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Feta's avatar

Would you/did you buy your teenager a brand new car?

Asked by Feta (925points) July 16th, 2014

I just got my first car because I’m a senior in high school and my parents want me to get a job. I have to pay for everything – gas, insurance, repairs.
It’s not a new car, it’s a 2002 Honda Accord, but I’m thrilled to have it.

Where I live is a poor town. The median income is $40,000 for a household and yet 85% of the kids that go to my school have brand new BMWs, Mustangs, Jeeps, miscellaneous king cab trucks, and Volkswagens. One kid has an Audi and another has a Land Rover.

I’ve asked a few of them if they bought it themselves or if they have to pay for things for it, they say no and that their parents bought their cars and put gas in their car and pay the insurance.

They don’t have to worry about a thing.

I also waited until the year I turn 18 to get my license and I feel better about it. I don’t think I would have been mature enough to drive a car when I was a sophomore, but most of the kids I know got their license the day they turned 16.

What would be/was your reasoning for getting your kid a new car?

I can’t see any logic behind it. I know of one girl who had an older Volkswagen and she trashed it in an accident that was her fault and her parents got her a newer model to replace it. As what? A reward for causing an accident? I just don’t get it.

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14 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I would not.
They can have a cheap used one.
Why? Because the probability of them crashing the car into the next tree is tremendously high, so I would be throwing away money by buying a new car. And I need that money for their funeral, whether they survive or not.

rojo's avatar

Oh Hell NO! Besides the obvious, that the odds are they will be involved in some kind of minor collision in the first few years of driving, there is the pleasure they will derive from actually purchasing their first NEW vehicle themselves somewhere down the line. Why deprive them of this?

My first car (in ‘73) was a ‘64 Comet with holes in the floorboards that worked well as A/C in the summer but had to be plugged with rags in the winter. But to be fair, it had a slant six that you could not kill with a stick and I never felt like I could never get anywhere I wanted to go in it.

With my own kids, I gave them the old family car when they came of age and bought a newer one (notice I did not say new) for the family.

I question the intelligence of anyone who would buy their child a beemer or F350 dually as a first vehicle.

johnpowell's avatar

I wouldn’t. If I had a kid they would get a mid 80’s Volvo wagon.

I actually think the fun of getting a kid a car would be teaching them about it. If you want the keys you need to listen to dad while he helps you change the oil and jump the battery.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Not just no, HELL NO. I don’t even have kids. If I did a very used beater is what they would get.

JLeslie's avatar

I would buy a car for my teenager, I just don’t know if I would buy a new car. Probably not new. I would pay for the car, service, and insurance and most likely leave the gas up to them.

Also, it would not necessarily be when they first get their license, it would depend on the situation. At first they would probably use our cars. My husband might want to buy a new fancy car as soon as he could for our kids if we had any, but I would put it a little in check. It bothers me when teens have expensive brand new cars.

rojo's avatar

Gas was my expense. Insurance was cheaper to get through parents so we went that way. I was supposed to pay for it but you know how that went. Repair – minor ones were my responsibility and the car was so dependable there were no major ones. Oil changes, go to the store buy the oil and do it myself.

FlyingWolf's avatar

I would not buy my teen a new car. I am considering buying a car for my teens to share, mostly because it would make my life a lot easier. Even if they do get a car, they will be responsible for gas and at least half of the insurance.

Aethelwine's avatar

Our sons are 20 and (almost) 22 and we have never bought them a car. We can barely afford one for ourselves. I doubt we will buy one for our daughter when she’s old enough.

My parents never bought me a car, but they did give me their older truck when they bought a newer vehicle when I was 21. Our youngest son will most likely get our older vehicle when we purchase a newer car in the future. Our family has no problems with hand-me-downs.

ibstubro's avatar

I’ve never bought myself a brand new car, and never will. That would make the answer to the question, “Um…no.”

Pandora's avatar

Never bought either of my children a new car. My son was about 20 when he got his first car and he had a license for 2 years prior to that. He was away at college in Hawaii and there was no need for a car since he lived on campus. There is also plenty of public transportation. At 20 we cosigned a car loan with him and he made the payments, paid for gas and the insurance
My daughter didn’t get her license till she was 21 and had a full time job that was to far for any of us to drive her. She would drop me off at work in the morning and my husband would pick me up in the evening or sometimes I would drop her off and pick her up. It wasn’t till 2 years later did we just give her our oldest car as a gift. She paid for the gas and the insurance as well.

Benefits to letting your kids earn stuff is that it teaches them to be more responsible with it if they know they will have to pay the bills. When you give them stuff they treat it poorly. Because parents dough can always be thrown away, but not their own. They were both proud to have used vehicles because it beats walking or begging for rides. My daughter has a new car and still drives her old vehicle around. It is going on 15 years old. She has had to pay for a lot of it to be repaired and she won’t get rid of it yet. Her reply, is that it still gets her from point A to B.

I had a friend who bought her daughter a new car. She crashed it. Then a used car and then they felt guilty and a year later bought her another new car. She treated all her cars like a large garbage bin and didn’t even like to wash it. They also paid for her insurance which was sky high because of her age and the accident. Nope not me.

JLeslie's avatar

I always spent my money and other people’s money similarly. I knew my parents were not swimming in money and all expenditures took some thought. I loved the cars my parents bought me when I was a teen (the first one lasted less than two years, it was very old when we bought it, and I never took the cars for granted. I worked from the age of 14. I bought almost all my own clothes from age 14 and covered most of my own spending money. My parents buying me a used car and paying for the insurance did not spoil me, although, I realize buying a car for a teen is out of reach for many families. I was shocked when my dad bought me my first car. I think my parents were tired of driving me to work or not having their own car to drive, because I needed it. If I had always had every little thing my heart desired my whole life that would be different, but one splurge does not spoil a child, and it was a practical splurge for the family.

Haleth's avatar

If I ever have kids, I think it would be nice to get them thinking about a car early, so they can save toward it.

When they’re in their early- mid teens, I’ll talk to them about buying an old beater car when they’re older. I’ll put a goal thermometer in a prominent spot in the house. They can earn money by picking up extra chores or volunteering. Later, when they’re mature enough, they’ll have the option to make a self-directed project to reach their goal. This will be a long-term project in any subject that interests them. It could be growing a plot at the community garden, picking their own stocks, carpentry, writing a novel, whatever, as long as it’s their own idea and they’re actively engaged in something.

As they work on their project, each milestone gets them closer to a certain dollar amount for a car. They can also earn money by reading advanced books that aren’t in their high school curriculum, or for excellent grades. When they are old enough, they can also get a summer job and save on their own.

When my kid finally reaches his/her goal, we’ll have a special dinner to celebrate. And then I’ll surprise them by matching their dollar amount. So instead of a crappy old beater car, they’ll get a sensible used car that will last them well into young adulthood.

I think if I can get them to actively work on their own planning and saving, they’ll value a car and be careful with it. My parents didn’t even teach me how to drive. Having their help would have been such a leg up when I was younger. So I’ve given a lot of thought to how to give my own future kids a good start without spoiling them.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I have let my daughter know that a year before she is old enough to drive, I will get her a kit. If she wants to drive, she will build her own car. She will get an inside look at what comes between her and death. She will know that if she will want to be safe, she’d better do everything right. It will do a lot toward finding out who really are her friends. For those who are friend enough to help, it will be good, wholesome activity to build a solid bond even stronger. Any risky thing she considers doing, she will have in mind the damage to her many hours of work. She will have respect for it piece by piece, rather than just get a car from me, with the feeling somewhere inside that if anything happened to it, she would simply ask for another.
So many kids drive who don’t know how to change a tire. She will know how to service her own engine.

SecondHandStoke's avatar


Money spent on a new car: taxes and fees combined with depreciation is money that can be better spent on getting more car in one that, since used, has already taken these hits.

When I move to California in a few months time I will begin my search for an early first generation Honda NSX, model year 1991, 1992. These cars are still ahead of their time and appreciating in value.

I could easily drop $40k on a big wad of brand new boring instead, not gonna happen.

To sorta return to the theme of the OP I will have this car for the rest of my life. I will be giving it to my niece, possibly my nephew if he ever develops enough interest in automotive culture.

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