Sweet Sixteen: Should You Get Your Teen a Sweet Ride?

Many teens look forward to getting a car on their 16th birthday. However, even though your child may be 16, that does not mean that they are ready for a car. If you are thinking about giving your teen a car, then there are several things that you will need to take into consideration.

Determine If They Really Need a Car

Your teen may not need a car. For example, if you live in an urban area, then your teen can take public transportation. If your teen only needs to use a car on rare occasions, then you can let them use the family car.

However, teens who need to get back and forth to work often need a car. It is important to think about your family’s situation before you buy a car. Will paying for insurance, car, gas, and maintenance fall on you or on the teen. If it will be their responsibility do they know how they will pay for it? Will it impact their academics and social life? Do they want that? Do you want them to work and go to school? Will it be a relief to send them to pick up siblings and get to and from extracurricular activities? There is no right or wrong answer, only you know your circumstances.

Do They Contribute to the Household?

A teen should not be expected to be given anything without working for it first. You should think about how your teen will be contributing to the household. If your teen has a part-time job, then this shows that they are responsible. They can also use the money that they earn to put gas in the car and pay for the maintenance. 


Everyone matures at a different rate. Every 16-year-old is not mature enough for a car. Is your teen responsible? Are they doing well in school? Have they ever done anything to break your trust? Those are some of the things that you need to take into consideration when determining whether your teen is mature enough for a car.

You will also need to make sure that your child knows what to do if an accident occurs. A teen driver is more likely to get into an accident than an older driver. Tell your teen that there are consequences that come along with leaving an accident scene. For example, will your teen flee the scene of an accident? If so you may have to pay fines and hire a criminal defense attorney. Will your teen act responsibly and prevent an accident in the first place? This changes even between siblings. A car and license is a privilege because we put lives at risk. Not a shiny new toy.

Getting a car at 16 is considered a rite of passage. However, there are several factors that determine whether your teen is ready for a car. You should think about their level of maturity. You should also determine if they really need a car. Additionally, you should only give a car to a teen who contributes to the household.

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