3 Reasons I Bought a Car From My Kid
Well, well, well... would you look at this beauty! It's a 2005 Nissan Xterra that has recently become my new fishing, dog, winter, going-on-dirt-roads rig. We bought it from my college student daughter, who recently bought her first brand-new car. With her own money, which is admirable. Dealerships really don't give you much for a 15 year old trade-in, so her mom and I told her we would buy it from her for an agreed upon, fair price. A win-win for everyone.
When researching this article, top Google searches brought back a ton of articles on "why you should not buy a car for your kid." MysteryMoneyMan.com lists the pro's and con's. Obviously, parents having mixed opinions. I feel kids should work to earn their first cars and pay for at least a portion of the payment or the insurance or both. On the other hand, if you've got the money to spoil little Timmy with a new Mustang or whatever, I guess more power to you.
This article is not about buying your kid a car though. It's about why you should buy a car from your kid. Big difference, right? In our case, it made perfect sense to add her well-loved Xterra to the family fleet.
1. It meets our vehicle needs. If the kid was selling a Mini Cooper, a VW Bug or a Miata, I probably would have told her to just sell it on Facebook Marketplace and call it good. Tiny two-seaters are certainly fun, but with a big household they aren't really useful or practical for us as a 2nd family vehicle. I still need a rig with room for a car seat and strollers and backpacks and garbage bags of Goodwill donation drop-off's.
The Xterra has room for most of us, is 4 wheel drive (true 4x4 with Hi and Lo!) and is old enough that I don't have to worry about scratching the paint on the hood this summer with a cooler covered in sand. Or dirty flip flops. Or dogs ruining the soft leather seats in my car with their filthy, scratchy paws. Nope, we're taking this baby to the river instead. Will I worry about tree branches scraping the side of this trusty SUV while driving on a narrow mountain trail? Not a bit.
2. It helps us do fun things. It's certainly not a heavy duty towing vehicle, but it is nice to have another option to pull a light ATV/utility trailer, a raft or a pop-up camper.
The luggage rack on top seems handy for fishing gear and has this quirky little storage area in the front.
3. First-hand knowledge of maintenance. Buying a used car from a stranger or a dealership is always a gamble. Are you buying someone else's problem? Why are they selling it? Did they ever change the oil? The salesman said it was owned by a little old lady who only drove it to church on Sunday. Sure it was. They all are. Buying a car from my kid, who lives in my house, I know exactly what has and has not been done to the car.
There are dings and scratches and hail damage on the paint job. One of the back seat door handles doesn't work. It needs new rear shocks. The stereo sucks (real bad) and the windshield is cracked. It'll need new tires before winter.
I also know that the old Xterra (who I've named Terra) has had regular oil changes, routine maintenance and hasn't been abused by a methed-out tweaker for at least the past 40,000 or so miles. The heater and A/C both work. All the windows still work. It's solid and in pretty decent shape overall. I think it'll be good for another 50,000 miles with minimal repair costs. If I had purchased Terra from a stranger, I'm not sure I would be so confident.