June 23, 2015

My Son's First Car

My son is turning 11 (?!) in a couple of weeks and we have already started to talk about getting him his first car.  I know it sounds strange to think about something that he won't use for another six years, but these kids grow up fast and before you now it he will be a 17 year old kid driving himself to high school.  The thought of those two things makes me want to cry, but life just doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

The reason that we have been discussing his first car is because my wife has been talking about getting a new car herself.  The timing seems to be about right.  She owns the car for the next six years and then we hand it down to our son when he is ready to drive.  You might think we are spoiling our kids, but even I was handed down a car to use when I was young.  He will have to pay for things like insurance and gas, but a six year old car that will hopefully still be in good shape will be his, assuming he wants it.  And what teen ager looking for a little freedom wouldn't?

I can remember my first car. My parents used to drive nothing but K Cars.  I think my dad said it was because they were easy to fix and the parts were cheap.  After we got rid of our green Chevy Nova and our Ford Station Wagons with the rear fold out seats, it was nothing but K Cars for the next 10 years.  

Ain't she a beauty?

So that's what I ended up with when I got older.  It was this beauty of a wagon with the paneling and also a grey sedan.  Shockingly I have no pictures of that vehicle whatsoever... who would?  This wasn't the coolest car, but when you are 18 does it really matter?  It had wheels and when it wasn't in the shop it got me from point A to point B.  A babe magnet it was not, but it was a conversation piece. There's a sense of freedom you get by having a car, even one as ugly as this one.

The only picture of the two together, what a moment.

The first car that I ever bought myself was a Dodge Neon.  They no longer made the K Car at that time, and this seemed like the next best option.  It was cheap and it was red.  It lasted about seven years until the brakes went and the floor started to leak every time that it rained.  It stunk like mildew because it never seemed to dry out.  My wife and I bought a Volkswagen Jetta after we got married.  I was so sick of driving the Neon that I would take the Jetta work every chance that I got. It was fun to drive.

A couple of years ago when my niece was old enough to drive and needed a car we gave her our old Jetta.  At that point we had bought a new car and instead of getting rid of it, we handed it down to her.  It needed a little bit of work, but for a first car it's been great for her. Not surprisingly 13 years after we bought it, it still runs.

This is the day we took Carter home from the hospital

Perhaps my favorite car that we have owned was the first car that we had as a family, a Honda Pilot.  We brought both of our kids home from the hospital after they were born in this car.  At the time neither of us were ready to get a minivan, but our thoughts on that have changed.  We are now a minivan family.

So I don't know what kind of car we are going to get my wife and in turn my son.  My wife kind of wants a two door convertible, but I just don't think that's practical and I can't send my son to school driving a nicer car than I would be.  Part of me just wants to go and find a 25 year old K car and force him to drive around in that, but my son is way cooler than I was at his age and that wouldn't be fair.

Of course with any vehicle we need to think about safety first. When my son is ready to drive we will have to stress to him that auto accidents are the number one killer of teens in America.  They account for over 5000 deaths annually and the summer period between Memorial Day and Labor Day are often referred to as the deadliest 100 days for teen drivers.

Michelin wants us to know that of the 2.2 million accidents that occur with inexperienced drivers annually, 12% are caused by tire related issues. Driving on under inflated tires or tires with low tread depth can lead to safety issues on the roadways.  Fortunately accidents due to improperly maintained tires can be preventable.  By checking your tire pressure monthly and knowing how to judge your tread depth, Michelin knows they can reduce the yearly number of accidents caused by tire related issues.

So what was your #FirstCarMoment?  I assume it was as ugly as mine was?

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Michelin for this promotion. I have received compensation for my participation, but my first car memories are my own.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


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