Five Tips For Buying Your Teens First Car

Do you remember your first car? Chances are it was a memorable moment, your first taste of freedom. Many of you might remember the make, colour, and smell, perhaps even initially keeping it immaculately clean! A car enables young adults to get to their commitments on time whilst teaching them life skills like checking the oil and changing a tyre. It teaches the value of money when they need to start paying for their own petrol or insurance! Your teenager’s first car is a true milestone and coming of age moment.

As a parent, it can be a nail-biting experience. It may feel like only a few years ago, you took the training wheels off that toddler bike, and now your child is old enough to have a car of their own! Many parents may want to contribute to a car purchase or take control of it entirely to ensure the vehicle is safe, roadworthy, and reliable.

An easy option might be to buy an older model car from a friend or family member that you know the history of and be sure it has been regularly serviced and maintained. Although, this isn’t always possible. Many families may look to online marketplaces like Trade Me to source their teenager’s first car or head down to the local used car dealership to see what is available. Remember to keep your cards close to your chest – don’t let a dealer know what you can and can’t afford too early on in the process. This will serve you well in the price negotiations later. 

This isn’t our only tip, though – read on for our top five tips for buying your teen’s first car. 

Five tips for buying your teen’s first car

1. Identify your budget

Establishing your budget at the start will make the process of car shopping run smoother. Do some initial research on second-hand cars you believe would suit your safety and reliability requirements. You may also want to consider the size of the vehicle, particularly if you have limited car parking at your property. The aim of your research would be to establish a realistic budget for the make and model of vehicle you would consider purchasing. As parents, you might want to have an initial conversation about your budget with your teen and set some realistic expectations.

You may wish to ask your teenager for a financial contribution, whether this is from their savings or in the form of monthly payments. This can teach your teenager important life lessons and help ease the financial burden of monthly running costs of the new vehicle. Establishing this from the outset will help you to lock in your total budget.

After reviewing your budget, you might discover you need some help to finance your new vehicle purchase. If you’re wondering about a personal loan, car loan, or want to understand car finance better, check out our recent blog post on the best way to finance a new vehicle.

You’ll want to ensure you get the best deal for your budget. Browse through online marketplaces and compare prices with private sellers. And, don’t be afraid to shop around! Remember, your budget should also factor in ongoing maintenance costs: insurance, registration, warrant of fitness and petrol.

2. Safety first

Once you’ve locked in your budget and discussed what type of car is suitable for your teenager, you can get on with the fun part – car shopping! 

Before you even consider a test drive, ensure you research the car’s safety rating you’re interested in. There are some great online tools available to help you understand more about the safety of a vehicle. Enjoy peace of mind knowing your teenager is driving a safe car, a key factor to consider when purchasing a vehicle. 

When it comes to your child’s safety, it’s essential to make the right choice the first time around. You can check car safety ratings online at the click of your mouse. There is also some great information available about buying a car in New Zealand and understanding which are the most reliable cars. These online resources will help inform your purchase. 

3. Check the paperwork

Review all the relevant paperwork so you can feel confident in the vehicle you purchase. There are reputable car ownership checks available that should put your mind at ease. Be sure to check all of the important information:

  • Outstanding finance on the vehicle
  • Stolen car check
  • Odometer check
  • Warrant Of Fitness 
  • Vehicle registration
  • Fuel economy
  • Safety ratings
  • Ownership history of the vehicle

Some of these checks will be more important to some people than others. Be sure you do your homework to ensure you’re happy with your final purchase.

4. Inspect the car

It is prudent to physically test drive the vehicle before you make an offer to purchase it. An experienced driver or someone with mechanical knowledge should be able to pick up if any major mechanical issues need addressing. You can also physically inspect the vehicle before your test drive to ensure the description is as you expected and any dents or scratches areas you anticipated.

At this point, you’re also able to arrange a vehicle inspection by a mechanic. For a fee, you can ask a mechanic to look over the car to see if there are any major issues or unreported damage. This will safeguard you from making a poor decision. 

Our blog about what to look for when buying a second-hand car can give you some extra tips on second-hand car shopping. 

5. Don’t forget to negotiate

Negotiating is all part of the purchase process. Once you’ve done your initial research, had a test drive and conducted all the relevant checks, you’ll have a good feel for what you’re prepared to pay. If you’re not familiar with negotiating, or it’s not a strong suit of yours, we suggest asking a friend or family member for help. Often, having someone negotiate the purchase who doesn’t have an emotional attachment to the vehicle can be helpful too. They may not accept a higher purchase price as willingly as you might.

If you are looking to purchase from a car dealer, consider when might be the best time to make an offer. Buying at the end of the financial quarter can be a good strategy as car dealers have quarterly sales quotas they need to meet and may be willing to give you a better deal if they can secure the sale.

Also, consider steering clear of busy weekends at car dealers, so they have more time to consider your offer. Actively watching out for sales and deals can mean you can make your money stretch further, too. 

Do you need a car loan?

If you need a little helping hand in financing the purchase, you may want to consider applying for a personal loan to purchase the vehicle or simply make up the difference. A lender such as Nectar can offer you a car loan on your terms. Nectar provides a simple, online application process that gives you a prompt response, borrowing anywhere between $2,000 – $30,000.* Check out our simple online calculator to see what your repayments could look like.

A personal loan often has lower interest rates than a credit card and is often a better deal than the finance a car dealer can offer you. Regardless of whether you’re considering a private sale or a car dealer to secure your vehicle, having cash in hand can help negotiate a better deal too. Bear in mind that to provide some money from your credit card, you’ll have to pay cash advance interest rates which can be some of the highest rates in the market.

Getting started with Nectar

Need a great rate on a personal loan? We’d love to help with your personal loan requirements. Check out how much you could borrow and learn more about our car loans. You can get started with Nectar and receive a personalised loan quote in minutes. . Borrow better, faster today!*

*Nectar’s lending criteria and responsible lending checks apply.