car that you AND your child will be happy with. Your teen will be driving it, but as a parent, it's your "baby" going out on the road. It's important that you're all in agreement when you've signed on the dotted line.


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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.