What to consider when buying your teen a car

Mar 2, 2023, 11:00 AM | Updated: 3:30 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — If you’re thinking about helping your teenager buy their first car, there are costs beyond the sticker price that you should keep in mind.

First, do you buy a new or used vehicle? One expert says consider used.

Prices have fallen by 10% on average, while new car prices have increased over the last two years. Most importantly, used cars are getting safer.

“I believe you want a car that has blind spot monitoring, the new backup cameras so they can see where they’re going, said Trent Bell, general manager of Ken Garff Hyundai Downtown.

Bell says compact SUVs or crossovers are safe, affordable options.

“The smallest model is like a Hyundai Venue. It’s got great gas mileage. It’s a smaller car. Easy to maneuver. Easy to park. Probably good with insurance.”

The buying process can be stressful for parents, that’s why experts say they need to look at it as an investment. Driver’s insurance and maintenance costs can quickly add up.

“All the while, you’re trying to teach your kids how to pay bills, how to budget,” Bell said. “They’ve got to have money for gas and to help make a payment, if that’s how you choose to do it.”

What’s the best way to pay for your teen’s car? If possible, pay in cash for used cars.

Interest rates have gone up several times in a year, so car loans are far more expensive now than ever before. If you have to take out a loan, you can find the best rates through local credit unions and get pre-approved before visiting a dealer.

“Our website is pretty good. You can go on there and see the level of car. You can work a payment from start to finish and not even bother coming in.”

There are upsides to buying a new car. In today’s market, drivers are holding on to their cars longer and demand is outweighing supply. Affordable, used cars are tougher to get.

You could end up spending more money on maintenance and repairs than new car buyers do.

“If you buy a Hyundai certified car, there are all kinds of extended warranties that come with it,” Bell said. “You can really save some aggravation of having to deal with a broken car on the side of the road and expense.”

Families may make the overall car purchase, but experts suggest teens take on other car-related payments — some fraction of the loan or the insurance, gas, oil changes. That way they take some financial responsibility to take care of the car.

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What to consider when buying your teen a car