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Should new drivers get a car?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from beantownemom. Show beantownemom's posts

    Should new drivers get a car?

    I'd love to get some opinions about this question.  My 16 and a half year old daughter is very close to getting her driver's license.  She is begging for her own car.  I personally think that driving is a huge responsibility as is owning a car.  Not to mention it is expensive with insurance, gas, repairs etc...Plus, I only got a car when I was in college and needed it for an internship.  Thankfully, I inherited some money that allowed me to get it.

    What do you think?  How have you handled a new driver in the house?

    Thank you!
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from keane5050. Show keane5050's posts

    Re: Should new drivers get a car?

    My daughter is the same age and I am also thinking about this.

    The one thing I would definitely consider is the restrictions on Junior Operators.  For the first 6 months they can not drive with anyone, other than siblings, under 18 in the car. I think having her own car would make it very difficult to turn down her friends when they ask for a ride.   

    I have already told my daughter she will not get a car until she has been driving successfully for at least 6 months.  She will have to pay half of the insurance and for all the gas.
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from thirtysomething. Show thirtysomething's posts

    Re: Should new drivers get a car?

    Simple question -- does she need a car? Or will it merely be a status symbol of wealth (which she hasn't earned) and adulthood (which she hasn't reached)?

    You got a car when you needed it for an internship. I got a car when I needed it to transport myself to an off-campus class.

    The cost of owning/driving a car can easily surpass $5k a year, even for an economy vehicle. That is a mighty expensive toy...
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Should new drivers get a car?

    I say the same for a car as for a cell phone or any other thing that is handy and nice to have but not an absolute necessity:  She shouldn't have one just for the sake of having one, but you shouldn't say no just for the sake of saying no. 

    Would it be helpful to you and/or the rest of the family for her to have one, as well as to herself?  Can the family afford it if she puts in some proportion toward it that's doable, maybe spending the first six months of being licensed saving up for it?  If so, then find a safe, reasonably priced used car.  Maybe a friend or someone in the family who's in the market for a new(er) car has one to hand down or sell cheap?
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Lostgrouse. Show Lostgrouse's posts

    Re: Should new drivers get a car?

    I haven't had to go there yet with my kids (3 and 10 months), but when I was 16.5 I bought my own car with my dad co-signing for it.  I worked quite a bit during high school and I was able to afford my $248.82/month payments, my gas, and my insurance.  I actually needed the car to get to/from work and home from school after sports since I had no ride otherwise.  Both my brothers (older) were given a car at 16.5.  One came from my Grandfather who passed away and the other from my mom who was unable to drive.  

    I appreciated my car and I worked hard to keep it.  Granted, looking back I don't want my kids to work as much as I did in HS, but for me, a car was more of a necessity.  I often had to walk home from HS (3.5 miles) because I had no ride.  I don't remember driving my friends to school at all, but I'm sure that I did on occasion.  I also went off to college at 17, so I only had a car in HS for 6 months anyway.  
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from itsallnew. Show itsallnew's posts

    Re: Should new drivers get a car?

    I'm still expecting my LO (and am very happy I don't have to think about cars and driving just yet) but I had a car when I turned 16.  My parents had a 3rd car (a 15 yr old car) that I used to go to/from school, extra-curricular activities, and grocery shopping.  My mom always jokes that she didn't see the inside of a grocery store from when I turned 16 to after my younger sister (3 yrs younger) left for college.  Of course there were rules and limitations on car use, but overall I think it helped my two working parents not have to coordinate transporting us to our activities.
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from bostongrl. Show bostongrl's posts

    Re: Should new drivers get a car?

    I was in the same boat as Lost and itsallnew.   My mom worked full time and was juggling the demands of 3 teenagers.  Being the oldest, it was truly a good decision for our family if I was able to drive and had a car.  My sister and I attended a school in a different town, and I was able to drive us to school and back, in addition to taking my younger siblings to various practices, etc.  This releived my mom of a lot of driving/wasted time.  The deal was that my dad bought a very used car (an rather ugly 15 yo buick) that was in decent shape and was safe.  My mom paid for insurance, and I paid for gas.  I used the car to go to school, go to work, and run errands.  Did I occaisionally use it to go fun places?  sure.  But spending 45 minutes 4 days a week picking up my sister from gymnastics practice more than made up for the very occaisional fun outing. 

    It is an expensive purchase, but for some families it is a good decision.  Are you home with your daughter?  or do you work?  Do you live in a town/city with public transportation?  Are there school buses that take kids to school?  Do you feel that your family would benefit from an additional driver?  Does your daughter have in interest in learning how to care for and maintain a car?  (yes.. my dad made me demonstrate that I could change a tire, I was responsible for going to get oil changes, and paying for them, and I had to pay for a replacement windshield when a rock hit it)  Having a financial stake in the car (ie. paying for insurance) will automatically increase the chances of responsible behaviors, but there still obviously needs to be rules.  You should sit down together as a family (including younger siblings if applicable) and discuss the state rules, family rules, etc and decide what is best for all parties.
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from ash. Show ash's posts

    Re: Should new drivers get a car?

    To me this decision is about practicality.  Does she need a car?  Does she participate in a lot of things she needs to be driven to or have a job?  We got our daughter a car (well, we inherited it and when that died bought her a $350 clunker) because she participated in a lot of activities.  She also drove to school and drove her sister.  Part of the deal was also that she had to help us drive her sister.

    However, I think you have to control things with a teenager.  For me, she can't beg for one and she can't have one just because she wants one and everyone has one.  I think you need to make it clear that she is responsible for this car (not that she necessarily has to pay for everything that goes wrong, but she needs to help deal with the problems that may occur).  She does anything wrong--drives other underage kids, especially get ticketed for something--the expense of which will make your skin crawl off your body--and the car goes away.

    We inherited a car, so that made it easy. Insurance is very expensive (more than if you have 2 cars and 3 drivers because if there are 3 cars  and 3 drivers everyone is a primary driver on a car--your insurance is going to triple).  We made her pay for her own gas (we treated her from time to time), but took care of the insurance and repairs.

    I would not rule this out out of hand because it feels frivolous, but I would also not do it just because she thinks she needs it.  And I would somehow make her responsible for it either via money or physical care (taking it for checkups, inspections, etc).
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: Should new drivers get a car?

    This is a ways off for us, but I agree with Ash -- I think the decision should be based on need rather than want. 

    Here's how my (single, working) mom handled it: I inherited her old car, a 1979 chevy station wagon with more rust than paint and an eight-track player.  I paid for gas, she paid for insurance; I had to drive my sister to and from school, get myself places on-time, and generally make myself useful.  We lived in a very rural area with no public transportation and the buses didn't run after practice or games.  I definitely stuck out as the town was pretty affluent and kids routinely got brand new cars, but whatever.  I lived.  I don't remember complaining about it, honestly, b/c I had a car and was psyched. 

    My in-laws weren't in a postion or of a mind-set to buy either of their kids a car, so my SIL and husband pooled their funds and bought a car together.  I think the parents paid the insurance, but they were responsible for gas, oil changes, maintenance, etc ... SIL had first dibs while she was at home, but had to drive DH around; DH inherited the car when she went away to college.   

    I don't know what we'll do, as the kind of car a teenager can afford is not necessarily going to be the best-maintained or safest option.  We'll probably split the purchase price or time a car purchase so that we can "sell" our old car to the new driver ... but honestly, it would have to be a compellling reason to have the car besides "everyone else does."  We purposefully moved to a town where EVERYTHING is walkable and there's a bus in a pinch. 

    So, OP, I might say to your daughter -- "I'm open to discussing a car for you, but you have to make a case for why you NEED a car, not just want one, and you have to figure out how to pay for purchasing and maintaining said car."  Put it back on  her and give her the opportunity to approach this like a problem to be solved, rather than a "gimme." 

    I'm talking straight out of my a** as this is so far off for us, but that's what DH and I have talked about.  We live in a community where there's a lot of money & entitlement, so we talk a lot about how to raise grounded kids in an ungrounded time.  The car issue is a biggie for DH, so it's definitely been hashed out. 

  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from amy-lynn. Show amy-lynn's posts

    Re: Should new drivers get a car?

    I would say no, no car for a new driver. But I am from a relatively non-car owning clan. Growing up, my parents had only one car for most of my childhood (even when we lived in Santa Monica for 3 years, where in true LA fashion, it seemed like everyone owned cars not just a car). They only bought a second car when I was in middle school, and that was because my dad took a job that was not public transit accessible. (This was in Cleveland, so still a pretty good transit system, but not as good as Boston).
    I did get my first car from them my junior year in college. My Dad finally got a new car (the one I bought from him was that one he got when I was in middle school) and sold me his. He had a ton of work done on it before he sold it to me, at a ridiculously cheap price, but he didn't want me to get a "free" car. Paying for it (and the insurance, gas, maintenance and other fees, like on campus parking) was a way of demonstrating that I really wanted the car.
    My DH didn't even get his driver's license until we had been dating for years, so he didn't have a car. We are now a one car household, and I am not sure if we will ever be a two car household, unless I need one for getting to and from work. 
    If you do decide to get a car for your daughter, I would definitely make sure she pays for at least part of the cost, and is aware of what the actual costs involved are. I think teen drivers (even those who don't get their own cars) would be shocked to learn how expensive it is just for insurance, and many parents don't bother to explain it. 
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from katel. Show katel's posts

    Re: Should new drivers get a car?

    I would ask your daughter how she plans to pay for said car. I don't think it's necessary for you to give her one, but if she has plans (a job, etc) to earn at least some of the money to purchase and maintain the car, I think it would be a reasonable discussion.
    I got a car right after I got my license, but that's only because my 21 year old sister died about 3 months before I got my license, so I just took hers. And it had been handed down to her from my parents when they got a new one. I worked all through high school and was responsible for paying for my own insurance, etc...
    I'm not suggesting that your daughter shouldn't get a car, but she shouldn't just be given one. Even if you don't intend to have her pay for everything, she should be able to tell you in detail how she would afford gas, upkeep, insurance, etc. Take the discussion from there and see where it goes...