Do your homework when you shop for a used car and you will come out on top. This statement is especially pertinent when buying a used car for a teen. Teenagers are known for distracted driving and causing accidents, and it is because of this fact that I recommend used cars. Below are surefire tips to purchase the right pre-owned car for your teenager.
CarGurus, Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book are just a few great research tools to begin this search. They all give you the numbers: industry statistics, reliability ratings, buyer opinions, performance data, etc. The first thing they do, is to help you determine the best make and model for your situation. Secondly, time spent on these sites will help arm you when it is time to do battle with car salesmen.
Establish a budget for your new driver is next on your list. Because a quality used car can easily run three, four or even five thousand dollars, it makes sense to budget. Your teenager will not be thinking about which used car is the safest, but rather what options he wants. Stay focused on safety and reliability rather than creature comforts like touch screen, USB ports and app integration. Prioritize your list with features like ABS, backup cameras, collision warning, and drowsiness alert.
The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it. Dudley Moore
Once you have finalized a budget, and determined which cars are most reliable, it’s choice time. Select several like cars e.g. Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, Ford Focus, or Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger, etc. Complete this online to save time. Keep in mind always the following:
- Which dealers have exactly what you are looking for
- Which dealers have the best online reputation?
- Which ones have the best pricing?
- Which used car dealers do you trust?
Once you have narrowed your search, it’s time to kick some tires. Don’t be put off by salesmen and their sometimes aggressive nature. Remember you both want the same thing. The sales guy wants the car off his lot (and a commissioned sale), and your teen wants that shiny used car. When you do your homework, you’re prepared for this battle. Research and a specific car list equate to a car buying edge in the negotiation process. Try to get the salesman to tell you how much the dealership has in the car (what they purchased it for + any monies spent getting the car ready for purchase), and negotiate from this position up versus from the retail price down. You’ll come out ahead.
Another important part of buying a used car for a teen, or anyone for that matter, is determining your financing options. Pay cash for a used car and you hold the upper hand. Ben Franklin can help you negotiate the best deal possible for your teen. But the outlay of cash is not mandatory as long as you have other options in place. Finally, read all the fine print, sign your contract and your teen is ready to hit the road.