Family Car Planning--2 kids will be driving soon, need car management strategy

Here’s our family situation:

Mom (2013 Ford Escape)
Dad (2000 Honda Odyssey, 2007 Mazda 3 manual trans)
son-15 yrs old
daughter-13.5 yrs old

Son can learn to drive on the Odyssey, so we’re OK for a year or two. If he learns to drive manual trans, then son and dad can share the Ody/Mazda. But the Odyssey is getting old, and son likely won’t be comfortable with manual from day 1. Should we get another car or two for the kids after they get their licenses? The assumption is they would take the cars with them when they go off to college. If no kids, Dad would drive the Odyssey and Mazda for another 3 or 4 years, then sell both, take over the Ford from Mom, and buy new car for Mom, ending up with two cars in family.

Need advice.

Kids from working class families didn’t get cars when I was young until they got jobs and bought their own. The only buddy I had that was given a car when he got his license was from a wealthy family that gave him a brand new one.

You have three vehicles in the family now. Let the kids share one of them. As to the son not being comfortable with a manual, tough. Let him get used to it. It’ll do him good.

Kids in college don’t need cars unless they’re attending a commuter college. Even of they are, there’s usually public transportation, scooters (for better climates), bicycles, and buddies.

I’m not an advocate of giving kids cars when they get their licenses unless it’s an absolute necessity. I’m an advocate of their earning their own first car through work.

^^^ What he said ++

I agree with the same mountainbike as well.

MTB, Joe, missle–I appreciate your comments. Thanks.

My dad taught me how to drive a stick shift after I’d had 2 weeks of practicing in mom’s automatic. Took about half a day and I was just fine. This is an important life skill that will come in handy some day - - you never know when the kid’s gonna be out with his friends, in someone’s stick shift car, and everyone’s drunk but your kid. Nice if your kid can be the DD rather than having to walk home or, worse, being pressured into letting his drunk friend drive instead.

I somewhat agree with the others on whether or not the kid should get a car. I was not allowed to have an afterschool job when I was in high school, but I was also expected to pay for my own car. That was, frankly, dumb, because unless I started selling heroin on the street corner, I had no way of earning the money for a car. If your kid is pouring all of his energy into academics, I don’t see anything particularly wrong with buying him a car. It doesn’t have to be a Corvette. Just something safe, and hopefully underpowered so he doesn’t kill people with it.

If he’s not putting a good effort into school, though, then yes, he needs to be shown that the real world has bills and having money to pay them is a good thing, so he should be buying his own ride.

You can NOT be so pessimistic about their potential dislike of a manual trans untill they have some time with it.
And THEN if it’s made his primary vehicle…?

Case in point, my daughter.
learned on automatic 79 Chevy pickup and 92 Ford Explorer.
Now , we’re not a ‘‘car for every kid’’ family so she drove those till graduation. The best we could do then was a used GSA motorpool Ford Ranger which I picked up for a song and had re-painted.

  • when we showed her the ‘‘new’’ truck her face lit right up untill she hopped inside and…’‘DAD…IT’S STICK ! I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE A STICK !’'
    My dad and I shared a glance then simutaneously and matter-of-factly stated ‘‘so you’ll learn…no biggie.’’ as we shrugged our shoulders.
    – so with time on his hands, my dad took her under his wing and did just that in short order.

Two years later she rolled the Ranger on late morning ice hiding in the shadows. After which I simply picked up an old Taurus ( tree branch dent over the driver’s door ) till she could buy a car of her own.

— here’s the part I need rubidium to note -----
When she looked inside the Taurus she was…DISAPPOINTED …! ‘’ Aw dad, it’s just an automatic…I miss my manual :frowning: ‘’

When she met her now husband in Honolulu, he had a Miata manual. It was quite cute when he was worried about letting her drive his precious manual Miata because she knew she could surprize him with her expertise.
When they moved stateside they drove that Miata coast to caost and settled in DC where they had a manual Jeep Wrangler and a Manual Honda Civic hybrid.

Not untill last year did she go back to auto when they got a new Escape …and , again slightly dejected when she couldn’t get that in a manual !

— here’s the part I need rubidium to note -----

Rubidium is a chemical element with the symbol Rb and atomic number 37. Rubidium is a soft, silvery-white metallic element of the alkali metal group, with an atomic mass of 85.4678.

So I wonder then if THAT is indicative of the OP since they chose it as a screen name ?
Are they silvery white ?
Soft ?
or metalic perhaps ?

If you want your son to drive a car regularly, it should be the Odyssey since it is the oldest. You won’t mind as much if he crashes it, say, in the school parking lot. New drivers are more likely to have accidents and you should be ready for it. Still, the more he drives, the better he will get at it. My kids had accidents, but in older cars that I was not too concerned about. And speaking of the school parking lot, the other kids are more likely to have accidents, too. If he drives to school, he should have the car you care least about. The downside of the Odyssey is that it seats at least 7, and that is a whole lot of distraction if all the seats are full. It might be time to sell the Odyssey and buy a used sedan for about the same money. Or buy Dad a new car and give the Mazda to the boy if he is willing to drive a manual trans. Last, if you want your son and eventually your daughter to have cars, that’s not only great, it’s your business. All 3 of my children had cars that I owned until they were ready to buy on their own. The oldest bought herself a car and the other two still drive one of my cars. I can afford it, and I’m happy to do it.

What I did was buy a spare car in case my primary work car went south. Then that was the extra car that was used. It was a good car but probably five years old.

I kinda agree with Mountainbike though. Told the story before but one of my friends in high schools Dad owned the Ford/Mercury/Lincoln dealership but the car the three of them had to use was a 54 Ford in 1965. It ran good and looked OK but was still an old car. They said if they didn’t take that one they would have had to walk instead so they were happy to have it. Their Dad had been a Firestone exec before he decided to slow down and move west so there was no lack of funds. He just was going to make his kids work for what they got.

The kids are OK but the friends are not going to encourage good driving. Their enemies (all other drivers) are dangerous and can’t stay on the proper side of the road. The center line used to be crossed if a driver dropped dead while driving. Now nobody looks at the road.

Therefore, you want to act like FDR. “We have nothing to fear except liability and poverty.” So have some fear and help them find a car when they are 18 and make them get their own insurance policy.

Make your own reasons to follow my advice or disregard it completely. There is other advice out there. If you follow any advice, talk about the price and cost of everything and let the kids see the numbers. Too many parents don’t discuss any facts of life. Often the now adult children go off on their own with no idea of what is about to hit them.

rubidium Teach your son with the Mazda. I taught my 15 year old son to drive a manual in 1983. After that he drove automatics. In 2011 he needed a car and I gave him my extra 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse 5 speed. I took him to an empty parking lot and he drove the manual just fine. He is still driving it today. Your Son may never drive another manual but if he has to he will thank you.

shadowfax I was allowed to have any job I could get. My Dad commuted over 40 miles round trip and bought old cars for this. When I was 13 years old he gave me a 1954 Chevrolet 3 speed manual and taught me how to drive it. We lived on a semi rural gravel road so I could practice without fear of being caught by the one police officer. When school was out for the summer I got a job which involved driving old military Jeeps towing irrigation pipe trailers. Since the Jeeps had non syncro 3 speeds I learned how to double clutch. I was allowed to have any vehicle I wanted as long as I paid for it plus gas, insurance, and maintenance/repairs. Out of over 40 vehicles I have owned less than 10 automatics. Today I drive a 2010 KIA Forte SX 6 speed manual, The dealership had a hard time finding it. I’m afraid it might be my last manual.

Sounds a bit soon to be making college translortation plams. Traditional cimmuter campuses don’t necessarily require a cat. Therr are usually plenty of apartments rented to students near the schools. Of course, one of the advantages or a commuter college is living at home and saving money.

Even big-name universities have had a hard time keeping up with building enough housing. Most living in dorms is standars for a couple of years, but some make no guarantees beyond that. On of your kids may opt to spend a couple of years at at JC to save money. You can deal with transpirtatuon needs whenbyou find out where your kids were accepted. In the meanwhile I"d yry to make as few drastic moves as possible. Keep you current vehifles running another couple of years more, unless they need najor repairs that aren’t feasible. Then you can nake college decisions on artisyic nerit, not whether yout Odyssey needs a new tranny. Bring your kids into this pricess now. If they are college material this will give them practice any aanalysism. Wbat ate the possible transpirtation needs based on academic interests, reliability of cars you own, gas mileagre, eheyher they’re better suited as the sole vehicle in a resuxential setting or is it just for trips to the family home and ocassional shipping trips. How social is the kid? Can he rrspinsibly be expected to transpirt his friends, or would a car that doesn’t welcome passengers be better. Will he be using this vehicle to carry most of his initial needs, you 'll want aomething with decent cargo area.

Therr ate so many factors, but you have several yeara to figure it out (not ignoring your needs, toi). Have fun. Thus could be a very interesting project and a good way ti get kids interesred as personal transportatiin, not juat aomething mommy and daddy prividers. Give extra weight to the kid who does the best job analyzing hia needs. The lazy one can settle for whatever is left.

Another advantage of the Mazda3 is that it is a small car. This will make it easier to maneuver and park during the driving test.

BTW, I’m more literate than that last message made me sound. I was typing it on my phone, with its tiny keyboard and hyperactive spellchecker messing up words as I type them. I can’t get the cursor to go where I want it after I’ve entered a longish message, so correcting errors is painful. When my tablet has a charge, like now, I don’t use the phone.

NOW, it’s funny knowing what we know, to attempt to read through that again.
Funny , amusing, laughable even.

The neighbor’s son is just finishing high school. The parents bought him his first car, a 2004 Ford Focus with power nothing and a stick shift. The car is in good shape and they got it cheap. It’s an ideal first car., and the son will learn to appreciate driving with a stick shift and rolling up his windows.

Glad you got a laugh out of it. I know there are errors when I use the phone, but figure a few don’t matter. Then I reread that message and realized just how messed up they could get. I guess from now on I should only do this when the tablet is charged. I used to do it at my computer, but the computer doesn’t work well while I’m in bed. For one thing, it’s in the wrong room. This Nexus 7 tablet is perfect for use in bed. It’s thin and light and the virtual keyboard is a comfortable size. I think a 10-inch model would be too big. I can hold this in one hand and type with thumb of other hand. Anyhow, sorry for any past garbled messages. The CT editor bears some of the blame. I often could not scroll to where I wanted to place the bottom. Instead, it would bounce right back down to the message bottom.