Choosing whether or not to buy your child their first car is a confusing and conflicting one. Of course, you want to make your teenager happy and allow them the freedom that comes with being able to drive themselves around, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re responsible enough to have this privilege. It also might be difficult for financial reasons. If you’re considering buying your teen their first car, here are five questions you should ask yourself first.
Are They Responsible Enough?
Your child may have passed their driving test, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to be a responsible driver. The unfortunate truth is that the leading cause of death among US teens is car crash-related injuries, so it’s crucial that your teenager drives safely. This means sticking to speed limits, leaving appropriate space between their vehicle and the one in front, and keeping off their phone. If they can’t do this, then they shouldn’t have a car.
Will You Set Rules?
Despite what some teenagers think, a car is a gift, rather than a right, and is a massive responsibility too. Because of this, many parents have their children sign contracts or agree to conditions or rules before letting their kids get on the road. To ensure your child stays safe and takes care of their car, you might want to do the same thing and set rules regarding curfews, maintenance, and payments. If they break any of these rules, you could take their keys away.
Can You Afford It?
Many families simply don’t have the money to buy their child a car outright, so ensure that you consider your finances carefully before agreeing to do so. Even if your budget can handle the strain of repayments, you should still ensure that you do some research and find the best deal possible. If you don’t, you could end up taking out a refinance auto loan to get better terms. Although these are supposed to save you money, it could end up costing you, so be careful.
Can They Afford It?
You might have agreed to buy your teenager a car, but that doesn’t mean that the financial responsibility of owning one should fall on you alone. Maintenance, repairs, insurance, and gas also have to be paid for, and this is something you should ask your child to handle. After all, they’re going to be the one driving. Unfortunately, your child might not be able to cover these costs right now, so you might want to put the car search on hold until they have a part-time job.
Which Car Is Best?
If you’ve decided that you are going to buy your child a car, the next thing you need to do is find the perfect one for them. You should let your teen help you with this process, but remember that, while you’re concerned about cost and safety, their priorities will likely be based on appearances, so, you should take the lead. Look for vehicles with great safety features, like anti-lock brakes, and ensure that you shop around to get the best deal you possibly can.
Buying your child a car is a huge decision, so consider it carefully, and ensure you ask yourself the questions listed above.