16 year old and a car?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
16 year old and a car?
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 12:27pm
Who with a 16 y.o. has, or will be, getting them a car for their 16th b/day? And what is everyone's ideas on what is a good first car? My dd started drivers ed yesterday and they wanted a parent to be present for the first hour. Honestly - after seeing the videos they showed, she may never drive, much less get a car! But - either way - just wanted to hear other's opinions. DD will be 16 in Oct.



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 1:26pm
Our kids didn't receive a car for their 16th birthday. We bought the Honda last September, which both kids will share. Right now, my daughter is the sole driver of the vehicle and her brother is learning on it.

I think what we factored in was the level of appreciation of having a set of wheels. Instead of giving our daughter a car, we made her research, make calls regarding vehicles and figure out how much it will cost to maintain one. She's picked up oil and gas, parts that had to be repaired and part of the insurance. She appreciates the vehicle since we made her work for it, not just give it as a present.

Otherwise, our top choices for vehicles were:

Toyota, Honda and Subaru

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 2:54pm
I have 2 ds that are driving age.

Our first had a 1988 volvo that was his to use. He complained that it was soooo slow and he wanted something more fitting of a 16 yo driver. We decided that he would need to earn a more fitting vehicle. Ds had a hard time finding a job that would support his new vehicle and still pay for gas and insurance. At my dh work they needed someone to make occasional deliveries to other companies when their big truck was making the larger deliveries. We created a business a purchased a toyota tacoma for ds to make deliveries in. Ds still needed to work part time to have the money he needed to do other thing with besides the truck payment. It all worked great until ds gf got involved and said that he needed to have his own vehicle so that he could own it and not just make the payments for us. He with out help (co-sign) bought a escort that he only kept for about 6 mo. because it wasn't up to his standards and he hated in but at the time he could afford it. At the 6 mo. period he had broken up with his gf also. He now wanted to buy the toyota tacoma from us (at a great price of course) so we sold it to him 10,000.00 below what we paid for it and said that when he sold it we would decided how much money he would get from the sale. He owned it for a year then wanted something better on gas. He only lost 1,000.00 from what he bought it for the year before. He has learned a great deal about responsibility and what things cost. Priceless lesson in my book.

Now ds #2, he turned 16 in dec. and we had searched for a car that we could pay cash for. We bought a 1992 mitz 3000gt, red of course. He is in seventh heaven and loves to drive and his friends all want to be in his car too. This ds is in debt to us for insurance of 100 per mo. and cell phone bills to the tune of almost 1,0000. He is wrking really hard but he like to keep his money, not pay his debts. He have not asked for any money for this car he drives (it still belongs to us)and we can take it away at anytime. Just reciently we have told him that he needs to pay at least half of his checks to his debt. This will be a harder lesson for #2 to learn.

In summary, I think that haveing wheels should be a priviledge not a right. They need to work and earn their own insurence and gas money. Owning a vehicle comes latter when they are out of school and don't need to worry too much about work to make a car payment. School work and grades are tied to driving as well, B average is a must for better insurence rates and car keys.

Good Luck, Shelly

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 3:18pm
As a matter of fact, ds16 just got his liscence this morning. He will be driving our '94 Taurus with 103,000 miles on it! He understands that it's not really 'his' car as we will continue to pay the insurance on it and we've had it since '95. But when we let him drive on his own somewhere that will be the vehicle he uses.


Avatar for mjaye2002
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 4:30pm
My 16ds's dad bought a wrecked, 1990 Chevy pick up that he and 16ds rebuilt before ds turned 16. It was finished about month or less before his bday and parked at his dad's house. On his bday, he got his license and his truck. He is required to pass his subjects in school, stay in sports, and have a full-time job during the summer. His first paycheck this summer had to go to new tires. Nearly killed him, but he now realizes just how hard money is to come by. We pay gas and insurance during the school year but he gets to buy his gas and pay part of his insurance in the summer.

I like the idea of a single cab pick up, even after the restriction on his license is lifted on how many he can have in a vehicle with him, he STILL can't have more than 3! Little cars scare me. Seems like everyone around here drives those big Dodge dualies. (I know that's not true, it just SEEMS like it! LOL) I was loaned a small Chevy car while my own pick-up was being detailed, and I was petrified driving around town. I wasn't sure I wasn't going to be sucked up into somebody's tailpipe!!! LOL I like a larger vehicle, older model anything, especially for a new driver. Seems like they have more metal around them.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 9:08pm
Unless a teen has a job and is responsible enough to pitch in the money for his/her own gas and insurance, I don't think they should be GETTING their own cars, whether they're 16 or 21.

That said, we bought an old beater when my older dd was 17 and a HS junior. She was allowed to use it on condition that she: A) pay for her own gas, B) keep her grades up, and C) be available to drive her dad and grandpa to doctor appointments/the bank/grocery shopping, etc when I was working and unable to do so, since neither of them are allowed medically to drive anymore (fil has glaucoma and bad arthritis and is 90 years old, and dh has epilepsy.) She's home on summer break after finishing her first year college and has saved enough money up to buy her own used car, so we are allowing her to trade in that second car towards that purchase. (Middle dd hasn't got her license yet, besides she's a dreadful driver. And ds is only a couple months shy of 15, so he won't be ready to drive for some time yet either.)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-20-2003
Tue, 06-24-2003 - 10:37pm
My son is turning 15 - here in NJ, thank goodness, they don't get a license until they are 17 and it is restricted for one year. My son will be driving (sharing) our 98' Mazda Millenia or the 2003 Trailblazer depending on which one is sitting in the driveway 2 years from now. I don't think they should be 'given' a new car - I can't believe how many kids I see driving brand new cars - it's insane. They can't appreciate the value in something like that. No way.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-1999
Wed, 06-25-2003 - 2:23am
Well, here's what we did (pretty much how it went when I was a teen, too!). We made it very clear to both our dds when they got their licenses that we had no intention of buying them a car, that if they wanted a car they had to earn the money for it, or at least a good portion of it. At the time older dd got her license, we had a van and a 1988 Honda which we inherited from my mother-in-law, who passed away in 1994. It was in great shape, although a very basic model which we added a radio to. Dd drove either car, with our permission, when she needed to. If she wanted to drive to school in the morning, she had to drive dh to the train station so he could get to work, and pick him up in the evening.

The fall of her senior year (a year after she got her license), we bought a new Camry. The Honda became "her" car - only in the sense that she could drive it pretty much whenever she wanted as long as she stuck to the basic rules, which were to let us know where she was going, with whom, and when she would return. On occasion, when we felt her behavior needed to be addressed, we'd withhold her car privileges, but I don't think that happened very often. Having a car is a very powerful motivator!

She drove this Honda (which she didn't take NEARLY as good care of as her grandma!) until this past March, when she turned 21. For her birthday present, dh and I decided to split the cost of a newer car with her (with her agreement, of course) and bought her a '97 Corrolla, 41K miles. She has to pay us $100/mo. for the next 3 years. She also pays for her own gas, though we did not require that in H.S. We did have her pay her portion of the car insurance. PLUS - when she had a fender bender shortly after getting her license, she paid for half the cost of fixing the car as well (the damage was $1600!) which pretty much ate up her summer job savings.

My younger dd turned 16 this past January, and got her license in February. When 21yo dd got the Corolla, the Honda went to her - and she was thrilled! We fixed it up for her and figure she can keep this one till she decides to buy a newer model. It's old but still has only about 75K miles on it, so should have a lot of life left if she takes care of it. We haven't required her to pay anything towards the maintenance yet, but she doesn't make any money either so I don't know how she could. She will start her first summer job on Monday, but it's just for the summer so we'll probably have to pay all the expenses for awhile. But since she doesn't go out much, other than to drive herself to school and to soccer practices, which is a BIG help to me, I don't mind...yet!

We do expect her to keep the car clean, though! ;o)

                        Calmama54, from the beautiful

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-25-2003 - 6:49am
1973 Buick Lesabre.

Big, cool (with an Earl Scheib paint job), did I say big?

You can't go wrong with Detroit iron and by now this thing ought to cost about $3. Cheap enough that when she wrecks it (and she will wreck her first car), she'll learn that lesson without burning up her college fund to do it.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-25-2003 - 6:52am
Just a comment about size and safety. Size can be deceptive as a safety indicator, it really has to do with how the car absorbs the energy from a crash. I saw a program on car safety where they had driven different cars into a concrete block, and even though they looked equally totalled from the outside the driving compartment of a big Land Rover was a lot more damaged on the inside than that of a small Renault Megane.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2003
Wed, 06-25-2003 - 8:17am
My dd is 14 yo.

We told her that we would buy her a car, but we have some caveats.

First is that grades have to be kept up - clearly.

Second is that the amount of $$ we spend will be dependent on how much she saves.

So, if she save $1500, we'll spend up to $3000.

If she wants anything "cool" in the car like a sunroof or CD player (although probably they all come with CD players) then she'll have to come up with that $$ herself.

She won't be getting a hot car, but I can deal with cute.

She says she wants a Mitsubishi 3000 GT, but she realizes that it won't be practical and would be happy with a Honda Civic or Pontiac Sunfire or something like that.

My only caveat is that it have front drivers side airbags.

And of course strict driving rules, but I think she has to have a Jr license fairly restricted for the first 6 months which starts at 17.

Which is great because she will turn 17 during her Senior year and the 6 months won't end until after she graduates!

So, we should all make it through HS ok.... I pray.