Buying Your First Car: A Guide for Teens (and Everyone Else!)

We know that getting a drivers license can be stressful–that ’ south why we do everything we can to guide our drivers ed students through the work in a clear and straightforward way. But for many, buying a first car can be even worse. It ’ south enough to make some teens wait to become a license driver. Don ’ triiodothyronine let the complexities of buying a car deter you from getting your license ! After reviewing this handy guide, you may discover that owning a car is within your reach after all !

Step 1: Set Your Car Buying Budget

The cost of a modern cable car can be intimidating, specially when you ’ re a adolescent ( or a adolescent ’ mho rear ) and there ’ mho only so much you can spend. With even the cheapest raw cars priced over $ 15,000 the mind of purchasing one can feel impossible. But today ’ sulfur finance options and the handiness of high-quality used cars mean that owning a vehicle is within reach. If you can spare $ 150 to $ 200 a month, you may be able to afford a car that meets your needs. start by figuring out a price range you can afford. By deciding on a realistic budget, your goal will seem much more attainable. Consider how much you have in savings, how much you earn or can pay a calendar month and ways you can cut expenses to put the money towards a vehicle.

When preparing to buy a car, keep the succeed things in mind :

  • If you can afford to pay the full price upfront, you ’ ll save a significant come on interest and may even be able to negotiate a discount rate .
  • As most teens lack credit histories, they can have trouble arranging financing. Your bank, credit union or even insurer may be able to provide a loan, but you ’ ll probably need person, such as a rear, with an use and credit history to cosign your loanword .
  • even with financing, the biggest price will be upfront. Costs such as entitle and register must be paid when you purchase a vehicle. And the more you can put down, the lower your monthly payments will be. Don ’ triiodothyronine think you ’ ll have enough ? Start saving early and see if a syndicate member can help you cover the initial costs .
  • While financing deals vary, use this simple rule of finger to estimate how much your monthly payment will be : with a 48-month loan, you ’ ll need to pay about $ 25/month for every $ 1,000 you borrow. Try to avoid any repayment menstruation longer than 60 months. You may besides find this calculator helpful .
  • Don ’ t sign any fiscal agreement before reading it thoroughly. If you have a hard clock time understanding anything, ask for clarification .
  • Don ’ thyroxine forget about the add expenses that come with owning a car, such as gasoline, maintenance and insurance .

Consider visiting several fiscal institutions, american samoa well as the car franchise, to find the cheapest option available to you. The concern rate on a car lend is based on a phone number known as APR ( annual Percentage Rate ). While some lenders offer loans with an APR of 3 % or less, rates this moo are normally reserved for people with excellent credit histories ; expect yours to be astir to doubly vitamin a much .

Alternatives to Buying a Car

Leasing a Vehicle

Can ’ triiodothyronine afford a boastfully down requital ? You may want to consider a lease. Leasing a cable car is like renting an apartment. You pay a certain amount each calendar month to use it, but at the end of the agreement the car must be returned to the dealer. For no down payment and the same monthly payment, drivers can often afford a more expensive cable car under a lease. On the other pass, with a lease, the car is not yours and you won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate catch anything for it when it ’ s prison term for a new one. furthermore, the principal may limit the number of miles you can travel and require that you take out extra indemnity on the car. You may besides need a rear to take out the lease for you, as leases are not typically available to people under 18 .

Try Out a Temporary Ride

Before owning or leasing you can give ownership a screen drive. Alternative modes of transportation include renting a car, joining a car-sharing plan and borrowing a drive from your parents or friends .

Step 2: Do Your Homework

once you know how much you can spend it ’ s meter to weigh your options. By spending some time researching before you buy, you ’ ll have a much better prospect of finding a car that you can afford and meets your needs. The first thing to consider is how you ’ re going to use a vehicle. Ask yourself :

  • Will you need to drive for school, work or sport activities ?
  • How much travel will you do on average ?
  • Are other family members planning to drive your car or get rides from you ?
  • What features do you need your cable car to have ?
  • Are there any technologies you have to have or know you don ’ thyroxine desire ? ( If you ’ re considering an electric or hybrid car, be sure to review this information. )
  • Do you plan to transport a lot of baggage or passengers on a regular footing ?

Answering these questions will help you identify a finical body stylus ( sedan, minivan, SUV ), size and performance that makes sense for your position. As you consider these questions, keep in mind that your goal should be to minimize expenses. Give serious consideration to the motion of whether you truly need a car of your own, particularly if you ’ re unsated by the options available at your budget. It may be better to wait and save for something better .

Where to Find Car Listings

While you can find car listings in the newspaper and other free local guides, most of the same listings can be found online with more detailed information. Plus, it ’ mho easier to save and parcel on-line listings for belated reference. many on-line car searches typically provide each seller ’ mho monetary value, so as you review your options, be certain to determine what a fair price to pay is for each model. Some of the most important factors you should be looking at admit :

  • base hit
  • dependability
  • Fuel economy
  • engineering features
  • Resale value

Some of the peak cable car number sites include :

  • Advanced Search : search cars near you by body type, transmittance type, engine power and more to make certain you get the performance you need .
  • Edmunds Car finder : Use this instrument to search an extensive range of features like keyless ignition and navigation systems, adenine well as by price and fuel efficiency .
  • consumer Reports : Get condom and dependability information from the national drawing card in product psychoanalysis and information .
  • Kelley Blue Book : This trusted resource highlights reviews and price range recommendations for every class of car. There are besides tools to help you research your options .
  • J.D. baron : celebrated for its industry awards, this web site can help you learn more about the best options among the cars you ’ re considering .
  • yahoo ! Autos : Peruse a across-the-board rate of car news, reappraisal and buy guides on this site .
  • Insurance Institute of Highway Safety : Find out how the cars you ’ re considering performed during rigorous barge in tests .
  • : research fuel efficiency ratings for the cars on your list with this official government site .

Step 3: Decide on a New or Used Car

One boastfully decision you ’ ll have to make is whether you want to purchase a new car or a exploited cable car. Your budget and research should tell you whether a newly vehicle is an option. If so, it ’ sulfur fourth dimension to compare new versus used .

New Car Pros 

  • low initial sustenance costs
  • superior fuel economy
  • More advance safety features
  • Most repairs are covered by the manufacturer ’ s guarantee for at least a year
  • In many states, inspection requirements do not initially apply
  • Easier to customize with the features you want
  • Latest engineering features

Used Car Pros

  • typically costs significantly less than comparable fresh cars
  • indemnity rates are normally lower
  • Greater kind of choices that aren ’ t limited to the current model year
  • Can offer better respect than a fresh car
  • Depending on the models, a secondhand vehicle can have merely as many condom features
  • Can get high-end finishes for a better monetary value

Most first-time car buyers are on a budget, which is one reason why these drivers typically opt for a use car. Another factor to consider is that, with a use cable car, you can get upgrades that might not be low-cost on a newfangled model .

Take Precautions When Buying a Used Vehicle

The fact of the topic is that when you buy a use car you ’ re more vulnerable to unexpected problems. With a new car sold by the manufacturer, you can be sanely convinced that it hasn ’ triiodothyronine been in an accident or tampered with. A used car could have been used in any number of ways, and merely because it doesn ’ triiodothyronine front damaged doesn ’ thymine mean there ’ s not a problem you can ’ metric ton see. Used car sellers often have an incentive to minimize signs of clothing and damage. Some unscrupulous dealers have been even known to roll bet on the odometer. Remember, used cars don ’ t inevitably come with a guarantee, so if something goes wrong, you ’ re on your own ! here are a few ways you can protect yourself during the leverage process :

  • keep off dealers that specialize in cheap used cars and crazy deals. other use car sellers, including individual sellers, are normally more dependable. It ’ s a good theme to check use car dealers with the Better Business Bureau or a local consumer protective covering means before you buy .
  • If the car is much cheaper than comparable vehicles, that may be a sign that something ’ randomness incorrect with it. Consult the Kelley Blue Book to figure out what ’ s a reasonable price for the cable car .
  • Ask an independent mechanic to check the car out before you buy it, particularly if you ’ ra buy from an individual. If the seller has nothing to hide, he or she shouldn ’ t have a problem with this. Having a professional look the car over can help you discover what, if anything, was missed on the vehicle history report .
  • While it may be tempting to buy an old used car, either because it ’ sulfur cheaper or you like the style, be aware that because older cars frequently lack electronic stability command ( ESC ) and airbags, teens driving them are significantly more likely to be in a fatal crash. furthermore, the older a cable car is, the more its features and components become a indebtedness, as they can be unmanageable and dearly-won to replace. Be certain to review the latest report from the IIHS on the safest used cars for teens .

Get the VIN

Before purchasing a use car, be surely to find out its Vehicle Identification Number ( VIN ). There are several sites online that allow you to check a vehicle ’ sulfur history using the VIN, so you can determine whether it ’ s been stolen or involved in a significant collision. You can besides use the VIN to find out if a recall has been issued for the car .

Protect Yourself When Buying From a Private Seller

finally, protect yourself when you go to check out a use cable car being sold by a individual seller. While most advertisers just want to sell their car, some people set up hypocrite used car listings to lure in victims to rob them. never go to a meet by yourself. Insist on meet in a achromatic public place during daylight hours. And never bring a large pack of cash with you when you go. For transactions like this, a check or money order is safest. For loads more advice on buying a use car, check out the Federal Trade Commission web site .

Step 4: Take a Few Test Drives

While research can help you figure out what ’ s out there and narrow down your choices, it can ’ t tell you how it will actually feel to drive the cable car. A car that looks dependable on composition won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate necessarily handle as expected. As a new driver, it ’ s specially significant to test drive several models so you can learn how performance can vary from vehicle to fomite .

Test Driving a Car at a Dealership

A test force is important whether you ’ ra buy a newly car or a use one from a dealer or individual seller. If you ’ re buy from a dealer, you can probably fair show up at a fourth dimension that ’ s commodious for you. Most people shop for cars on the weekend, so the salesperson may not be able to give you as much time then. It ’ s a effective idea to plan on test-driving a car for at least half an hour so you have a opportunity to find out how it handles on different road types and in different environments .

Test Driving a Car From a Private Seller

If you ’ re buy from a private seller, be certain to call ahead to schedule an appointment. When you ’ re talking to the seller, try to find out a much as you can. Ask about :

  • How many miles the vehicle ’ sulfur traveled
  • How farseeing it ’ south been since it ’ s had alimony performed
  • Whether it ’ s always been in a crash
  • If anything is presently broken

Don ’ triiodothyronine feel diffident about bringing up items you ’ ra concerned or curious about. After all, if it turns out the car international relations and security network ’ t what you ’ ra looking for, it ’ mho better to know ahead of prison term so you can avoid wasting the seller ’ s prison term. When you go to test drive a cable car, we recommend that you bring a parent or other knowing adult along with you ( this is specially significant if you ’ ra meet with a individual seller ). Having an adult with you that ’ mho bought a car before can ensure you ’ re taken seriously and treated with obedience. furthermore, the adult may be able to point out potential issues you may not have noticed .

The Pre-Drive Inspection

When you finally have the cable car in movement of you, perform a pre-purchase inspection before taking it for a spin. Look all around the car for any signs of damage or vehicle problems. Remember these tips for inspecting a car you ’ rhenium intelligent of bribe :

  • Always check out a cable car during the day. At night, it will be hard to assess the car ’ second condition or notice repainted spots that may indicate damage that ’ second been concealed .
  • Be ready to review everything. Don ’ triiodothyronine be afraid to get on your hands and knees to check for leaks under the car or to ask to peek under the hood so you can check the condition of the locomotive, the fluid levels, etc .
  • Use all your senses. sometimes the only way you ’ ll be able to notice a problem is by smelling it or hearing it during your test drive .
  • Before you get on the road, adjust the seat, the mirrors and the fomite controls so you can give your full attention to how well they work. Have the seller talk you through the car ’ randomness electronic features and splashboard indicators, then try them out for yourself .

even if you ’ ve researched the car already, be sure to besides review the window stickers if you ’ ra buy from a dealer. These stickers will give you accurate information about the operation and features of the car you ’ re looking at. In particular, all new cars are required to have a detail Monroney gummed label attached to the slope window with official ratings and benchmarks, specifics about where the car was manufactured and the propose retail price .

What to Do Before, During and After Taking a Test Drive

ultimately, it ’ sulfur time to take the car out on the road ! If possible, use an Internet map servicing to plan a route ahead of time that includes city and expressway drive, curved and inclined roads and roadways with different kinds of grip. That way, you ’ ll have a prospect to see how the car handles in unlike environments. Let the salesperson know about your plans sol he or she can help you have the best experience possible. During the quiz drive, be alert for any performance issues that might signify a good trouble. only by testing the car ’ sulfur performance can you find out if it will handle well when you actually need it to. You may be tempted to proceed with an abundance of caution out of fear of damaging the car, but you won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate memorize as much with this approach. This is your casual to find out how cursorily the vehicle accelerates and how it responds when you have to brake difficult, indeed don ’ triiodothyronine be shy about putting the car through its paces. With that in thinker, don ’ thyroxine do anything illegal or make sudden maneuvers. When you ’ ra test driving a car remember to :

  • Pay attention to how the splashboard is laid out and whether or not you find the vehicle controls awkward or confusing to use .
  • Make certain you ’ re able to see the road and check your mirrors and blind spots well .
  • Test the wheel conjunction by driving at 20 to 30 miles per hour beside a paving pipeline or sidewall .
  • Roll down the window so you can hear if the car is making any unusual noises .
  • Get a approximate sense of the car ’ mho fuel efficiency by noting what the odometer and fuel gauge say at the begin and end of the trip .
  • Identify whether the cable car responds to steering unexpectedly or seems improperly balanced when you drive .
  • Test any advance systems, including rearview cameras, blind-spot monitors and part command systems, vitamin a well as essential safety technologies such as ABS or ESC while you ’ re on the road .

When you ’ re taking a test driveway, it ’ s a good idea to treat the salesperson as a resource. After all, he or she credibly knows about the features of the cable car arsenic well as anyone and would be felicitous to demonstrate them for you. Consider asking the salesperson to take the wheel for part of the drive so you can have clock to look over the cable car and discuss it without it distracting you from the road.

Step 5: The Art of Negotiation

Don ’ metric ton get stuck paying the spine monetary value ! Unlike most things you ’ ll bribe, the price is negotiable. Used cable car prices are typically more elastic, as they will not be linked to the manufacturer ’ south production costs. When negotiating the price, it ’ sulfur particularly significant to have a rear or other adult around, even if you take the run in the bargain .

The Dos and Don’t of Car Negotiations

When discussing the price of a car with the seller, whether the car is newly or used, remember these dos and don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate :

  • Do come prepared with cognition of how much comparable cars are selling for. Letting the dealer know you know there are other options out there will decrease his or her ability to frame the discussion of price .
  • Don ’ t mistake the salesperson for person with your best interests at affection, no matter how convert he or she is. Don ’ triiodothyronine let yourself be talked into any features you don ’ t need or want .
  • Do be prepared to bring up any concerns you have or problems you noticed during the test drive. specially if you ’ rhenium buy used, you may get the seller to discount the monetary value by the cost of getting the topic fixed .
  • Don ’ t let your enthusiasm appearance or tell the dealer the maximum price you can afford. By starting moo, you can make concessions to the trader and hush end up paying a reasonable price or getting extra features thrown in .
  • Do be prepared to walk away if you don ’ thyroxine think you ’ re getting the best hand .

If you ’ re buy a car from a dealer, they will most likely try to get you to agree to add-ons like an drawn-out guarantee or paint protection. In general, unless it involves actual mechanical improvements to the car, add-ons like these are designed to boost the company ‘s profits. When negotiate, try to avoid paying excess for such features ; if you do want them, you may be able to convince the principal to throw them in for spare during the negotiation procedure .

Filling Out the Paperwork

once you ’ ve agreed on a price and any options to be added to your car, it will be time to fill out the paperwork. At this point, you may be exhausted and tempted to simply sign on the dot line. Don ’ metric ton do it ! Make surely you review the stallion contract with the principal and the adult you ’ rhenium with, asking questions about anything you don ’ thyroxine sympathize or contradicts something you talked about earlier. Before you leave the lot, you ’ ll besides want to confirm whether the dealer will take manage of the initial title transfer and vehicle registration for you .

Transferring Ownership When Buying a Used Vehicle

While there will be fewer terms and conditions to review, buying a use car from a private seller can be more complicated because the summons of transferring car possession varies from state to state. Your best bet is to inquiry rules for selling a practice car in your state ahead of time so you can make certain that everything gets done by rights.

Make sure the seller besides hands over any papers associated with the cable car, including the owner ’ s manual, emissions test documents and inspection stickers. once you ’ ve agreed to buy the car, it ’ mho yours. You can ’ t take a cable car back because you find a better one a few days late. And most use cars are typically sold as-is, so if a problem arises, it will be besides belated to do anything about it once the sale is final. That ’ s why it ’ s so important to do your inquiry to find the best character of fomite for the best value. *This article was updated on 7/7/2020

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Category : Finance

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