By Contributing Author on Friday, September 4, 2009
When it came time to buy my first car I had my heart set on a little red convertible. Then reality struck in the form of cash or lack there of. What can you buy with $2500? Goodbye convertible, hello vintage green ’71 cutlass Oldsmobile. I thought the car was an ugly color and not at all cool, but my mom convinced me that it was a good deal because it was big, solid and only had one owner. Seriously, it was a little old lady, who kept her car in the garage, rarely drove it and did regular service maintenance on the big green machine. On the other hand, ugly or not those wheels meant freedom.
When it comes to automobiles, parents and teens often have different ideas about what the ideal first car will be. Cost is often a driving factor followed by safety and rules of ownership or loaner-ship. At AutoNation we understand how difficult the discussions can be around teen driving and teen car usage and/or ownership. We’ve created these guidelines to help parents and young drivers plan for one of the biggest responsibilities in a young person’s life- a car.
A Great Learning Opportunity
A teen’s eagerness to start driving creates a wonderful teaching opportunity for parents regardless of whether or not someone will be buying a car. With driving comes responsibility and what better way to teach driver responsibility then to open the discussion early with parent’s expectations about car maintenance and upkeep, house rules and consequences, privileges and rights.
Making An Informed Decision
What kind of car to drive? Whether you plan to buy a car for your teen or your teen will be buying it on her own, parents have an opportunity to teach their sons and daughters how to make an informed car purchase. AutoNation encourages parents to include your teen in the entire car buying process: beginning with establishing a budget, to researching cars within the limits of the budget, to investigating where and from whom to purchase a car.
Consumer Reports list the best cars for teens and suggests buying the newest, most reliable vehicle with the most safety equipment affordable. Safety includes buying a car with antilock brakes and if your budget allows consider multistage advanced front air bags, side and head-protection curtain air bags and electronic stability control. Once model, equipment and budget have been determined its time to do more research.
The process begins with helping your child to determine fair market value of a new or used purchase. Using the internet your teen can review websites such as Kelley Blue Book; N.A.D.A. and Black Book to get an idea of what the cost of the car will be. Their next step is to look online for a dealership such as www.autonation.com to view inventory and see what the asking price is for that vehicle.
Owning Costs More Than You Think
Everyone who owns a car knows that the financial obligations start with the purchase and don’t end there. Using a budget helps teens to really see and plan for the expected and unexpected costs associated with buying a car. After determining an estimate of what the purchase price may be, have your child get insurance quotes as well as estimate weekly gas charges, maintenance costs, plates and other fees. Once the numbers are in, the conversation should now move to a frank talk about money. How much will the child be expected to contribute, how much will parents contribute and what happens if there’s an accident?
What You Should Know Before Signing On the Dotted Line
Although your teen may be the primary driver of the vehicle parents should go on the test-drive with their child. A test-drive provides a hands-on learning opportunity to check out a car before buying it. Teens should know what to look for before agreeing to buy a car; cleanliness, safety, handling, ensure a thorough inspection has been completed as well get as a car’s history.
Negotiating is a skill that needs to be developed. To increase your child’s confidence, role-play with your son or daughter how to negotiate on the price of the car. This step not only empowers your teen, it helps to build financial confidence. Buying a vehicle from an AutoNation store means you and your teen can have peace of mind thanks to our 3-day money-back guarantee, our Worry Free pre-owned vehicle folders, which show you the results of the mechanical inspections and repair/service work completed, and the access you’ll have to finance options like extended warranties that can help you both protect your investment.
~~Opinions From A Backseat Driver