Buying a first car for my oldest son

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by noah330, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

    Feb 10, 2009
    So my oldest son is getting his license. He's a really good kid who gets good grades, participates in a few clubs at school and plays sports.

    When I was a kid his age I bought my own first car. My dad helped me out by making my first month's insurance payment and paying for my plates (or tags as they call them in Maryland). I think I paid $1000 for my first ride (a sweet 1977 BMW 320is that had come from southern California). I loved that car and have a lot of great memories surrounding it.

    These days cars are expensive. My son has been working every weekend since he turned 15 at a diner some of my wife's relatives own and he also works the odd day off or school vacation day. He has about $4000 he has saved and my wife and I have seen him not spend money on things his friends have been doing to build his car fund.

    My main concern is safety. My wife and I don't want him to get something so fast that he'll hurt himself or others and we don't want him in something that's going to break down, either. Where I grew up it was cool to have any kind of car and breaking down/driving an old car was just kind of the way it was when you were a kid.

    I drive him to school sometimes and the kids there are driving better cars than the adults drive where I grew up. My wife and I have always tried not to spoil our kids, but there is kind of a line between spoiling them and not letting them fall so far behind what all of the other kids have.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for good reliable cars in maybe the $10,000 range? I'm hoping to maybe get him something like a used Honda Accord or something. I figure if we kick in a little extra he can be safe and will have something to last him until he goes to college.
    Chiogtr4x and bcorig like this.
  2. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

    Jul 25, 2011
    Houston, TX
    I'm not a motorhead, so I can only pass along what my thinking was at the same stage of parenting.

    First of all, great job in having a kid save money like that.

    What I did was help with the acquisition costs and in doing so, retained approval over choices. I wanted to put some serious metal between my kid and the rest of the world. I also wanted him to have reliable transportation, with the thought that there was some responsibility on his part (and same for his younger sister, when her turn came along). So I paid for their insurance, too - as long as: 1) they kept their grades up; 2) the car was being reasonably maintained and 3) no traffic tickets from driving irresponsibly. The car they ended up driving was not something they could boast about being seen in - but it got the job done. I sort of lean in favor of a used pickup truck, but not sure that's suitable for your circumstances. Being up in the cab also provides greater visibility of surrounding traffic, and utility for all kinds of other things.

    Best of luck!
    noah330 likes this.
  3. Sconnie

    Sconnie Tele-Afflicted

    May 1, 2017
    Denver, CO
    Can't go wrong with a 1996-2002 4Runner. They are not fast by any definition and they never break down, they have airbags and anti-lock breaks, 4-wheel drive, and are available with a standard transmission. Best car ever!

    Along the same vein would be a Cherokee with the 4.0L flat six engine. Even slower, rather reliable if well-maintained (by the owner before you), just not as nice if you ask me. They're getting a bit old though, those early 00's 4Runners still look great.

    If a car-car is what you're all after, I think you have the right idea about a higher trim Accord, Camry, or best of all a good Civic.

    I appreciate that you appreciate how it's not so fun to be in high school driving a mini van or 90s ford taurus. Good, cool, reliable cars can be had for the same prices as those options.
  4. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

    Feb 18, 2018
    I'm all for keeping it simple and safe for kiddos. Hondas and Toyota sedans all day long. Go to the folks you trust first and foremost. They are so plentiful, it's not too hard to find a good deal.

    We are honda loyalists. Our trusty '97 CRV with 200k+ got passed to my teenage daughter. It was limping along fine until last week when she rear ended an old lady. Not worth fixing. As luck had it, our amazing mechanics I had the CRV towed to were unloading a 2003 camry they had just put a newer used engine in. The original quit - apparently that year had a rare quirk. The replacement motor was reportedly checked over by toyota, so hopefully it's good. Only 65k on the motor, and the car is in great shape for 117k. $3500.

    So, my daughter got a newer car in far better shape for her bday - after crashing the old one. Not sure if parenting fail or win. But that's life with teenagers.
  5. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 12, 2016
    Another vote for an Accord. I drove one in high school and loved it. Kids these days like the Japanese cars, so it might satisfy both of you.

    I am not a car guy though, so I'm sure Boris and others will chime in with suggestions that deserve consideration.
    Flakey, noah330 and brogh like this.
  6. Aaron1061

    Aaron1061 Tele-Holic

    Feb 9, 2015
    Troy, AL
    if you trust him, and hes a good kid, AND hes saved up 4000 of his own money, he very much should have a say in what he gets. more so than TDPRI for sure.
  7. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 24, 2009
    Ada, MI
    top choice of blooz daddies:
  8. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 23, 2003
    yeah, just leave him alone and let him buy whatever car he wants. Or if you really feel that you MUST contribute - ask him what kind of car he wants. He certainly sounds like a good and smart kid. He probably has a pretty good idea of what kind of car will suit his needs. And maybe you can remember this: a young guy's needs are also sometimes fantasies. There is nothing wrong with that.
    Wallo Tweed, beagle, noah330 and 2 others like this.
  9. brogh

    brogh Assistant Admin Staff Member

    Jun 26, 2010
    You can never go wrong with a CAR tele !! nice choiche man !! ;)


    oh .. you ment car car ... those things were people get in and go around ? weren't horses supposed to be for that ? ;)
    Toto'sDad likes this.
  10. thegreatshocka

    thegreatshocka Tele-Meister

    Nov 6, 2013
    Columbus, Ohio
    Gonna agree with everyone else here, a Toyota or Honda SUV or sedan is the ticket. Not particularly fast, cheaper to insure, reliable, and if it does break parts are typically cheaper. Newer is safer, generally. I've had great experiences with my RAV4, drove it from 40k to 120k without any issues.
    noah330 and brogh like this.
  11. rich815

    rich815 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 22, 2016
    San Francisco Bay Area
    “My wife and I don't want him to get something so fast that he'll hurt himself...”

    Says the man who’s first car was a BMW 320i...
    Dennyf likes this.
  12. lumberjim

    lumberjim TDPRI Member

    Oct 9, 2018
    I'm the finance manager at a Nissan dealer in South Jersey. I'll help if you need advice or a deal. Pm me if you want.

    I just bought a 2010 nissan cube for my son. $2k or so including tax and tags and a couple fixes. I was surprised to find that it had good safety ratings and reliability. It's so ugly it's cute
  13. frankg11

    frankg11 Tele-Holic

    Sep 8, 2010
    Where the Plane Landed
    Between my brothers and sisters there are 8 kids driving their own cars.

    Here is the breakdown of what is driven:

    Chevy Suburbans -- 2 one is 12 years old the other is about 8 years old.
    Subarus - 6 all used CPO from a dealership.

    That should tell you all something. LOL
  14. GGardner

    GGardner Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 22, 2017
    If your main concerns are safety and not blowing the bank, you could probably get a good deal on an older model American SUV. I assume--but may be waaay wrong on this--that they're safer than sedans because they're bigger. Yes, Toyotas and Hondas are dependable as hell. But since everyone knows that, there might not be alot of bargains to be found.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
  15. jackinjax

    jackinjax Friend of Leo's

    Sep 11, 2016
    My first car was '59 Triumph TR3 that I paid $200 of my own hard earned money for; minimum wage at the time was $1.25, so, a lot of money for a teenager. I was proud of my car and took care of it.
    My daughter, an A, B student, worked after school, weekends, and summers since she was 15 years old. We were very proud of her and decided to reward her with a car during her senior year of high school.
    She never changed the oil, never washed it, and the interior looked like a rolling garbage can. When she got married she and her new husband needed a reliable second car. Again, Mom and Dad to the rescue. Same result. Later on Mrs injax (Mom) decided to give them her three year old car rather than trade in when we bought a new car. Again, same result.
    Daughter bought the next car with no help from good ol' Mom and Dad.
    She's still driving it!

    Lesson learned: It's human nature that we not value the things we didn't work for. The harder we sweat to earn a possession the more we appreciate it.

    That said, a small SUV like a Honda CRV, or Ford Escape is a handy vehicle. ;)
    noah330 likes this.
  16. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

    Dec 6, 2015
    Nah, they all drive accords or SUVs. Can you even imagine a PRS in that trunk?
    drf64 likes this.
  17. Shuster

    Shuster Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 31, 2018
    Bulverde Tx.
    What ever you decide on, just wrap it in old mattresses ;)
    tintag27 likes this.
  18. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 11, 2006
    Greater Boston
    Chevy Malibu, check out the U.S. Government GSA Auctions. Uncle Sam auctions off a whopping number of Malibus at locations across the lower 48 states.
    stratofortress likes this.
  19. AlbertaGriff

    AlbertaGriff Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 2, 2016
    Make sure to include plenty of MAPs.
  20. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !

    Good for the kid saving.

    Some buy domestic vehicles as they are cheaper by the pound than others. Most vehicle reliability is due to owner regular maintenance, and this is stratified by owner's incomes for getting work done on time. Think the proverbial little old lady's car that gets driven once a week to the grocery store compared to the high schooler that squeals the tires around every corner and asks ol' dad "hey, this check engine light has been on for two weeks, I thought putting gas in it would make the light go out but it's still on..."

    Keep in mind that insurance goes by the driver demographics. At one time a Ford Mustang was double the insurance rate of a Chevy Corvette -- because the Mustang was driven by teens and the Corvettes by folks in their 50s and 60s. Make sure the kid understands the insurance side of the vehicle cost when choosing.

    Whatever vehicle you get, also get the kid the shop repair manuals plus an OBDII code reader (Amazon has workable ones for $10-$20) that can read the codes on the vehicle. That will save both of you trouble shooting. An older car is actually a sneaky teacher. It's not drag it to the dealer, but here's some wrenches kid...

    drlucky and Teleterr like this.
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