Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

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rcmx
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Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by rcmx »

Hello,

As we are all aware the car market is a bit upside down at the moment.

I am currently looking for a safe and reliable vehicle for my teenage daughter at the moment..and I am frankly astonished at what is and is not out there on the market. The prices are out of this world.

Now lets say I am finding a 6 year old vehicle with 60,000 files on it (example Mazda CX-5). This car is being sold by Carvana and Carmax for approx. $20k + tax = $22,000 drive out. And its still a friggin 6 year old car.

That said, a dealer here is selling the Mazda CX-30 (smaller brethren to CX-5) for $27,000 + Fee + Tax= $30,000 drive out. So, for $8,000 more, you get a new car, newer safety feature, potentially lower interest rate it being a new car, warranty, etc, etc.

I hate to spend this kind of money on a car, but I'm not sure where to go at this point.

Aside from this, the used market is fraught with dodgy rebuilt titles and other risky propositions that seem to present themselves more readily when markets like these emerge.

I'm really just looking to find a sane decision in all of this. :confused

Any advice?

--rcmx
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Watty
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by Watty »

rcmx wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 4:38 pmAny advice?
What do you drive?

One permutation to look at is to give the kid your hand-me-down car and then you get a new replacement car.

Be be sure to get insurance quotes for any car you are considering. The prices for different models may vary by a lot more than you might expect.

Here is a list of top safety picks if you have not seen it.

https://www.iihs.org/ratings/top-safety ... rd-winners
rcmx wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 4:38 pm it being a new car, warranty, etc, etc.
I have never owned one but if I was getting a new car for a teenager I would take a hard look at Hyundai and Kia since they come with a five year full warranty(and loner power train) that would likely get her most of the way through college. If she has a car problem while she is away from home at college then just being able to drop the car off at the dealership could work out well.
mega317
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by mega317 »

Well only you know your kid, but most kids don't treat their cars too well so I'd spend the least amount safely possible. I drive that car (2016 CX5) and IMO the safety features are more than adequate. I love it btw.

Does she need the trunk space? I'd go cheaper. I'm seeing only slightly older Mazda sedans near me for more like 12-14k.

How much money do you have? For some people 8k isn't really a big deal, for others it's going to be a lifestyle sacrifice elsewhere. For some people a few safety bells and whistles, the benefit of which is impossible to quantify but likely very low in absolute numbers, is worth an almost infinite number of dollars because it might be the difference in life and death for their little girl.
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BigJohn
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by BigJohn »

You’re right, nothing sane about the car market right now, especially used cars. I just finished shopping for a new vehicle and saw several examples of a 1 year old used car with 10K miles being just a couple hundred less than brand new. When my kids were teens I always used the hand-me-down option when possible. If that’s not viable, can you wait a couple of months? I don’t think supply will increase enough to turn things around but a big jump in car loan interest rates might cool off demand a bit.
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6miths
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by 6miths »

Does your teenage daughter really need a car. Sorry to ask.
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Johny Fever
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by Johny Fever »

Go out an buy as much a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord as you can spend minus 1500 bucks. Then take the car to your mechanic and spend the money for whatever it might need. I miss the days of putting kids into Volvo 240s and sending them out to do their damage. Right now the whole world is still nuts but thats my advise as a guy that fixes them everyday..( at least for another 14 days! ) Good luck!
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galawdawg
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by galawdawg »

6miths wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 5:13 pm Does your teenage daughter really need a car. Sorry to ask.
My question as well...
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oldcomputerguy
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by oldcomputerguy »

This topic is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (vehicle purchase).
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WhiteMaxima
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by WhiteMaxima »

I bought a used 2008 Mazda3 hatchback for my daugther who attend college. Zoom Zoom Zoom.
bob60014
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by bob60014 »

Teenager? Nothing over $5k or the lowest cost vehicle, as it's likely it will be totaled by the time they're 20.
homebuyer6426
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by homebuyer6426 »

You don't need to get your kid a car with 60k miles on it. Get one with 150-250k. It will be affordable and they will learn more about maintenance. This will give them valuable lessons! It's what I got for my first car, and I still drive vehicles with that mileage. When they are older, they can get a low-mileage vehicle as their primary, and a higher one for their secondary.
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jabberwockOG
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by jabberwockOG »

We bought inexpensive late model cars for kids from Hertz car sales. Our youngest currently finishing a Phd program is still driving the 2010 Mazda 3 we helped them purchase as a HS junior.

https://www.hertzcarsales.com/used-cars ... i&make=Kia
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lthenderson
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by lthenderson »

Same position as OP. For now, daughter is just borrowing our cars when needed. We still have priority though so will drop her off if we need the vehicle. Long term, if and when daughter starts needing car regularly, she will get my spouses vehicle and spouse will get a new vehicle.
stoptothink
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by stoptothink »

6miths wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 5:13 pm Does your teenage daughter really need a car. Sorry to ask.
This is a legitimate question. Seems to me that a lot of teenagers these days not only have no need, but not even a ton of interest in driving. My youngest sister just turned 19, she doesn't even have a driver's license yet - rides an electric scooter pretty much everywhere (work, gym, rec league practices - even did in the snow this past winter) and simply hasn't shown a ton of interest. She'll be moving out of my parents' home to go to a trade school in the fall, no plans to get that license yet as far as I know. Seems to be pretty common among her group of friends. I'm one of 7 kids, none of us ever had a car until we were out of the home and it seemed to work out fine. Considering it may be the worst time in our lifetime to buy a car, I'd really ask myself if it is necessary right now.
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ClevrChico
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by ClevrChico »

galawdawg wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 5:50 pm
6miths wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 5:13 pm Does your teenage daughter really need a car. Sorry to ask.
My question as well...
My thinking is the same. I only have a pre-teen now, but I'm questioning why they would need a car or even a license in a few years. I had a beater car at 16, and looking back at it, insurance and repairs were a huge waste of money.
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

A few thoughts:

1) Can't she just borrow an existing family car? Why does she need "her" car? I'm sure I'm not the only one who bought their own first car with their own money. Heck, my dad wanted to teach me to be overly sure I had enough money to afford my first car, so required I have double the cost of the car in the bank.

2) Why are you considering some ginormous SUV for her? The more morons can fit in a car, the higher the danger because of distractions. If you have to get a car, make it a 2 seater. Miata. Honda CR-Z. Subaru BRZ.

3) Why such a new car? One of my sons who is 21, in welding school and has to drive 30k miles a year to get to welding school is driving my 2013 Subaru Crosstrek Limited. Now, I know the safety zealots will run around with their hands in the air screaming "Safety features!". Well, go ahead and try to name a safety feature not on this car approaching 170k miles. ABS? Has it. Stability control? Has it. Back up camera? Has it. Get your daughter a 10 year old 100k+ car with whatever safety features you think are required. But understand that the #1 feature is seat belts and a distant 2nd is air bags which cars have all had since the early 90's. In like manner, if you already have an appropriate older, higher mileage car, let her use that one and buy yourself a newer car.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by Sandtrap »

My son's first "car" in high school.
Standard shift, roll down windows, no radio, lot's of storage space.
Blue Betsy:
Image

Betsy had the venerable Toyota 22R 4 cylinder engine. No luxuries. And had nearly 200k miles before I got her.
Betsy was handed down to me from an old friend. I drove Betsy for 4 years.
Then I handed down Betsy to my son who drove it for another 4, then sold.
Eventual total mileage, unknown.

Lessons?
Priceless.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by Sandtrap »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 7:41 am A few thoughts:

1) Can't she just borrow an existing family car? Why does she need "her" car? I'm sure I'm not the only one who bought their own first car with their own money. Heck, my dad wanted to teach me to be overly sure I had enough money to afford my first car, so required I have double the cost of the car in the bank.

2) Why are you considering some ginormous SUV for her? The more morons can fit in a car, the higher the danger because of distractions. If you have to get a car, make it a 2 seater. Miata. Honda CR-Z. Subaru BRZ.

3) Why such a new car? One of my sons who is 21, in welding school and has to drive 30k miles a year to get to welding school is driving my 2013 Subaru Crosstrek Limited. Now, I know the safety zealots will run around with their hands in the air screaming "Safety features!". Well, go ahead and try to name a safety feature not on this car approaching 170k miles. ABS? Has it. Stability control? Has it. Back up camera? Has it. Get your daughter a 10 year old 100k+ car with whatever safety features you think are required. But understand that the #1 feature is seat belts and a distant 2nd is air bags which cars have all had since the early 90's. In like manner, if you already have an appropriate older, higher mileage car, let her use that one and buy yourself a newer car.
Great points.
Well said.

Real life lessons shared and experienced, first hand.
Priceless.

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DoubleComma
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by DoubleComma »

I wouldn’t have a car payment for myself, let alone for my teenager.

We did buy our 16 y/o a car, it provides a lot of benefit for us simple in helping shuffle our other kids around to their obligations.

That car was a $7k 2014 Sedan with 130k miles. It’s perfect for a kid. Plenty of safety features, old enough I don’t worry about the little bumps it will inevitably get. Had hoped to pay closer to $5k, but Covid had already impacted used prices when we bought it a year ago.

Even being a 8 y/o $7k car, insurance is insanely expensive, I couldn’t imagine insuring a new car for a teenager…let alone one with a loan and required full coverage. That could be more than the loan payment.
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mmmodem
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by mmmodem »

Yes, don't forget about insurance. I'd buy a vehicle that was safe enough and low cost enough that I wouldn't need full coverage. Liability only would suffice because auto insurance for a teenager would likely double or triple our insurance premium. And, I'm planning that vehicle to be a hand me down from their parents or family. It's highly likely the vehicle will experience "growing pains" from the teenager's learning.
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cervisia
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by cervisia »

My criteria for two current teenage drivers:

- price under $5000 (ideally under $3500 but that is tough in this market)
- under 150k miles (ideally under 120k miles)
- traction control [required 2008+ I believe] (ideally rear camera [required ~2010+ I believe])

The price allows for consideration of avoiding collision and perhaps comprehensive insurance.


p.s. my teenagers must have the ability to change a flat tire and the willingness to help with any maintenance and repairs
Last edited by cervisia on Fri Jun 17, 2022 8:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
HomeStretch
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by HomeStretch »

Putting aside the question of whether your daughter needs a car, we faced the same issue (high used car prices) when buying a car for our teenager. Consider buying new if this car will be used by your teen for many years.

We had new cars purchased the year before so no older cars were available to hand down to our 17 y/o. We bought new (for cash) as it wasn’t much more than used car prices. The car has been driven for 8 years - high school, long commutes to/from college and now working at first job - and I expect it to continue in use for a fair more number of years.
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by backpacker61 »

I went through four years of university without owning or having a vehicle. I walked everywhere when I was in college. At holidays, I either flew home or (more commonly) hitched a ride with someone and paid them gas money.

I did purchase a used vehicle (from my parents) about the same time I completed graduate school, which I drove for about another seven years.
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bloom2708
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by bloom2708 »

Insurance is the reason to not buy a teen driver a brand new car.

That and the fact they are likely to get into a few fender benders.

Each of our 3 daughters got a $7-10k used car with liability only insurance.

Are those harder to find right now? Yes. Impossible? No. Hop on Facebook Marketplace for your area.

I see a 2004 Lexus ES 330 with 95k miles for $6k on Facebook Marketplace in my area. That is the exact car my middle kid is driving. Amazing car. We paid $7k with 70k miles for hers. It now has 100k miles. Drives like new. 2003-2005 ES 330. The 2007+ ES 350 were not as nice/reliable.

Kids do not put on many miles so a car with 100k miles that is maintained will go a long time.
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HomerJ
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by HomerJ »

It's a tough one... I sure wouldn't spend $20,000 - $30,000 on a teenager car. We bought our oldest daughter a $2500 Honda Accord with 200,000 miles on it (but that was 20 years ago).

My middle daughter and my son got my hand-me-downs, which were nicer, but still fairly cheap Honda Civics.

It's too late now for the OP, but I suggest one should plan for this when the kid is like 6-10.

Set up your new car purchases to coincide with a kid turning 16.

So if you normally buy a new car every 6 years for yourself, get one when the kid is 10, so by 16, you can hand one down, and get a new car for yourself.

Of course, this doesn't work too well if you have 2-3 kids close in age.

My youngest daughter and son were 10 years apart in age so it worked out perfectly for us. They each got my hand-me-down Honda Civics.
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Watty
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by Watty »

Teenagers may need a car now more than many people realize especially if they live in a single parent household in a rural or suburban area where there is virtually no public transportation.
stoptothink wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 6:48 am My youngest sister just turned 19, she doesn't even have a driver's license yet - rides an electric scooter pretty much everywhere (work, gym, rec league practices - even did in the snow this past winter) and simply hasn't shown a ton of interest. She'll be moving out of my parents' home to go to a trade school in the fall, no plans to get that license yet as far as I know. Seems to be pretty common among her group of friends.
If she is not going to get her drivers license then she should at least get her state ID which is usually issued by the DMV.

The risk is that a teenager going in to get their first drivers license with meager proof of identify is pretty common so it is not hard to do. As she gets older it will be harder and harder to get that first ID since they will be more concerned about it being identity theft or a fake ID.

It was a while back but my son was also in no hurry to get his drivers license. He never said as much but I suspect it was because every couple of years there was a fatal car accident at his large high school or a nearby high school and kids these days are blasted with news about that whenever there was a teenage car accident anywhere within a hundred miles. I think he was pretty intimated about learning to drive.

By the time he was 17 I pretty much had to insist that he get a drivers license. I talked with him about how it was important to have time to learn and practice driving when he could only drive during the daytime when the weather was good and he did not have to drive when he didn't want to. It was important to get that experience so that he did not have to drive at night or in bad weather when he was a new driver. He agreed to get it since that made sense to him.

One funny side note was that when he got his drivers license that was the first time that he really had to sign his name. That was a problem since he had never learned to write in cursive. The schools he had gone to barely taught cursive and we had moved and the school schedules were different so he missed the minimal cursive writing classes at both the old and new schools. Some schools do not teach cursive writing at all now. He never admitted it and I did not press him about it but I suspect that he just watched YouTube to learn enough to make a scrawl where you can sort of see the first letter of his first and last names and even today his signature looks like that.
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by trinc »

Might depend on where you live and what your kids enjoy doing. In the PNW you should be outdoors ! but it does require a vehicle.

We enjoyed the freedom of not having to run the kids around... Son surfs ( hour to the west ), snowboards ( hour to the east )... daughter loves kayaking and hiking.

Daughter : hand me down 2005 Honda CR-V ( near 200k miles )
Son : 2003 Honda Element ( also near 200k miles )

We also have a Rav4 Limited, a very nice car.

We have been blessed with two good drivers, probably 7 years driving between them without a wreck or ticket. :happy

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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by 7eight9 »

cervisia wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 8:20 am My criteria for two current teenage drivers:

- price under $5000 (ideally under $3500 but that is tough in this market)
- under 150k miles (ideally under 120k miles)
- traction control [required 2008+ I believe] (ideally rear camera [required ~2010+ I believe])

The price allows for consideration of avoiding collision and perhaps comprehensive insurance.


p.s. my teenagers must have the ability to change a flat tire and the willingness to help with any maintenance and repairs
A lot of cars had them earlier but it wasn't until 2018 that backup cameras were mandatory.

The regulation dates back to 2014, when the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandated that backup cameras be included in all new vehicles starting May 1, 2018. That gave automakers four years to adapt to the new law.
https://www.carscoops.com/2018/05/backu ... -vehicles/

That said, one can always install an aftermarket camera in a car not so equipped.
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BrooklynInvest
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by BrooklynInvest »

The problem is the sky high prices on used relative to fairly high prices on new. The difference is much less than it's ever been... anecdotally I admit. Even the "hand-me-down" route is impacted. The hand-me-down could be worth some coin these days.

A fiscally prudent buddy bought his kid a new small basic SUV only because the car + warrantee on the new was likely cheaper than car + maintenance on the used ones he was seeing. A purely financial decision. Absolutely no "Keeping up with the Joneses."

And yeah the kid banged it early on. C'est la vie.

In the late 80s I had a brown '79 Nova. When that died, a 1980 Volvo 240... stick. When that died I was in the city and missed it for a few weeks... 20 years ago.
Isabelle77
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by Isabelle77 »

I posted a similar question a few months ago. We decided not to buy our teen a car, although she uses one of ours as if it’s hers. She drives to school (private no transportation) and she has a job this summer, but my husband and I have figured out how to share :) Mostly I just drive him to work if he’s going into the office (hybrid) and occasionally we tell our daughter to get a ride to wherever she needs to go. She is also in charge of driving her siblings around when it’s more convenient for us.
When we looked at the prices of newer used cars, we just couldn’t do it. Older used cars were so expensive to insure and we knew we’d wind up paying a lot in maintenance. Obviously, this all depends on your family situation but while it isn’t ideal, we’re making it work.
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by ScubaHogg »

If u can sit tight for a little bit I’d expect that rapidly rising interest rates will cool off the entire car market. In a couple months you might be able to get a much better deal on a used car.

As far as which car that’s tough. It’s a balance between not spending too much on a car that has a good chance of being damaged and getting a car with enough safety features for a driver who, at least on average, is a bad driver. Brand new is probably overkill though.
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galawdawg
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by galawdawg »

7eight9 wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 9:05 am
cervisia wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 8:20 am My criteria for two current teenage drivers:

- price under $5000 (ideally under $3500 but that is tough in this market)
- under 150k miles (ideally under 120k miles)
- traction control [required 2008+ I believe] (ideally rear camera [required ~2010+ I believe])

The price allows for consideration of avoiding collision and perhaps comprehensive insurance.


p.s. my teenagers must have the ability to change a flat tire and the willingness to help with any maintenance and repairs
A lot of cars had them earlier but it wasn't until 2018 that backup cameras were mandatory.

The regulation dates back to 2014, when the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandated that backup cameras be included in all new vehicles starting May 1, 2018. That gave automakers four years to adapt to the new law.
https://www.carscoops.com/2018/05/backu ... -vehicles/

That said, one can always install an aftermarket camera in a car not so equipped.
Backup cameras can lead to unsafe driving habits. Particularly with younger more tech-savvy drivers who rely upon the screen rather than using their mirrors and looking around and behind them. Many backup cameras only show what is directly behind you, not what may be approaching from either rear side, such as pedestrians and cross-traffic. And since most backing maneuvers take place in parking lots and driveways, drivers should be aware of their surroundings as they approach and enter their car.

A cautious driver exercising good driving practices when backing is generally a more safe driver than one who relies too heavily on a backup camera. So choosing an older-model vehicle that lacks a backup camera is not at all a compromise in safety.
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

galawdawg wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 10:03 am
Backup cameras can lead to unsafe driving habits. Particularly with younger more tech-savvy drivers who rely upon the screen rather than using their mirrors and looking around and behind them. Many backup cameras only show what is directly behind you, not what may be approaching from either rear side, such as pedestrians and cross-traffic. And since most backing maneuvers take place in parking lots and driveways, drivers should be aware of their surroundings as they approach and enter their car.

A cautious driver exercising good driving practices when backing is generally a more safe driver than one who relies too heavily on a backup camera. So choosing an older-model vehicle that lacks a backup camera is not at all a compromise in safety.
Good point there.

My son hit the garage door opener and got in his 2020 Subaru STi and started backing out. CRASH. The door had not opened all the way. The camera doesn't show that. Turning around and looking out the window would have. $1000 deductible with the insurance paying the rest. Roof and shark antenna hit.
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FireProof
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by FireProof »

I bought a $4,000 Toyota Avalon with 180,000 miles on it off Craiglist for my first commuting job. When I moved, I gave it to my parents, and it's still my dad's main car, 11 years after purchase.
quantAndHold
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by quantAndHold »

I’ll third the question. Does your kid actually need a car?

We thought it was important for our kids to know how to drive, so we made sure they learned as soon as they could, but that didn’t mean that they actually drove many places. When we had one kid driving, she just borrowed our car. Once we had two kids driving, the oldest was a senior in high school, and had more need to go more places, so there was some contention for the one car we had. So we handed down our car (an old Volvo wagon) to the kids to share, and bought a new car for ourselves. After they totaled the wagon, we bought them a ten year old VW Golf that had a broken odometer (broke at 106k miles). It was the cheapest car on the dealer’s lot that would start.

Kids are really, really hard on cars. Don’t spend any more than you need to.
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tibbitts
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by tibbitts »

This is a challenging situation for the OP, but I don't believe that most of the replies that reference what worked 1/5/10/20 years ago. It's a completely different situation today.

I also don't know that it's helpful to question why the teenager would need a car. Presumably the OP has already considered car sharing with parents, etc. but it's very dependent on individual circumstances. Boglehead teenagers are expected to participate in countless extra-curricular school activities, sports, hold jobs, etc. and I don't find it unreasonable that for many of them outside of major metro areas that might require a car.

Incidentally when I finally did start driving (at 18), I was more much proactive about maintaining the family cars than my parents were, and never damaged them. Well a few repairs might have gone slightly wrong (still happens today) but not in terms of driving incidents.
sureshoe
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by sureshoe »

Got to love it when people say "I want to do something, any advice on how" and a bunch of people not in their situation say "don't do it."

For the OP, the used market is upside down, so paying $25k+ for a 6 year old car with 60k miles feels wrong. I think you're trying to buy too much car for your teenager (unless you're willing to spend on a "want" vs. a "need")

If you wanted to go bare bones, there are Corollas and the like out there with 150k+ miles, and they're still in the $7-$10k range, which is patentably absurd.

I would generally never advise buying a new car for a teenager, but if I were in your situation right now, I'd take a serious look at a new car that you can order for a controlled price - like a Nissan Sentra or Hyundai Elantra. For under $25k, you can get a car that would last through high school and college if they are responsible. If the kid doesn't want a small car with cloth seats, it really comes down on what you want to spend. That Mazda you're looking at ranges from $30k-$40k new, which feels like a lot of car for a kid.
stoptothink
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by stoptothink »

tibbitts wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 11:36 am This is a challenging situation for the OP, but I don't believe that most of the replies that reference what worked 1/5/10/20 years ago. It's a completely different situation today.

I also don't know that it's helpful to question why the teenager would need a car. Presumably the OP has already considered car sharing with parents, etc. but it's very dependent on individual circumstances. Boglehead teenagers are expected to participate in countless extra-curricular school activities, sports, hold jobs, etc. and I don't find it unreasonable that for many of them outside of major metro areas that might require a car.

It is a different situation today, but at least from what I have seen, cars for teens are probably less necessary in general than they were previously. There are more adequate transportation options than there was when I was a teenager and especially right now, the cost can be a lot more prohibitive than it once was. Despite all the questions, I don't believe OP has really answered whether or not a car for their teen is really necessary (it may very well be).

I also wasn't aware that "boglehead teenagers" was a homogenous group.
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galawdawg
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by galawdawg »

tibbitts wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 11:36 am This is a challenging situation for the OP, but I don't believe that most of the replies that reference what worked 1/5/10/20 years ago. It's a completely different situation today.

sureshoe wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 12:13 pm Got to love it when people say "I want to do something, any advice on how" and a bunch of people not in their situation say "don't do it."
This is forum whose advice is ideally inspired by Jack Bogle. Jack lived a very frugal lifestyle. So when a poster has a financial dilemma, the advice some of us provide may be more along the lines of that type of lifestyle. And note the OP's actual question/concern:
I hate to spend this kind of money on a car, but I'm not sure where to go at this point.

Aside from this, the used market is fraught with dodgy rebuilt titles and other risky propositions that seem to present themselves more readily when markets like these emerge.

I'm really just looking to find a sane decision in all of this.
:confused

Any advice?
So inquiring as to whether this is a need or a desire helps narrow the issue. If the OP and family live in a rural area and the daughter needs to drive a distance for a part-time job, that is a need. If the OP and family live in an area served by Uber, Lyft, public transit and other transportation options and the daughter just wants a car to go hang out with friends, then it may not be a need so much as a desire.

In that context, there may be other options that are a better or wiser financial choice that would equally meet the needs of the OP and the daughter.

And it really isn't a different situation today than it was 1/5/10/20 (except for perhaps the availability of more transportation options as alternatives to car ownership). Teenagers then and now may have jobs, participate in extracurricular activities some distance away, enjoy active social lives and some may even prefer to get to and from school in something other than a school bus. :wink: I don't think the needs of teens for transportation has changed, it is the culture of what is provided to fulfill that need that has changed. And making important financial decisions based upon the cultural norm or "what everyone else is doing" is not a Boglehead approach.

I;m sure that those who have responded are interested in helping the OP analyze various options and the financial costs and benefits of each, Hopefully the OP will respond to the comments and questions in this thread so that Bogleheads can weigh in with suggested approaches for the OP's consideration. Ultimately it will be up to the OP to make a decision that is best for them. Whether it is the wisest financial decision is something only the OP can determine... :beer
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by ScubaHogg »

sureshoe wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 12:13 pm Got to love it when people say "I want to do something, any advice on how" and a bunch of people not in their situation say "don't do it."
I know right? And their evidence that it doesn’t need to be done is that they didn’t need a car when they lived in NYC 50 years ago so surely no one needs one today.

Teenagers having cars is a pretty normal thing. The OP seems to have already made that decision, let’s focus on helping with the actual question.
“Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” - Milton Friedman
smitcat
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by smitcat »

We got our daughter a very nice lightly used car that held its purchase value until we sold it. It had reasonably updated safety features for that particular year and since it was 'very nice' she took very good care of the car. Now that she is a bit older it is nice to see that she takes care of her car well and respects others property as well.
YMMV
quantAndHold
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by quantAndHold »

ScubaHogg wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 1:05 pm
sureshoe wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 12:13 pm Got to love it when people say "I want to do something, any advice on how" and a bunch of people not in their situation say "don't do it."
I know right? And their evidence that it doesn’t need to be done is that they didn’t need a car when they lived in NYC 50 years ago so surely no one needs one today.

Teenagers having cars is a pretty normal thing. The OP seems to have already made that decision, let’s focus on helping with the actual question.
Teenagers having their own $30k cars is nowhere near a normal thing, except in a small number of uber expensive zip codes. Most teens either borrow from their parents, or drive something that’s more at the jalopy end of the scale. I’m looking for a car for myself right now, and I’m finding perfectly good, low mileage cars, certainly better than what my kids or their friends drove, from private parties for $8-10k. They just happen to be unpopular models.

As far as whether or not a 16 year old *needs* a car, how did the kid get around as a 15 year old? I can see an argument if the parent was their chief chauffeur and wants to get out of that duty, but whether or not the kid actually needs a car right away, especially given the reality of the car market right now, is certainly a question that OP should consider.
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MathWizard
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by MathWizard »

Watty wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 4:54 pm
rcmx wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 4:38 pmAny advice?
What do you drive?

One permutation to look at is to give the kid your hand-me-down car and then you get a new replacement car.
This is what we did. Both my wife and I got newer cars and gifted the car to the kids,
making sure they got insurance on it.

The kids didn't really treat the cars as well as I would have.
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by Doom&Gloom »

MathWizard wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 3:13 pm
Watty wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 4:54 pm
rcmx wrote: Thu Jun 16, 2022 4:38 pmAny advice?
What do you drive?

One permutation to look at is to give the kid your hand-me-down car and then you get a new replacement car.
This is what we did. Both my wife and I got newer cars and gifted the car to the kids,
making sure they got insurance on it.

The kids didn't really treat the cars as well as I would have.
That is the same thing we did. We knew the kid was getting a reliable, well-maintained car even though it was 10 y/o at the time. It still made my stomach churn as the exterior dings accumulated and the interior deteriorated at an increasingly rapid rate. In addition, the maintenance predictably fell by the wayside when the car went to college. I would have really been sick to watch that happen to a new vehicle I had paid for.
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by mega317 »

stoptothink wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 6:48 am Seems to me that a lot of teenagers these days not only have no need, but not even a ton of interest in driving.
Agree and I will never understand it. I was so crazy excited to drive. Although I didn't have Uber, scooters, ebikes, etc. Spread out suburb, literally nothing walkable including almost all friends houses.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212
mega317
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by mega317 »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 7:41 am A few thoughts:

1) Can't she just borrow an existing family car? Why does she need "her" car? I'm sure I'm not the only one who bought their own first car with their own money. Heck, my dad wanted to teach me to be overly sure I had enough money to afford my first car, so required I have double the cost of the car in the bank.

2) Why are you considering some ginormous SUV for her? The more morons can fit in a car, the higher the danger because of distractions. If you have to get a car, make it a 2 seater. Miata. Honda CR-Z. Subaru BRZ.

3) Why such a new car? One of my sons who is 21, in welding school and has to drive 30k miles a year to get to welding school is driving my 2013 Subaru Crosstrek Limited. Now, I know the safety zealots will run around with their hands in the air screaming "Safety features!". Well, go ahead and try to name a safety feature not on this car approaching 170k miles. ABS? Has it. Stability control? Has it. Back up camera? Has it. Get your daughter a 10 year old 100k+ car with whatever safety features you think are required. But understand that the #1 feature is seat belts and a distant 2nd is air bags which cars have all had since the early 90's. In like manner, if you already have an appropriate older, higher mileage car, let her use that one and buy yourself a newer car.
Not every family has "family" cars. We have 2, and they are at our job sites all day every day. CX5 is decidedly not ginormous. In my state no morons are allowed in a new driver's car no matter how big it is; I don't know how widespread that restriction is. I agree with you on safety features.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212
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galawdawg
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by galawdawg »

mega317 wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 6:47 pm In my state no morons are allowed in a new driver's car no matter how big it is; I don't know how widespread that restriction is.
Really?? :shock:

What state is that?
BernardShakey
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by BernardShakey »

galawdawg wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 10:03 am
7eight9 wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 9:05 am
cervisia wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 8:20 am My criteria for two current teenage drivers:

- price under $5000 (ideally under $3500 but that is tough in this market)
- under 150k miles (ideally under 120k miles)
- traction control [required 2008+ I believe] (ideally rear camera [required ~2010+ I believe])

The price allows for consideration of avoiding collision and perhaps comprehensive insurance.


p.s. my teenagers must have the ability to change a flat tire and the willingness to help with any maintenance and repairs
A lot of cars had them earlier but it wasn't until 2018 that backup cameras were mandatory.

The regulation dates back to 2014, when the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandated that backup cameras be included in all new vehicles starting May 1, 2018. That gave automakers four years to adapt to the new law.
https://www.carscoops.com/2018/05/backu ... -vehicles/

That said, one can always install an aftermarket camera in a car not so equipped.
Backup cameras can lead to unsafe driving habits. Particularly with younger more tech-savvy drivers who rely upon the screen rather than using their mirrors and looking around and behind them. Many backup cameras only show what is directly behind you, not what may be approaching from either rear side, such as pedestrians and cross-traffic. And since most backing maneuvers take place in parking lots and driveways, drivers should be aware of their surroundings as they approach and enter their car.

A cautious driver exercising good driving practices when backing is generally a more safe driver than one who relies too heavily on a backup camera. So choosing an older-model vehicle that lacks a backup camera is not at all a compromise in safety.
I disagree. I get your point but the back-up camera has to be an overall net benefit despite the the tendency to over-rely on it. If you're in an SUV for example, you cannot see a person of short stature behind your vehicle but the camera does. My vehicle has a sensor along with the camera that even picks up cross traffic (vehicular or pedestrian) and it picks it up as it comes in from the side ---- doesn't have to be directly behind your car. I think they are a net plus.
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mega317
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by mega317 »

galawdawg wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 7:02 pm
mega317 wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 6:47 pm In my state no morons are allowed in a new driver's car no matter how big it is; I don't know how widespread that restriction is.
Really?? :shock:

What state is that?
CA

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/handbook/ ... instructor.

To be clear one moron is allowed—the driver.

Looks like in Georgia it’s only immediate family members for 6 months.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Sanity Check: Car for Teenage Driver

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

In my state (MA), morons at least 18 are allowed with no number limit until the driver reaches the age of 18. If they have any passenger under 18, they can get a ticket and if the dad (me) said "If you get a ticket, I sell the car", then the kid loses the car. And yes, I sold the car. He fought the ticket and I testified that I sold the car out from under him. Both the officer and judge thought that he had been punished enough and dismissed the ticket.
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