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Son's First Car

Old 01-21-2010, 09:12 AM
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Default Son's First Car

My son turns 16 in May and I need to get him a car to practice on and eventually drive.

Any suggestions for a reliable car in the 5K price range?

Thanks,
Tom

PS
Times have changed, I bought my own first car a 1971 Plymouth Barracuda for $800 as soon as I turned 16. Loved that car.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:18 AM
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here's the first reply that will sound off-the-wall to you. Get a car that will have buckets in front and remove the passenger seat for the first six months. Embarrassing? sure...but son won't have to bend to peer pressure about giving rides despite Dad's warnings not to. AMHIK.

During talks around the dinner table, see if your son looks at everybody he speaks to. If so, he's going to do the same thing while driving. No seat means less opportunity.

An absolute, NO Cell Phone while Driving rule might save his life...or at least the rear fenders of several townsfolk.

As far as what car, do you work on your cars (oil, brakes, fluids?). If so, an older MB or BMW that both looks good and is fair to work on. If you don't want him learning cars, then....Camry?
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:31 AM
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Doubtful (but possible) you'll find a used Benz or BMW in the 5K range that isn't already a pile/clapped out.

Pretty much any Honda/Toyota/Nissan etc will do the trick. Possibly some of the domestics as well.

Agree with the no cell phone comments.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:32 AM
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my first car was a V-8 camaro. I am alive despite what I did with that car

I made sure our son's car had a V-6, airbags and good safety ratings. it was a toyota, not the sexiest car but it got him around. it got keyed, dinged and bumped in the school parking lot or when he drove places (other schools, parties, etc) so I really like your budget.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:37 AM
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Don't get him a Honda Civic!
No beef to that vehicle and it seems
I read about someone getting killed in one
all the time.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:39 AM
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5K is my budget he has the option of adding more if he wants a car in a different price range.

It's very common in my town for parents to buy their kids brand new luxury cars, so naturally my son assumed I would do the same. NO WAY! I feel that if kids work for what they have, instead of being given it, they will respect their possession more and take care of them.

Maybe I'm just old school
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:41 AM
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Find him a 90's Camry..or Accord. He absolutely won't be able to blow it up. Plus, if he has the coolest car, he gets pressured to squire all his buddies around...just a thought...
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:42 AM
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Old school = good school
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:46 AM
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i'd go with the lowest miles on either a nissan sentra, ford focus or mazda 3 that you can find. you will not pay the premium for these that you will for a toyota or honda, so you should be able to find something a little newer and with fewer miles and they are about as reliable as anything. you might even be able to find a nissan altima or madza 6 in that price range although with a few more miles.

i use a nissan sentra as my beater car to commute into d.c. ( i was tired of all the damage and miles on the bmw). anyway, i paid $5K for my '99 sentra back in 03 and it now has 149K miles and still going strong -- it's a tough little car.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:49 AM
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Used Crown Victoria, Taurus or Buick Century.

He will be too embarrassed to drive it a lot.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by tcontic View Post
5K is my budget he has the option of adding more if he wants a car in a different price range.

It's very common in my town for parents to buy their kids brand new luxury cars, so naturally my son assumed I would do the same. NO WAY! I feel that if kids work for what they have, instead of being given it, they will respect their possession more and take care of them.

Maybe I'm just old school
That´s good. Keep being old school.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:51 AM
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If you are set on giving him his own transportation @ 16, give a pick-up.

Safer and the cost of fuel will help reduce the going wild factor of a 16 year old having his own wheels. Remember, 16 is very young and where they go wrong in thier choices. Only 2 years left till you can't demand any control. Best to you & yours.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:56 AM
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Mid-late 90's Jeep Cherokee. They've (2) been great for mine with 200K+ on each. $5K can buy 2 of them.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:56 AM
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Got the GF's kid a 01 Saturn SC-1 w/80k on it for $3200... Cute littlle 3dr coupe, good gas mi, put 20k on it so far, no problems
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:58 AM
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I second the crown vic. or try and find a station wagon (do they even make them any more?) I want my kids surrounded by mass for their first car, but SUV's scare me a little with first time drivers. Center of gravity demands a little more experience.

Love the idea of removing the seats though.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Afishinado View Post
Got the GF's kid a 01 Saturn SC-1 w/80k on it for $3200... Cute littlle 3dr coupe, good gas mi, put 20k on it so far, no problems
+1

Saturn SL or SC. Plenty of 'em around, cheap to repair, safe, and cheap to insure.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by cjd View Post
I second the crown vic. or try and find a station wagon (do they even make them any more?) I want my kids surrounded by mass for their first car, but SUV's scare me a little with first time drivers. Center of gravity demands a little more experience.

Love the idea of removing the seats though.
To bad no one makes an engine tuner to detune/rev limit/lower shift points for first time drivers.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:07 AM
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My son had to have a Jeep Grand Cherokee that a neighbor had for sale. Biggest POS I have owned. It last about a year and I (and he) got tired of it being in the shop.

Bit the bullet and invested in a Toyota 4 Runner. IMO that is the best car for a young male. His is a v-6 with 4WD that had 90,000 miles. It was a "cool" car to have and it worked great with his sports and lake equipment. Very reliable with a full frame.

He has had the car 4 years and it is still running strong and getting him through college. Works out great moving stuff back and forth to school. Even pulls a trailers when he needs to.

Set your budget and find the best 4 Runner that fits in the range.

Good luck.

BTW - I heard on the radio the other day that a lady had developed a program that will use your phone's GPS and will shut down text messages in and out when the phone is moving more than 5 mph.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob's Cay View Post
BTW - I heard on the radio the other day that a lady had developed a program that will use your phone's GPS and will shut down text messages in and out when the phone is moving more than 5 mph.
This is excelent.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:22 AM
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get him a 1986 caddy big good protection and no power!
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