Things To Consider Before Buying Your Teen's First Car

Posted by Jake Riviera on May 11th, 2021

Learning to drive can be an exciting time for teens. It means freedom, independence, and a whole lot of new responsibility. It can also be stressful for the teen and for you as the parent. The road can be intimidating for a new driver, and owning a car can be overwhelming for a teen who hasn't had to manage such a large expense before. Here are some important things to consider before you or your child buys that first car. 

1. Budget

Before you go looking at vehicles, you need to decide your budget and set everyone's expectations. Don't let your teen expect a new car when you only plan on buying used. Perhaps you want your teen to buy the car, or you plan on putting some money towards the cost. The initial price of the car is important, but it's not the only thing you should be factoring in. Maintenance costs may be more than a teen can afford if the car is older or requires more gas. Things like registration and inspection all have fees. If your child doesn't make the kind of money that can pay for the occasional ticket, you'd better be prepared to pay it (at least until they can pay you back).

Another monthly expense to consider is car insurance. Inexperienced teen drivers can be costly, whether from fender benders or scratched paint from barking too close to the bushes. Luckily, you can find cheap car insurance pretty easily and feel better about releasing your teen onto the road.

2. Safety

Safety is huge when it concerns teen drivers. Your teen should know basic safety procedures, like wearing seatbelts and operating an emergency break, but there's more you can do. Teach your teen to do a quick check before driving as they walk towards the vehicle. Is anything leaking? Do the tires look low on air? By training the eye to spot issues without thinking, you can avoid some dangerous situations later on. 

When choosing a car, look for a medium size. A small one isn't as likely to be as safe on the highway, whereas a huge truck may be more vehicle than your child should handle. This extra space can come in handy if you ever need them to run errands or chauffeur your other children around. It's also not a bad idea to consider some kind of road side assistance so that your teen can call a service when they run into car trouble and you're not around to help.  

3. Boundaries

This may be a difficult conversation to have, but it is a necessary one, and it is far easier to set boundaries before your teen begins driving than to try and enforce boundaries after they've experienced their new freedom. For your teen's safety and for the sake of maintaining a structured daily schedule, you may want to set some rules when it comes to car use. For example, the car can't be driven at night or past a certain time, or they shouldn't have more than one or two passengers at any given time, and music should be kept below a certain volume. Your child may not appreciate your rule about not eating and driving, but the more you do now to reduce distractions, the better the habits your child will hopefully develop. 

It's a good idea to decide on consequences for when these rules are broken ahead of time. If your teen is irresponsible with their money and can't pay for gas, then maybe they can't drive their friends places on the weekend.

Letting your teen drive without you can be stressful, but it's also a chance for you to reclaim some freedom. No more spending your weekend driving kids to soccer practice, or to a friend's house! With a little planning and some honest discussions with your teen driver, you can both feel excited as you enter this new chapter.

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Jake Riviera

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Jake Riviera
Joined: May 24th, 2020
Articles Posted: 21

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