Tuesday 26 March 2024

How To Help Your Teen Get Their First Car

How To Help Your Teen Get Their First Car

Moving from the passenger seat to the driver’s seat is a monumental milestone for any teenager. But for a parent, the notion of your child behind the wheel can be equal parts exciting and nerve-racking. However, neither of you have to do this alone. This brief guide is here to show you how to help your teen through the process of getting their first car.

Find a Free or Cheap Car in the Family

Since the expense of a car is nothing to scoff at, start this process by looking for something on the cheaper side. The best way to do this is by considering if there’s a vehicle within the family that they could inherit or buy for a nominal price. Maybe grandma’s old sedan is sitting unused in a garage, or a cousin has upgraded and is looking to sell.

Of course, handing down a car isn’t just a great financial aid—it also has sentimental value. Your teenager could become the next in a line of family members to use the vehicle. It’s a tradition that adds a layer of pride and responsibility to their ownership, which is something that your teen might really enjoy.

Search Online for Used Options

If you can’t find someone close to your family to get a car from, the next best place these days is online marketplaces. Parents used to drag their kids to used car lots, but now you can sit down on the couch with them and browse online. Websites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace can yield affordable used cars, but there are plenty of online retailers that specialize in used vehicles.

Regardless of how you go about it, make sure you set realistic expectations with your teen. If they don’t like the idea of owning a used vehicle, let them know that there are plenty of ways to trick out and personalize a used car. This should help them come around to the idea of an older vehicle.

Once you find something you both can agree on, make a point to see the vehicle in person to inspect it and ask questions. Teach them about common issues to look for, like rust, engine sound, and tire wear.

Create a Financial Plan With Them

Whether you go with a used vehicle or decide a brand-new car is best for your teen, the best way to help them secure their first car is to create a financial plan. Will the car be a gift? Will they work to save up a portion of the cost? Or perhaps a loan with the teen as a co-signer is a possibility.

Also, take the time to explain the long-term cost of ownership, including insurance, gas, and maintenance. Money management apps can be invaluable tools for tracking expenses. Lead by example and discuss your own budget and how you handle car payments and other related expenses. Your teen must understand that getting the car is only the beginning of financial responsibility, not the end of it.

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