Buying a car is a big step in the life of a teenager. Many parents will purchase a car for their child, but others feel that the teen should take on the responsibility of saving for a car themselves, and then working to maintain it once purchased. You may want to consider stepping in to help your teen buy their first car. It can be a very scary time, albeit exciting.
Talk to your teen about your expectations, and be willing to hear theirs. There's no doubt that your child will be excited about the possibility of having you help them to purchase their first vehicle. It's a good idea to let you teen know up front the ways you think you can help. Will you help them with the down payment, or will you step in to finance the loan or co-sign with them? Who will be responsible for maintenance and insurance payments? Having an honest discussion with your teen about who will be responsible for what will get everyone on the same page. If you expect your teen to pay you back for monies loaned, be sure to work out a schedule for re-payment. Make sure that they have a plan for income. For most teens, having no job equals having no car.
Start early. Help them start saving for a car well before they are old enough to drive on their own. Talk to them when they're younger about the responsibilities and costs of buying and maintaining a car. When they mention that they can't wait until they're old enough to drive, make sure they know that new drivers don't automatically get cars at the DMV once they receive their license. Encourage them with the notion that hard work can help them to achieve their goals for having their own car once they're old enough.
Help your teen to understand all of the other expenses that are associate with car ownership. Cars need basic maintenance, scheduled tune ups, and sometimes major work done. There are also title transfers, registration fees, license plate fees, etc. that come along with car ownership. Make sure your teen understands that they will be responsible for things like car fees, insurance and gas. If you're willing to help out with the cost of things like oil changes, fluid checks and flushes, and repairs, let them know from the get-go. It may help to ease their minds.
Consider the fact that having you as a co-signor may help your teen be able to purchase a newer, safer, and more reliable vehicle. No one wants to buy their kid a brand new car, but you want your child to be safe in what they're driving. Helping to foot some of the expense on a newer used car might just make a big difference in your child's safety and everyone's sanity.
Lay all of your expectations out on the table before you offer your teen any help with purchasing a vehicle. If there are certain things your child will need to do to ensure your help, make sure that they do those things, and follow through them. Don't let your kids take advantage of your kindness. There's nothing wrong with teaching them to make their own way in the world. Helping them to understand the car buying process will help them with other big decisions and purchases down the road.
Brought to you by Patrick Cars.