Buying your first car is an exciting milestone that every young adult experiences, but before you sign the paperwork for a shiny new set of wheels, do your homework. The vehicle you choose will play a significant role in your child’s future. While buying cars can be exciting and fun, it is important that you shop smart.
Here are 8 rules to remember when buying your child a car:
1. Don’t rush into it
Keeping this purchase separate from other times can save time and money in the slightly longer run; slightly used cars are often the best choice for first-time owners transitioning from their parents’ old hand-me-downs.
2. Consider your desired outcome
What is the main reason for buying this car? To replace one that has broken down beyond repair, or to simply give your child a new set of wheels? If it is to replace an older, high-mileage vehicle, consider buying slightly used instead of new. This way you will save money and still have a reliable car. Remember the old adage, “buy cheap, buy twice.”
3. Shop around but not too much
Be sure to do some research on the different makes and models of vehicles. Don’t skimp on quality because it is last year’s or make/model; if your child is in the car for a while, you want them to be comfortable. Visit Edmunds for a great selection of new and used cars.
4. Be involved in the process
Once you agree on a price and terms, be sure to get all of your questions answered before signing the contract. Ask about warranties, what is covered, and how long will coverage last. Be sure to read all documentation before signing; this is not the time for hasty decisions or rushed paperwork.
5. Keep insurance costs in mind
You will probably be required to show proof of insurance on the vehicle you are buying, so do some research about what insurance will cost beforehand. A good rule of thumb is to try and keep your total insurance costs at or below 1/12 of your child’s yearly salary.
6. Test drive
Make sure your child takes a test drive before signing on the dotted line. This will ensure he/she likes the car and fit before you buy. While it may be hard to take those first steps as “parent-in-charge” of a car, make them carefully and with confidence knowing that you have done your homework and made a sound purchase.
7. Safety first
When getting a car, consider its safety features, because as any car and motorcycle accident lawyer will tell you, kids are particularly vulnerable o the road. Anti-lock brakes and airbags will save you money in the long run, as they protect your child from damage. Safety comes first when buying a car for your children.
8. Obey all traffic laws
While this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s an important rule to keep your child safe from traffic violations and accidents resulting from reckless driving. Obeying the law will keep your child, you, and other motorists safe.
There you have it!
Remember, buying a car should be an exciting experience. With just a few simple steps, you will have purchased the perfect first set of wheels for your child!