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The one that's cheapest for the boy to insure. A small four door with a four banger. It's his first car. He won't care. When you need to get rid of it. It will sell quick. Remember, it's just a car.

Be prepared to spend too much. The cash for klunkers program decimated the used car inventory in this country. They were forced to crush them all. Auction prices are through the roof right now.

Hell, you can almost get the NADA fantasy numbers on a trade in these days!

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Volvo 240. Tough, reliable, cheap, and safe. I see these things all over the place. My fiance had one that finally died with 637,XXX miles on the odometer. They're ugly, but very practical. For a teenage guy maybe look for a 2 door coupe. They're a little sportier looking.

80-86 Ford F-100. Six banger, 3 on the tree or 4 on the floor. Cheap, bulletproof transportation for a teenage guy that doesn't want a car. Can approach 20mpg highway if the truck is a 2 wheel drive model. Stay away from automatics of this era, I've never had an auto tranny cost less than $1200 to rebuild. A clutch is $200 and 3 hours of father/son bonding. The 300 I-6 is a bomb proof engine. I've had ones making less than 20psi compression still start and go down the road.

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My son will be getting his learners permit next year. I'm trying to think ahead in case I stumble across any deals. I'll need to be adding a third car to the family fleet. This one will primarily be for my son.

What kind of car do you think is a good choice? Why?

I suggest you talk with your insurance agent. He was very helpful to us. We have three teenage drivers and he gave us very good info as to how the insurance company (State Farm) would assign various drivers to various cars. It's wasn't as simple or straightforward as I thought. In our case, it was actually cheaper to buy two "kid" cars than to risk having any of the three kids assigned to my car or my wife's car, which would have driven rates sky high.

I'd avoid anything pre-92, because mostly, they didn't have air bags before that.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Although I have no children, I have a theory. I remember what it was like as a teen driver, and what problems can happen when kids get together. If it where me, I'd get a small two seater truck. I'd rather have have only one other person riding with my son. The fewer teens there are, the smaller the chance bad idea will pop up.

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It cost around $1500 to add my 17 year old son to our policy this year. I was shocked, but the ageant said that was a good deal. His school grades have something to do with it, as does my credit score, and the types of cars in the household. It is not at all straight forward so talk with your ageant. Then last month my with went out and bought a Mitsubishi spider (small convertable) I told the ageant my son would never drive it, but they said It is a household policy and I could not veto my son from a given car. I don't remember how much but the fee went way up.

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It cost around $1500 to add my 17 year old son to our policy this year. I was shocked, but the ageant said that was a good deal. His school grades have something to do with it, as does my credit score, and the types of cars in the household. It is not at all straight forward so talk with your ageant. Then last month my with went out and bought a Mitsubishi spider (small convertable) I told the ageant my son would never drive it, but they said It is a household policy and I could not veto my son from a given car. I don't remember how much but the fee went way up.

Not meaning to hijack the thread, but a word of caution Mark. Take it easy on that Mitsu, I spend most of my twenty's and most of my money building 4 banker race cars. The tranny in those cars are weak, very weak. And when they fail, they fail big. Usually explode while shifting from 2-3. I'm talking normal street driving, not racing and banking gears. And I mean explode, like a fist size hole in the side cabinet and gears all over the street type explode.

I had two buddys with that car and we had to replace the trannys a couple of times in each car. The 4g63 is a well built engine though. Big power out of a little boost...

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It cost around $1500 to add my 17 year old son to our policy this year. I was shocked, but the ageant said that was a good deal. His school grades have something to do with it, as does my credit score, and the types of cars in the household. It is not at all straight forward so talk with your ageant. Then last month my with went out and bought a Mitsubishi spider (small convertable) I told the ageant my son would never drive it, but they said It is a household policy and I could not veto my son from a given car. I don't remember how much but the fee went way up.

Not meaning to hijack the thread, but a word of caution Mark. Take it easy on that Mitsu, I spend most of my twenty's and most of my money building 4 banker race cars. The tranny in those cars are weak, very weak. And when they fail, they fail big. Usually explode while shifting from 2-3. I'm talking normal street driving, not racing and banking gears. And I mean explode, like a fist size hole in the side cabinet and gears all over the street type explode.

I had two buddys with that car and we had to replace the trannys a couple of times in each car. The 4g63 is a well built engine though. Big power out of a little boost...

Oh Joy - I think I was happier not knowing that.

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Although I have no children, I have a theory. I remember what it was like as a teen driver, and what problems can happen when kids get together. If it where me, I'd get a small two seater truck. I'd rather have have only one other person riding with my son. The fewer teens there are, the smaller the chance bad idea will pop up.

Truck has my vote as well and here are some more reasons.

Regardless of what the kid ever says, the "kind" of vehicle they have matters. That poor kid driving the minny van to school probably catches a lot of flak. A truck is manly cool even if it is only a small 4 pumper. His (use deep manly voice) Truck can do things others can't again even though he won't ever do them anyways.

Also, trucks are usually better off in accidents do to positioning. Not sure of actual stats, but I believe trucks are safer overall.

And remember, if you get a truck that has cab seats, make sure those seats are forward facing not side facing. Even a simple rear end accident can cause a lot of head trauma as it bounces off the rear windshield.

Good luck, I have about 3 years then my 1st daughter is gonna want her car. So that means 5 years before I get it lol,.

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Maryland has a law similar to NY about not allowing other minors to in the car. Siblings are allowed but not a bunch of hell raisin adolescents.

Come to think of it, the first time I wiped out in my first car was after a friend said, "pass 'em man....pass 'em". I passed and continued into the ditch. Thankfully nobody was hurt and my so called friend said, "I'm outta here" and booked.

When I think back about some of my behavior, its a wonder I'm alive today.

Thanks for the opinions. I'm leaning towards small pickup. Maybe S-10 or Ranger. 4 banger would be perfect. If a car would be the choice then maybe a Subaru Impreza with the all wheel drive.

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Thanks for the opinions. I'm leaning towards small pickup. Maybe S-10 or Ranger. 4 banger would be perfect. If a car would be the choice then maybe a Subaru Impreza with the all wheel drive.

John, I'd stay away from all-wheel drive for a few reasons, learned from my wife's car, the outback. Everything costs more.

Need snow tires? That Subaru will need four matching tires. And so on.

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Well, here's a good story for all you dads of teens.

My 20 year old daughter was in the front passenger seat with one of her girlfriends driving and two others in the back seat. They're stopped at an intersection with one car in front of them when the driver starts acting funny. My daughter looks over to see her eyes rolled up and her head lolling to one side. Next thing, the driver's legs go stiff, her right foot slips off the brake and onto the accelerator. The car lurches forward and smashes into the car in front of them. The engine is racing, the wheels are spinning, and the two girls in the back can't manage any reaction beyond, "Oh my god! Oh my god!"

Daughter pulls up the parking break, kicks the driver's foot off the accelerator, pulls the key, and holds onto the driver, who's now gone stiff as a board and started to convulse. The woman who was driving the car in front calls 911 & then takes over holding the girl, who's started to froth & flail about. Daughter calls the girl's mother to find out if this has ever happened before and to ask what's best to do. The mom says that, yes, it's happened before and just hold onto her and try to prevent her from hurting herself till it's over. The girls in the backseat are still weeping & screaming, "Oh my god! Oh my god!"

As it turns out, the girl is epileptic . They figured it was ok for her to drive because she "probably" wouldn't seize while driving. (??!!??)

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Hi,

I don't think I'd want a teenager to have a pickup truck, a ragtop jeep or any kind of open vehicle where they could pile a bunch of kids into the back. How many of us remember riding in the back of a pickup when we were younger and some of the silly sh*t that we did?

I was working the MP Desk at Womack Army Hospital back in 1976 when they brought in a young lady who'd fallen out of the back of a pickup full of young people and been run over by the car following and dragged about 30ft. before the driver could stop. It wasn't pretty.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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When my boys reached that age we also asked the insurance company what car will keep the rate low. I then purchased a very small 4 door Toyota Tercel, Automatic (very important). The engine will outlast the body. 4 doors lowers the $$$$, its small enough that they can park anywhere, practice parrellel parking etc. And the extra set of doors is perfect for when he gets a job delivering pizza to pay for it...

I tought them, but we also sent hem to Drivers Education because it lowers first time drivers cost by about 33%, for boys. Girls rates were lower, they couldnt give me a reason for this. I can only speculate.

We also have graduated driving licensed here as well, which is a great idea.

Steve

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Girls rates are lower because statistically, they're less likely to do stuff like racing, spinning wheels and other kind of activities that are wreckless.

Yeah, they're also better at texting, multi tasking while driving, and they use the mirrors more than boys.

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I am in the same boat. My 17 year old son is about to get his license. I am considering assisting my son in purchasing a used car for himself. I like the VW Jetta because it gets good mileage and is safer than similarly sized cars.

To help prevent accidents with a bunch of kids in a car, NJ has a rule that after you get your license you have a "Restricted" license for a year prohibits you from having more than a single passenger with you in the car when you are driving except if one of your parents is in the car. If you have two younger siblings you cannot even drive them in the car at the same time unless you parent is in the car. You cannot drive after 11 PM. You have to place a sticker on your license plate that indentifies you as a restricted driver.

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There's one thing in this thread I keep thinking about.

Most people talk a good game when it comes down to how they react in an emergency situation. The thing is, nobody really knows until it happens to them.

I don't think we have any control over it. Some panic, some freeze, some react. Katen's kid reacted, kept her composure, and likely stopped what could have been a much worse accident. That's a big thing and now that she knows how she'll react, it''ll stay that way for life. Good for her and her dad too.

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