If you're buying a used car for your teenager, here are a few things to keep in mind before you go to the dealership.
Get preapproved. The right financing can save you thousands and eliminate stress for you and your teen. Getting preapproved for a car loan secures your loan amount and interest rate before you go car shopping. That means no negotiating with a salesperson on the financing, which saves you time, money and hassle. Even if you plan on buying a used car from a private seller, it’s a good idea to be preapproved so that you know exactly what you can afford.
Research online. Find cars you both like by using an online auto shopping service that gives you the control to see upfront dealer pricing before visiting the dealership. Be sure to research used cars with high safety ratings and the best used cars for teens.
Let your teen test drive. Make sure your teen drives the car on the highway and in stop-and-go traffic. As your teen drives, use our handy used car inspection checklist to make sure that interior and exterior features are in good working order.
Be critical. Just because you may not be willing to pay a lot for your teen’s first car doesn’t mean you have to settle. Ask lots of questions and request a vehicle history report. Don’t be afraid to pass if the car isn’t up to par.
Once you and your teen have found the right car, apply for a used auto loan or simply finalize the preapproved loan with a few more information about the car you decided to purchase.
Make your teen take ownership and teach financial responsibility. Give your teen at least some of the responsibility of car ownership. That includes paying for some or all of the cost of the car such as portion of the monthly loan payment, gas, oil changes, regular maintenance and auto insurance.
Want more tips for teen drivers? Be sure to check out our other teen driving articles in the Auto Resources section of our Learning Center.