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Hey Mom and Dad: Would You Buy Your Kid a Car?

Parents, Patch wants to hear from you on the questions that get families talking.

A couple of weeks ago, we asked parents if they had any rules for their new teen drivers. Of course, before those teens can be drivers, they need something to drive!

Having your own car is one of the ultimate teenage status symbols (as Marty in Grease sang in "Summer Nights," "Like does he have a car?), but every parent has his or her own rules on how their rapidly growing-up bundle of joy should obtain that coveted set of wheels. Which brings us to this week's Hey Mom & Dad question:

Would you buy your teen driver a new car or used car as their first car? Or should your teen buy the car on their own?

Take a look at what people had to say and join the conversation in the comments section.

Sharon Crowder: "They should buy the car on their own—or do as my wise husband told our kids. He told them that he would buy them a used car when they could pay for their own insurance—every month!" — Woodridge Patch Facebook

Kelley Squires: "I don't think that a kid needs to buy their own vehicle. Sometimes being able to drive takes a ton of work off of a parent's full plate so if the parents can afford it I think purchasing one for their child would be appropriate. I think purchasing a new car though is silly...a good, safe, and reliable used car would be best (it will become a locker for sports equipment, books, clothing, food, etc..)" — Wheaton Patch Facebook

Chris Splendoria: "No child deserves better than an old used beater or hand-me-down car for their first car. And it's OK for parents to provide the first one... The kid's on their own after that." — Downers Grove Patch Facebook

Sonja Holzman: "It's not about deserving, no offense, it's about the teenager. Definitely a used car is 100% fine. The chance of damaging a new car are way too high. However, my child who just turned 16 has no way to earn money to contribute towards a car, or gas, or anything else. It is really, really hard to find a job these days. Unfortunately, I can't afford any kind of car at the moment so it's a moot point." — Downers Grove Patch Facebook

Julie Farrell: "I've only purchased two vehicles in my entire life. First one I was pregnant with my youngest daughter and needed one. Second one is kinda on its last leg, but I'm still driving it. I saved my first car for my kids to fix up when they start driving in a couple of years. I truly believe they should have to pay for at least half of a first car and that it should be no newer than 5 years old, though 10 is probably better. They appreciate it more when they have to work for it." — Glen Ellyn Patch Facebook

Frank Koral: "If they are deserving (good kids, good grades, etc), help with the down payment. Let them pay the balance themselves. The reward is worth it, the lesson in responsibility is priceless!" — Glen Ellyn Patch Facebook

Michele D'Asto Nickleski: "Affordable new = maintain honor roll, contribute to insurance & gas, and stick shift to deter from texting. (Too many scams on used & unknown continual repairs $$$)" — Lemont Patch Facebook

Deb Derda-Mussallem: "I bought my 1st new car when I was 23. I worked & saved. It was hard but my parents could not afford much. I may help my kids with a decent used car. We can do that. However gas & insurance will be their responsibility." — Lemont Patch Facebook

Sandy Wesolowski Smith: "My first car was an '86 Camaro that I bought on my own at 15 and paid for all of the gas and insurance myself. I had a part-time job, played sports in high school, and was in the National Honors Society... it can be done to those that work very hard." — Lemont Patch Facebook

Mara Tunzi: "I bought my own first car a 1976 Mustang when I was a junior in high school. I always worked and was expected to pay for everything. It certainly taught me a lot about responsibility. I will help my kids as much as I can but they will be expected to have jobs to pay for gas and upkeep." — Lemont Patch Facebook

Melissa Carson Zdenovec: "I may help my daughter buy a good used car when the time comes. I think they appreciate more when they work for it and would feel proud of themselves for doing so. I just don't get it when parents buy a brand new $30-$40k car for a 16 year old, it makes no sense to me." — Naperville Patch Facebook

Adél Erdélyi: "I'd prefer them to buy their own car... but if they really needed a car to go to work while going to college I would help them out financially. How much I would spend, I'm not sure. A new car would be my option [because] it will be less likely to sit in the shop and more likely not to break down for them... My daughter just turned 18 and does not have her own car, planning to drive to college every day starting in the fall... So we are in front of a big decision..." — Naperville Patch Facebook

Pat Meyers Abinion: "Wasn't allowed to buy my first car until college. I believe in working for what you have—though not even close to driving, it will be expected that our son will save and pay for at least half of his car and all that goes with it (insurance, gas, and maintenance). Gets my goat when kids are driving better cars than I am." — Naperville Patch Facebook

Jeni Golomb: "I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit where everyone's parents worked for car companies so everyone got new cars when they turned 16. So that set my expectations. My kids are young, but I will be getting them cars when they are 16. Not sure if that is how it is done here, but they need to be able to get themselves places safely. It might not have all the bells and whistles like mine does, but it will be nice for a teenager." — Naperville Patch Facebook

So what's your take? Tell us in the comments.

Renee Gough April 02, 2013 at 05:15 PM
What, and miss out on the currency of loaning my car out to my kids? Nobody gets outta here with the keys to the car without picking up a few dishes, folding some laundry or at least giving Mom a big hug.

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