The time comes in every 18-year-old’s life when they need to start thinking about their first car.

If you’re fortunate enough to have parents to support and provide something like this for you, there’s still the process of having to ask them for it. We’ll be looking at a few tips to keep in mind when asking your parents for your first car.

Prove you’re responsible

Your parents aren’t going to take your request for a car seriously if you cannot prove to them that you are, in fact, a responsible teen. Owning a car comes with great responsibility and as soon as you are behind the steering wheel, you are responsible.

While it might be hard to show them you can handle the responsibilities of a car without a car, there are other things you can do in the meantime. You can start by getting a part-time job, helping out more around the house, listening to what your parents tell you to do, not reacting as a child would and being independent where possible.

You’re heading into adulthood and it’s a big step when you get your first car. You’ll have more freedom and responsibility than before. If you can prove yourself through the smaller things, they’ll be more inclined to believe that you’ll be as responsible when it comes to owning a car.

Set realistic expectations for yourself

For your first car, don’t expect the latest Audi model to be topped with a red bow and waiting for you to drive it home. Having expectations like that doesn’t reinforce your sense of responsibility.

You need to set realistic expectations so that you aren’t disappointed and your parents don’t immediately say no to ever buying you a car if that’s what you expect they’ll just give you. You’re probably going to find your first car at a used car sale, in a pre-owned car dealership like InspectaCar Centurion. And that is perfectly fine.

Used cars are more affordable and there is such a wide range for you to choose from. You’ll easily find a car you love. If it’s from a dealership like InspectaCar, it will be certified, in good shape and at a price your parents would be comfortable with considering.

Do the research and calculations

With your expectations in line, it’s time to do some research and calculations. Do a search for used cars in Pretoria and choose a few vehicle options to present to your parents. This is going to be your car so you should do the research. But, at the end of the day, if your parents are paying for it, they’ll have the final say. This is why having a top-three list of cars at various prices (all of which you like) is the best way to do it.

You might not be aware of what your parents’ budget for a vehicle is, but you can still calculate how much the different options will cost them, to help them decide. Use a car finance calculator to add the price of the car plus the interest of the loan to work out how much will have to be paid every month. Then, you need to do add the cost of car insurance to that amount.

And don't forget about the cost of petrol and servicing that come into play. If you’re going to want to get this car, you need to come up with a plan to make up the money or pay your parents back in some way. If that means you use your own money from your part-time job to pay for petrol and insurance, they’re going to want to hear that from you.

Come up with a “sales pitch”

And that’s where the sales pitch comes in. You’ve found the car options, done the research on which used car dealership in Pretoria is selling at the best prices, as well as the calculations on what it could end up costing your parents. Now, it’s about the reasons why you need a car and why your parents should buy one for you.

  • Do extra chores: Say that, once you have your car, you’ll be able to run errands for them and do extra chores. And don’t forget to mention that you’ll cover your monthly petrol costs.
  • Explain the need: Help them understand why you need a car to get you to work after school or university, to relieve them of lift-club duties, to spend more time with your friends and to save travelling time when compared to public transport.
  • Be grateful: Explain to them how much it would mean to you that they trust you enough to own a car. Promise them that you will never take this responsibility for granted. For example, by never drinking and driving. Tell them that you understand the price you’re asking for and that you’ll do whatever they need you to do in order to make it up to them. Don’t be disrespectful, greedy or ungrateful for this opportunity, even if they say no at first. You need to listen to what their terms are as well.

    You have everything you need, now all you need to do is start the conversation.