Can You Afford to Own a Car?



First Step

  • Print out the Vehicle Data Sheet at the bottom of this page to use when going through the project.  Type in the info and save it, then upload it to the site.



You are employed at Joe's House of Pancakes for the summer and on the nights and weekends during the school year.  Between work, school, and driving around, you end up driving 235 miles per week.  You work 20 hours per week.  You are paid $9.00 per hour. 

  • Using the Cost Data Sheet in the Resource Section located at that bottom of this page, figure out the amount of money that you will have available to spend on your new vehicle.

 Picking a Vehicle

  • You are now going to choose your vehicle.  Follow this link to autotrader.com: http://www.autotrader.com
  • Click on "Used Cars."  To see more used cars, extend the search to "any distance." When you see the vehicle you want, click on the name of the vehicle.  Choose one that has a FREE Carfax report.  You will use this later.  (You can use any dealers website as long as you are able to get the information needed.)   Make this page a "Favorite" or print this out, you will need to get the information off of this later. 
  • You will need the vehicle information and Carfax later.
  • Once you have finally decided that this is the one you want to buy, click on "Share" "Email a friend" above the picture of the car and Email me this vehicle information.  Send it to: Mr. Conwell.  My email address is drivered@iu28.org.

 What is it really worth?

  •  What is the "car appraisal" of the vehicle you are looking to purchase?  Look here and put in all of the information about the vehicle and choose the dealer retail number.   https://www.edmunds.com/used-cars-for-sale/ 
  •  (Or, you can look at the Kelly Blue Book www.kbb.com
  • Look under the vehicle's description from before and add any information from the vehicle's options and then update your pricing.

The Vehicle's History

  • Back at your vehicle's page, click on "Free Carfax" Vehicle History Report.  At the top, I want you to Email me the Carfax for your vehicle: drivered@iu28.org.
  • This can be done by copying and pasting the report into a document then sending me it.

Vehicle Cost

  • Your parents are giving you $500 towards your down payment to match what you have saved, so that's $1,000 for your down payment.  You do not have a trade in.  Follow this link: http://www.psecu.com/vehicles/?WT.ac=vehicles-tab .  You will first have to decide what your interest percentage and length of the loan will be.  Once you do that, find out how much your monthly payment will be.  Put in all of the numbers to calculate your used car monthly payment. 


  • We need to have insurance.  Here is information on what the minimum requirement is for auto insurance in PA: http://www.carinsurance.com/state/Pennsylvania-car-insurance.aspx
  • You will go to this website, www.thegeneral.com  , and get insurance quotes on your vehicle.  Follow all of the steps - Basic Coverage, and at the end, copy and paste into an Email the quote and the summary you were given.  Put the cost of the insurance in your datasheet.


Safety First

  • What are the safety features listed for your vehicle? (You would find this in the vehicle description or in the Carfax.)  How is your vehicle rated on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's website? www.iihs.org/ratings/  Copy and paste the results into an Email to me.


Gas Mileage

  • What are the average gas mileage ratings for your vehicle in the city and on the highway?
  • How large is your vehicle's gas tank?  Follow this link to find the cheapest gas prices in your area: http://www.gasbuddy.com.  Put in your zip code to find it.


Annual Costs in Maintenance and with PA


  • Vehicle Data Sheet
    Description: Please use this for the project. DO NOT FILL IT OUT YET, download it first and then save it, and then fill it out and upload in the course.

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