As parents, it’s rewarding to see our children grow up and reach significant milestones in their lives. It feels like only yesterday when they took their first steps and uttered their first words.
And now, they’re all grown up and reached an age where they want more freedom and become more independent.
With greater freedom comes great responsibility, as the saying goes. Completing driver’s ed and passing the state license test is a rite of passage.
Whether you are feeling anxious about your teen wanting to get behind the wheel, it’s inevitable that your child would ask you if they can have their own vehicle.
So, to help you make educated decisions, there are several factors you need to consider before deciding to buy a car for your teenager.
Don’t spoil your child. Buying your teen a car, especially in these tough economic times, may give him or her a sense of entitlement.
Your child may not fully appreciate the value of having his or her own vehicle. Your teen may have a fancy, shiny dream car in mind, but you should never give in to your child’s wishes, which is a common mistake that some parents make.
Share the responsibility.
Have an agreement with your teen beforehand. Give him or her some of the responsibility of owning a car. This includes helping with the vehicle’s monthly payments, as well as fuel costs, oil changes, regular vehicle maintenance, you name it.
Also, be honest about your concerns. Now may not be the right time for you to buy them a car or it may put an additional strain on your finances. If that is the case, you should determine if your teen really needs to have their own vehicle or do they just want to impress their peers?
Buying a car for your child is a significant investment. You need to find a safe and reliable set of wheels that also fits your budget. So, if you can’t afford to buy a vehicle outright, then a rent to own car option may work best for your current financial situation.
Consider vehicle safety.
Don’t buy a speedy car. Your child may be tempted to drive fast and get into an accident. Instead, choose vehicles with some heft as they can offer your teen more protection.
Also, more vehicle mass reduces the chance of it rolling over. Cars with smaller engines, like a four-cylinder, consume less fuel and are more difficult to accelerate. Lastly, research online and look for vehicles with the best safety ratings.
Aside from choosing a car with the right safety features, you should also give boundaries to your teen. Talk to your child about driving safely and have clear rules and guidelines whenever they put themselves behind the wheel. Teaching them even the basic things, like always putting on their seat belt, can go a long way.
To make sure your teen is safe on the road, enforce a “no cell phone rule”, so they are not making calls or sending text messages while driving. Educate them on what they should do in case of emergency and teach them how to drive safely during extreme weather conditions.
Check for quality.
If you want to be cost-effective, then choosing a used car is the way to go. However, check it thoroughly before buying. Let your child test drive the vehicle. Inspect the interior and exterior. Make sure all features are working properly.
Even if you are not willing to shell out a lot of money for your teen’s first car, you should never settle for a vehicle that is not up to snuff. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the car’s history.
Although it’s scary to give our children more freedom, we have to remember that it’s part of growing up. If we take the time to educate them about driving safely and teaching them to be financially responsible, then we won’t have to worry as much.
Disclosure: Guest post