Buying a Car for Your Teen, Part 2

CarWelcome to part two of our mini-series on buying a car for your teenager.  In part one we talked about what type of car is best for your teenage driver and in part two we’ll talk about where to get their first car.

Believe it or not, the fun part actually begins after you’ve finished your initial research.  The internet has made car buying, comparing and listing easier than ever and all of that technology is a huge benefit to buyers and sellers alike.  The former gets a majority of that benefit though since buyers can easily compare prices and access inventory with just a few clicks using the internet.

Most Expensive Option – Certified Dealerships

If you’ve decided on a new or pre-owned dealer vehicle, you’re going to be paying the highest price premium at a certified dealership.  That’s not always a bad thing though since there’s really no risk to buying a new or pre-owned car from the dealership.  Most dealerships have extensive warranties and buyer protection on every car they sell.

So while you won’t be getting the best deal on a car from the dealership, you’ll take on a lot less risk compared to buying a used car.  Dealership cars will always be very reliable and they also tend to offer some of the best financing rates when you take out an auto loan.

Middle of the Road Expensive – Online Car Companies, Used Car Dealerships

If you don’t want to pay the high dealership premium, your next best bet is a respectable used car dealership or online car comparison type website.  Most of these dealerships will buy used cars as trade-ins, put them through rigorous testing and then re-sell them to the public.  The nice thing about a used car dealership like Carmax is that they have a non-negotiable pricing system so what you see is what you get.

In addition, their agents are paid the same commission whether you buy a BMW or a Ford Focus.  So if you want to avoid all the back and forth between a salesman at a dealership, this might be one of your best options.

Least Expensive – Private Sellers

If you’re looking for a ‘deal’ on a car then your best bet is to find a private seller through a site like Craigslist.  There’s a lot more work that goes into buying a car from a private seller though.  You should get a full car vehicle report and also have the vehicle brought in to your local mechanic for inspection.  Since there are no third parties involved, transaction costs are a lot lower though.  You don’t have to pay any salesmen or dealerships their cut and you might be able to find a motivated buyer who just needs to unload their car as fast as possible.

Where did you buy your teenager’s car?  If you had it to do over, would you do it again?

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  1. I got my driving license at 28 haha no teenage car. I would only buy a car to my teen if he/she were super serious, and school was pretty far. Otherwise a bicycle will do!
    Pauline recently posted..I bought another PF blog!My Profile

  2. I’ve always bought my own cars private party, but the times I’ve been able to buy them from a trusted friend or family member have been the most rewarding! There’s so much that happens to a used car that you have no idea about, but it’s still worth it IMO.
    FI Pilgrim recently posted..Avoid Overspending When Throwing A Pity PartyMy Profile

  3. When I was a teenager, my parents bought my car new from a dealership – and the agreement was this was the only thing I was gonna get! It worked out that way because my car only cost $14k brand-new (it was the bottom-of-the-line, manual version – no frills!) but it was still extremely generous of them. I’m glad I don’t have my own teenagers to worry about!
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  4. Having to buy a teen’s first car is more stressful than your first experience. And, if you choose to go the private route, the possibility of treacherous land mines is high. But it doesn’t need to be.

    I have spent a lot of time building a library of articles and blog posts designed to educate used and new car buyers, and when it comes to engaging in a private sale, I suggest you start with this article: After this post, you can search for other articles that pertain to your circumstances.

  5. BMW M5 and other high performance German car dealers avialable for PAC Motors.

  6. I was about 19 when I got my first car, and that’s what I had (no cell phones back then). The radio was AM only. I once beat a speeding ticket because I demonstrated that my car was incapable of accelerating as fast as the police officer thought (he clocked me at about 40MPH just a short distance after a red light). My drinking/partying buddies would never go in my car; how could you try to pick up women when they could walk faster than the car would drive? And we had to stop every couple of hundred miles to add oil. Hey, but no risk of theft and no need for Comprehensive on my insurance.

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