Your teen’s new license should be cause for celebration. After all, it’s a sign that they are growing up and is a great way for them to gain more independence. With a license comes the expectation of a car, though, and that can lead to the complex process of buying your teen or helping them buy their first vehicle. Instead of giving them a hand-me-down car, you may want to follow these steps to help your teen find his or her first car.
Talk About Budget
The first step when helping a teen find a car should be looking at the budget. Some parents can buy a teen their first car outright, while others might require the teen to buy the vehicle on their own. Regardless of who is doing the buying, you need to sit down and establish a budget so that your teen can have realistic expectations about what they are going to drive.
Look at Used Cars
While it’s nice to think about buying a new car for your teen, it doesn’t often make sense to buy new. Used cars will usually run just as well and offer just as many advantages, but they cost less and will generally offer your teen a more reasonable platform on which to learn. If your teen pushes back, remind them that the car will still be new to them and that a used car is generally a better overall investment.
Think About Safety Features
As a parent, you’re going to need to look at safety features. Buying a more modern car means getting access to features like rearview cameras and lane change sensors, so definitely consider those safety features when you’re buying. Even if you aren’t looking for high-tech solutions, it’s wise to check out the crash safety ratings for various vehicles before you start having your teen test drive cars.
Think About Your Teen’s Needs
Finally, have a real discussion about what your teen needs. Most teens just need something that will get them around town, but others might have special needs due to after-school activities or even work. Try to make sure that the car makes sense not just for where the teen will be driving it but also for what the teen will be doing with the vehicle for the next several years.
Don’t be afraid to have an honest discussion about cars with your teen. Let them be part of the process so that you can find something that you can afford but that also fulfills all of their needs. A first car is always special, so working with your teen to find the right vehicle simply makes sense.