Handing Over the Keys: Buying a Car For Your High School Senior

As with any large purchase, buying a car isn’t something you should do on impulse. Even if you are purchasing the car as a present, it’s important to sit down with your teen to go over the expenses that owning a car entails. Registration, insurance, and regular maintenance are not things that are covered in your child’s driver’s education class. The drivers ed teacher may help your child become a safe driver, but it’s up to you to make sure your teen is prepared for car ownership.

Preparing Teen for Car Ownership

  • Sit down with your teen and calculate the cost of the car you intend to purchase, including hidden costs like taxes, warranties and extra features. Use an auto loan calculator to simplify the process. There are several ways to calculate your vehicle’s cost. Some people are more concerned with overall costs, others are looking for low monthly payments, and still others want to get the best interest rates on the auto loan rate. You want your teen to be aware of how all these things will bump up the overall cost.
  • Go over the ongoing costs with your teen such as insurance, annual registration, maintenance, repairs, oil changes, and of course, gasoline. Help your teen come up with a budget for how much he or she can comfortably spend.
  • And finally, don’t forget to have fun! Take your teenager for a test drive and hand over the keys. After all that budgeting, your joy ride will be well-earned fun. You should be proud!

Nobody knows better than you do how much your teenager wants a car. Your teenager has probably been yearning for her own wheels since she first clutched a learner’s permit in her hot little hands. And now that your teenage child has his or her own driver’s license, maybe you want to give them a special senior year birthday gift. Maybe you’ve promised it for good grades, or maybe you just want to keep him from ruining your own car. For whatever reason, you’ve decided to buy a car for your senior.


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