If you are helping your teenager to find and purchase a car, then it is reasonable to expect that you are in for an experience that challenges you emotionally, financially, and mentally. If the mere thought of the upcoming shopping trip has you grinding your teeth, and reflexively reaching out your hand to preemptively smack your teenager upside their head, then the first thing that you need to do is take a deep breath. The second thing that you need to do is review these three tips.
Remember, they don’t have a car yet.
This means that you can, in fact, drive right by that Porsche dealership, no matter how close your teenager gets to merging their face with the passenger side window. You can, and should, drive your teenager straight to the local Toyota dealers. Why? Maybe you know it from experience, or maybe you know it from clever marketing, but Toyota is popular for a good reason. Many Toyota dealers are proud to offer top rated cars that are both reasonably priced, and prized as being very reliable vehicles. It is estimated that about 80% of all Toyota cars that were sold 20 years ago are still out there on the road, astounding people with their lifespan in much the same way that your teenager astounds you with their ungratefulness. Neither fact is unexpected, but somehow they both still inspire at least a raised eyebrow.
You are the car expert. Not them.
Out of the pair of you, who has been driving the longest? Who has owned, and wrecked, more cars? Hopefully, the answer is you. Feel free to leverage these facts in steering the course of the shopping trip. One of the reasons you may want to focus on convincing your teenager that the car of their dreams is at a Toyota dealership is because of the wide range of choices they will be able to make from the Toyota cars for sale. You can use your wisdom and influence to point out to your teenager what is really worth appreciating in a car. You can extol the virtues of fuel economy and rolling-resistance tires that the Toyota Camry SE features, or the all-wheel drive that the Toyota Highlander can have.
Don’t be afraid to lay down the law, especially if you are laying down any of the cash.
Unless your teenager is independently wealthy, and wouldn’t that be terrifying, then you are completely within your rights to insist on looking at used Toyotas. Most dealerships will see the power dynamic between you and your teen and understand who to side with almost immediately, but you can avoid potential awkwardness by having the new vs. used discussion before visiting the Toyota dealers.
All this being said, you don’t want to traumatize your teen. Shopping for their first car should be a fun experience, and involve as little emotional abuse as possible, from either of you. Setting down clear expectations before heading out to the dealerships is highly recommended, as is having a game plan that you both agree to. In the end, if you establish all of the rules beforehand, you will come out of the shopping trip with good memories, and your teen will come out of it with a great car.