Has your teenager recently obtained their driver’s license? Perhaps they’re bugging you, wanting to borrow your vehicle all too often. It may be time to consider helping your teen through the process of buying a car. Here are some tips to help you through this scary, but feasible, process.

Make Sure Your Teen Understands Basic Vehicle Costs and Car Maintenance

Before getting started on the purchasing or leasing process, bring up the subject to your teen. Do they understand the basic costs they will be responsible for? These costs may include gas, inspections, oil changes, necessary repairs, and auto insurance. Car maintenance is another aspect of ownership. Safe driving habits and the ability to pump gas, fill tires with air and check oil levels are some basic tasks your teen should be able to perform when they have their own car.

Your teen should also be aware of potential damages their car can sustain and how to fix them. For example, experts say that 80% to 90% of dents can be repaired using paintless dent repair (PDR) techniques. Is your teen aware of basic repair procedures such as this one? Before starting the car shopping process, consider going over these costs, tasks, and repairs with your teen carefully.

Set a Budget for the Purchasing Process

Along with discussing the basic costs and tasks, you’ll need to set a budget with your teen. Who will be responsible for paying for the car? Who will be responsible for paying for gas, insurance, and repair and maintenance costs? This is something your family will need to discuss prior to looking for a vehicle for your teen.

Perhaps you and your partner are willing to buy the car, but your teen will be responsible for all other costs associated with their vehicle. Maybe you’ll decide on the opposite, or perhaps your teen will be responsible for all costs. Depending on how your family decides to proceed, be sure your teen has the capability to make car payments, pay for the vehicle upfront, pay for gas and insurance, etc. If your teen is going to be responsible for several costs, getting a part-time job may be necessary to cover them.

Pros and Cons of Purchasing and Leasing Vehicles

When it comes to car shopping, there are three basic options: buy new, buy used, or lease a vehicle. Choosing one of these options depends on your family or teen’s budget as well as how long you intend to keep the vehicle. Each of these options has some perks and some downsides. These include:

  • Buying new pros: superior fuel economy, low initial maintenance costs, enhanced safety features, an ability to customize
  • Buying new cons: higher initial prices, taking a chance on new technology, risk of overpaying at a dealership
  • Buying old pros: costs significantly less than buying new, lower insurance rates, many choices, can still get a car with high value and reliability
  • Buying old cons: taking the chance that the car will be less reliable than described, can be missing important safety features that new cars offer
  • Leasing pros: pay less to drive a new car, lower maintenance and repair costs, tax benefits
  • Leasing cons: monthly payment, limited mileage, requires excellent credit, higher insurance costs

For more information about particular makes and models, utilize the Internet and the Kelley Blue Book. Google is responsible for 90% of all searches in the United States, and it serves as a useful tool when it comes to making sure you’re getting a good deal on the vehicle your family or your teen would like to purchase or lease.

Finalize the Purchase

Before making a purchase or a commitment to a vehicle lease, be sure to think through your decision. Is this the best deal you can get? Consider negotiating with the car dealership you are working with or the individual you are buying from. If you’re leasing from a dealership, think about the features of the car. Will this vehicle be suitable and safe for your teen? Is there a better deal elsewhere that includes higher mileage and lower monthly payments? If you’re buying new, are you buying the car at a reasonable price? Are there signs of inadequate features? Did you go for a test drive? If you’re buying a used car from an individual, how does the car run? Does the door have a dent, or does the windshield have a small crack? Windshields account for about 30% of all auto insurance claims.

It’s important to think about these questions and make sure you’re thinking clearly and rationally. Once you’re sure you and your teen are satisfied with the vehicle chosen and the costs associated with the purchase or lease agreement, it’s time to make it official. Your teen is now the owner of a vehicle!

Giving your teen the freedom to drive their own vehicle as well as the responsibilities associated with car expenses and safety is scary. Watching your teen enter young adulthood is part of life, so be sure you’ve prepared him or her for the real world, which includes the responsibilities of driving and maintaining a vehicle. Once your teen is ready, get started with the process of buying or leasing a car.