Buying a car for my daughter

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Buying a car for my daughter

Postby offtocolorado » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:43 pm

Thought I put this out there for some opinions. My wife and I are going to purchase a car for my daughter who is 16. We have the option of buying my parents 2002 BMW 325i four door for $8,000. Nice vehicle, low mileage (30,000), very safe, not overly powerful and ok gas mileage....18 mpg around town. The only downside is that repairs can be pricey, especially tires and brakes. My parents have owned the vehicle since new and it's been well cared for.

Option two would be to pickup a new or newer Civic or Prius. Obviously much more cost initial cost but much better MPG, about the same insurance wise and definitely a more economical vehicle long term.

I'm sure a few of you have crossed this road before. I just don't want to get in a situation where we or she has higher maintenance bills, higher operating costs or needs to replace the car 4 years from now. I guess the question is go older and bank the savings or go newer and plan on keeping it for the long term. :confused
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Sidney » Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:50 pm

Isn't this a rear-wheel drive car? I leased a 535 about the same time and my recollection was that it tended to hydroplane pretty easily. I swore I'd never drive RWD again.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby 4stripes » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:00 pm

Normally one does not consider an 11 year old car to have much more life in it. But as you say the BMW is barely driven by people you know.

You may have answered your own question though because an 11 year old German car will certainly satisfy all of these criteria before a 3 year old Japanese or Korean one will:
higher maintenance bills, higher operating costs or needs to replace the car 4 years from now.

You could always go with the BMW with the Boglehead expectation to drive it till it dies, probably within 9 years.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Khanmots » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:13 pm

Sidney wrote:Isn't this a rear-wheel drive car? I leased a 535 about the same time and my recollection was that it tended to hydroplane pretty easily. I swore I'd never drive RWD again.

RWD shouldn't have anything to do with hydroplaning. That's more a function of tires than anything else.

What it will have to do is drastically different dynamics when near the limits. Some situations it'll be safer than FWD for an inexperienced driver, some riskier. Generally a FWD is regarded as safer for an inexperienced driver, although the more that I think through the physics and what the typical inexperienced *cautious* driver will do the more I think it may be reversed. For example consider how a FWD can experience lift-off oversteer... and what the initial reaction of an inexperienced cautious driver that realizes (or thinks) they've entered a corner too fast would be.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby WHL » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:14 pm

Nice parents. I requested, and was given, my dad's 18 year old Datsun car when I graduated high school. He bought it for two hundred bucks and spent about 500 on maintenance when I took it from him.

I would spend as little money as possible on the car until she can afford her own. You may think your daughter is different, but all of us kids are [were] somewhat irresponsible at times, and I don't see a 20-30k car being a wise choice for a new driver.

As for BMW maintenance - use the car to teach her how to do basic upkeep. Everyone should be able to check and change oil, spark plugs, change a spare tire, etc. While some items may be more expensive, the general maintenance and upkeep should be very similar to any other vehicle.

Lastly, the RWD comment - I would respectfully say that is all about driver error / training. AWD / FWD are definitely easier to control, but RWD is the preferred "professional" choice for control. Take some lessons!
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Toons » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:26 pm

Honda Fit :happy
Not affiliated :happy ,but own one

http://automobiles.honda.com/fit/
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby donall » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:29 pm

Teens have a lot of accidents, even the responsible ones.

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/teenweb/more_btn6/traffic

I would try to get the safest car possible if one is buying new. BMW is a nice car, but crash ratings are not five stars in all categories. The 325i is a rear-wheel drive (less safe than a fron-wheel drive) and may not have as many airbags, or other safety features as newer cars. Teen girls also tend to rate new cars higher than an old classic that was grandma's car. Realize that there is a high chance of having to shell out money for fender benders with either car.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby YttriumNitrate » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:33 pm

offtocolorado wrote:My wife and I are going to purchase a car for my daughter who is 16...
I'm sure a few of you have crossed this road before. I just don't want to get in a situation where we or she has higher maintenance bills, higher operating costs or needs to replace the car 4 years from now. I guess the question is go older and bank the savings or go newer and plan on keeping it for the long term. :confused


Considering that the car will be for a 16 year old driver, even if you go newer and plan on keeping it for a long term there's a good chance you won't get to keep it for the long term.

http://www.allcountries.org/uscensus/1045_age_of_driver_and_number_in.html
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby donall » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:36 pm

Khanmots wrote:
Sidney wrote:Isn't this a rear-wheel drive car? I leased a 535 about the same time and my recollection was that it tended to hydroplane pretty easily. I swore I'd never drive RWD again.

RWD shouldn't have anything to do with hydroplaning. That's more a function of tires than anything else.

What it will have to do is drastically different dynamics when near the limits. Some situations it'll be safer than FWD for an inexperienced driver, some riskier. Generally a FWD is regarded as safer for an inexperienced driver, although the more that I think through the physics and what the typical inexperienced *cautious* driver will do the more I think it may be reversed. For example consider how a FWD can experience lift-off oversteer... and what the initial reaction of an inexperienced cautious driver that realizes (or thinks) they've entered a corner too fast would be.


The reason many sports type cars have rear wheel drive is that it is more fun to drive. The problem with inexperienced drivers is that when one is losing control, one hits the brakes or slows down as a reflex. A front wheel drive car will regain control, but a rear wheel drive needs the opposite to regain control. Want to bet on what I and most drivers do in a panic situation?
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby offtocolorado » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:42 pm

Safety is our number one concern and even though some of the smaller smart cars seem to be extremely economical I do have some concerns with their ability to withstand a hit. BMW's do have a very good reputation for safety and the vehicle we are looking at does have traction control, anti lock brakes, all the airbags, etc.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Epsilon Delta » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:46 pm

offtocolorado wrote:Safety is our number one concern ...

If that's true the choice is easy: No car and no drivers license. However you probably put some weight on your daughter still talking to you ...
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby offtocolorado » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:47 pm

I'm an insurance agent by profession so am well aware of the accidents experienced by youthful operators. It seems just about every 16 year old hits something at some point. For my son it was backing into a lawn mower! That was a nice one to get out of the way! :sharebeer
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Wolkenspiel » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:04 pm

Does the BMW have ESP (DSC in BMW-speak)? If yes, lift-off or power oversteer will not be an issue, and the car should be perfectly fine (I assume you'll trust your daughters promise not to switch DSC off...). I test drove a DSC equipped 328 in 1999. You could just stomp on the throttle mid-corner on a damp road (upon suggestion of the sales guy) and nothing bad would happen .Without ESP/DSC, I'd look elsewhere. I also think $8k is a bit steep for a 12-year old 325i, even with low mileage and in excellent condition,but that's between you and your parents.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby investingdad » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:04 pm

Well, there's always option 3...make her buy her own car. And her own insurance.

Was that ruled out?
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Dave76 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:05 pm

Newer cars have all the latest gadgets and other features that distract the driver. Electrical outlets for phone and laptop and iPod, satellite navigation displays, numerous cup holders, etc.

I would go with an old car.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby b4nash » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:05 pm

I would make sure the vehicle has electronic stability control.

http://www.iihs.org/ratings/esc/esc.aspx
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Dave76 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:09 pm

b4nash wrote:I would make sure the vehicle has electronic stability control.

http://www.iihs.org/ratings/esc/esc.aspx


I have a car with electronic stability control and I don't think it works very well. I think it's an expensive and overrated feature.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Khanmots » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:15 pm

donall wrote:The reason many sports type cars have rear wheel drive is that it is more fun to drive. The problem with inexperienced drivers is that when one is losing control, one hits the brakes or slows down as a reflex. A front wheel drive car will regain control, but a rear wheel drive needs the opposite to regain control. Want to bet on what I and most drivers do in a panic situation?

As I said, consider FWD and lift-off oversteer. If in my FWD car I lift off the gas when I'm near the limit in a corner then the front of my car will begin braking... and the back won't. What's worse I'll have a weight transfer to the front removing load from the rear tires causing them to lose grip. I now have the back half of my car without grip going faster than the front half that has grip and is still braking. This causes a nice spin.

I did that once. I got lucky, I managed to react quickly enough to keep it contained to just a wildly oscillating fishtail with some degree of directional control from steering inputs alone and not as a full out of control spin but it was definitely a scary experience that I have no wish to ever repeat. Now I no longer lift off the gas when I get myself in such a situation, I now know to maintain at least neutral throttle. A RWD car would have behaved safer in this situation.

FWD cars will behave better (i.e., understeer rather than spin) when too much power is applied, in that situation they'll understeer where the RWD car will oversteer. However, I'm not sure that too much power being applied is the normal scary situation encountered by the cautious inexperienced driver. On the other hand... a teenaged boy showing off for friends or trying to impress a girl... while inexperienced is correct I'm not sure that *cautious* is ;)
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby donall » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:29 pm

offtocolorado wrote:Safety is our number one concern and even though some of the smaller smart cars seem to be extremely economical I do have some concerns with their ability to withstand a hit. BMW's do have a very good reputation for safety and the vehicle we are looking at does have traction control, anti lock brakes, all the airbags, etc.


http://www.edmunds.com/bmw/3-series/200 ... tyle=&sub=
The safety equipment looks comparable to today's models. Safety ratings look good, though not top billing in all categories. I think not having all the gizmos that today's cars have is a blessing, though BMWs tend to have a lot of buttons on their dashboard. The BMW sounds like a great car to own, since you know it was well cared for. Perhaps some driving lessons for the daughter in emergency situations would be a good investment since the car has rear-wheel drive. I'd be tempted to drop collision insurance after a few years, when the car will be worth less. Also insurance on old cars for teenagers tends to be much less than on new cars.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby hicabob » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:31 pm

325's a very nice car and I believe all bmw's had esc, pretensioners + a few airbags by 2002 - problem is you will permanantly spoil her wrt lesser (non-German that is :happy ) cars!
As my daughter said, after driving an old E-class vs a much newer Toyota - the benz "goes where you point it".
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby MnD » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:28 pm

I'm big on used Subaru Outbacks and Foresters in 4-cylinder, permanent all-wheel-drive, automatic transmission configuration.
These vehicles almost drive themselves, are great in all kinds of weather, are not very fast or powerful, have great visibility and good crash protection ratings.
They also haul a lot of stuff which is great for moving back and forth to college, sports, ski trips etc.

In six "teen years" of driving the kids have racked up a ton of miles in all kinds of weather all over a large urban metro area, including plenty of snow, night and mountain driving and so far just one minor accident. They pay the gas and insurance and have the option to buy the vehicles at trade-in price when they graduate from college (or sooner if they want).
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Random Musings » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:43 pm

As a 16-yr old, I was able to "borrow" one of our cars when I drove to work or for certain weekend nights. However, the price of admission was to pay for a portion of the car insurance, which turned into 100% at the age of eighteen.

I did have one (minor) accident during that time, but paying for insurance is a nice little reminder that there is responsibility in driving. It's always good to have a little skin in the game.

offtocolorado wrote: I just don't want to get in a situation where we or she has higher maintenance bills, higher operating costs or needs to replace the car 4 years from now.


I think you should be clear with respect to expectations on providing transportation costs for your daughter. I don't care which way you go, but you don't sound sure about how you are going to handle it.

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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby wageoghe » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:55 pm

investingdad wrote:... And her own insurance ...


Regarding this... I think it is not always so easy (depending on what one's goals might be).

Our umbrella policy requires all drivers living in our house (at least our daughter, who is the only driver in our house besides my wife and me) to be considered when determining the umbrella premium (umbrella and auto policies both from USAA). Due to a driving record (accidents) that, generously, could have been better, our auto rates increased and we were forced from a USAA underwritten umbrella to third party umbrella. I never looked seriously into ditching USAA, as I figured we could live with it until she graduated college, moved out, and actually did get her own policy.

Long story short, my point is that I thought that we could somewhat isolate our daughter onto her own, albeit probably very expensive, policy and have her poor driving not affect our other auto rates and our umbrella rate (and policy type). In that context of USAA, that was not true. We were stuck as long as she was living at home.

About the car choice... I don't know enough about the ins and outs of the BMW, except that it is 10 years old, to comment on it. I can say that we bought our daughter a Honda Civic. It was 4 years old at the time and was "Honda Certified" by the Honda dealer, so it had an extra year on the warranty (or something like that). It has been reliable, except that I wish it were more resistant to the damage caused by repeatedly running into immovable objects (light poles in parking lots, curbs, parked cars, etc). Other than that, I can't complain.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Trev H » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:27 pm

I worked (that's right worked) and saved my own money and bought my first car - a 55 chevy with a 325 engine - for 400.00.

Now that was back in 1977 and my Father and Mother both worked hard and did all they could to provide for 4 kids but they could not just go out and buy us a nice new or even a good used vehicle.

It's not even funny how much this has changed since then.

My daughter is 15... will be 16 in May and we are facing this same issue.

We told her from very young age that we would match all she worked for and saved. She has saved 1600.00 now... so we are looking at vehicles in the 3200.00 price range (via craigs list) but we will probably end up going over that limit some just to get her something a little more decent. Considering a good used Honda or Toyota in the 5K or less range.

I don't really think it is a good idea to just go out and buy your kid something new or very expensive for their first vehicle... not wtihout them putting some of their own hard earned cash into it too.

Best of luck with your search for the right vehicle for her.

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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby fandango » Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:48 pm

This may not be the answer your daughter wants to hear, BUT:

I think many parents "lose control" when the give a 16 year old their own car. I have seen a lot of behavior issues surface when the teenager thinks they have complete freedom when they are given a car.

How about another option:

1. Let the dughter use one of the famly cars.
2. Tell her she must ask permission to use them.
2. Tell her to get a job and save her money to buy her own car. You may even do something like match her savings.

This worked for us.

My motto: "If you give people something for nothing, you make them good for nothing."
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby enderland » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:05 pm

Trev H wrote:We told her from very young age that we would match all she worked for and saved. She has saved 1600.00 now... so we are looking at vehicles in the 3200.00 price range (via craigs list) but we will probably end up going over that limit some just to get her something a little more decent. Considering a good used Honda or Toyota in the 5K or less range.

I don't really think it is a good idea to just go out and buy your kid something new or very expensive for their first vehicle... not wtihout them putting some of their own hard earned cash into it too.


I agree completely with this from my experience going through the same process when I was younger.

You care a lot more about "your" car when it is in fact "your" car.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby donall » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:28 pm

Khanmots wrote:
donall wrote:The reason many sports type cars have rear wheel drive is that it is more fun to drive. The problem with inexperienced drivers is that when one is losing control, one hits the brakes or slows down as a reflex. A front wheel drive car will regain control, but a rear wheel drive needs the opposite to regain control. Want to bet on what I and most drivers do in a panic situation?

As I said, consider FWD and lift-off oversteer. If in my FWD car I lift off the gas when I'm near the limit in a corner then the front of my car will begin braking... and the back won't. What's worse I'll have a weight transfer to the front removing load from the rear tires causing them to lose grip. I now have the back half of my car without grip going faster than the front half that has grip and is still braking. This causes a nice spin.

I did that once. I got lucky, I managed to react quickly enough to keep it contained to just a wildly oscillating fishtail with some degree of directional control from steering inputs alone and not as a full out of control spin but it was definitely a scary experience that I have no wish to ever repeat. Now I no longer lift off the gas when I get myself in such a situation, I now know to maintain at least neutral throttle. A RWD car would have behaved safer in this situation.

FWD cars will behave better (i.e., understeer rather than spin) when too much power is applied, in that situation they'll understeer where the RWD car will oversteer. However, I'm not sure that too much power being applied is the normal scary situation encountered by the cautious inexperienced driver. On the other hand... a teenaged boy showing off for friends or trying to impress a girl... while inexperienced is correct I'm not sure that *cautious* is ;)


Sheesh Khanmots, indeed you are describing the 1% situation when a rear-wheel drive is better behaved than a front wheel drive. But the other 99% of the time and also with snow and ice front-wheel drive is safer. But you have obviously taken the car much too close to its limit of control, driving that is much more suited to a racetrack than everyday street driving. If I was your parent, I'd take the car away from you.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby livesoft » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:32 pm

It seems that the BMW would cost $8,000 so the comparison might be to other vehicles that one can get for $8,000 and not to a more expensive Civic or Prius.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby tacster » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:33 pm

Isn't insurance kind of high on a BMW for a 16 year old driver?
INSERT PITHY QUOTE HERE
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby norookie » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:52 pm

BUY your parents car for your kid, offer them an extra premium, its a rare find that your looking at. JMO :D
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby northstar22 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:01 pm

livesoft wrote:It seems that the BMW would cost $8,000 so the comparison might be to other vehicles that one can get for $8,000 and not to a more expensive Civic or Prius.


I agree with this. There's a middle ground between buying a new car (even a Honda) and asking a 16 year old to buy their own car, which usually isn't very realistic. My parents had an extra car so I was able to use that when I was in high school, and I certainly wouldn't have been able to afford my own car, but never dreamed of seeing a new car in the driveway for my 16th birthday.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Calm Man » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:29 pm

I have been where you are OP, and my decisions was that the 16 year old would NOT get a car period. Regardless of whatever safety features a car has, a 16 year old is immature no matter what you think, and I figured not having her own car and having to drive one of the parent's cars would decrease the amount of driving to necessities and increase the caution. I continued this policy until graduation from college then bought her one. Too many teems have been killed driving and parents never recover from this because of the guilt.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Khanmots » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:43 pm

donall wrote:Sheesh Khanmots, indeed you are describing the 1% situation when a rear-wheel drive is better behaved than a front wheel drive. But the other 99% of the time and also with snow and ice front-wheel drive is safer. But you have obviously taken the car much too close to its limit of control, driving that is much more suited to a racetrack than everyday street driving. If I was your parent, I'd take the car away from you.

Watch drivers around you. Look at what they do that would cause them problems if they were to be inattentive and hit a cloverleaf too fast or something. I *constantly* see people that hit the brakes or let off in the middle of a turn. Go find a cloverleaf on the freeway near you loop through it a few times and watch for yourself. They brake *after* they're in the middle of a turn. They let off the gas *after* they're in the middle of a turn. They're not jamming the gas on. This is the mistake I see the vast vast majority of drivers make the most often. It's the habit that's going to send them off the road when they do enter too fast. From my observations it's not the 1% mistake, it's the 90% mistake.

But we don't really get snow or ice down here, so perhaps in a climate where that's really heavy my observations would be skewed that way.

As for questioning my driving I really doubt that you've never hydroplaned or had issues with a wet and unexpectedly oily road in your lifetime of driving. I'd rather focus on the physics of the cars and the behavioral characteristics of people involved than responding to personal attacks, so I'll just leave it at that.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby jdilla1107 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:04 pm

Dave76 wrote:
b4nash wrote:I would make sure the vehicle has electronic stability control.

http://www.iihs.org/ratings/esc/esc.aspx


I have a car with electronic stability control and I don't think it works very well. I think it's an expensive and overrated feature.


No way. ESC is easily one of the most important safety improvements to the automobile in its history. Most people don't even know about it, because it just makes driving safer in every way.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby chrisj » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:26 pm

BMW, no question :)

Just be prepared for $2,000 - $3,000 per year to maintain it properly. My 3 series got expensive around year 12.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby WHL » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:31 am

Khanmots wrote:
donall wrote:Sheesh Khanmots, indeed you are describing the 1% situation when a rear-wheel drive is better behaved than a front wheel drive. But the other 99% of the time and also with snow and ice front-wheel drive is safer. But you have obviously taken the car much too close to its limit of control, driving that is much more suited to a racetrack than everyday street driving. If I was your parent, I'd take the car away from you.

Watch drivers around you. Look at what they do that would cause them problems if they were to be inattentive and hit a cloverleaf too fast or something. I *constantly* see people that hit the brakes or let off in the middle of a turn. Go find a cloverleaf on the freeway near you loop through it a few times and watch for yourself. They brake *after* they're in the middle of a turn. They let off the gas *after* they're in the middle of a turn. They're not jamming the gas on. This is the mistake I see the vast vast majority of drivers make the most often. It's the habit that's going to send them off the road when they do enter too fast. From my observations it's not the 1% mistake, it's the 90% mistake.

But we don't really get snow or ice down here, so perhaps in a climate where that's really heavy my observations would be skewed that way.

As for questioning my driving I really doubt that you've never hydroplaned or had issues with a wet and unexpectedly oily road in your lifetime of driving. I'd rather focus on the physics of the cars and the behavioral characteristics of people involved than responding to personal attacks, so I'll just leave it at that.



Absolutely agree with you here. As I mentioned earlier, the only people I see slamming RWD are the people who lack the training and experience to take advantage of its superiority.

Training is key. Drivers Ed in high school does not count!
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby thirdman » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:46 am

Bmw's are fairly expensive to maintain, but are excellent cars. The rear wheel drive, and the engine sitting behind the front axle give them superior handling. Front wheel drive cars with the engine sitting over the drive wheels gives them good traction in snow. I drove a 3 series for years and i found i could steer it with the throttle.

That being said, i am not certain i would give a car to a sixteen year old, unless there was a necessary reason for it. You know your daughter best. I would definitely find out about driving courses. Safe driving is a complex activity involving knowledge, judgement and experience. A lot of skill. A moving vehicle has a great deal of momentum and has the possibility of causing great harm.

Many years ago i was with a girlfriend one evening when we got a call that her 16 year old daughter had been in an accident. The daughter and her friends had been out driving in the daughters car and totalled it. Fortunately no one was seriously injured. My girlfriend immediately bought her daughter another car, which she proceeded to wreck. Of course this is only one example.

I find there are a lot of impatient and inattentive drivers on the road. One of the challenges is to not be upset by their driving and give them plenty of room. When i was younger i tended to get angry. Once again, driver training.

Good luck with your decision. I would buy the bmw if you are going to get her a car.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby donall » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:07 am

WHL wrote:
Khanmots wrote:
donall wrote:Sheesh Khanmots, indeed you are describing the 1% situation when a rear-wheel drive is better behaved than a front wheel drive. But the other 99% of the time and also with snow and ice front-wheel drive is safer. But you have obviously taken the car much too close to its limit of control, driving that is much more suited to a racetrack than everyday street driving. If I was your parent, I'd take the car away from you.

Watch drivers around you. Look at what they do that would cause them problems if they were to be inattentive and hit a cloverleaf too fast or something. I *constantly* see people that hit the brakes or let off in the middle of a turn. Go find a cloverleaf on the freeway near you loop through it a few times and watch for yourself. They brake *after* they're in the middle of a turn. They let off the gas *after* they're in the middle of a turn. They're not jamming the gas on. This is the mistake I see the vast vast majority of drivers make the most often. It's the habit that's going to send them off the road when they do enter too fast. From my observations it's not the 1% mistake, it's the 90% mistake.

But we don't really get snow or ice down here, so perhaps in a climate where that's really heavy my observations would be skewed that way.

As for questioning my driving I really doubt that you've never hydroplaned or had issues with a wet and unexpectedly oily road in your lifetime of driving. I'd rather focus on the physics of the cars and the behavioral characteristics of people involved than responding to personal attacks, so I'll just leave it at that.



Absolutely agree with you here. As I mentioned earlier, the only people I see slamming RWD are the people who lack the training and experience to take advantage of its superiority.

Training is key. Drivers Ed in high school does not count!


My point exactly: most drivers brake or slow down when into a turn, hence a front wheel drive is safer, unless one is going really, really, fast and then all bets are off especially for an inexperienced driver. I've been trained on a track and also raced for fun and still have a tendency to brake when faced with an emergency situation. It is almost counterintuitive to add gas when going around a corner too fast with a rear-wheel drive. Perhaps you have been trained well, but one should not assume a 16 can have the same reflexes and judgement that an experienced driver has. In fact, with teens one is usually grateful that they listen at all.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby lwfitzge » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:14 am

fandango wrote:This may not be the answer your daughter wants to hear, BUT:

I think many parents "lose control" when the give a 16 year old their own car. I have seen a lot of behavior issues surface when the teenager thinks they have complete freedom when they are given a car.

How about another option:

1. Let the dughter use one of the famly cars.
2. Tell her she must ask permission to use them.
2. Tell her to get a job and save her money to buy her own car. You may even do something like match her savings.

This worked for us.

My motto: "If you give people something for nothing, you make them good for nothing."



+1...I follow the same approach w my teenager. He shares the Honda CR-V in my family....
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby kitteh » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:24 am

I got my first car when I was in my early twenties and getting out of grad school; the car was paid for with a loan to me from a family member. However, I went to college where you could walk or use public transportation to get places. No one in my family would have even considered that I should have a car to drive around in high school.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Khanmots » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:34 am

donall wrote:My point exactly: most drivers brake or slow down when into a turn, hence a front wheel drive is safer, unless one is going really, really, fast and then all bets are off especially for an inexperienced driver. I've been trained on a track and also raced for fun and still have a tendency to brake when faced with an emergency situation. It is almost counterintuitive to add gas when going around a corner too fast with a rear-wheel drive. Perhaps you have been trained well, but one should not assume a 16 can have the same reflexes and judgement that an experienced driver has. In fact, with teens one is usually grateful that they listen at all.

My point is that if you let off the gas with a FWD car that it's an unstable system. The fact that people are usually so far under the limit that they never recognize this doesn't reassure me, all it means is that when they are in trouble they'll have no understanding of what is about to happen to them and what they should be doing.

The fact that it's counterintuitive to add gas when going around a corner is why I think that RWD may be safer for the cautious inexperienced driver. If you wind up entering too fast with FWD it requires throttle in order to stay stable. With RWD throttle or no it should remain relatively stable... it should only become unstable under acceleration. That said, depending on speed you might be going off no matter what you do, but for the clueless it sure seems that they'd have a better chance of recovering if the car isn't spinning.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Skiffy » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:23 am

Go to a high school, any high school. Park and watch the kids leave at lunch or when school gets out. Then you may agree with me that no 16 year old should be driving!n Squishy brain (brain not fully developed for consequences of actions).
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby jebmke » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:38 am

My company gave me a 535 turbodiesel to drive when I lived in Europe. When I drove in dry conditions it felt extremely stable -- all the way up to 200 kph with not even a mild vibration. On wet pavement (of which there is a lot in the Netherland and Belgium) it did feel a bit like the front wheels didn't "grip". I never did lose control though. When the lease ran out they converted the whole fleet to Volvo and Audi's which were front-wheel drive cars
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby donall » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:32 am

This article, Luxury Drivers Beware, from the Wall Street Journal is an interesting view on BMWs and the issue of "sportiness" for rear-wheel drive.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 54608.html
Last edited by donall on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby killjoy2012 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:57 pm

BMW makes a good product, but I think anyone that has owned one will tell you that maintenance costs are above average & that they are very expensive to repair. At 11 years old, even with low mileage, you're going to be facing a lot of both in coming years - probably reversing the value proposition you see in the initial purchase.

I'm not going to recommend a specific brand or model since these things are like religion, and there's already been a lot of "professing" above. What I would tell you is that if safety is a top concern, then shop by NHTSA safety rating in the price range (e.g. $8k) you're shopping in. I don't any additional safety in FWD vs. rear, unless you're in snow country... then I would agree that FWD or ALD/4WD has value.

I would also check out JD Power ratings vs. Consumer Reports, but again, that gets into religion.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby Dulocracy » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:49 pm

DO NOT BUY NEW. I never had an accident in High School, yet my car was hit 5 times and got lots of door dings. Also, jealous High School students have been known to vandalize nicer cars. Why? Stupidity. My parents got a reliable 4 year old car for me.

PUT THE CAR IN HER NAME. If she has an accident, you get sued. A client of mine had a child who accidentally killed someone in a car wreck. He was not driving too fast; it was a mistake in judgment. Still, their savings and assets are now on the table because the car was in the name of the father. Avoid the liability: put the car in her name.
I'm not a financial professional. Post is info only & not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship exists with reader. Scrutinize my ideas as if you spoke with a guy at a bar. I may be wrong.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby mike143 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:55 pm

I would buy them a new vehicle with the lowest cost of ownership and let them know it will be their first and last vehicle given to them and it should last them at least until they graduate college and at that point it should have enough residual to put down for something nicer.

http://www.kbb.com/new-cars/total-cost- ... 5820016300
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby livesoft » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:00 pm

Khanmots wrote:The fact that it's counterintuitive to add gas when going around a corner is why I think that RWD may be safer for the cautious inexperienced driver.

I disagree with this. Everybody is taught nowadays to at least mildly accelerate through a turn. Break before a turn, not in a turn, and accelerate through a turn. You can teach your kids this even before they start driving. They can readily feel how intuitive it is just by being in the car. You drive this way. Everybody drives this way. Create a poll to see.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby SnapShots » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:41 am

We bought our daughter an old BMW, stick shift when she was 16. She drove it through high school and took it to college, traveling from Nebraska to Oklahoma. We then bought her a larger vehicle, an Explorer because we didn't like her on the road in such a little car. After graduating she's bought her own cars and has supported herself.

I'm not sure how safe the BMW was back then but a 16 year old needs a car that gets good gas mileage because they drive around town a lot. I'd go with the used car you know. See how she does and later upgrade to something newer.
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Re: Buying a car for my daughter

Postby wageoghe » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:20 am

Dulocracy wrote:DO NOT BUY NEW. I never had an accident in High School, yet my car was hit 5 times and got lots of door dings. Also, jealous High School students have been known to vandalize nicer cars. Why? Stupidity. My parents got a reliable 4 year old car for me.

PUT THE CAR IN HER NAME. If she has an accident, you get sued. A client of mine had a child who accidentally killed someone in a car wreck. He was not driving too fast; it was a mistake in judgment. Still, their savings and assets are now on the table because the car was in the name of the father. Avoid the liability: put the car in her name.


I'm not 100% sure it is straightforward as this. Maybe it is, I just don't know. When our daughter was on our auto policy she had several at fault accidents (rear end, backed into someone) and several instances of striking immovable objects (light pole in parking lot, curb). Eventually, our insurance carrier (USAA - home, auto, umbrella) jacked our auto rates and non-renewed our umbrella policy. They did give us access to a third party umbrella policy, but it cost 3X the USAA underwritten umbrella policy and required higher coverages on all of our cars. I asked about moving her to her own policy, but, at least for the umbrella, she had to be considered as a "driver" as long as she lived at home and/or school. I didn't ask about how putting her on her own auto policy would help our auto policy, because I was looking for a holistic insurance solution and was not inclined to shop for a new insurance carrier at the time.

Long story short, we could not "hide" our daughter behind a separate auto insurance policy and still maintain a more desirable umbrella policy.

When she did eventually come off our policy, our auto and umbrella rates dropped by $1100 per year!
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