How did you get your young adult behind the wheel?

Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
441
Location
Wisconsin
I would suggest a small honda civic or toyota corolla. Manual better than auto. Easy to service and easy to see out of. Another option would be a small tacoma pickup with manual. Any of these cars are easy to service and offer high resale / low depreciation. So purchased right you could drive them a year or two and make a few bucks.
The maintainance a young person should learn is oil changes , spark plugs and coil packs , tires and brake replacement and wiper blades and bulbs. And how to safely change a tire.
Eventually if you want your kids to love driving a miata or bmw z4 or z3 are excellent ways to feel how well a car can work and be fun to drive. My daughter got an old bmw 3 series to learn how a car is supposed to drive. Super safe handling and great brakes and a well fitted seat make her a more involved driver.
I would avoid any suv or truck raised very tall.. and any car with too much power and any car you cant see out of very well. I would avoid electric cars as they have instant power and are way too new.
A young person that started with a manual trans and small car can drive any car later in life. Someone only in some safety bubble w lane assist and safety braking and auto everything will learn to be uninvolved..
Driving a manual will mean that other kids wont be driving around your car without your knowing whats going on. Another good thing.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2005
Messages
2,457
Location
Danville, Indiana
I'm not sure it was the best route, but here's what we did: We picked up a 2017 Renegade for my oldest daughter, but from a salvage seller. It had a salvage title due to major hail damage and some right front suspension damage that apparently happened while in the hands of the insurance company. It only had about 14k miles on it, IIRC. Anyway, we had to put a few thousand bucks into it to get the suspension and right front fender corrected. We also put a new hood on it. The body work was done by a local high school, so we only paid for parts and materials and they did a pretty good job, including an outstanding job of matching the paint, which was a difficult deep blue (almost purple).

Overall, I think we got her into quite a bit of car for the money. We probably had $14k in a car that would have sold for around 20 at a dealership. The hail damage to the roof and here and there on the quarter panels made us not worry about her scratching it. BUT, it turns out she is VERY good at taking care of her car. She kept it exceptionally clean and did a great job of tracking maintenance.

My son, on the other hand, I approached differently. We picked up a 2004 Grand Cherokee that was in pretty good shape to start with for about $4k. We put about $2k into it, including he and I changing the water pump, new cooling hoses, flushing/filling the radiator, spark plugs, serpentine belt, gas struts (tailgate and hod), etc. It's still in good shape, but he took it off-road in a friend's backyard and tore the front fender liners out, pulled off the front bumper, and broke a rear shock and mount. He also sawed off the muffler because he thought it sounded cool. He's now paying for a new muffler and will be paying to have new fender liners and the bumper re-installed. I'm glad we didn't get something more expensive. Btw, that 4.7 V8 is doing well and is STRONG. He understands that it will last a long time if he takes care of it and especially if he avoids overheating it and causing valve seats to break loose. So we pay particular attention to the cooling system health, including that weird hydraulic (power steering fluid driven) fan system. It'll be fixed up to 100% again soon and his lighter pockets will hopefully teach him a lesson.

Since then, my oldest daughter went to work at a BMW dealership and got a smokin' deal on a salvage title 2011 M3 with a retractable hard top. She gets 1/2 price labor and parts at the dealership, too. The car is mint. It lost its first engine at 1k miles while in dealer possession, so they wrote it off, then put in a new engine and gave it a salvage title and sold it to an old couple who barely drove it. The dealer continued to maintain it. So she picked it up for a song and takes excellent care of it. So my next oldest daughter now has the Renegade and so far, she's taking excellent care of it, too.

So my daughters are MUCH better at caring for and maintaining their cars than my oldest son, who thinks he knows everything about cars. Lol!

What's funny is that I kept my old 2008 Wrangler so that my son could drive it when we go off-roading. Yet he still felt the need to take that Grand Cherokee out and beat the heck out of it. Go figure.

Btw, why all Jeeps? Because they grew up going on adventures in our Wranglers and all wanted Jeeps until the oldest broke out for a BMW.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2008
Messages
6,860
Location
Cali
Bought my youngest daughter a new base 5 speed Saturn ION and my oldest a base Chevy Cobalt with auto, wife gave the oldest driving lessons and I gave my youngest lessons on how to drive a stick shift. They both have their own cars and you would think that they are qualifying for the Indy 500 the way they drive. :eek:
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
441
Location
Wisconsin
Bought my youngest daughter a new base 5 speed Saturn ION and my oldest a base Chevy Cobalt with auto, wife gave the oldest driving lessons and I gave my youngest lessons on how to drive a stick shift. They both have their own cars and you would think that they are qualifying for the Indy 500 the way they drive. :eek:
For many reasons I would never buy a kid a new car. They can reseeve that for after they have earned the money and privilege later.
The cars you chose were fine. Manual trans is a great learning experience and they feel more part of driving the car.
I just feel that if you are giving a young person a vehicle it needs to be safe.. good tires and brakes and exhaust. And mostly reliable. But new or nearly new is not good. Let the kid learn how to care for a car and keep it clean. Check oil and tires. Etc
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
441
Location
Wisconsin
I'm not sure it was the best route, but here's what we did: We picked up a 2017 Renegade for my oldest daughter, but from a salvage seller. It had a salvage title due to major hail damage and some right front suspension damage that apparently happened while in the hands of the insurance company. It only had about 14k miles on it, IIRC. Anyway, we had to put a few thousand bucks into it to get the suspension and right front fender corrected. We also put a new hood on it. The body work was done by a local high school, so we only paid for parts and materials and they did a pretty good job, including an outstanding job of matching the paint, which was a difficult deep blue (almost purple).

Overall, I think we got her into quite a bit of car for the money. We probably had $14k in a car that would have sold for around 20 at a dealership. The hail damage to the roof and here and there on the quarter panels made us not worry about her scratching it. BUT, it turns out she is VERY good at taking care of her car. She kept it exceptionally clean and did a great job of tracking maintenance.

My son, on the other hand, I approached differently. We picked up a 2004 Grand Cherokee that was in pretty good shape to start with for about $4k. We put about $2k into it, including he and I changing the water pump, new cooling hoses, flushing/filling the radiator, spark plugs, serpentine belt, gas struts (tailgate and hod), etc. It's still in good shape, but he took it off-road in a friend's backyard and tore the front fender liners out, pulled off the front bumper, and broke a rear shock and mount. He also sawed off the muffler because he thought it sounded cool. He's now paying for a new muffler and will be paying to have new fender liners and the bumper re-installed. I'm glad we didn't get something more expensive. Btw, that 4.7 V8 is doing well and is STRONG. He understands that it will last a long time if he takes care of it and especially if he avoids overheating it and causing valve seats to break loose. So we pay particular attention to the cooling system health, including that weird hydraulic (power steering fluid driven) fan system. It'll be fixed up to 100% again soon and his lighter pockets will hopefully teach him a lesson.

Since then, my oldest daughter went to work at a BMW dealership and got a smokin' deal on a salvage title 2011 M3 with a retractable hard top. She gets 1/2 price labor and parts at the dealership, too. The car is mint. It lost its first engine at 1k miles while in dealer possession, so they wrote it off, then put in a new engine and gave it a salvage title and sold it to an old couple who barely drove it. The dealer continued to maintain it. So she picked it up for a song and takes excellent care of it. So my next oldest daughter now has the Renegade and so far, she's taking excellent care of it, too.

So my daughters are MUCH better at caring for and maintaining their cars than my oldest son, who thinks he knows everything about cars. Lol!

What's funny is that I kept my old 2008 Wrangler so that my son could drive it when we go off-roading. Yet he still felt the need to take that Grand Cherokee out and beat the heck out of it. Go figure.

Btw, why all Jeeps? Because they grew up going on adventures in our Wranglers and all wanted Jeeps until the oldest broke out for a BMW.
Jeeps are far from reliable.. but thats your choice and I assume they crash well just in case. I like the idea of a safe but salvage title car.
Teaching a kid how to look over and shop for a used car would be an awesome education experience.. but many adults have no clue to pass along.
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
441
Location
Wisconsin
My daughter had a 06 cobalt that was not in good shape. I moved it to my ex wife to care for or sell or whatever. So my daughter is driving a 1995 bmw e36 3 series convert.
When used car prices get back to more normal in a year or two I think I may buy her an 06 to 09 or so toyota highlander. They are easy to see out of and very very reliable.
Rules for my daughter.. are cars must have great tires and brakes. No exceptions..
 
Joined
Dec 5, 2003
Messages
2,705
Location
New England, USA
Wish I could....15 y/o Daughter has no interest in learning to drive cars, boats or try flying, with all available to her. Kids these days.

Not just her, pretty much every kid in our circle has limited to no interest in any of them beyond simple transportation to their games, etc.

Gave a friend's Son a ride to MVY just before COVID, he spent the entire 30 mins or so on his 'phone.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2005
Messages
2,457
Location
Danville, Indiana
Jeeps are far from reliable.. but thats your choice and I assume they crash well just in case. I like the idea of a safe but salvage title car.
Teaching a kid how to look over and shop for a used car would be an awesome education experience.. but many adults have no clue to pass along.
Everyone tells me that. But that hasn't been our experience with any of them.

Yeah, I think they learned a lot from it. The oldest went that same direction with her M3 and she wound up with a helluva lot of car for her money. But BMW reliability is a whole other story, Lol. She's learning that, too. Good thing she gets the big discount on parts and labor at her employer. That car is a hangar queen compared to her 1st car, the Renegade.

I forgot to mention that each of my 3 driving kids has learned to drive a manual. I agree with you that this is good experience. They all love it, too. My son has driven some pretty tough off-road trails in my 08 Jeep and handled the manual extremely well in the rough stuff. I was pretty proud of him!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
441
Location
Wisconsin
I would be proud of all of them. Manual cars offer a great driving experience. Hopefully they develop a love of cars that have clutches and are fun.
I have an old bmw. The newer stuff scares me. I am in the bmw and porsche club and love the more simple older cars.
Your daughter might really like a miata or an older z3 or z4 some day. Great cars for the money and these days with cvt trash.. and auto everything a basic manual car without traction modes and all the crazy electronics offers a really pure fun driving experience.
You sound like an awesome dad. Bless you and your family. Scott
 
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