Trading a babied 96 Honda Accord for an accident-prone 99 Corolla

My husband has babied his 96 Honda Accord for 14 years and would like to give it to my 28 year old son to replace his '99 Toyota Corolla and was involved in three somewhat serious accidents in 4 years. Each time the insurance company paid to have it repaired, but the last time my son kept the cash. The metal on the hood is bent, letting rain get inside the engine compartment, the door handle broke off on the driver’s side, a power window doesn’t work, and one of the belts needs to be replaced. If you were 28 and working a low-paying job, would you keep the Corolla and run it until it dies, enjoying better gas mileage, or take the Honda Accord (which has 20,000 more miles on it)?

That depends on if you plan on having more accidents. If the lessons from the 3 serious accidents in 4 years aren’t evident and taking hold, then might as well keep the Corolla and crash it some more.

If these accidents are now behind this accident prone driver (it isn’t the Corolla that is accident prone, rather the person telling the car where to go and how fast who is accident prone) then transfer the Honda. A car without dents might get more respect from the operator and therefore be driven in a more defensive manner.

It seems this driver might benefit from more driver training. I wouldn’t transfer the Honda until at least 12 months of accident free driving with the Corolla.

Your husband is “enabling” your son. Your son is 28. It’s time he learned to live with disasters of his own making.

Keep the Accord. Let your son fend for himself…or not.

A little more information: my husband purchased a new car and doesn’t need the Honda anymore. If my son doesn’t want it, we’ll sell it to someone. The accidents that happened to the Corolla were all caused by other drivers, and my son didn’t ask for the Honda to be given to him. Mainly my question is: is the Honda more reliable than the Corolla, given the fact that the Corolla was in so many accidents.

Three serious accidents in four years is statistically significant.

Anyway, I still am not in favor of giving it to him. Selling it to him for fair market value would make more sense to me.

As to reliability, the models are both excellent, but of rain is getting into the engine compartment because of the damage to the hood, I’d have to consider the Hona moe reliable.

Thanks…I appreciate it.

If you give it to him, will he treat it well or abuse it as it appears he abused his Corolla? Would making him buy it from you cause him to treat it better than his last car? You and your husband are best able to figure this out, and you need not respond. I tend to think that selling it to him is the best idea, maybe at a discount, but you know best. A 1996 Accord is worth a little over $2000, and that’s not a lot. Maybe about $1250-$1500 would be enough to keep him interested in avoiding the body shop.

Let me state my view on wrecks. There are two parts of driving well. Of course, one must try to drive so as to avoid running into things.

But, also a good driver needs to look out for others who are about to run into him.

It’s called defensive driving.

Anyone who has had three wrecks in 4 years is not a good driver. He obviously drives too fast for conditions,cuts things too close, and, blindly or stupidly, take your choice, mine is stupidly, trusts everyone else to drive perfectly, then when he is in a wreck blames the others.

There are very few drivers who never, never make a trivial mistake, which requires others to avoid the wreck. In most cases, the trivial errors do not result in a wreck simply because other drivers cover for the mistake.

If this young man were my son, he’d be walking before I gave him any help at all.

I went 30 years with no wrecks. In 1998, I was driving through Austin, on I-35 Low, and suddenly cars stopped with no warning. All the cars ahead of me got stopped, so did I an the car behind me. The second car behind me did not get stopped, and my wife got a broken back.

My son, whom I taught to drive, used the logic I taught him, and informed me if I thought about it, I would find that I made a mistake of some kind.

After some soul-searching, I realized he was right. I should not have been on I-35 Low. Due to the constant ups and downs, it is inherently dangerous. I have not made that mistake again. Through traffic should be on I-35 High where you can see what is coming at you.

Yet, legally, all the fault was on the car which did not get stopped.

On the first accident, the traffic lights went out at night during a rainstorm and a car came from a side street without stopping, side-swiping the Corolla. A year later, a driver dropped off a resident of the house in which my son lived, and ran into the back of his car which was parked legally on the street. The third year my son was living in another state and was run into by a man who ran a stop sign. This was all bad luck for him and for his car, but he was not cited for any of the accidents. He’s not a speeder. If anything, he’s too slow to keep up with everyone else who’s in a hurry. The only reason I mentioned the accidents was to give information about the condition of the Corolla, not as a reflection of my son’s driving habits. Again, the question is: which would be the more reliable car…a Honda 3 years older with 160,000 miles on it, or a younger Corolla (with 130,000 miles) that’s been in three accidents.

I don’t believe the mileage points to one car or the other and accidents that simply caused some body panel damage does not either point too one car over the other. What tips the scales towards the Honda is the claimed level of maintence.

It sounds like your son assumes people are going to obey the traffic control devices rather than putting his car in their path. For the 1st and 3rd accidents, he should not be in the intersection until he can see evidence of the other driver’s intent to stop.

I’m with the vocal majority here; giving him a free Honda Accord will let him off easy and he won’t be any more careful with it than he currently is with the Corolla.

Without regard to any of the above, I’d take a well maintained 160,000 mile Accord over a likely neglected 130,000 mile Corolla in a heartbeat. Be sure that the timing belt maintenance has been done, because if it fails it will do very costly damage to the engine.