Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, parents

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
McCharley
Posts: 365
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:45 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by McCharley »

I had a car before I could drive, one I bought with my own money (a 1972 Duster :shock: ).

The thing was a total death trap.

As a teenager, I frequently exhibited poor judgement, but this was magnified by an inability to do things like buy new tires.

I like the idea to have a kid buy his own car, but I urge you to help out and make sure the thing is reasonably safe. Many of my friends bought 70s-era muscle cars that were way overpowered. Don't put a sports car in a teenager's hands!

Something like a 10 year old Camry or Volvo would be what I'd be looking at. You don't need to get something brand new.

In fact, I'd say that the kids who had brand new cars purchased for them were universally looked down upon as spoiled brats. (Yep, still jealous! :annoyed )
User avatar
papito23
Posts: 438
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:54 am
Location: midwest

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by papito23 »

Thanks for posting. Without having read the article, I wouldn't be surprised if it did not incorporate all of the other variables at play. This is making me think hard about an ESC upgrade for our fleet (baby #2 is due today, and waiting).

Driver behavior and # of miles driven are still the source of most of the function of accidents/fatalities. From my own self-study (pers. comm. Papito23), I have noticed that a 40% drop in accidents for every 40% drop in miles driven.
A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. -Aldo Leopold's Golden Rule of Ecology
User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 11640
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by TomatoTomahto »

McCharley wrote:In fact, I'd say that the kids who had brand new cars purchased for them were universally looked down upon as spoiled brats. (Yep, still jealous! :annoyed )
Yes, my kids know that they are spoiled, but I won't go so far as to call them brats. They have new cars and educations without student loans. They bust their butts working at their educations, and I fail to see the moral superiority of flipping burgers over hitting the books.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
User avatar
tadamsmar
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by tadamsmar »

sls239 wrote:I'll buy the ESC, there is strong data to support that. But major safety improvements like ESC don't happen every year. Maybe not even every 10 years.

Anybody in the car industry here know of anything in the pipeline that would even approach the breakthrough that ESC was?

And I can't help but think that maybe the teens who have older smaller cheaper cars are more likely to have jobs or other obligations that leads to them being on the road more and in less favorable conditions.
I am not in the industry, but I can't think of anything in the pipe that come close to ESC even within a factor of 10, and I have looked at the matter.

The particular analysis in the article could be questioned, but there is good data that indicates that a small car without ESC has a 50% higher fatality rate than a mid-sized car with ESC. And typically the teen will be driving the latter and his parents will be driving the former.
User avatar
tadamsmar
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by tadamsmar »

3CT_Paddler wrote:What's safer... A 2004 Tahoe or a 2014 Civic? I would take the Tahoe. Many 10 year old cars still have most of the modern safety features that matter.
Informed for Life thinks the 2010 Civic is much safer than the 2004 Tahoe w/o ESC. They score it 64 vs 130:

http://www.informedforlife.org/demos/FC ... 0nov10.pdf

ESC was optional on that Tahoe.
User avatar
Blue
Posts: 1171
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2008 10:18 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by Blue »

tadamsmar wrote:
sls239 wrote:I'll buy the ESC, there is strong data to support that. But major safety improvements like ESC don't happen every year. Maybe not even every 10 years.

Anybody in the car industry here know of anything in the pipeline that would even approach the breakthrough that ESC was?

And I can't help but think that maybe the teens who have older smaller cheaper cars are more likely to have jobs or other obligations that leads to them being on the road more and in less favorable conditions.
I am not in the industry, but I can't think of anything in the pipe that come close to ESC even within a factor of 10, and I have looked at the matter.

The particular analysis in the article could be questioned, but there is good data that indicates that a small car without ESC has a 50% higher fatality rate than a mid-sized car with ESC. And typically the teen will be driving the latter and his parents will be driving the former.
What about forward collision prevention braking systems? My guess it would be within a factor of 10?
robert88
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by robert88 »

TomatoTomahto wrote:
dbr wrote:It is still the case, as someone above observed, that eliminating all of driving under the influence, driving too fast for conditions or driving at all in bad conditions, driving while distracted, and failing to wear seatbelts would help tremendously and more than exactly what vehicle a young person is driving.
I only have some influence on my kids' behavior, but essentially none on the millions of other people on the road.
You can avoid bad drivers up to a point. Don't drive between 11pm and 5am and you can minimize the probability of encountering a drunk driver. What percentage of teens with old cars die in accidents in which the driver of another vehicle was ruled at fault? I'm guessing this is a solution in search of a problem.
User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 11640
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by TomatoTomahto »

robert88 wrote:You can avoid bad drivers up to a point. Don't drive between 11pm and 5am and you can minimize the probability of encountering a drunk driver.
I don't know where you drive, but avoiding bad (and aggressive) drivers in northern New Jersey is almost impossible. Between 11pm and 5am you will probably have a higher percentage of drunk drivers, but I think the reduced overall number of drivers probably balances it out.

I'm not sure what you meant by "a solution in search of a problem?"
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
User avatar
tadamsmar
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by tadamsmar »

Blue wrote:
tadamsmar wrote:
sls239 wrote:I'll buy the ESC, there is strong data to support that. But major safety improvements like ESC don't happen every year. Maybe not even every 10 years.

Anybody in the car industry here know of anything in the pipeline that would even approach the breakthrough that ESC was?

And I can't help but think that maybe the teens who have older smaller cheaper cars are more likely to have jobs or other obligations that leads to them being on the road more and in less favorable conditions.
I am not in the industry, but I can't think of anything in the pipe that come close to ESC even within a factor of 10, and I have looked at the matter.

The particular analysis in the article could be questioned, but there is good data that indicates that a small car without ESC has a 50% higher fatality rate than a mid-sized car with ESC. And typically the teen will be driving the latter and his parents will be driving the former.
What about forward collision prevention braking systems? My guess it would be within a factor of 10?
I think you are right. There are 2 types, warning and automatic braking. The latter may be one of the biggies. Not sure about the former. Anyway warning will probably have a short history since the EU is making noises about mandatory automatic braking in 2020, and the US will no doubt try to keep up.

BTW, you can retrofit a forward collision warning system from Mobileye, and Mobileye recently became a publicly traded stock. You can't retrofit ESC.
scouter
Posts: 659
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:24 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by scouter »

dbr wrote:
Ybsybs wrote:Why do these stories never consider the chances that your kid kills someone else? Put an inexperienced driver in a tank and if he has an accident, he gets a greater chance of being the one who walks away while the person in the normal sized car he hit dies.
This is the issue with choosing a big, heavy vehicle because it is "safer." It is safer because the physics of collisions dictate that the occupants of a heavier vehicle will experience consequences less severe than the occupants of the lighter vehicle in the collision. It is hard to see much consolation in unloading your kids risk on someone else.
Yes, this is my pet peeve. We have friends and neighbors who will buy their 16-year-old a huge SUV "so they'll be safe if they get into an accident." I remark, "So, you have no concern for the person they run into?"
User avatar
tadamsmar
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by tadamsmar »

scouter wrote:
dbr wrote:
Ybsybs wrote:Why do these stories never consider the chances that your kid kills someone else? Put an inexperienced driver in a tank and if he has an accident, he gets a greater chance of being the one who walks away while the person in the normal sized car he hit dies.
This is the issue with choosing a big, heavy vehicle because it is "safer." It is safer because the physics of collisions dictate that the occupants of a heavier vehicle will experience consequences less severe than the occupants of the lighter vehicle in the collision. It is hard to see much consolation in unloading your kids risk on someone else.
Yes, this is my pet peeve. We have friends and neighbors who will buy their 16-year-old a huge SUV "so they'll be safe if they get into an accident." I remark, "So, you have no concern for the person they run into?"
IMO, the Accord-sized sedan is the golden mean weight-wise. Ethical without being a patsy.

Other competitive safety features are daytime running lights and vehicle height. SUVs tend to have both height and weight.
User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 11640
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Other competitive safety features are daytime running lights...
One of my pet peeves. Every time I see a light-colored car, at dusk and especially a drizzly dusk, driving without any lights on, my blood pressure goes up a bit. Make it mandatory; save those without any awareness from themselves.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
livesoft
Posts: 74566
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by livesoft »

We just leave our lights on all the time. The problem with the daytime running lights or auto-on lights is that folks see other cars with headlights on and think their lights are on, too. But they don't have any taillights. I personally think there are no disadvantages to having one's lights on all the time. Cars (since about model year 2000) generally will turn off the lights after a short while if you have left them on when you park and turn off the engine.

My pet peeve is seeing police cars without their lights on when it is raining.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.
User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 11640
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by TomatoTomahto »

My pet peeve is seeing police cars without their lights on when it is raining.
In NJ, the law is that if you're using your windshield wipers, you must have your headlights on. I'd be surprised if compliance is more than 75%.

One of my daydreams is to become a policeman, and spend my days pulling over people without lights on, making turns without directional signals (and sometimes from the wrong lane), texting, with kids loose (although you don't see that much any more), not wearing seat belts, and driving while impaired.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
Altephor
Posts: 132
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:50 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by Altephor »

The title of this post should be, 'Don't be tempted to buy your teen a car.' Kids should earn their first car, they will respect it more and thus be more careful with it.
User avatar
StevieG72
Posts: 1234
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:00 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by StevieG72 »

I guess it is a miracle that I am alive!

My first car was a 70's VW Beetle. I paid $800.00 for it. 1990 was the year, NO electronic stability control, air conditioning, antilock brakes, or air bags!

I drove my car like I stole it!

It would have been more dangerous if it was a newer faster car!

Technology is great! I imagine it will not be long before we can download or kids driving habits when they return with the car. Junior is going to have a hard time explaining 90mph in a residential zone!
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
protagonist
Posts: 6822
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by protagonist »

The fear factor:
" Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among teens in the U.S."
" The fatality rate for drivers age 16 to 19 is four times that of drivers age 25 to 69 years "

These are the statistics that most dominate the first page of google hits when searching "driver age vs traffic fatalities".

All that is probably true.

But look at this in perspective.

In the first 6 months of 2012, there were 240 passenger vehicle driver deaths in the entire USA with drivers aged 16-17. The number was 202 deaths in Jan-June 2011. http://www.ghsa.org/html/publications/p ... eens12.pdf Let's say 450 fatalities/year (probably an overestimate since I would think the most dangerous road conditions in most of the US probably occur from January-March). If you look at the 6-month data for most states, the number of driver fatalities was <10, and for many states it was 0. In my state of MA, there was 1 in 2011 and 2 in 2012 (first 6 months). I don't know how many of those 16-17 y o's had no license, were drunk, etc. If you add the number of passenger deaths and pedestrian deaths with teenage drivers, the numbers are still very low. The fact is, 16 and 17 year olds rarely die these days from any causes.

There are about 10 million drivers in the US under the age of 19. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/onh00/onh2p4.htm

So when seen in perspective, the odds of a teen driver getting killed in a crash are still very low. And I would imagine the odds of a 16-17 y o with drivers ed and a license getting involved in a fatal crash are significantly lower. They would more likely die sometime during their lifetime due to "unintentional drowning or submersion" (1/1043), or "air or space transport incidents" (1/8357) http://www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Corpora ... ing-43.pdf

I'm not minimizing the great tragedy or public health impact of teenage automobile accidental deaths. But put into perspective, do you really think the age of your teen's car will be a significant factor in their survival?

The most significant factor is age of driver, not age of vehicle. Every year delayed makes a significant difference. If you are really concerned about this, don't buy them a car at all, at least until they are a lot older.
User avatar
OnFire
Posts: 368
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 11:48 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by OnFire »

I posted somewhere else on the board on this topic recently. New cars really are safer. I am a firefighter/paramedic in a large mid-western city. I had a call about eight years ago. Cops vs. car full of teens attempting to flee. They wound up hitting each other. Cop car was about a 2004-6 Impala. Every airbag in that car went off. Side curtains, fronts, everything. The inside of it looked like the "safety foam car" from the movie "Demolition Man". Both cops literally walked away. Went to the hospital to get checked out. Completely fine. The other car was about a 1984 Olds 442. Five teenagers in it. Two dead. Two to the trauma center code red. (Unconscious/ major truma, etc). One yellow. I also had something similar a few years later. 1980ish sedan vs. brick wall. Three red, two yellow. And on and on.

The newer cars are ridiculously safer. I had a Volvo XC vs. Chrysler 300 last month. Both were 2010+ cars, both were demolished. Tires torn off, hoods crumpled to the windshield, oil and anti-freeze strewn all over the street. All airbags had gone off. No one even went to the hospital. They had to each be going at least 35mph- a small overlap frontal collision. The guy in the Volvo had his 8 year old daughter with him. Not a scratch on her. I am cheap. Really cheap. My wife has to buy me clothes, usually used ones. I eat questionably old food. I shop at Sam's Club a lot. I drive a 2012 GMC Acadia, which has 5 star ratings for just about every factor, and I have a 2014 Honda Accord hybrid which has the same 5 star safety ratings. I probably won't let my kids, now 3 and 4 years old, ever drive cars with out ESC. Not until they are 21, at least.

I know I am not a study, I am an anecdote. A single eye witness to a limited number of crashes. But when you see dead people frequently- especially when those dead people were more often driving old cars with no airbags, ESC, anti-lock brakes, etc, etc, it certainly starts to swing your point of view. I have used the jaws of life on some oder cars. I don't think I've ever had to use them on a 2005+ vehicle. I vote with my dollars, and I vote for newer, safer cars.

The one thing I think will be a game changer is autonomous braking using radar. That has the potential to save a lot of lives. My Accord has the warning system, and the Acadia does not. I had an incident last week when I turned around to reprimand my 3 year old, and I was wishing my Acadia DID have that feature. I turned around to realize that the car in front of me had, as soon as I turned my head, done an aggressive brake. Full on, full ABS panic stop. Missed the car ahead by about five feet.
Where are all the customers yachts? | | “The most powerful force in the Universe is compound interest.” -Albert Einstein
User avatar
tadamsmar
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by tadamsmar »

Good post, but, FYI, anti-lock brakes (ABS) never measured out as a safety feature, that's why it was around for decades and was never mandated until it was required as a base feature for ESC. Some studies even seemed to show that ABS costs lives.

You can retrofit that Acadia with a FCW system from Mobileye.
User avatar
dbCooperAir
Posts: 1107
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:13 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by dbCooperAir »

When I was unable to see out the car window dad gave me the higher seat in the middle (armrest), would let me hold the wheel going 70 down the freeway while he lit his cigar, what could possibly go wrong, dad always bought the biggest car because they were safer.

The springs in the back seat used to give you some good height if you could time your jump with the bumps in the road. After getting tired from jumping around on the back seat I would take a nap in the back window.

Ah the good old days.

All kidding aside, one side swipe and it would have been all over.

Image
Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him. | -Dwight D. Eisenhower-
User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 11640
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Thank you for your post, OnFire.

For all of the debate about studies and which variables they've done this and the other thing to, there's a point at which you can say that you feel, in your bones, that something is safer than the other thing.

There's a thread going on concurrently at BH on "how do you define being rich?". In that thread I provided a taxonomy based on how one flies (ranging from your own jet to flying coach). I defined myself as not rich but comfortable there. I should come up with a parallel taxonomy about the the cars one drives and how one approaches a kid's first car. I feel rich for being able to buy my kid the vehicle I think is most appropriate for a beginning driver. I feel rich for being able to protect my kid and the other people on the road to a high level. I feel rich for knowing that my kid's character will (has) been determined by factors other than whether he drives a beater or not.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
User avatar
Epsilon Delta
Posts: 8090
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:00 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by Epsilon Delta »

OnFire wrote:The one thing I think will be a game changer is autonomous braking using radar. That has the potential to save a lot of lives.
I think you overestimate that autonomous braking, for the same reason people overestimated ABS. Not running into things is a basic and routine part of driving. It gets practiced regularly. Drivers get regular feedback. People will adjust to FCW and rely on it. FCW will allow more multi-tasking and closer tailgating, but it will not improve safety. The features that actually improve safety are the ones that come into play in non-routine circumstances, so it takes a long time for people to learn to rely on them (if they ever do).
User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 15714
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by HomerJ »

TomatoTomahto wrote:
McCharley wrote:In fact, I'd say that the kids who had brand new cars purchased for them were universally looked down upon as spoiled brats. (Yep, still jealous! :annoyed )
Yes, my kids know that they are spoiled, but I won't go so far as to call them brats. They have new cars and educations without student loans. They bust their butts working at their educations, and I fail to see the moral superiority of flipping burgers over hitting the books.
I would submit that, in general, flipping burgers gives kids some perspective on how "regular" people live... Reading your posts, I think your kids will turn out fine, but again, in general, privileged children who drive nothing but new cars from 16 on and who never work a menial job in their life before heading off to Yale or Harvard end up "missing something".

Character can indeed be built in many different ways, but I still think it's very good for young adults to be "poor" at some point in their lives (Obviously, even I'm being subjective... I don't want my kids to be really poor - to go hungry or have no place to stay - but I have no problem with them driving a slightly more dangerous crappy car, or living in slightly more dangerous crappy apartments when first starting out - I truly believe it's good for them).

Image
User avatar
dbCooperAir
Posts: 1107
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:13 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by dbCooperAir »

HomerJ,

That is funny stuff, my parents did not get a snow blower until I was a senior in high school, I was the youngest of 4 four so I got off easy! This is the part of the country where getting 5' of snow in a year is not uncommon.

My kids are so spoiled is all I'm going to say!
Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him. | -Dwight D. Eisenhower-
stoptothink
Posts: 8726
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by stoptothink »

protagonist wrote:The fear factor:
" Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among teens in the U.S."
" The fatality rate for drivers age 16 to 19 is four times that of drivers age 25 to 69 years "

These are the statistics that most dominate the first page of google hits when searching "driver age vs traffic fatalities".

All that is probably true.

But look at this in perspective.

In the first 6 months of 2012, there were 240 passenger vehicle driver deaths in the entire USA with drivers aged 16-17. The number was 202 deaths in Jan-June 2011. http://www.ghsa.org/html/publications/p ... eens12.pdf Let's say 450 fatalities/year (probably an overestimate since I would think the most dangerous road conditions in most of the US probably occur from January-March). If you look at the 6-month data for most states, the number of driver fatalities was <10, and for many states it was 0. In my state of MA, there was 1 in 2011 and 2 in 2012 (first 6 months). I don't know how many of those 16-17 y o's had no license, were drunk, etc. If you add the number of passenger deaths and pedestrian deaths with teenage drivers, the numbers are still very low. The fact is, 16 and 17 year olds rarely die these days from any causes.

There are about 10 million drivers in the US under the age of 19. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/onh00/onh2p4.htm

So when seen in perspective, the odds of a teen driver getting killed in a crash are still very low. And I would imagine the odds of a 16-17 y o with drivers ed and a license getting involved in a fatal crash are significantly lower. They would more likely die sometime during their lifetime due to "unintentional drowning or submersion" (1/1043), or "air or space transport incidents" (1/8357) http://www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Corpora ... ing-43.pdf

I'm not minimizing the great tragedy or public health impact of teenage automobile accidental deaths. But put into perspective, do you really think the age of your teen's car will be a significant factor in their survival?

The most significant factor is age of driver, not age of vehicle. Every year delayed makes a significant difference. If you are really concerned about this, don't buy them a car at all, at least until they are a lot older.
Exactly how I look at it. New cars are safer than older ones, no way to debate it, but the chance of that actually making a difference is extremely small. I'm not in a position to purchase my children new cars (well, when they get that age as they are 2.5 and due in April) because they are safer...chances of me purchasing them a car at all is probably close to zero. I obviously want them to be as safe as possible, but I can also think of a million ways to do this more cost-effectively than a new car.
User avatar
SmileyFace
Posts: 6257
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by SmileyFace »

I'm not sure of the causality. Perhaps parents that buy their teens a new car versus a pile-of-junk are also the types of parents that spend more time making sure there kids are more responsible. The article stops short of stating how many of the teen accidents were self-inflicted (Whereby Speed, Drinking, Text-ing, etc. where a factor). Can the additional fatality rate of old cars versus new be a factor of speed/drinking/etc.?

I passed a sign the other day while driving that stated "Drive like your kids lived here" ... so I sped up. If my kids lived there I know that they won't go running into the street to get a ball or something as I raised them correctly (and if they were under the age of knowing-better - a responsible adult would be on top of them). The sign should probably have read "Drive like kids raised by irresponsible parents lived here".
User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 15714
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by HomerJ »

tadamsmar wrote:The particular analysis in the article could be questioned, but there is good data that indicates that a small car without ESC has a 50% higher fatality rate than a mid-sized car with ESC.
50% increase of a tiny risk is still tiny.

Image
Quickfoot
Posts: 1166
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:03 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by Quickfoot »

When the time comes we will likely lease our kids a new car and require them to make the down payment. Overall monthly expense is about $140 to $160 for a Jetta, Mazda 3, etc with around 2K down and they get a reliable and safe vehicle. If they maintain a 3.5 or higher GPA we'll probably have them make the payment and put the equivalent into savings for them. Our kids are hard workers (my 7 year old has $1200 in savings of her own money).

Considering the kids would spend more than $140 to $160 a month (whether it's up front from savings or financed) to buy a reliable old car it makes no sense not to just lease a current generation. The maturity of kids doesn't factor in either, a kid is either mature and safe enough to drive or he/she isn't in which case they don't get a DL.

Considering that adding a male 16 year old driver increases insurance premiums by 90% and a 16 year old female driver increases premiums about 70% the lease payment will be the least of our expenses.
Last edited by Quickfoot on Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 15714
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by HomerJ »

Quickfoot wrote:Our kids are hard workers (my 7 year old has $1200 in savings of her own money)
Heh, are they hard workers or are you just over-paying (by 10x apparently) for doing chores and/or selling lemonade?

(Now, if that's all Christmas and birthday money, you can proudly claim your 7-year old is a good saver, but I doubt that he/she fairly earned $1200 through hard-work by 7)
Quickfoot
Posts: 1166
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:03 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by Quickfoot »

Actually if she gets money the first thing out of her mouth is "I want to put it in my bank account" or "I want to invest it." She's been saving money since she was three. She's understood and owned stocks and bonds since she was four. She currently has $120 in spending, $270 in CD's and $810 in low cost ETFs (about a 60/40 asset allocation). She bought a tablet at 4 (she saved up for 6 months) and is already thinking about cars / houses. She is about to make her first loan to a sibling (where she will charge 10% interest) which will be a learning experience for both.

They also have the opportunity to make additional money, usually $1 or $2 for raking leaves, etc. They are not overpaid, they are hard workers that genuinely look for ways to save or make money. When looking at Popsicle molds their first comment was "Hey we could make Popsicles and SELL them!" I also stepped outside one day and at 6 and 7 they had a hand made "Car wash 25 cents" sign and were trying to get customers. She wanted a $30 puppet stuffed animal and thought about it / saved for 2 months to buy it.

It's entirely possible to raise kids that are financially literate, most parents just don't make it a priority or hide their own financial situation rather than using it as an opportunity to teach. Kids *should* know their parents financial situation and *should* know the decisions / practices that led them to it (even if it's a bad financial situation it can be used as an opportunity to teach kids what not to do).
Last edited by Quickfoot on Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
stonerolled
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:16 am

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by stonerolled »

all teens should ride motorcycles the first five years....that way they will either learn to drive defensively or become a Darwin award candidate.
assuming someone will stop at a traffic signal is mighty bold when you are riding a motorcycle...now I drive my car like I do my motorcycle.
Its nice to have safety features designed to take an impact but far and away better is avoiding the impact altogether...every time.
This is way too much work and responsibility for an entitlement lifestyle....'having situational awareness would cut into my texting time...'
User avatar
gardemanger
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:06 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by gardemanger »

It seems to me you can reap most of the safety benefits by buying a late(ish) model used car and there's certainly no need to buy new off the dealer's lot, which is always an extremely inefficient way to spend your car-buying dollar.

As for how best to build your teen's character, that's somewhat of a separate issue and outside the scope of this forum, but somehow these moral judgments always wind up sneaking their way into the discussion. I have no kids, so I myself am my only data point. I didn't want or need a car until I was 20 and already in college, and needed one for a job. (Got by just fine without a car before then - spent the teen years in an older "streetcar suburb," with close access to urban life via public transit, and walking distance to high school.) My dad helped me pick out a several-year-old used car with excellent reliability data (Consumer Reports was always staple reading in my house) and lent me the money to buy it, interest-free. I did pay him back in full, although the schedule was quite generously extended and I think my payments were less than $100 a month.

Now, just to poke the hive a bit more, consider how much safer it is not to drive at all. Make your teen take the bus! It didn't hurt me any and it sure was cheap. Of course that was a long time ago, but perhaps it remains relevant advice: today's teens surely would appreciate being entirely free to text while traveling.

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/12/19/h ... o-driving/
Looking at traffic fatalities per mile traveled in the U.S., analyst Todd Litman found that riding commuter or intercity rail is about 20 times safer than driving; riding metro or light rail is about 30 times safer; and riding the bus is about 60 times safer. Litman’s study was recently published in the Journal of Public Transportation [PDF].
Last edited by gardemanger on Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
SmileyFace
Posts: 6257
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by SmileyFace »

Quickfoot wrote:She's understood and owned stocks and bonds since she was 4.
I guess "understood" is a relative term....At 4 - most children barely understand how to count - let alone add/multiply - the difference between a stock and bond seems a bit much at 4 as does having an AA at 7 in my opinion.

How old is the sibling that the 7-year old is hitting with a 10% interest payment? It will be a learning experience for both of them - but not sure if it is the way I'd want my kids learning lessons....(especially if the sibling the 7-year is taking advantage of is younger....). Will you let them take each-other to small claims court if the loan defaults?
User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 15714
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by HomerJ »

Quickfoot wrote:She bought a tablet at 4 (she saved up for 6 months)
Sounds like you're doing a great job raising your kids... I just find your terms a little misleading.. Sounds like she's great at saving (and even investing!!) her cash gifts... That's wonderful! Seriously...

But she didn't save up for a tablet at age 4 from all her "hard work". She got some seriously large cash gifts (for a 4 year old! I'm surprised people gave cash to a 4-year old. Ton of fun gifts to buy at that age) and was mature enough to save the money for something she really wanted. You definitely should be proud.

But no one "earns from hard-work" several hundred dollars at the age of 4. :)
Stonebr
Posts: 1472
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:19 am
Location: Maine

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by Stonebr »

Click & Clack of Cartalk once gave advice on this issue. What they suggested is to get your kid an old Volvo or Saab for the following reasons:

1. Old Volvos and Saabs are fairly safe.
2. Old Volvos and Saabs are not only boring to look at, they are virtually impossible to turn into hotrods.
3. Old Volvos and Saabs are expensive to repair, so your kid is going to have to get a job to keep the car running.
4. Because of 3, you'll know where your kid is at least a few hours of the week -- at work.
"have more than thou showest, | speak less than thou knowest" -- The Fool in King Lear
protagonist
Posts: 6822
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by protagonist »

A bit off-topic, but I bought my daughter an old car this weekend. A 2001 Honda CRV with only 112,000 miles on it from somebody I know and trust who maintained it meticulously- hardly a "beater" despite its age.

I took her to insure it today in our college town in MA where we both reside..
My annual premium on my car is a bit under $450.

We insured her car with the same coverage as my own (a 2006 Honda Element with more mileage than hers).
My daughter is 24 y o so not qualified as a "young driver", just graduated university, and has a perfect record. This is the first car she owned.
Her annual premium was about $2350.

If it was not for the fact that she got a voluntary policy from the insurer based on the fact that her parents have insured with the same company for many years without incident, she would not have been able to get the company to write a policy for her voluntarily. She would have been tossed into a state pool of first car owners and paid considerably more.
It will take six years of insurance and a perfect record before her rates will be significantly lowered.

I was appalled. Consider the financial burden on the youth who need transportation in order to work, but need to work in order to afford transportation.
User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 15714
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by HomerJ »

protagonist wrote:It will take six years of insurance and a perfect record before her rates will be significantly lowered.
I thought 25 years old was the last big birthday because car insurance goes way down, and you can rent a car without any problems (many car rental places won't rent to someone under 25). I remember my car insurance dropping a LOT when I turned 25.

I'd have her find a new insurance company when she turns 25.
protagonist
Posts: 6822
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by protagonist »

HomerJ wrote:
protagonist wrote:It will take six years of insurance and a perfect record before her rates will be significantly lowered.
I thought 25 years old was the last big birthday because car insurance goes way down, and you can rent a car without any problems (many car rental places won't rent to someone under 25). I remember my car insurance dropping a LOT when I turned 25.

I'd have her find a new insurance company when she turns 25.
I imagine every state is different. I trust my agent on this....she is a friend and I have known her for years. She said that my daughter is old enough that her age is not a major factor. The main factor is that this is her first car. If I was insuring my first car at my current age, I would face similar premiums.
I do remember the "25" thing when I was a kid. I imagine the formula is much more complex these days.
robert88
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by robert88 »

TomatoTomahto wrote: For all of the debate about studies and which variables they've done this and the other thing to, there's a point at which you can say that you feel, in your bones, that something is safer than the other thing.
I don't think anyone is taking the straw man position that there have been zero safety improvements in new cars. Suppose a teenagers life is worth ten million dollars and there's a 1 in 100 thousand probability that a teenager will die as a result of someone else's negligence in a way that could have been prevented by having a new car. The expected value of a new car, strictly from a safety perspective, is then one hundred dollars. If you have to spend an extra $4k/year so that your teen never drives a car more than 3 years old, then a new car fails a cost benefit test, unless you have reasons other than safety for wanting them to have a new car.
User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 11640
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Robert88, I don't think anyone took the position that there are zero safety improvements in newer cars. However, I have read people taking the position that the improvements are minor. I disagree. I think our 2015.5 Volvo is safer than the 2013 Volvo, but very marginally so, and it's not enough to make me trade it in. Otoh, both are, IMO, considerably safer than the median car.
Suppose a teenagers life is worth ten million dollars and there's a 1 in 100 thousand probability that a teenager will die as a result of someone else's negligence in a way that could have been prevented by having a new car.
1. I don't know how much my kid's life is worth, but it is worth more than $10M to me
2. I think the probability of death delta in those circumstances (other driver's fault) is higher than 1/100,000 (in a T-bone accident, for example, which happen often in NJ, the land of running red lights)
3. There is also the possibility that the accident is my child's fault, in which case I'd still want my child to live. I also believe that we reduce the chances of my child having an accident that is his fault in a newer car.
4. I think the important thing is the safety features rather than the age of the car, although more safety features are available in newer cars.
unless you have reasons other than safety for wanting them to have a new car.
The opposite actually. I have more reasons to want them to have an older car, just as they would prefer.The only reason for a newer car is safety, while there are quite a few reasons to prefer an older car.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
Johno
Posts: 1883
Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 4:14 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by Johno »

gardemanger wrote: As for how best to build your teen's character, that's somewhat of a separate issue and outside the scope of this forum, but somehow these moral judgments always wind up sneaking their way into the discussion. I have no kids, so I myself am my only data point. I didn't want or need a car until I was 20 and already in college, and needed one for a job. (Got by just fine without a car before then - spent the teen years in an older "streetcar suburb," with close access to urban life via public transit, and walking distance to high school.) My dad helped me pick out a several-year-old used car with excellent reliability data (Consumer Reports was always staple reading in my house) and lent me the money to buy it, interest-free. I did pay him back in full, although the schedule was quite generously extended and I think my payments were less than $100 a month.
Growing up in suburbia, I got my license the very first day I could, at 17, and my parents soon let me drive their then 8 yr old VW bug, an amazingly unsafe car by today's standards, and even then (in mass match up against a lot of likely 'opponents' in a two vehicle collision, 1700#). Eventually they gave it to me, kept it till it was 15.

My kids grew up in an urban area and weren't that hyped up about getting licences or cars when teenagers. One of them got her license at least a couple of years after the first date she could. I started getting them moderately used mid-sized cars when they graduated college, though did lend one of our cars for summer job use for two of them in the meantime (lent on to one of their friends, it got wrecked). Our youngest will probably get a relatively modest (but at least mid 3000's # weight) new car on finishing college. One of the previous gifted cars was 'used' by us, another a friend's kid needed to sell, another from a dealer didn't work out: I prefer the price and information transparency of a new car, besides 'a little more' safety, and I don't believe a car is going to affect somebody's character already in their 20's, if it's not something super extravagant. Frankly I think that aspect of the discussion is a little silly unless it is a new luxury or high end sports car for a teenager, where maybe it would be a good point.
reggiesimpson
Posts: 1697
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:47 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by reggiesimpson »

Further
Bigger is usually better.
User avatar
Epsilon Delta
Posts: 8090
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:00 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by Epsilon Delta »

DaftInvestor wrote:I'm not sure of the causality. Perhaps parents that buy their teens a new car versus a pile-of-junk are also the types of parents that spend more time making sure there kids are more responsible. The article stops short of stating how many of the teen accidents were self-inflicted.
The article stops short of showing that pile-of-junk cars have a higher accident rate than new cars.* Really. It's either complete garbage or deliberate deception.

Unsound reasoning has killed far more people than unsound cars.

* That doesn't mean pile-of-junk cars aren't more dangerous, just that the study has nothing to say on the issue.
Johno
Posts: 1883
Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 4:14 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by Johno »

Epsilon Delta wrote:
DaftInvestor wrote:I'm not sure of the causality. Perhaps parents that buy their teens a new car versus a pile-of-junk are also the types of parents that spend more time making sure there kids are more responsible. The article stops short of stating how many of the teen accidents were self-inflicted.
The article stops short of stating that pile-of-junk cars have a higher accident rate than new cars.* Really. It's either complete garbage or deliberate deception.

Unsound reasoning has killed far more people than unsound cars.

* That doesn't mean pile-of-junk cars aren't more dangerous, just that the study has nothing to say on the issue.
This article from WSJ just the other day does say exactly that, older model cars had higher accident death rates when new than new cars do now, and much higher rates now. I don't see any reason to expect otherwise.

The fuzzy part, with any analysis of car fatalities v type of car (old, new, big, small etc) using broad data is that it's not controlled for the possibility that systematically different types of drivers drive different types of cars in different situations. So the 'not sure about the causality' statement probably has some validity. But especially around here where people are so focused on saving money, I think there may be some tendency to reject the strong likelihood that smaller and older cars are less safe because they are cheaper, and that's not what car penny pinchers want to hear.

To me it's clear enough if it's my family member driving. Car has to be at least ~3500#'s, and recent enough to have ESC and lots of air bags. If by some coincidence *all* the reduction in accident death rates for newer cars is due to different driving behavior (now v past or now for beater drivers v now for newer car drivers) the relatively little bit of extra money is still no big deal. And in the far more likely case that the improved inherent safety of later model cars is a major factor, I want that for my family members. And weight is a similar issue: junior high physics tells you it's an advantage in a collision with another vehicle and basic familiarity with automotive engineering tells you that some comeback about heavier cars necessarily having longer stopping distance or worse handling is BS.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-auto-re ... DENT+RATES
psteinx
Posts: 3570
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:24 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by psteinx »

Various thoughts:

1) It's very hard to distinguish correlation from causation in these kinds of things.

2) Death rates per mile have dropped precipitously over time. That's likely a result of MANY factors, including some related to the average vehicle driven (better vehicles in general, air bags, etc), some to driver behaviour (I suspect the rate of DUI/DWI is down, seatbelts are used more, etc), better road conditions, etc.

3) I think there is little magic to a 2014 car that makes it, ceterus paribus, significantly better than, say a 2004 car. The improvements rather, are largely specific features and attributes. You can find 2004 cars with many airbags, ESC, etc. There are 2004 cars that I would think are safer than some 2014 cars (i.e. a nice safe 2004 Volvo vs. some stripper lightweight car from 2014). An average 2014 car may be safer than an average 2004 car, but you don't buy an average car, you buy a specific car. Choose wisely, regardless of the model year.

4) Overfocusing on car features may lead to underfocusing on driver behaviour. Of course, in the ideal case, BOTH are good. But if I had to choose only one, I'd rather have a responsible teen, driving safely (no drinking, using seatbelt, driving at moderate speeds and fully aware) in a 2004 or even 1994 car, with dated safety features, than an irresponsible teen in a 2014 car with all the typical current bells and whistles.

5) Of course it sounds crass to say that your child's life is only worth $X and therefore you should compare costs with risks. But it's a reality. No human, not even Bill Gates, has infinite resources. While some have MORE resources, and the ability to put their teen in a nicer car without significant financial burden, for most folks, a brand new car is a MAJOR investment, and must be compared to alternate uses of resources (including other things that promote the health and welfare of their children). I think for most folks, a well chosen, well maintained, non new vehicle with adequate safety features is a reasonable way to go, if their teen even needs a car at all.
Last edited by psteinx on Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
protagonist
Posts: 6822
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by protagonist »

psteinx wrote:Various thoughts:

1) It's very hard to distinguish correlation from causation in these kinds of things.
Exactly.

5) Of course it sounds crass to say that your child's life is only worth $X and therefore you should compare costs with risks.
Either that, or buy your kid a Hummer.
Last edited by protagonist on Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
robert88
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by robert88 »

protagonist wrote: 5) Of course it sounds crass to say that your child's life is only worth $X and therefore you should compare costs with risks.

Either that, or buy your kid a Hummer.
Yes, if money is no object and you're worried about safety, buy an armored version one of these: http://www.usedh1.com/. I figure any vehicle designed to withstand an smallish IED blast will win in a collision with anything short of a semi.
Impromptu
Posts: 391
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:09 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by Impromptu »

The traumas that came up to the operating room at my trauma center with severe injuries were those who chose not to wear a seatbelt. Those wearing seatbelts had cuts, scrapes, and occasionally more minor fractures, but rarely the major abdominal, chest, and brain injuries seen more commonly in those who were not wearing seatbelts. The main exception was when a drunk driver t-boned a car. Even with safety features and seatbelts, it is tough to escape injury when you are t-boned. Drunk drivers tend to do better because they are the one causing the crash by going head-on into something else, and cars do better head on.
User avatar
tadamsmar
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by tadamsmar »

protagonist wrote:A bit off-topic, but I bought my daughter an old car this weekend. A 2001 Honda CRV with only 112,000 miles on it from somebody I know and trust who maintained it meticulously- hardly a "beater" despite its age.
How much did you pay?

Just for grins, get an insurance quote on a 2001 4Runner. I bet it will be less. The 2001 4Runner has ESC as standard equipment.

That CRV might not even have ABS. The emergency braking procedure is entirely different from a vehicle with ABS. With ABS you just slam and steer. W/O, a CRV will go into a sideways skid and roll if you slam and hold the brakes.
User avatar
tadamsmar
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Don't be tempted to buy your teen a cheap (old) car, par

Post by tadamsmar »

robert88 wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote: For all of the debate about studies and which variables they've done this and the other thing to, there's a point at which you can say that you feel, in your bones, that something is safer than the other thing.
I don't think anyone is taking the straw man position that there have been zero safety improvements in new cars. Suppose a teenagers life is worth ten million dollars and there's a 1 in 100 thousand probability that a teenager will die as a result of someone else's negligence in a way that could have been prevented by having a new car. The expected value of a new car, strictly from a safety perspective, is then one hundred dollars. If you have to spend an extra $4k/year so that your teen never drives a car more than 3 years old, then a new car fails a cost benefit test, unless you have reasons other than safety for wanting them to have a new car.
For ESC, it worked out to about 1 life saved per 1700 cars:

http://epicurusgarden.blogspot.com/2010 ... eople.html

That's average for buying a new car and driving it for the life of the car. It assumes an average driver, so there would be a higher death rate for young drivers.

If a life is worth 10M, getting ESC was justified. But that was for getting it vs not getting it on a new car. You don't have the choice of getting it on new car today since it was mandated for the 2012 model year. You get less exposure to the risk if you buy a used car and run it into the ground.

ESC is more important on SUVs, so using an overall average probably overestimates sedan risk.
Post Reply