Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

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psteinx
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Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby psteinx » Thu May 18, 2017 12:39 pm

Not so interested here in how old, what model, what features, etc. Mainly interested in timing.

Family of 5 - 3 kids, two of whom will be driving to unpaid gigs this summer. Our area is not conducive to significant walking/biking to schools, businesses, nor the gigs in question.

Currently have 3 vehicles, including one recently added new Honda Civic for teens (which replaced a different, nearly new Honda Civic that had been totalled). Ideally should have 4 vehicles for summer - 3 could be worked, but with significant strain. OTOH, we have a 2 car garage and relatively small driveway - 4 vehicles is not great for our house - manageable, but not great.

Possibility:

Another new Civic as our 4th vehicle. Let both kids drive the new Civics. But then, school year starts and ideally I'd love to be back to 3 vehicles - let kids share 1. Could park / store oldest of our vehicles (my somewhat unreliable and rather old convertible), but that has costs of its own.

Our two oldest kids will be in 12th and 11th grade in the fall, and presumably going off to college(s) in succeeding falls. But each year, I suspect we might want/need 4 vehicles for the summers, even as we could drop down to 3 or less during the school year. And yes, I know cars at colleges are kind of an iffy thing, especially for the first year or two.

The new Civic we recently bought, and perhaps another Civic that we might add, probably SHOULD be decent drivers for 10+ years, and so perhaps might graduate college with the kid(s) and go off to their first jobs or grad school. Or perhaps one hands down to youngest kid (about to turn 12).

I know some folks either buy old beaters or hand down grandma's 15 year old Chevy. But I'm not big on the safety side there (especially since their summer gigs, for this summer anyways, will require significant highway driving on a less than ideal interstate). I don't love the idea of brand new cars for 16-17 year old drivers, but I *do* like the safety side. I also don't love that the cars are being bought by the parent(s) and they have little if any skin in the game, but at least for this summer, I like our kids' prospective gigs, even though they're unpaid.

Anyways, I'm wondering what others here do with regard to these issues. At least in part, I want our kids to fit in. The student section of their H.S. parking lot has a mix of low to mid priced vehicles, perhaps 0-12 years old. Few if any luxury cars, but also few if any obviously decrepit beaters...
Last edited by psteinx on Thu May 18, 2017 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

livesoft
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby livesoft » Thu May 18, 2017 12:49 pm

My daughter drove to HS back in the day. She dropped a parent off at work beforehand. So we just had 2 cars. Then with 2 children driving, the same thing.

That is, we made do with 2 cars, so people were always being picked up or dropped off. It was usually a parent, but not always. Every possibility was done:

Parent drops off child.
Different parent picks up child.
Child drops off parent.
Different child picks up parent.
Parent drops off parent.
Parent rides bike.
Child rides bike.
Child carpools with friends.
Parent carpools with friends.
Parent rides bike to where car is and puts bike in back of car and drives car away.
... and so on ...

Only when Dad (me) wanted a different car and oldest was away at college did Dad give student a car.

Every car driven by teenagers and parents had airbags galore, ABS, ESC, mirrors, seatbelts.
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psteinx
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby psteinx » Thu May 18, 2017 12:59 pm

livesoft wrote:Only when Dad (me) wanted a different car and oldest was away at college did Dad give student a car.

My post was already long enough, but in original writing, I had another wrinkle. Dad's car is an old, not entirely reliable/practical convertible that I'd like to swap out for, say, a new, relatively high trim Honda CR-V. But, middle child likes the convertible a lot and really wants the chance to drive it some, and if we made the upscale CR-V one of the kids drivers for the summer (to the highway accessible gig - my wife would not be thrilled with the kid using the convertible for this), then we'd have a kid driving a $30K ish vehicle to one or more unpaid gigs. I don't like it from an appearance standpoint, among other things.

I guess in a perfect world, we'd have 5 vehicles - mom's minivan, two new-ish, safe Civics or the like for the kids, a good new-ish CR-V for dad, and the old convertible parked in the garage for nice weather days.

Oh, and the '1973 Cadillac El Dorado convertible of dad's mental fancy for when he really wants to experience old school unreliability... :)

(The convertible I *do* have is a 2004 Saab - fun, and not SO unreliable...)

livesoft
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby livesoft » Thu May 18, 2017 1:10 pm

My neighbor bought Civics for his kids. After they got out of college he "inherited" one of the Civics as a little commuter car, but kept his other vehicle for towing his boats. So also think ahead because you might end up with one of the student cars in the future when they tire of it.
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby Doom&Gloom » Thu May 18, 2017 1:29 pm

IME a parent dropping off/picking up a child often provided sufficient incentive for the child to figure out an alternative arrangement for transportation.

I assume the kids' gigs are in opposite directions or some other reason why one can't drop off/pick up the other?

Some sort of carpooling makes much more sense than everyone having their own car in your present situation--whether it is carpooling with family or friends or colleagues.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby Jack FFR1846 » Thu May 18, 2017 1:38 pm

Buy only what you can afford when they total the car. Each kid. If you're lucky, they'll hit something stationary like a tree or rock wall and be ok. Then you can call the scrapyard and not bother with collision. We learned with our first son (and my $32k 9 month old Wrangler). Our second is approaching 17 and we have not even started talking about a permit.

2 new Civics? Too rich for my blood.
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bloom2708
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby bloom2708 » Thu May 18, 2017 1:41 pm

It sounds like the "inmates" are running the asylum. It happens.

New cars for teens? One totaled car sums that up. How is the insurance after that? Wanting to drive the convertible? Sorry, their wants are not a priority. Safety is. At times we forget we are parents and not friends. Tough decisions can be made.

One kid would drive the other kids around. Leave early, get picked up late if that works.

If buying a 4th car is required, buy a $5k Cragislist Civic/Corolla.
Last edited by bloom2708 on Thu May 18, 2017 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kenkat
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby Kenkat » Thu May 18, 2017 2:23 pm

We added a third car once we had two teen drivers. That worked for awhile but as both kids started working and the oldest started commuting to college, we were in a constant juggling act of who is driving which car today and when will the cars be needed. So, we recently added a 4th car, so my youngest is now driving my 2005 Camry, my oldest is driving grandma's hand me down 2004 Chev Monte Carlo (only 29k miles when we got it), my wife is back in her 2014 Odyssey and I bought a used 2014 Camaro to drive - because why not after driving the Camry for 12 years?

Neither of the two cars the kids are driving are beaters, they have enough safety equipment behind them in my opinion (I can't afford new cars for everyone) and the kids are appreciative of having a car available for them to drive while still having aspirations of buying the car they really want someday as well. It's a balancing act between giving them too much, the relative necessity of personal transportation where we live and not wanting to juggle cars or arrange rides when the schedules all collide.

delamer
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby delamer » Thu May 18, 2017 2:50 pm

There are leases available from the usual rental companies that allow you to lease for the summer without commiting to anythng long-term. Of course, that would mean one of the parents driving the leased vehicle and letting one kid drive the parents' car.

I completely agree about the importance of having new drivers in a car with good safety features. No way I'd let a teenager drive an older convertible. It is important to keep within your budget, but I'd sleep better with my kids in a newer car.

spammagnet
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby spammagnet » Thu May 18, 2017 4:14 pm

We bought 3 year old mid-range economy cars that had all safety features reasonably available at the time. (Side curtain air bags, ABS, etc.) My rationale was that I could buy them (safety features), therefore I should not not buy them. We consulted with our insurance provider as to the increase in premium for each car. That was a factor in car selection.

The intent was for the kids to drive the car to their first career job after school and that it will last them long enough that replacement is not a urgent issue, at least not for reliability reasons. At that point we transfer the title to them and drop the insurance.

It looks like that plan is finalizing this year. Should it turn out that I adopt one of the cars, that's okay with me. It will serve as a local commuter in lieu of a pickup, saving on gas and wear.
Last edited by spammagnet on Thu May 18, 2017 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hockey10
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby Hockey10 » Thu May 18, 2017 4:15 pm

Just be careful when you add a new car. The day after we went from 2 cars to 3 cars, DW was backing out of the garage and forgot that the 3rd car was parked on the driveway. So in a flash, we had 2 damaged cars. :oops:

SimonJester
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby SimonJester » Thu May 18, 2017 4:48 pm

be sure to inquire with your insurance company what a 4th car will do to your rates. Adding my teen son to the 3rd car I already had was astronomical! Adding a 4th car to insurance... I might as well ask the insurance company where direct deposit my paycheck.
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psteinx
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby psteinx » Thu May 18, 2017 4:53 pm

Yeah, I'm reasonably confident that a 4th vehicle will noticeably bump our insurance rates. That's one reason why I might want to park/store the extra car in the "off-season" (i.e. outside of summer), and suspend/cancel insurance on it and/or otherwise optimize our insurance.

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jharkin
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby jharkin » Thu May 18, 2017 6:34 pm

Consider that even a lightly used car will have far better safety features than most of us grew up with. When I got my license my Dad bought me a beat up 1982 Honda. I think its "safety feature" was front shoulder belts. And yeah I was a dumb kid and totaled it, but still walked away without a scratch.

I get wanting the best for your kids, but a lot of the latest safety features like auto breaking, adaptive cruise and auto lane keeping also have the potential to become dangerous crutches encouraging careless distracted driving. The best 'safety feature' you can buy those kids is a real defensive driving course - like the ones offered at Skip Barber schools, BMWCCA events, etc.

spammagnet
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby spammagnet » Thu May 18, 2017 10:23 pm

jharkin wrote:... The best 'safety feature' you can buy those kids is a real defensive driving course ...

That is also likely to result in lower insurance rates. Not a lot compared to the increase you'll suffer but any discount is good.

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jharkin
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby jharkin » Fri May 19, 2017 6:44 am

Yep, call me a luddite but when my kids hit 16 I'm going to buy a beater with a manual gearbox and teach them on that. I know down the road odds are they will go away completely but learning on a manual actually forces you to put 100% of your concentration on what the car is doing. My parents forced me to learn on one and I'm grateful.

MikeG62
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby MikeG62 » Fri May 19, 2017 7:12 am

OK, here is what we did. Then I'll tell you what I would do if I had to do it over again.

As each kid got their license we bought them a low-miles used (2-3 years old), but nice car. Vehicles had all safety features associated with the model year (airbag's, parking sensors, backup camera's, etc...). You "cannot" be too careful when it comes to teenagers - they are pretty much all terrible drivers. Expect they won't maintain the car as you would (read as "at all") and it will get dings and scratches (especially from the school parking lot). In fact, if you've never been, take a ride to the high school parking lot around the time when school let's out and watch the free-for-all that develops as hundreds of kids descend upon the lot and all try to leave at the same time. In a word, it is "terrifying". Just amazing there are not accidents every single day (and yes, there were many, many accidents during the time my daughters were using those parking lots - thankfully none involving them).

A comment on insurance rates. Where I live (NJ), insurance rates did not change during the first year my girls had their licenses (junior license). Only when they got full (unrestricted) license did insurance rates increase. Note that my youngest (21) is still on my insurance. Insurance for her (the car assigned to her) is $1,700 per year (my wife and I pay around $900 for the higher end cars we drive). So, insurance is going to be an eye-opener. If your kids go away to college (and don't take a car with them) and are reasonably far away from home (each insurer may have their own cutoffs) you may get a reduced rate for your college age kids who live away from home.

Once my oldest graduated from college we gifted the car she was driving to her (will do the same when my youngest graduates next year - precedent has been set). Cars still have a lot of value left and takes the worry (and financial burden) of their having to get a new car while looking for or starting a career. They took (will take) over insurance payments and all financial responsibility (maintenance and repairs - cars are/were full paid off) once employed.

Now, what would I do differently if I had to do it over again? I would lease a brand-new car for each of them. Nothing overly high end, but something decent with all safety features of the day (including blind spot warning - which I think is invaluable, especially for a new driver). This would probably result in my doing two 3 year leases for each child, getting them through high school and college with some time left on the lease once they graduate (to get their feet on the ground). Then once the lease was over, they would be on their own to get a car. This would work out cheaper (for me) in the long run that what I did (am doing). Live and learn.

Good luck with your decision. It's a big milestone (your kids getting their license) and a very scary time for you as a parent.

spammagnet
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby spammagnet » Fri May 19, 2017 7:53 am

jharkin wrote:Yep, call me a luddite but when my kids hit 16 I'm going to buy a beater with a manual gearbox and teach them on that.

Some friends did that with their daughter. They never had a concern about some other kid driving the car without the parent's knowledge.

apokryphon
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby apokryphon » Fri May 19, 2017 8:04 am

How far away are the summer gigs, and how far away is school? Even if the area isn't walkable, electric bikes may be feasible and much less costly.

psteinx
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby psteinx » Fri May 19, 2017 9:31 am

Summer gigs somewhere in the 12-20 mile range, much of it interstate. Electric bikes not viable.

BTW: While I very much doubt I'd lease in this situation, I wonder if a carmaker would even want to lease in a situation where the primary driver is 16. Obviously, car rental places don't like to rent to young folks. There might be a restriction in the lease paperwork. Plus, I think leases have excessive wear and tear clauses that might come into play with teen use patterns.

robebibb
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby robebibb » Fri May 19, 2017 11:03 am

jharkin wrote:Yep, call me a luddite but when my kids hit 16 I'm going to buy a beater with a manual gearbox and teach them on that. I know down the road odds are they will go away completely but learning on a manual actually forces you to put 100% of your concentration on what the car is doing. My parents forced me to learn on one and I'm grateful.


As an added bonus they will be able to rent a car on international trips without worrying about the availability of an automatic transmission.

mega317
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby mega317 » Fri May 19, 2017 11:13 am

MikeG62 wrote:
Now, what would I do differently if I had to do it over again? I would lease a brand-new car for each of them.


Interesting idea. How does the math work out? I just quickly looked at a Civic. Leases right now are 179/mo which would total $25k if two 3 year leases for each child, plus 4 down payments. 2014 Civics are around 12-15k. Plus at the end of the 6 years they would have something they should be able to keep driving for a few years.

MikeG62
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Re: Cars policy/timing for teens/young adults

Postby MikeG62 » Fri May 19, 2017 4:25 pm

mega317 wrote:
MikeG62 wrote:
Now, what would I do differently if I had to do it over again? I would lease a brand-new car for each of them.


Interesting idea. How does the math work out? I just quickly looked at a Civic. Leases right now are 179/mo which would total $25k if two 3 year leases for each child, plus 4 down payments. 2014 Civics are around 12-15k. Plus at the end of the 6 years they would have something they should be able to keep driving for a few years.


Well, the cars I bought for my daughters cost $30K each and not $12K-$15K, so that impacts the analysis. Also, the lease price you are quoting includes the financing element. If you take a loan for the car purchase, then that increases the cost on the purchase side of the analysis.

My plan going in was to get them a reasonably nice car that I was confident was very reliable (I bought used Lexuses - and they were/are) which I hoped they would hold onto for several years post graduation, allowing them to get established in their careers without the headache of a lease or loan payment. My older daughter graduated from college in 2015, my wife and I gifted the car to her upon graduation and six months later she decided she wanted a new SUV and that was that for my plan. We were not going to ask for the cash she got from the sale - we gifted her the car. Although had I known that would happen, I might have taken a different path on the gift (i.e., let her continue to use the car until she got something for herself, then sell the car and pocket the $).

So for me It cost me $30K for each car and "I" got/will get back zero when they are sold. Had I leased a new car at say $250 per month for 72 months it would have cost me $18K. In addition, by leasing you are getting brand new cars with current technology, which enhances their safety. So that's the basis for my comment.

Also, the leasing angle could be done at less cost. For example you could assume someone else's existing lease for the time from when your kid gets their license and they go away to college (maybe that is 12-18 months). Then you don't lease a replacement until they come home from school after their freshman year. You then enter into a 3 year lease and that carries them to college graduation. This would make the case for leasing even more compelling.


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