Can You Buy a Car at Age 17 Without a Parent's Consent?

Most 17-year-olds look forward to getting their first driver's license. However, they may not be able to purchase their own vehicle until they turn 18. Most states do not allow minors to sign contracts or legal documents on their own. Therefore, 17-year-olds usually have to wait a year, or get parental consent to purchase a vehicle.

Vehicle Ownership

Vehicle ownership laws differ from state to state, according to In some states, only people over the age of 18 may own vehicles, while in other states minors can legally own their own vehicles. To determine the law in your state, visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles office. Representatives can tell you the exact procedure for purchasing and registering a vehicle if you are under the age of 18.


A few states allow minors to purchase vehicles if they are emancipated from their parents. Emancipation requires going to court to demonstrate that you have the financial means to live on your own and that it is in your best interest to do so rather than continuing to live with your parents. If the court agrees, it terminates your parents' rights over you. Emancipation may entitle you to enter such contracts as car loans on your own.

If you are not emancipated, you will have to get parental consent to purchase a vehicle in most states. Some states, such as Michigan, have a standard form that your parent or parents must fill out and sign. In some states, you only need a signature from one parent or guardian, while in other states you must get consent from both of your parents.

Other Issues

Even if you get consent to purchase the vehicle, you may need your parents' signature on some of your other paperwork. Many states require parents to sign titles when minors purchase vehicles. In addition, your parents may need to sign the insurance paperwork. This is because these documents are additional legal documents associated with purchasing a vehicle, and in most states unemancipated minors cannot enter contracts or sign legal documents.