Introduction | Task | Resources | Process | Evaluation |Conclusion 


Every teenager dreams of having their ideal car (or truck) wrapped up in a big red bow in the driveway, on the morning of their 16th birthday.  But the reality is most teens do not have the luxury of owning their own car.  This lesson will take you through the steps of how to find a good used car, how to pay for it, and what other costs or state laws are required in order to get you in the driver's seat.  This lesson is one that will prepare you for the day that you are able to purchase your own set of wheels (it may be a few years, but be patient).  So, teenagers, fasten your seatbelts and hold on for a great ride.....

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This journey down the road to driver's freedom will leave you with the tools and insights necessary to seek and obtain the ideal car for you.  Once you have compiled the necessary information on how to pick out a good car for your money, how to get a fair deal on insurance and financing, and what the local law requires for purchasing a car, your team of experts will be presenting all the gathered information into a written report.  Your final duty will be to create a slideshow presentation that highlights each of the required segments of the report.

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Much of the research has been done for you in order for you to focus your attention on the topic, rather than having to surf aimlessly through the million or more sources out there on the World Wide Web.  The following is a list of websites that will be valuable to each member of the team while compiling data.  In the right column of the table there is a description provided that corresponds to the website in the left column.

Just click on the site you would like to check out:
AIG Insurance Shop for insurance and get an on-line quote.
Autosmartcat This site is a good starting place to find tips on buying a used car, and where to buy one on the Internet.
Autoweb This site is a great place for all experts to first find their vehicle, as well as finance and insure the vehicle.
CA DMV Used-Car Info. Important info. to help you when you buy or lease a new or used vehicle   Be an intelligent shopper as a vehicle purchaser, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities.
Florida Consumer Info Guide on "How to buy a used car", with great advice.
GiggoCar Get finance information (rates, payments, and figure out how much you can afford).
Trima Guide and tips for buying a used car.
InsWeb  Shop for insurance and get an on-line quote.
California State DMV Provides information on what the State of California requires to register a vehicle and how to pay tax/fee after purchasing a car from a private party.
Netquote Insurance Shopper Shop for insurance and get an on-line quote.
Peoplefirst Get finance information (rates, calculate payments, etc.).
4Insurance Shop for insurance and get an on-line quote.
The Auto Channel Used car buying guide and provides market value for your chosen vehicle.
Ventura County Star's Automotive Section Check out classified ads for the vehicle of your choice.
Autotrader Find listings and information on thousands of used cars: location, pricing, reviews, free auto classifieds, warranties, loans, and more.
Kelly Blue Book Get the market value of your chosen vehicle.
Yahoo Classifieds Locate used vehicles for sale in your area.

In addition to the above websites, your classroom will have local classified ads for you to compare and search for your chosen vehicle.  Feel free to use any other relevant resource available to you, or if time permits feel free to locate an additional website on your own.

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1.    First, you will be assigned to a team of 3 students.  Next, as a team each member should choose one of the roles necessary for completing this project.  These are the roles:
  • An Insurance Expert who will be responsible for obtaining the best insurance rates with the necessary limits and liabilities; 
  • a Finance Expert who will be responsible for obtaining the necessary financing for your vehicle at an acceptable rate and workable terms; 
  • and lastly, you will need a Local Law Expert who will be responsible for getting registration information and requirements.

2.    After selecting your role, all members of the team will meet to determine what vehicle you will purchase.  You will need to research (as a team) to find out how to avoid buying a lemon, where you should purchase your vehicle, and what is a fair price to pay.  The links available to you through the Resource section should provide answers to these questions.  

Remember, this project is just a simulation, so go ahead and chose a dream car.  You may assume that your parents are willing to help you financially.  It may be necessary for you to actually call on vehicle owners to get pertinent information necessary for further research (such as mileage, condition, options, and asking price), if the information is not available through the ad or dealer posting.  Check with Mr. Geib for directions and/or advice.

3.    Once all your background information is collected, each expert will then be ready to research their particular area of expertise.  Use the Resources available to you in order to get a variation of options from which to chose.

4.    When all information from each expert is collected, it will be time to proceed to compiling your written report.  The report will include facts on the chosen vehicle such as how you located the vehicle, what make and model you chose with what options, the price you paid for the vehicle, and the finance and insurance information, as well as the costs involved in the purchase (such as legal requirements).  

You cannot finance more than 80 percent of the true cost---the dealerís invoice---of the car. At least 20 percent or more must be paid in cash or the equity of your trade.  Talk to Mr. Geib and make sure and get his approval of your financing scheme!

For insurance, assume that you are 16 years of age, are living with your parents as a full-time student, and have no moving violations on your record.  Answer any other questions as if you were living in the same conditions as today when you turn years of age.  Get general liability, medical payments, collision, and underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage.  

Your reports are to be completed using any word processing software available to you, following the pre-established template.  Feel free to copy the outline provided from which to form your report.

Besides your report, you will need to print out a copy of your spreadsheet for Mr. Geib.  Click here to see an example, more or less, of what your spreadsheet should look like at the conclusion of project.

5.    The final step of this project, is to create seven slides using PowerPoint to present your purchase.  Your presentation should have the following:

  • An opening slide which includes the names of each expert and the role he/she played (example); 
  • a slide that shows the chosen vehicle and any specific information about the car itself (color, year, maker, radio, airbags, etc.) (example); 
  • a slide that shows where you obtained financing and how much you paid for the vehicle and the terms of the financing (expert);
  • a slide that shows where you insured the vehicle and at what cost and terms (expert);
  • a slide that shows any legal (ie. DMV) requirements you had to consider (expert); 
  • a slide with all finances calculated on a spreadsheet and imported to PowerPoint from Excel (example); 
  • and lastly, a slide that explains what your group learned in this project (example).

Each slide need only be a brief synopsis of what you have in your report.  Do not simply cut and paste the information from your report into your PowerPoint presentation.  

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You will be evaluated on your individual level of cooperation and participation, the quality of the information gathered for your particular role, as well as the content and quality of your group's final report and slideshow presentation.  

A rubric designed for this project was created in order for you to better understand the requirements and how you will be evaluated on your overall project.  Please click here to see the Evaluation Rubric.

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Kids washing a car graphic


Congratulations! You are now equipped with the tools necessary to purchase your own set of wheels!  By going through the process you have just completed, you have learned a valuable life skill that will be essential throughout your life.  Remember what you have learned and apply your new knowledge of being a wise consumer!

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FTHS  Ventura, CA     805.289.0023x112