Things to Consider When Purchasing a Car for Your Teenager
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Car for Your Teenager
In just the blink of any eye, children can seem to go from being that special cargo you used to strap securely into the child’s seat in the back of your car to actually sitting in the driver’s seat! Not many parental decisions will have the impact of deciding whether or not to purchase or lease a car for your teenager.
Do they really need a car?
No matter how much your child argues that they absolutely must have a car of their own, not every high school teenager actually needs to have one. Most of them walk, or ride their bikes, skateboard, or take the bus to get where they need to go, or get rides from friends or even from you.
But plenty of kids today do own cars. In any high school parking lot today, the chances are that it’s filled with cars that teen drivers drove there by themselves. So, why does your teenager really need his or her own car? And remember that purchasing a car for them is just the first expense. After that, someone has to pay for the gas, maintenance, and the car’s insurance.
Does your teenager actually need a car? Or, are they being pressured into wanting one because all their friends are getting one for themselves. If your child goes straight from school to a job and then off to dance or karate lessons after work, then it might make sense for them to have their own car. But if their primary reason for getting one is to be able to load up friends at night just to cruise around the town, then maybe they don’t really need one.
Also, consider whether your teenager is responsible enough to have their own car. Will letting them have a car make your life easier, or will it make it worse? If you spend half an hour taking your child to school back and forth each day, then you’re wasting an hour a day as a chauffeur. Letting them drive themselves to school could easily take a lot of pressure off of your schedule.
Can you afford to buy them one?
Probably the main consideration you must face is whether there’s money available to actually buy your teenager a car in the first place. A new car is expensive, and so are used ones. If buying a vehicle involves a car loan, or will put a strain on your finances, and your teenager can’t pay for a car themselves, you should probably postpone the purchase until either they can buy it or your finances improve.
Sit down with your teenager and discuss these questions. That’s the first step. Next, you need to consider whether or not you think your child is ready to handle the responsibilities of driving their own car.
Assuming that your teenager has become relatively mature and responsible for their age, it might be hard to say no when they ask you to buy them a car. But more than likely they are typical of today’s teenagers. They may seem sensible and trustworthy, at least for the most part, but subject to occasional lapses in judgment at other times.
The leading cause of death among teenagers is from car accidents. If you have any doubts about whether your son or daughter is responsible enough to drive a car of their own, think about waiting another year. Remember that all teenagers change quickly, and if you’re not sure if they are mature enough to drive now, one more year can make a world of difference.
Waiting one more year
Tell your child that if he or she needs to wait a year. And, if they continue to mature and exhibit responsible behavior during the next year, you’ll consider purchasing them a car then.
This will give you time to make sure they get lots of professional driver’s training. Meanwhile, with a learner’s permit, they can practice safe driving using your car. Let them drive with you along for short periods of time while you observe their level of responsibility.
Your teenager’s friends’ attitude and behavior about driving should be noted. If you notice or hear that any of them has been driving irresponsibly, discuss the issue with your child immediately. You might also limit the number of friends that can ride in the car with them. Motor vehicle crashes are known to occur more frequently when large numbers of youngsters are in a vehicle at the same time.
Consider these safety tips:
- Give your beginning driver as much supervision as possible.
- Make a rule that he or she must wait six months before allowing other teenage passengers.
- Never assume your teenager drives the same way when you’re not around as they do while they are with you.
- Restrict any night time driving that’s not supervised.
- Select a safe car for them to drive. Check the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety list (IIhs) for the safest cars to consider. Consider looking for cars with electronic stability control and other safety features.
You as a parent know your teenager better than anyone else. So when it’s your decision to let them drive, you must decide whether or not they are mature enough to take on the responsibilities of driving a car.
Consider entering into a driving contract with your teenager. A contract can serve as a reminder to your child that driving a car is a serious responsibility. It also addresses some potentially dangerous driving situations before they occur. The stipulations of the contract should include some or all of the following:
- If they get a traffic ticket, they are responsible for paying the cost of the ticket as well as any increase in the insurance premium.
- At no time will they ever drink alcohol or be under the influence of drugs while driving.
- They must agree that they will pay for any damage caused to the car that’s not covered by insurance, and pay for any increase in the premium.
- They will never have more people riding in the car than there are seat belts, and all passengers must be buckled up before the car can be driven.
- The car must be kept in clean condition, filled up with gas and properly cared for by checking the oil, tires, etc. on a regular basis.
Take these ideas, tips for getting an auto loan, and suggestions into consideration when deciding to purchase a car for your teenager. Be sure the new driver in your family understands the consequences and responsibilities of driving their own car. And, that they live up to any agreements regarding driving or taking care of the car.
The folks at Viking Motors understand that allowing your teenager to drive is a critical decision. When you decide, remember that we’re the Arborg area’s premier source for both new and high-quality used vehicles from Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC. Whether you’re looking to purchase or lease a top-quality new or used car or truck, let our experts be your guide in finding the right vehicle for you or your teenager.