By on July 5, 2011

Steve writes:

My 24 yr old daughter had been living on her own and driving an ’01 2 door Accord she’d totaled and had repaired. Not a safe car (air bags not replaced), but her choice– until she had the world’s most beautiful baby, our first and
only granddaughter.

We are not poor, and our granddaughter’s safety was at stake, so 18 months ago we bought her a new ’09 Elantra. Our reasons were it had a 100k warranty and modern safety systems.

Last week she totaled it. Nobody hurt, thankfully. She’s getting $12k+ for the wrecked car. We’re not particularly inclined to get her yet another new car, as you might imagine. But, there’s the world’s most beautiful toddler to consider. She says she wants something bigger and has been looking at Accords, but in her price range they’re much older and I presume less safe. Actually, she wants a small CUV, but with her driving I’m even less inclined to support that.

I’ve been thinking another Elantra in the ’08 range or perhaps a bit newer as we can kick in some money if we have to. Or should we buy something even newer? I don’t see much improvement in terms of safety in the past two years, but new does mean a meaningful warranty.

Any suggested used cars no smaller than an Elantra with up to date safety systems and reasonable reliability?(although given her driving, reliability might not be that important!)

Steve answers:

Consider yourself great parents with ‘extraordinary’ patience for a daughter in transition.

That being said, a late model compact car should be perfectly fine for your daughter. If she liked the Hyundai Elantra I would stick with that. You WILL likely have to pay a bit more for that model than you expect. Hyundai is a hot name right now and the lack of retail sales over the last several years has put a severe strain on supply.
Which brings me to the other side of the equation. If we take a look at the top picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2008 – 2009 , we find several alternatives.
  • Honda Civic 2009 4-door models with optional electronic stability control
  • Mitsubishi Lancer 2009 models with optional electronic stability control
  • Scion xB
  • Subaru Impreza with optional electronic stability control
  • Volkswagen Rabbit 2009 4-door models
I have always liked the Lancer. Out of these five models it would likely be the best ‘bang for the buck’ in the used car market. Any of the above models along with the Elantra should be a good fit. My wife drove a 1997 Escort when our first kid came along due in great part to it’s safety ratings. Now she drives a Civic and we have two kids. Great car with great safety to boot.


I would not indulge her ‘wants’ at this point and just give her what she ‘needs’. You have already given her way too much Economic Outpatient Care.



Sajeev answers:



This is tough to armchair.  It sounds like your daughter needs to learn from her mistakes, not to mention her actions put another life at stake.  I reckon we all pay higher insurance premiums for our collective mistakes, but for her own well being, a full size car that’s on the right side of the depreciation curve is her best choice.


No matter what, all late model cars are remarkably safe.  They are packed with airbags and sport months of chassis R&D in simulated and real crash tests.  The price is a little tight for new and clean Camrys, Accords and what not, I’d recommend a little tough love: a ex-fleet Chevy Impala or perhaps the Ford Five Hundred/Taurus/Montego/Sable.

Few people (cough, Zackman) go out of their way to recommend these fleet worthy machines, but the price is right and respect for the Laws of Physics is present, accounted for.  And if your daughter complains about these choices, remind her to spend less time worrying about her choice of vehicle and more on  her daughter’s well being. Good luck to you.


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102 Comments on “New or Used: For My Daughter’s Daughter...”

  • avatar

    Whatever you get, make sure it’s cheap – it seems you’ll end up buying another one soon.

  • avatar

    Given the track record I would recommend taking the $12K and putting it into a 529 savings plan (as tax laws allow) for the beautiful grand daughter and a bus pass for the daughter.

    Your daughter needs to learn that mom and dad are not going to bail her out for life mistakes. Tough one to do as a parent (and speaking as a parent of one who recently flew the nest) but your daughter will be much, MUCH, better off in the long run, and by proxy it teaches a valuable lesson to the grand daughter.

    • 0 avatar


    • 0 avatar
      Ian Anderson


    • 0 avatar

      If buses aren’t convenient enough, even taxi’s are cheaper than spunking money on replacement car after replacement car. Take Holden’s advice, except take some of the money and put her on an advanced driving course. It sounds like she definitely needs more tuition.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed that a Porsche Club advanced driver skills day and a DPE class is in order. It is the greatest gift they can give to both.

        Son number one has broken my heart by deciding he doesn’t need a driver’s license. Daughter number one is far more of a gearhead – she will need 50 hours of real world driving in all conditions (rain, snow, night, heavy traffic rural, high speed interstate, school zones, etc. etc.) plus taking at least a driver skills course and then four autocrosses before I will let her drive solo, mom agrees. Too damn easy to get a license in this country. There are so many inexpensive skid schools taught by great organizations. Amazing to me how parents will pay $1000 or more for “driving school” but won’t pay $50 to $100 for an all day advanced driving course out of fear they may hurt the family car (but having it totalled in an accident is somehow better) or it is a not needed expense.

      • 0 avatar

        Your kids are lucky they have a gearhead as a parent. My mother and father would struggle to find the oil filler cap on their cars and don’t know understeer from their underpants. I was given exactly what you described – a bunch of paid ‘lessons’, a quick pass and then I was unleashed on the UK roads at the tender age of 19. 10 years, 15 cars, 2 minor motorsport events and 1 Canadian driving license later I am still learning a lot about driving. If I had my way, every driving test in the world would be as hard as the one in Finland. Then we’d see some real improvement.

    • 0 avatar

      +1,000,000 – throw in a used Impala, too!

      My daughter had three incidents with our 1990 Acclaim. Yanked off the trailing arm and messed up the front end hitting a curb at Steak ‘n’ Shake, hitting someone and crashing the front end – air bag didn’t go off – fixed that, hitting a guy and really messing up the front end – this time the air bag did go off – all three times, she was o.k. That one cost me $800 fixing it myself and having someone paint the hood and Dodge resetting the clock spring on a new airbag. That was it. The car was tired by that time, so we traded it for a 1997 Cavalier, got $1000 for it, too! That Cavalier served her well – no incidents. Later, she bought a 2003 Civic brand new – she hated it. She later bought her 2007 Trailblazer. No incidents since our poor Acclaim. She dearly loves her tank. Go figure!

  • avatar

    If it’s an Impala from a fleet, just make sure it has side airbags.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep. Build sheets containing the code “AK5” had side airbags deleted by fleet buyers. Over 100,000 of them on the roads, a majority of them former Enterprise rentals.

      Look for the word “AIRBAG” stamped near the roof, on the B Pillar. If it’s not there, then the car doesn’t have the side curtains.

  • avatar

    1) Pay for her to go to an advanced driving course.
    2) Get her an HHR. It’s like a CUV but low to the ground. Sure, it has blind spots but considering her track record, it isn’t going to matter.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree about the advanced driving course, but don’t get her the HHR. It’s not very reliable.

      I WOULD make sure she’s not using a cell phone when she drives.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree about the advanced driving course

        I wouldn’t. As I’ve noted here in the past, advanced driving courses tend to either have no effect or to contribute to higher crash rates, thanks to the confidence that they can inspire.

        If she wrecks a lot, chances are good that she’s (a) intoxicated, (b) inattentive, (c) aggressive or (d) a combination of some or all of the above. No driving course is going to change that for the better, and it could make (c) even worse.

        Perhaps part of the problem here is that she keeps getting free cars. If she doesn’t have the motivation to change, she won’t.

        (Incidentally, I’d probably get a larger used domestic. A lot of crush space and even more depreciation. A Buick for sale from an old lady could be a good choice.)

      • 0 avatar

        Not a fan of the HHR (except the SS due to sleeper qualities) but who says they aren’t reliable?

        Consumer Reports call reliability average, actually they call the whole package rather average.

        I don’t put huge weight into what CR has to say – but a lot of other people here do, and your view of unreliability is not supported by CR.

        True Delta disagrees with Consumer Reports, and rates it as more problematic. I had one as a rental and for what it was I found it rather adequate, with tons of ergonomic issues in the cabin and suffering from thin paint. I wouldn’t go out and buy one but I think buyers could do worse.

      • 0 avatar

        Totally agree with PCH101’s analysis. Those were my thoughts as I read Steve’s question. As I am not a parent, I don’t know what it is like to be in ths situation. I understand the concern for the grandkid, but the best protection for the grandchild would be the child growing up. That would have the added benefit of protectingt he rest of us as well. Was the Hyundai in your name? Was the insurance settlement made out to you? If so, the decision on the car that she gets is yours and yours alone with only minimal input from her. Listen to what she says, but buy the car that will provide the most protection for the least amount of money. At some point, though, you’re going to have to stop enabling her, and that will be very tough.

    • 0 avatar

      I completely agree on a driving course. Safety features can only help so much if you keep crashing.

      I highly disagree on the HHR. I just happened to rent one last week (no other choice) and I actually felt it was a bit dangerous. Trying to accelerate on the freeway caused a huge amount of torque steer that started to put the car into a harmonic oscillation due to the poorly dampened suspension. I could see an inexperienced driver losing control in that situation.

      I personally would pick a the Subaru Impreza, which is offered in a hatchback if more space is needed.

      • 0 avatar

        I dunno, when I’m driving a vehicle that is scary to drive (trucks that haven’t seen an alignment in 12 years of plowing, cars floating on dead shocks with spent brakes, etc) I tend to pay much more attention to the road, other drivers and anything else that could be a problem. My speed remains low, too. Maybe she needs a scary car, not an isolation booth. Hard to talk or text when the wheel needs constant attention. Oh, and she needs a manual transmission.

        So, maybe a ’97 Dodge Ram 3.9 five speed long bed two wheel drive? :)

      • 0 avatar

        The HHR was not scary to drive. It did not do anything to make me think it would need any extra attention until the moment when it tried to kill me.

      • 0 avatar

        Mazder3, that line of reasoning only works with someone who normally pays attention. Personally, I have a hard time staying focused on my long treks to Idaho, but when I say bleep it and floor it, I wake up real fast and pay extreme attention while doing 100 mph and taking 50 mph corners at 80+. If she is one of those serial texters, nothing will keep her from her conversation. NOTHING.

      • 0 avatar

        Rather than a 97 Ram, how about a 1984 Dodge Ram 2wd. Preferably the D100 Model. The designation doesn’t exist when looking for parts because it’s a stripped down D150. In good or bad condition they can be scary. Play in the steering wheel, bad traction without decent tires, carb problems. Only thing is, with the slant six the damned thing won’t die.

        My best friend’s dad had one of them. God, she hated that truck. I had to borrow it once in high school and she covered her head as she walked to her car which wasn’t even near it. It was…shall we say…an adventure to drive it. No A/C, heat didn’t work, radio hotwired in and shorted out, vinyl bench seat, dried weatherstripping, two matching hubcaps and one from a Plymouth Valiant (I, personally, took a turn to hard and knocked off the 3rd matching one. No one knows where the Valiant hubcap came from, though) pressure plates were nearly dead, barely any compression in 3rd gear (which was a bitch in the Virginia Piedmont, let me tell you), excessive play in the steering wheel…and the carbuetor. Oh, don’t get me started. Damned butterfly valve would stick all the time. But when it started, it went. The engine ran fine. No rattles, no knocks, nothing.

        Still, other than constant down shifting into second just to get up a hill on the highway, it was a beast. Heavy as hell, but that’d learn her to mistreat cars. She’d have to drive it into a river just to kill it.

  • avatar

    Last summer was looking for a used Kia Spectra or the larger Optima for my son, for the same reasons you went with the Hyundia. IMHO they are the best bang for the buck. Wound up buying a well cared for 2006 Taurus from a family member.

    As you may already know the price of a decent used car is outragous right now. Better off buying new in some cases

    Good luck with your search.

  • avatar

    An old Impala is really a pretty good choice. Tons of space, reliable, and not bad at the pump. Many don’t care for them so they are usually a bargain to pick up.

    If you go with something the size of the Elantra, most small cars would do well for you. Use the IIHS safety picks and find one that is all green for that year.

    I personally wouldn’t go for a small CUV. Depending on the vehicle, the extra storage really only comes in to play with the seats down. They aren’t as good on gas a midsize cars. Really an overhyped segment that people love. They just aren’t really good for people.

  • avatar

    (2) totals and less than 25 years old.

    Your problem is going to be about whether you can purchase decent car insurance for her not how much the car is.

    Enabling issues seem to never turn out well.

  • avatar

    The Five Hundred/Montego really sounds perfect here. They are huge, slow, safe, and cheap to purchase.

    If you want to indulge her CUV desire, I’ll say Escape/Mariner/Tribute or Outlander.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      +1 on the sedans.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d skip the 500/Montego and go for a ’08/’09 Taurus or Sable. You get the much better ‘cyclone’ 3.5 liter V6, a traditional 6 speed automatic instead of the possibility of a CVT, and more standard safety equipment (traction control standard, stability control might be, it should be on the ’09s, and I think on the ’08s as well, plus standard front side and head curtain airbags).

      These vehicles are big, roomy, have great visibility, are based on a Volvo chassis for safety built in from the ground up, and are pretty much the epitome of boring, practical, safe, reliable sedans – which should be just the ticket for a new mother with a spotty driving history.

  • avatar

    Maybe a bus or subway pass, no chance of an accident.

    I would make a deal that she had to go through a Car Control Clinic.

    A Used Volvo XC70 or the older version is one way to go.

    The other would be a 2003-2006 Chevy Tahoe with a Cattle Guard.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, let’s put her in a Tahoe with a brush kit, so she can kill somebody else’s granddaughter.

      I realize you were kidding, but you might have something there. Provided the wheels and transmission are removed (and the gas tank, just to be safe) I would think a Tahoe would be big enough to live in. Drag it to the parking lot of her employer, and bam! Problem solved.

  • avatar

    I have a sneaking suspicion that your desire to protect your granddaughter is simply justifying her bad behavior. My gf’s 22 year old sister is on her 6th!! (no exaggeration) parental enabled car under the exact same circumstances.

    This is going to piss people off, but being a single working mother is hard. Stop buying her cars, buy her a bus pass and if you feel obliged, pay for child care for the kid while she’s at work/school. Enabling bad behavior isn’t going to end well, for her, or for her child. And “we are not poor” sounds ripe of self justification. I’m disheartened that Sajeeve’s “tough love” consists of just paying the way out of this one. And for what it’s worth, if you can’t find a good 10 year old Volvo for the money she’s getting on the total, you aren’t looking far enough.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    The next car you buy may just be the one your granddaughter dies in.

    So, Mom and Dad, let’s cut straight to the chase — what is causing these accidents? Why is your daughter not just banging up a car — but flat-out totalling them? Is she a bad driver, and can be taught to be better? Or is she reckless, thoughtless by nature? Is she engaging in dangerous behavior while she drives (drinking, texting)?

    Put all your resources toward answering these questions — and not toward another car. Get her help. Get her a therapist. Or a sponsor. Or an instructor. All three, maybe?

    For her sake. Your granddaughter’s sake. And every other driver’s on the road sake. Oh yeah, and yours, too.

    • 0 avatar

      Psychological issues, drug/alcohol abuse, or physical/neurological limitations need a close look here, and should be a far higher priority than a replacement car.

      If the answer is that she should be driving at all, completely unstylish is best.

      It’s easy to say that two totals can happen to anyone, but they shouldn’t be taken casually.

      As an example, my three siblings and I have managed to total only one car between us in 120 years of driving–including midnight shift commuting and taxi driving in NYC and lots of winter driving on unpaved mountain roads.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not that hard to get a car totaled out, especially if you get hit by an truck. Go check out the insurance auction company’s webpage sometime, you’ll be stunned at how many once-nice vehicles are there waiting to be sold.

      I was driving an ’07 Five Hundred. Made a left turn from a stop, not realizing that the Durango was coming at me at 50mph on a 30mph street. Got T-boned on the passenger side. $11K car was totaled out when the body shop bill came to nearly $8000. None of the airbags fired, and I drove the car from there to the shop and walked away without a scratch. My first crash in over 20 years.

      So I wouldn’t take the fact that the car was totaled out as a marker of a bad crash – body shop labor is expensive and cars are built these days to sacrifice themselves to protect the occupants.

      None of this is to excuse the daughter, of course, two crashes so close together means she ought to be without wheels for a little while unless there’s no other way to get to work, and in that case maybe a cheap nerdmobile like a 10-year-old Grand Marquis or Impala would be the right thing.

  • avatar

    The Five Hundred, and Montego are good choices. You could go the Karesh route and get a Freestyle/Taurus X, but since they were discontinued, they’ve been rediscovered and become more desirable.

    Last winter, I saw 09-10 Hyundai Sonatas available for around 12,000, but now they are more like 13,000-15,000. Still, that’s not outlandish for a economical car with a remaining factory warranty and all the latest crash protection. I personally like the last generation Sonata better, I thought they reminded me of the Mercedes C-Class, especially from the rear.

    • 0 avatar

      first positive body styling comment about the outgoing Sonata in recorded history?

      That thing makes the Camry look good, and that’s saying something!

      With that said I think it’s a fine choice for the OP

      • 0 avatar

        Count me in as another who prefers the last gen Sonata. :)

        Can the OP’s daughter, no offense intended, be of assistance in putting the myth to bed that young women are better drivers than young men?

        I’m a 23 year old dude and have had 1 accident since I started driving at 15. That was an accident involving black ice and a guard rail. :(

  • avatar

    The good news nobody got hurt. Yeah, I agree with ExPatBrit. The insurance will be shocking.

    However a gently used “W” car, is for sure the route to go.

    My niece had a very similar history. One Jetta, and two Accords, before she was 25. Her dad bought her an 05 Grand Prix, ex rental. She hated it,never washed and put all kinds of minor dents on it.

    Today she is four years older and a lot wiser and she still drives the old Grand Prix.

    • 0 avatar

      She’ll get a lot of years out that GM W-Body. Ya they are deficent in so many ways but the Series III 3.8L V6 and 4-speed auto are darn near bullet proof. No horsepower (awesome torque) and only so-so mileage given the power output but you could pee in the gas tank and throw sand in the crank, it is still going to run. I know the NA V6 version of the Grand Prix with the Series III has been on the CR recommend list, and does well on the three year JD Power reports; not that I put huge weight into either – but it is a couple of extra points of data.

  • avatar

    No mentioned a Panther? :)

    I was thinking also a driver’s school and Tahoe or full size pick up with a V6. Cattle guard optional.

    Definitely no econo-boxes unless your in the insurance biz.

  • avatar

    Keep this in mind. No matter how safe the vehicle, no matter how many air bags, nothing will compensate for lousy driving.

  • avatar

    The best investment you can make for your daughter is to teach her how to drive.

    While I agree in theory with the idea of a driving course, this just falls right into the “not my responsibility” current running throughout our society.

    Why not take charge and show her how to drive yourself, at no cost?
    And if she refuses or doesn’t learn, why buy her another car?

  • avatar

    As someone who’s driven close to 25 years without a single
    accident, I can say that attitude probably the best determinant of whether you’re a high risk driver.

    To me, the best determinant of whether you’re a bad driver is if you agree that “other drivers” are bad drivers. Nothing like justification of your driving style because you’re a victim.

    I work in the insurance industry, and we use credit reports for underwriting purposes because credit and the concept of personal responsibility appear to be highly correlated.

    My opinion is to stop enabling her behavior and buy her a bus pass. She has to grow up one day.

    • 0 avatar

      While I get the correlation thing, I find it reprehensible that anybody should have access to credit reports unless the product in question i.e. credit cards, loans, etc is directly related. I have a credit score of 800 yet my homeowners insurance company pounds me with a bad “insurance score” and surcharges my homeowners policy accordingly. I got the copy from the company that compiles the information they should have no access to and there is nothing in it. Clean driving record with “good driver discount” no debt other than a small amount on a mortgage. I’ll tell you what this snooping does do. Should I ever have to make a homeowner’s claim, I’ll do my best to inflate the claim any way possible. And this is coming from a guy who actually left a note when I broke a mirror off a parked car. Good people can be driven to be dishonest when the system is geared to screw them.

      • 0 avatar

        The home insurance industry has my vote for the most crooked current legal enterprise.

        I agree that credit scores shouldn’t necessarily come into play. I have excellent credit, but if I had poor credit would I be more likely to burn down my own home?

        The biggest issue I have though is being forced to insure for more than the balance on the loan. I get the point of having a clause in the mortgage requiring insurance – the lending institution wants to make sure its ass is covered. However, there interests should stop at the amount of the loan. Not only do they force a full replacement cost waiver, but most insurance companies won’t write a policy for anything less than whatever they feel is the cost to rebuilt. Why? It’s profiteering pure and simple.

        I should only be forced to buy insurance up to the loan value, so that if the collateral (the home) is destroyed, I can pay off the balance to the bank, and walk away. The bank and the insurance company should have no right to say whether I rebuild the home or just pay off the balance (assuming that amount is lesser). It isn’t any of their concern as long as I pay my premiums on time and the bank gets their money either way.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        I no longer have Farmers Insurance because they cared more about my credit score than what the value of whatever I was taking the policy out on.

      • 0 avatar
        Brendon from Canada

        @Nullo – unfortunately the answer to your question is “yes, you are more likely to burn down or otherwise damage your home”. It’s a crappy truth, and I’m frankly fighting with my insurance company right now and have little sympathy for the industry (my wife was t-boned by an uninsured motorist last week – what a nightmare even in a “no fault” insurance area, but at least she’s ok; we’re winning the vehicular arms race, but then that’s another story).

        However, I must agree with your profiteering comment – we had a claim years ago over a diamond necklace; the insurer refused to pay the appraised value claiming that they could replace with a necklace of like kind for half the price – however, we had being paying on a rider for the full appraisal value. Locally our home-owner policies are typically written at 2x the value of the house to account for contents of the house – which is frankly pretty outrageous…

        @golden2husky – I hear you; the incentive system is all backwards in the insurance industry.

      • 0 avatar


        Boy, did you nail that one! Nullo is correct dead-on. How any company, large, small or in between can wield so much power or have so much influence is beyond me. Perhaps a factor is that people are so sue-happy in this country and law firms encourage this sort of behavior. Greed takes over and one thing feeds another, and the insurance companies have to foot the bill. I’m just speculating, but that’s one way to reason on it.

        To stay on topic, though, I’ll re-interate what I said above: surround her with metal and a “W” body is what I would buy, especially since Acclaims aren’t built anymore!

    • 0 avatar

      First, I have a good credit score, even by “new world order” standards after the credit market meltdown of 2008.

      I think it is horrible to use this as a gauge of insurability for things like cars. The problem is the net catches good people that had bad things happen. No one asks to get cancer and get wiped out by uncovered treatments and co-pays. No one asks for a tornado to destroy not only their home, but their place of employment. I’ve lived on both side of the financial equation. People who have never had a good hard look at the “other” side have zero understanding of how quickly, even with the best planning possible you can end up over there. Suddenly your on disability making 50% or 60% of what you use to make, you can’t afford COBRA as you’re no longer employed, and the bills pile up. Oh it can happen in the blink of an eye. But the system says, “hey, it was irresponsible of you to come down with MS, shame on you you dead beat.”

      Do I agree that some loser who runs up their credit cards and then doesn’t pay them is likely going to be irresponsible in other areas? Absolutely; makes total sense to me. But does that mean someone buried in medical debt (the number one reason for bankruptcy in the United States) should be tossed in the same net? Not just no – Hell no.

  • avatar

    It’s not easy to total a car these days, let alone two, so isn’t priority #1 figuring out w-h-y?? Has anyone been injured in those mishaps? Has she had an eye exam? How’s the depth perception? How about relative maturity level? The situation needs less parental charity and more arms-length analysis.

  • avatar

    You know, airbags are pretty cheap…

    … but you chose a different road long ago.

    I know that bad things sometimes happen to good drivers … but seriously, I am wondering about her driving at this point.

    I would recommend a nice midsize sedan. If you can buy new, buy whatever you want. If the price range is limited, buy a used domestic, like a Fusion or a Malibu.

    Make sure you get the smallest engine available!

  • avatar

    Ok, so this is my email. It was actually sent awhile ago, so the issue has resolved itself by now. We had agreed to kick in a bit of more money, and the baby’s father did as well. She bought a ’08 accord.

    As for the causes of the crashes, the first was during Hurricane Ike in Houston… no street lights, the road littered with stuff. She presumably should have been driving much more carefully or not at all, but that was a unique situation. The second was probably inattention.

    The idea of a driving class is a good one.

    Public transit in this town is nearly non-existant.

    The bottom line is that regardless of her mother’s challenges as a driver, the grandchild really is precious. So how do you balance all those things you all have mentioned about responsibilities and consequences against the child who is innocent of all of this? It really isn’t easy, and I’d suggest that anyone who hasn’t faced this dilema doesn’t know how he or she would feel in my wife and my shoes.

    • 0 avatar

      @stevejac…We have two adult daughters,and three grandchildren. I know exactly where your coming from.

      In your shoes..we would have done the same thing.

      Oh yeah…except I would have gone with an 08 Malibu.

    • 0 avatar

      How is it that this girl is 22 and still reliant on you for support (at least in the realm of car purchases?)

      I’m 24 now. I got married when I was 21 and was fully independent by 22. My wife, who has a good job as a nurse, is now pregnant. We own 2 fairly old cars and I’m in medical school to boot (meaning that we’re anything but rich at the moment – I’m not bragging).

      I guess what I’m trying to say is this – is there a reason why people of my generation have this complete inability to get their s*** together? It is NOT too much to expect a 22 year old to actually have their life in order and not need constant handouts from mom and dad for things like transportation. And given that this girl sounds like a 22 y/o single mother with no real income of her own, I suspect the bad decisions have been happening on more than just the road.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        My aunt and uncle just bought my 31 year old cousin and her husband a house. Costing close to $300k.

        Reason? This aunt thought their apartment wasn’t conducive to having children and she really wants her daughter to produce her a grandchild, and cousin works part-time as a seamstress. Husband doesn’t work and plays in indie rock bands.

        My wife and I – who are currently putting away the funds for a 20% or more down payment on a single family home near Seattle – can only shake our heads.

        I seriously don’t know what’s wrong with generation Y. God help this earth when we inherit it.

      • 0 avatar

        “I seriously don’t know what’s wrong with generation Y.”

        Part of the problem is helicopter parents, who make sure that their child never gets hurt in any way (no offense, OP) and parents who want to be the child’s friend rather than parent. Unfortunately, that doesn’t give the child any real world experiences. In order to learn, you have to make mistakes and there have to be consequences to these mistakes. I know I would be a better person if my parents kicked my butt more often!

      • 0 avatar


      • 0 avatar

        It’s bullcrap to just judge other people without knowing all their life’s details though. Sure, she could be an irresponsible bum, but then again you don’t actually know that. I’m 28 and I’m getting my first paycheck in 4 years next week-not because I’m a lazy bum but because I’ve been borrowing 40+ grand a year to go to medical school-something I’m sure you’re quite familiar with. If I had totaled my car during those four years it’d have been quite the challenge to buy even a piece of crap car let alone one that’s actually safe-I was already borrowing money to *barely* cover rent and tuition. As you probably know, most medical schools disapprove of your working for money while in medical school (because a) they don’t want you to flunk and b) you’re already working like 60-80 hours a week on the harder rotations and presumably you should sleep at some point). I’m guessing the fact that your wife works as a nurse helps you a out financially but how does that make you better than someone who gets helped by their parents? Then again I had a medical school classmate whose nurse (now ex) wife demanded that he take out more PLUS loans because she had gotten so used to the lifestyle they used to have with two incomes before he went back to medical school, so hopefully your wife is more of a net financial boost than a drain!

        I don’t know what the situation is exactly here but it sounds like they’re thrilled about their granddaughter coming into the world and since it’s crazy expensive to raise a kid they want to help out a little bit. You know, in medical school they teach us not to be judgmental jerks-patients are often far from perfect people (if you’re not a 3rd year yet…well, you’ll learn pretty soon). I’m hoping you’ll actually take that lesson to heart or you’ll *hate* being a doctor because you’ll end up hating your patients. Some of the sickest people are people who did a lot of questionable stuff-and you could judgmental jerk about it, but shaking your head disapprovingly doesn’t actually help anybody. And frankly for all you know their 24-year old daughter with a child could also be a medical student or grad student-but you’ve automatically assumed that she’s a bum? All we know is that she’s probably not the greatest driver and has a daughter that they love.

        Anyways, congrats on the kid on the way and best of luck on the schooling. Just remember that it only gets harder and more painful from here on out. Enjoy only being expected to see maybe 4-5 patients a day and actually getting holidays off. Enjoy not having the responsibility on your shoulders of whether your decisions help or harm, and probably most of all enjoy not being paged every 30 seconds nonstop when you’re already sleep deprived and 3 hours past when you were supposed to have left the hospital. So I’m not the best inspirational speaker, but I will say that even though it often sucks, being a doctor does actually kick a lotta butt. Also, it doesn’t hurt to know that someday you *might* actually be able to afford some of these sweet cars.

  • avatar

    Get a Panther, the Crown Victoria is cop proof, built like a tank and they are cheap. As far as I know it the only car that has been tested for 75 MPH rear end collisions. You might even go a little upscale and get the Lincoln Town Car.

    Not the trendiest car, buy she probably needs to be knocked down a rung or two.

  • avatar

    My neighbor slammed her 08 Avenger into a tree – totaling it and her parents allowed her to buy a brand new Dodge Charger. Fortunately (for the trees) she hasn’t totaled this one yet.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    “I’d recommend a little tough love: a ex-fleet Chevy Impala or perhaps the Ford Five Hundred/Taurus/Montego/Sable.”

    This is very good advice.

    Better yet, get the “princess” a late model V6 front-drive Buick sedan. That should be a good penalty for smashing up two perfectly good cars. The Chevrolet brand is much more acceptable to Generation Y (I know, I am one) than the Buick brand.

    Edit: She got an ’08 Accord? Well, they’re quite safe. But if she wrecks that and hits you up for money, get her a nice Lacrosse or Lucerne from the mid to late ’00s. Or a Panther.

  • avatar

    I wonder how many of those who preached tough love are parents themselves. I know it’s just not that easy. Also, we know nothing about your daughter’s town, her commute, and if a bus pass is even practical.

    Absolutely no CUVs — in general, rear and side visibility is too limited. Your daughter seems comfortable with Hondas, so a Civic is within budget and seems like a reasonable choice … along with a few refresher driving lessons.

  • avatar

    I was given this advice, from an older co worker, nearly 40 years ago. The difference between older children, and younger children? The older kids problems are harder to solve, and it usually involves money.

  • avatar

    Adopt the toddler, have mom’s tubes tied.

  • avatar

    The most important thing grandpa can do is to insure that the precious tot has a new car seat, of the proper design for her age, that is properly secured in the correct spot in the middle of the rear seat.

    • 0 avatar


      And take away the cell phone. Make her get a landline phone and an answering machine. Carry disability insurance on the baby. Lifetime care costs for a child with a traumatic brain injury will run into the ten millions once monetary and medical inflation are considered.

      As far as the car goes I would recommend a recent Grand Marquis or Impala.

      • 0 avatar

        And take away the cell phone.

        Ever driven around solo with a toddler in a car? A cell phone can be a distraction, but it’s not even in the same league as a toddler. You can ignore a cell phone, but it’s a lot tougher with a toddler. Cell phones don’t whip sippy cups with orange juice at your head or start fights with the other electronic devices in the car.

    • 0 avatar
      Brendon from Canada

      I’d somewhat agree, however there’s little correlation between car seat design and injuries or death in an accident. There is a high correlation between position in the car (as well as simply being buckled in, rather than a human projectile) – and as you’ve said, center rear is the safest.

      Being a parent, I’d still opt for a decent car seat if it was my child!

      • 0 avatar

        Ever driven around solo with a toddler in a car?

        Yes, I remember that. My 10-year-old still doesn’t get that sometimes she needs to stop asking me questions while I merge.

        A cell phone can be a distraction, but it’s not even in the same league as a toddler.

        So, she’s not going to give up the toddler, so the last thing she needs is a cellphone as well.

        I still think taxicab vouchers are the way to go for the OP.

  • avatar

    On the one hand it sounds like your daughter is a bit spoiled-though without knowing exactly why she can’t afford her own car it’s not really fair to judge like most of the comments here seem to-sometimes people are pursuing lengthy careers that involve being broke for a long time in your 20’s and 30’s and a little bit of parental assistance may be helpful support of their career and not overly-sheltering. Of course if she’s just a couch potato mooching off of mom and dad it’s another story.

    Nonetheless, I’m going to entirely against the grain and not recommend a compact here. Why? Because of the cold, hard, numbers. Specifically, the vehicle death rates:

    Some of the very highest fatality rates were for compact cars, and given your daughter’s penchant for smashing up cars and your concern for your granddaughter’s safety I would honestly recommend a *used* car but a nice and safe one. The Honda CR-V (with AWD since the low fatality rating was for the AWD version) seems to fit the bill nicely here since it’s relatively affordable, has one of the top 10 lowest fatality rates, and based on this data you know the 2005-2008 models had very low death rates so you can go pick up a used 2005 (perhaps after waiting for this car shortage to ease a bit in a month or two). I don’t know if she’s planning on having more kids or what her own family situation is there, but if she does then the Sienna might be an even better choice since it was the only vehicle that made the top 10 list in both AWD and FWD spec and the FWD vehicle is cheaper. That $12K she got for the Elantra would actually go a pretty long way towards a 2005 Sienna with low miles or an AWD CR-V of that same era.

    See, it used to be that SUVs had higher death rates than cars because of their tendency to flip over and send you rolling to your death. But newer vehicles with electronic stability control and modern AWD systems actually made this fairly difficult to accomplish without being a complete idiot. So as much as it us car enthusiasts may hate to admit it, it’s the gigantic brsdyd that are safer now. Sure, high end luxury cruisers are also quite safe without being quite as ginormous but they’re priced well out of most of our reaches. Thankfully that top 10 list has a few fairly affordable vehicles on there (the Sienna, AWD Ford Edge, and AWD Honda CR-V) so even regular people can afford some of the very safest vehicles. And unlike crash test ratings where they don’t typically take into account real world crashes where there’s vast differences in mass (small car vs large SUV), these death statistics are simply the cold hard numbers-how many drivers actually died owning these vehicles?

    Finally I’d probably make her go take a defensive driving course before providing any more financial assistance. I’m sure she’ll be offended but to be honest, back when I was getting in a lot more accidents a lot of it was simply because I hadn’t really internalized proper defensive driving skills. She may still get into accidents even if she learns to drive properly since some stuff is nearly unavoidable but they’ll be much more likely to be milder than the type of accident that typically results in a totaled vehicle.

    Honestly, if I were her dad and she was on at least some sort of reasonable plan for her future she was actually following, I’d probably just make sure she gets the defensive driving course and then help her find a used CR-V that fell within that $12K payout. It’s nimble enough that even though it’s a crossover it won’t be too much of a boat to pilot and it’s cheap enough used that it won’t be too difficult to keep around that $12K mark, and at least when equipped with AWD it’s one of the safest vehicles you can be in when driving.

  • avatar

    ODFG. Oh dear f***ing God. I’m 28, no at-fault accidents, no kids, and it amuses me to no end to see people my age or younger doing adult activities and fail miserably at dealing with the consequences. If you’re going to do something with such incredibly long-lasting repercussions, at least be a little bit mindful about it? Please?

  • avatar

    So, only one or two comments that are actually concerned about the other people on the road. Great! I really hope that my 24 year old butt isn’t in her way (in my self-bought $1300 2700 pound rusty ’95 model compact car) when she comes barrelling through the road in her brand new Buick, CR-V, or whatever other 4000 pound monstrosity these people suggested. There were a couple of gems of comments up there that asked why the hell “our” generation is so messed up, and one even got pretty close to solving this problem with the “helicopter parents” statement. But, alas, it fell on deaf ears. Yet another doofus out there with no consequences to her actions. I see it all the time. I live in a college town.

    Another thing I see: people just like her careening around in Civics and CR-Vs (Corolla “S” trims and Hyundais are very quickly catching up). The sportier vehicles get (and the more powerful they get – a ’95 Civic may have handled well but it didn’t have 140 hp, leading to just as much overconfidence as a poorly taught driving class), the safer vehicles get (“I can wreck this as just walk away! Screw the other guy, I got mine!”), and the less involvement in their own lives people have (parents footing every bill, zero consequences to any action, driving simulator games, Grand Theft Auto games, and “right-now society” where even a normally 5-minute drive to the grocery store has to be taken at ABSOLUTE TOP SPEED BECAUSE OTHERWISE I’LL MISS DANCING WITH THE STARS!!!) all contribute to a massive degradation in driving culture. Sure, the driver’s exam has never been great, but societal trends are only making it worse and worse with every new generation of driver.

    Okay, so now that I’ve ranted, I’ll pause to say that I’m the last person to recommend limiting personal choice as to who buys what, who plays what video games, etc. But, really, if parents that grew up under baby boomers in the ’70s are this bad with their kids now, what the hell are those kids going to be like with their kids? Personal responsibility is being leeched out of American society at an ever-quickening pace.

    Irresponsibility breeds further irresponsibility as the natural human instinct is to test boundaries. In certain situations, this is a good thing (exploring space). In some, it’s terrible, as evidenced here. So, basically, to the poster: stop being irresponsible parents. Own up to your actions thus far that have created who your child is, and if she’s gone out and had a kid, don’t hang all your continued spoiling on that (there will always be something to justify your misplaced displays of affection). Seriously, if you protect your grand-daughter by these means, and she grows up seeing herself AND her mother supported by you, what kind of habits do you think she’ll develop? She’ll just be 30% worse at driving and 30% less responsible than her mother.

    Tough love, to be sure, but hasn’t anyone else here ever thought about applying Darwin’s theories to humankind?

    And, as for wheels, you should’ve gotten her a moped and the number of an adoption agency.

    • 0 avatar

      Best comment of the thread.

      I think when choosing something for your daughter/granddaughter get something else that isn’t going to kill me in one of my two compact cars when she totals the car again, but still has a good safety rating. Mid size or smaller, definitely….with a bumper height that won’t hit a compact car’s side window.

      Before you think I’m some kind of cruel person, I risked life & limb yesterday on my sportbike to get a semi, who was surrounded by small & medium size cars to PULL OVER because his tire was smoking….

      • 0 avatar

        I’m with Robstar and KB. The parents are rewarding bad behavior. What lesson exactly did the daughter learn here? 2 wrecked cars and she gets a third? Hmmm.

  • avatar

    Wow…I’m kind of surprised at how judgemental most of these comments are based on just a few pieces of information.

    Nobody goes around thinking ‘let’s wreck this car today’. Stuff happens. Maybe she’s not the best driver in the world, but she could well be a decent person otherwise, in which case I don’t really see any reason not to give her a replacement ride if you have the means to do so, while she clearly hasn’t (like I noticed you have done).

    As her father, harping on about what a terrible driver she is and that she’s putting her child at risk here on TTAC isn’t going to help anything; say 95% of the time (if she’s a decent human being) she knows full well she made a mistake here and already feels bad about it in which case sending her on an extra guilt trip is only going to have detrimental effects. In this case just give her a replacement ride (not CUV) and don’t make too big a deal out of it. In the other, say 5% of the time when she can’t admit she’s to blame for running into something here (while it is proven she is) you’re simply wasting your breath. In this case don’t give her a replacement car and also, don’t make too big a deal out of it.

    Bottom line, either way I’m not really enjoying reading this email that’s so negative of the daughter and idealizing the granddaughter.

    • 0 avatar
      Stacy McMahon

      It’s not enough to feel bad about it. You have to deal with the fallout yourself, or you’re just not going to ‘get it’. Really.

      All just bad luck for this girl? Unlikely. She has an accidental pregnancy and two totaled vehicles to her name, at 24. I’m sure she’s a wonderful person on many levels, but she’s clearly a screwup on other, important, ones. Making excuses and bailing her out isn’t doing her or her family any favors. Not to mention that at some point the granddaughter will begin to notice the pattern, and consider it normal to go off half cocked and expect the family to backstop her if things don’t work out.

      You probably know some people with a similar setup. Fun to hang out with, but would you pick any of them to join you when things get serious? Right.

      • 0 avatar

        Whole lotta high horses around here.

        “clearly a screwup” — I’m sure i could call you a screw-up for things you have done too. Actually, I could say something about your comment about people who are fun to hang out with but you wouldnt pick them to join you when things get serious. Who says they would choose to join you–especially after you found your way into some BS (making things get serious)?

        Many people are ripping/chiding her for having a unplanned pregnancy/being a single mother… somehow it seems to me that this in itself speaks to her character. She could have aborted the pregnancy and no one would be the wiser, which to me, seems like the more selfish and easier way out.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, the ’08 Accord is a pretty nice choice. Who’s paying for insurance? I’ve been down this road. My oldest daughter simply does not have the talent for driving . . . but refuses to accept that fact. Some years ago (2002), I bought her an Altima . . . a perfectly nice, safe car. (I drove it cross-country to her in LA.) nevertheless, within two years, she had spun it on the Pasadena freeway, ricocheting off the guard rails side-to-side, but never having a direct frontal impact. Thankfully, she was uninjured and no other vehicles were involved. I told her she was buying her next car. I also said that the maximum safe speeds signs all over that freeway (it is one of the first freeways ever built in the U.S. and the curves are not banked) were for her. Nevertheless, she totalled her second car by running it into a lamppost . . . again no injuries. That one she had bought with her savings. The next one, a Hyundai Elantra with a big warranty that she bought off a rental and financed, was not cool but it has proved reliable. Now, 5 years later, she’s just paid off the loan. I have reminded her that credit standards are much tougher than they were 5 years ago, so not to count on being able to do the same thing if she trashes this one.

    I have strongly suggested to her that she avoid cell phone use — handsfree or not — in the car. The last thing she needs is a “performance driving course.” Her problem — and perhaps the problem of the OP’s daughter — is that she overestimates her ability to control the vehicle. A “performance driving course” is just going to make that worse.

    By contrast, her little sister (10 years younger) drives like an “old lady,” but, as I point out to my oldest daughter, has yet to be in an accident of any kind.

    • 0 avatar

      The last thing she needs is a “performance driving course.” Her problem — and perhaps the problem of the OP’s daughter — is that she overestimates her ability to control the vehicle.

      You’re right. Studies support the position that driving courses don’t help, and that performance driving courses can actually make things worse. The truth is exactly the opposite of what the average car enthusiast believes.

      A class isn’t required in order to ease off the gas a bit, or to avoid tailgating and aggressive moves. An attitude adjustment is.

      I have strongly suggested to her that she avoid cell phone use — handsfree or not — in the car.

      Statistically, drivers on their phones crash less than drivers who aren’t. Naturalistic studies show that phone users slow down, leave more distance and make fewer lane changes.

      Believe it or not, phones may make these drivers safer. Their conversations distract them from doing other things that are even worse.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        I’d be curious to see those statistics. I have seen statistics that show that handsfree does not reduce cellphone-related accidents as compared to people using their handsets. That makes sense to me; the problem isn’t what you’re doing with your hands — the problem is that the conversation itself is a distraction. But the idea that cellphone users are safer doesn’t compute for me. My admittedly non-scientific observation is that I don’t see drivers yapping on their cellphones who seem to be making allowances for their distraction. For sure, cellphone users are unlikely to be doing outrageous things like speeding through traffic at 90 mph . . . but that’s not the cause of most accidents, because most people don’t drive like that. Most accidents seem to be caused by some form of inattention or by drivers miscalculating in some way.

      • 0 avatar


        You should get out on a bicycle. I ride a few thousand miles a year, and I don’t believe for an instant that drivers perform better when they’re on cell phones. While riding a bike, pay attention when you have to take evasive action to preserve your life. You’ll probably have an opportunity to see the cell phone pressed up against the transgressor’s head. Unless you’re under the car or SUV. Admittedly, I try to stay off the road at times when I know a high percentage of the people driving are coming from happy hour, so perhaps drunks really are worse than cell phone users. Still, the study was flawed. Behavior changes when people know they’re being watched. Perhaps it changes more when they know they’re doing something wrong and there is a camera recording it. I wonder how much someone can even drive a car without noticing that the people they need to avoid are usually on a cell phone.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t believe for an instant that drivers perform better when they’re on cell phones

        “Better” would be an inappropriate term. “Less bad” would be awkward, but more accurate.

        Just look at the stats (and my comments) in this old TTAC article as just one example:

        In that review of fatalities, drivers were not using the phone 88% of the time, yet they were involved in 98% of the fatal accidents. 12% of drivers were on the phone, but involved in only 2% of the accidents.

        If the alternatives in this universe were limited to either (a) yak on the phone or (b) drive like a saint, then you’d be right.

        But in the real world, that isn’t what happens. Drivers replace one risk with another. A driver who hangs up the phone will increase his speed, reduce his braking distance and make more lane changes than he would otherwise. Those changes in behavior increase crash risk more than does the reduction in reaction time that comes from using the phone.

        Slower reaction time doesn’t cause accidents IF people adjust for the reduction. Phone users tend to make these adjustments. Their behavior off the phone gives them faster reaction time, but they eliminate the benefit of that by doing other things that increase the odds of having a crash.

        No classroom training or driving instructor is going to change that. You can’t pass a law or create a school that is going to get people to stop being self-centered or uninterested in cooperating with others who use the road, which is the type of attitude that is needed to reduce crash risk.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    You should get the guys at West Coast Customs to make a full size replica of a bumper car, rollover cage, 12 airbags, red lights and siren so people get out of the way of this female demolition derby driver.

  • avatar

    I realize I’m coming late to the party, as it sounds like daughter and granddaughter are already taken care of, but I feel like the answer should have been obvious: mid-00’s Volvo V70 or S60, non-turbo, hopefully with a few dings in it, and enough left over for (a) some driving classes and (b) maybe some therapy.

    Basically, this:

    That said, I’m very glad I’m a thousand miles away the next time she gets on the road in her shiny Accord.

  • avatar

    Your daughter is getting $12K. This is enough to get a 24 year old a car, and not only is there no reason for you to finance a car wrecking habit, doing this will also take away her incentives to learn to drive safely.
    Go along with her $12K safe-car buying expedition, and get her a 2006 Elantra or Rabbit, or an older Accord, or something else that has high safety scores.

  • avatar

    Wow, my little request has certainly unleashed a torrent.

    I really don’t have much sympathy for my daughter’s situation. I’m focused on the granddaughter and her safety.

    No cellphone would be a good idea, but I have no power over my daughter in that regard.

    Interesting about the driving classes. I was thinking more about the type of ‘street survival’ classes the BMWCCA sponsors for teens.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      My own experience with my “accident-prone” daughter and cellphones is that whenever she calls me, I ask her “are you driving?” and, if she says she is, I ask her to call me back when she’s not driving. That seems to have worked somewhat, and, at age 30, she seems to have “aged out” of some of the worst behavior.

      But, unfortunately, she’s still a terrible driver. The street survival course sounds like a fancy name for what used to be called “defensive driving.” You’d have to analyze the reasons for your daughter’s accidents to figure out whether the course would do any good. In my daughter’s case, for example, I don’t think such a course would do any good. Thankfully, all of her wrecks have been one-car accidents.

      Sorry about the personal/judgmental comments in the thread. I think they’re inappropriate, too. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to confine one’s answer to the question that is asked. This seems to be one of those instances.

  • avatar

    I presume she is not married as there’s no mention of a husband. Call me old fashioned, but what happened to the process of getting married, financially establishing yourselves, and then having kids? Many of my friends (who are much older than 24) mention how they “cannot afford” to have children, however they do buy their own vehicles and somehow avoid destroying them on a bi-annual basis. This is more than an issue of poor driving skills, but poor life decisions which do have a waterfall effect.

  • avatar

    I find it very sad that so many have some judgemental social comment about the situation. We do not know this woman, or her situation in life.

    If you live a perfect life, that should include keeping your judgements to yourself, so go ahead and answer the question that was asked – and that was car related and this is an automotive website.

    Bunch of gossiping busybodies.

    My answer to the question asked is that you should buy a used Elantra of the same vintage of the last one. They’re an even better value used than they were new, and it met the criteria the first time around, so do it again.

  • avatar

    Best of luck to you. I know neither you, nor your daughter, nor your situation. Given the fact that there are toddlers involved, you probably made the correct decision in a ’08 Japanese sedan.

    I do know that I live 1 mile away from a college campus, at the end of a curve on a 25 mph neighborhood street, and I do know that there are a lot of moms and dads out there who send junior to college with a brand spanking new ‘X’ (replace X and insert 3-series, 5.0 Mustangs, tCs etc.)

    It is the parent’s choice what they send their late teen/early twenty something to school with, I just find it unfortunate that 4x every year, at least one of these nice expensive cars ends up rolled on its hood in my (or my neighbor’s) yards or wrapped around my mailbox or the city’s light-post. If you want to buy your kids anything other than a shit-box or a bus pass, that is your choice, but I’ve swept enough broken glass off of my driveway to agree with the modern parent.

  • avatar

    A lot of speculation going on here. I noticed that Steve didn’t mention whether his daughter was actually at fault for either car getting totaled.

    Unless she ran the cars into something stationary, someone else was involved in the accident, and for all we know both collisions could have been the fault of the other driver.

    When I was 21, my car was totaled by an elderly woman suddenly turning left in front of me without signaling. My car was totaled, but it wasn’t my fault at all. The insurance company agreed.

  • avatar
    George B

    Get her a used Crown Vic. Tough and, because everyone will assume it’s an unmarked police car, other drivers will watch out for her even if she doesn’t watch out for them. Let the story of Jack Baruth and the pink Ford Aspire be an inspiration for your general attitude in buying a replacement replacement car for you daughter.

  • avatar

    I was thinking Ford 500 or freestyle before getting to bottom. Probably better than the Impala that seems to have been engineered by people wearing “Members only” jackets.

  • avatar


    She needs to learn some responsibility and accountability for her actions.

    /soapbox off

  • avatar

    I too think that many of these comments are way overboard. We do not know the specifics or the people involved. I do think the attitude that she must have a nice car for the benefit of the granddaughter is ignoring the most important safety feature on any car, the driver behind the wheel. If that safety feature is not turned on, then the car is not safe. The fact that she has been in two serious accidents by the age of 24 does make a person question her driving skills and attentiveness, and I don’t think there is any legitimate argument against that point. At some point you will need to find a different solution rather than buying her new cars if she continues to total them, and I believe that point is now.

    P.S. When I was a baby/toddler, my mom didn’t own a car because she couldn’t afford one. My grandparents could have bought her a car but that wasn’t how my grandfather raised his children. This was before there was any transit system where I grew up,a nd we survived. We lived in the middle of town within walking distance of my school and a store. And that is how my mom got around, on foot. Not the greatest neighborhood, but the best for our situation.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Last generation Ford 500/Taurus. Stay away from the CVT and get one with a conventional automatic transmission.

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