Most teenagers and young adults yearn for their first car. Owning a car is a rite of passage, one that leads to greater independence and responsibility. Buying a car for your child is a hefty decision. So we’ve prepared some tips to help parents buying their child a first car.
Breaking the News
Once you have secured enough money (and have room to squeeze another car in the drive way), it’s time for the big reveal.
Explain to your child you plan to buy them a car. Clarify what kind of car you plan to buy them. If your child is a teenager or at university, then a 2-door hatchback is clearly more suitable (and affordable) than a fancy sports car. Remind your child that owning a car is not a privilege, it’s a gift. Lower their expectations and make it clear that owning a car is a huge responsibility. Petrol, repairs, registration – decide what expenses your child will be responsible for. Will your child need to contribute to overall cost of the vehicle? If you buy the car under your name instead of your child’s, you remain in control of the car and have the power to take the car back.
Take Your Child Shopping
Include your child in the car shopping process. Will it be new or used? Identify what kind of car is best suited to your child and don’t be tempted to buy what he/she wants. Research the safety reviews of the preferred vehicles. Is it a good fit for your child? Encourage your child to ask the salespeople questions.
Go for a test drive and determine whether your child likes the feel of the car. The car you buy your child may handle differently to the car he/she has been practicing in. It is highly recommended that your child becomes familiar with their first car.
According to the Young Driver FactBase, young drivers (17-25 years) account for 25% of all Australian road deaths. The biggest killer of young drivers is speeding.
Remind your child that having a licence and owning a car does not make them exempt from road rules. Laws are in place for drivers’ safety as well as pedestrians’.
Basic distractions should be limited and discouraged while driving. Some suggestions include:
- Turning phones off while driving
- No eating in the car
- No music/radio for the first year
- No driving while angry or sad (teenagers can be emotionally volatile and may endanger themselves)
It may be worthwhile accompanying your child for their first few drives, or at least until you are confident that your child is capable of driving without supervision. Another suggestion is to limit the number of passengers your child is allowed.
Buying your child’s first car is a thrilling experience. Owning a car can inspire them to be more responsible and offers them freedom through transport.
The information contained in this blog is accurate only at the date of publication.