Our Son and Daughter recently passed their road test and they will be celebrating their seventeenth Birthday is a few weeks. What’s a parent to do when an automobile is on the mind of two quickly maturing young adults ready to take on the mean streets on their own? Well we decided to buy them a gently used car with cash. After successfully completing driver education, and passing their road test it’s still clear they need more driving experience. We believe having a single car for them to share with give them more opportunity to drive and aid them in their part-time job search. Having their own car will make it easier for them to find and get to a job after school often when my wife and I are at work.
It’s certainly a big decision for us. It will come with rules and lessons. We have had many conversations over the last several months leading up to this purchase. We are hopeful it will turn out to be the right choice. These are the things that have led us to this point.
Used Car Budget
We have a maximum budget of $5k for the purchased of a used car. For years we have talked about matching whatever the kids have saved towards a car. Since most of the years leading up to this point we were in debt repayment mode and attempts to find part-time job were unsuccessful it’s not feasible for the match offer to stand. Our children simply do not have much saved.
We looked our current budget and savings to come up with the $5k dollar amount or $2.5K per child. We would expect once working that each would save $1250. We also have to consider insurance and gas impact. It’s going to be a trade-off we are willing to experiment with to see what flexible adding a third car and third and fourth driver to our house gives us.
We expect that the mom and dad taxi can slow down a bit, and give the twins a better shot at landing a part-time job with their own transportation. Only time will tell, but it’s something we are will to invest some money in to see if it pays off.
Tools for Finding a Used Car
What’s someone to do when looking for a used car, search the internet of course? That’s where our search began, we used craigslist and cars.com to get an idea of what was available in our local area. We settled quickly on an import four door sedan preferably with less than 100k miles. Once found we used Kelley Blue Book to validate the price listed. This will give us piece of mind to make sure the car is in the ball park price wise before physically looking at it. We’d contact the owner and inquire about the car, availability and if a Car Fax for the car is available.
Car Fax gives you the history of the car of service visits, state inspections, accidents, repairs, etc. Our next step is to visit the car for a visual inspection and test-drive. If the car passes that step we would see if the owner would be agreeable to take the car to our mechanic for a checkup, just to determine there are no major unforeseen issues. Even if an item is found assuming it’s a minor repair this can be a negotiation point for final price.
We have reached the mechanic stage for a Honda Accord and will be taking it in this coming weekend for a checkup. If it goes well we will make an offer.
Things to Teach a New Driver
I hate to admit it, but I’ve been driving for close to thirty years. I take a lot of my knowledge of driving and car basics for granted. It’s important to put myself in my son and daughter’s shoes and think about all the things they don’t know or don’t have a lot of experiencing doing, like:
- Pumping gas
- Jumping a dead battery
- What are jumper cables/ which color cable goes where
- How to check oil
- How to add oil
- How to add washer fluid
- How to add Antifreeze
- What Antifreeze is important and what you cannot use water
- Changing a flat/ using a jack/ where the spare tire is
One we finalize the purchase of a car for them we will spend some time going over the above list. We have had countless discussion about texting, phones calls, drinking, etc. This was also a major part of their driver’s education. It will be a topic we revisit often.
Wish us luck.
What other tools would you use when looking for a used car? What things would you think are important to teach to a new driver?