The day you have probably been dreading has finally arrived, or is coming around the corner. Your teen becoming a licensed driver, and if a car is in his future, there are a few things you want to consider. Here are some helpful tips to guide the purchasing process.
A Car is Not a Birthright
Many teens today view having a car as something they are absolutely entitled to, and you want to kick this line of thinking out of your teen’s head if he is harbouring this notion. Unless you have lots of cash to spare, and feel perfectly okay with buying a new car because you can afford it, you may need to shore up your defenses against peer pressure.
There is no reason your child should be driving a car that is better than yours. He is not required to have a new vehicle or one that is particularly cool or fancy.
You have to decide how much your child will be involved money-wise in the purchase and upkeep of the vehicle. Will you be matching what he manages to throw in the pot? Will you expect he kick in a certain amount for the purchase? If you will be financing a vehicle, how are payments being handled? Who is taking on the responsibility of insurance, gas and repairs? Make sure you set clear guidelines of what is expected.
If you will be footing the bill for the car, or at least most of it, it is important you let your teen know how this process is going to go. If you will only consider purchasing a used car, make sure she knows that. If you know you will have final say on the vehicle, but are open to considering her input, make sure she is aware that ultimately, the ball is in your court when it comes down to what she is driving home in. If your teen is contributing money, and there has been a promise you will assist, determine how much money you will be contributing and that this is a firm decision. If certain types of cars are off the table, make that clear from the outset.
Without letting your child know what to expect from the process, she can easily get carried away with notions she has greater control over the process, or she can finagle you into getting exactly what she wants.
Choosing Your Vehicle
Teen drivers are four times more likely to get into an accident than other drivers, and that is a scary statistic. And like any other driver, they are at the mercy of other people on the road. It is understandable why your child getting his license can strike fear in your heart. The two best things you can do to maximize your child’s safety is teach him everything he can about being a safe driver, and getting him a vehicle that is more likely to protect him in the event of an accident.
Sites like SaferCar.gov allow you to check government crash test ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provides a helpful list of the safest vehicles. Sites like JD Power and Associates allows you to check ratings on vehicles as far as reliability and other important factors.