Your brother sounds exactly like me in high school, Flutterby. I was on my third car when I graduated, all beaters, and all paid for by money I earned working while going to school. IMHO, you’re more likely to take good care of a car you worked your butt of to get, then one that was handed to you.
Exactly lezlers. Besides, with our parents, we’d never get a vehicle if we waited for them to buy it for us. I’ve found the need for a car but overall I do well just getting around on the bus, I plan at some point in the near future to at least get my drivers license though so when I do get a car I will have that.
For my brother it helps that he works at a small gas station/shop near where they live. He knew how to change oil, tires etc etc before he ever learned how to drive and then took the mechanics courses in high school and ended up helping other students because he was more advanced than them At one point he was thinking of becoming a mechanic, still is but I don’t think with cars. But even then at least I know I have 2 people to call if I need help finding a car/getting something fixed! (Dad and brother)
Well, I don’t know shit about cars, actually. Fortunately, I had lots of friends who did.
Well, I don’t want to be a jerk here, but it sounds like the car had problems to begin with. Assuming he got it 2 months ago with a fresh oil change, why should it run so low of oil in just 8 weeks so that it throws a rod? If the car was in that bad a shape that it was burning oil to that point, I don’t think you can put all of the blame on him. My car is 6 years old and I don’t even top off the oil between changes, and that’s 3 months (and I drive it a lot).
My 2 cents.
Sometimes it works the other way round:
Me, aged 17: Dad, buy me a car.
Me: But… but Dad, that’s so unfair, all of my friends have cars.
Him: All of them?
Me: Well, Max does. And… er…
Him: If you want a car, get a part-time job and save up.
Me: goes off grumbling
[Cut to 10 months later. I’ve been working in a gas station and saving. Parents return from vacation.]
Him: What the HELL is that piece of crap doing in the driveway?!?
Me: (Crestfallen) It’s the car that I saved up to buy.
Now that’s funny. I liked the ‘crestfallen’ part.
You don’t owe him dick. Frankly, you were being kind in giving him a car in the first place. Maintenance is his problem. A thrown rod isn’t unfixable, after all…merely expensive.
And if he can’t afford one we have these things in the US called ‘buses’ and ‘trains’. I didn’t even get my license until I was 20 because my mom (single parent) told me, “You’ll be 16 soon and can get your license. But I can’t get you a car and you’ll have to pay for your own insurance.”
And that was great motivation to learn the very good public transit system that Washington DC possessed even at that time (the early 1980s).
To sum up…tell him to get his own car…then, when he does, you keep your hands off it. Don’t pay for gas, insurance, maintenance. That’s a FAR more worthy effort.
Jonathan Chance does have an old riding mower I bet he’d be willing to let your son have for transportation. He can use it to make money to buy a car too!
Seriously, I’d try to chart a middle course here. Keep your eye open for an inexpensive or free car for your son while at the same time make him work and save money towards it. If you judge that he’s doing a good job developing a work ethic and responsibility and you happen across a good deal, help him out. I received a car from another doper for free about 18 months ago, I passed it on to a young family of my aquaintence when theirs broke and left them transportationless. Spending thousands at Carmax is not the only option. My dad once bought 3 cars for a total of $50 and used the parts from 2 of them to keep the third going for 5 years! ( 1967 Ford Cortinas from England, very hard to find parts in the states for them, at least in the early 80s )
What the hell is going on with people who think we parents should just give our kids cars? Are you people high?
I’m kind of with Zette here. Telling the kid to check the oil is one thing, but no functioning vehicle should go from full to “throw a rod” in two months. If the car was such a beater that it was gushing oil, it may just have been its time to throw a rod. From the sounds of it, you gave the kid a car that you knew was burning or leaking oil at a furious rate, and even with my minimal knowledge of 16 year olds, I know that you should have been at least surrepitously been checking the oil level to make sure he didn’t screw up.
On the whole, it’s a useful lesson; The kid learns the value of car maintenance and is unlikely to make that mistake again.
Doesn’t mean he shouldn’t work to buy a replacement – I’m just thinking that the car was no prize to begin with.
Ditto Zette and Finagle here. What kind of car was this? How many miles? what was the maintenance history? Even following a manufacturer’s recommended service level, the car would have blown up. Yes, it’s a good idea to check the oil at every fill-up of gasoline, but I know very, very few people who do that. In fact, I’ll bet 95 percent of the people in this thread don’t.
Sounds like the car was crappy to begin with. Also, keep in mind that regardless of the periodic maintenance performed, other things can happen internally to an engine that will destroy it. BTW, are you sure there was no oil in it? Throwing a rod an punching a hole in the block has a funny way of splashing all the oil all over the road, so that there’s none left.
No shit. My parents kicked over a few hundred dollars after I’d saved $1000 and couldn’t quite afford the T-Bird. I for the most part paid repairs on the piece of crap, though my dad would help me fix it if I bought parts. There’s NO WAY they would have bought me another car if that one had died. And I also worked bagging groceries to pay the gas and insurance. It didn’t kill me.
If he’s old enough to drive, he’s old enough to work for it.
P.S. I’ve also always called my parents by their first names. Maybe that’s why I had to buy my own car, hmmm…
I call both my parents by their first name. And I made it through my teen years (and now most of my twenties) without a car.
I’m kind of torn concerning this rant.
No kid deserves a free car from their parents. It was nice and gracious of you to give him one.
That said, two months is a very short time for a decent car, even completely neglected, to run out of oil and throw a rod, assuming it wasn’t running dangerously low in the first place.
You’re certainly not under any obligation to buy him a new one, but pitting him and getting pissy about running out of oil and blowing a rod is not justified, unless you knew it was a crappy old car which burned/leaked oil at a fast rate, and warned him about this. i.e. “This thing burns through a quart a week, MAKE SURE YOU TOP IT OFF”.
Even then, I suspect this car was ready to go.
No, I don’t think you should buy him a new one, but I don’t think you can blame the kid for what happened to it.
You’ve never ridden with a 16 year-old, have you? I burned off all the oil in my car and melted the engine bearings in two days (it had just had an oil change) just by letting the accelerator have it on the interstate during a long trip.
Old cars burn oil. Teens mostly drive old cars. Therefore, they should check the oil. Two months is plenty of time to burn it off.
Well, I’m the queen of abusing cars, and I’ve never thrown a rod. I think you’ve gotta be in a bad way for that to happen, especially after only 2 months. That’s crazy. My stepdad drilled it in my head that if the oil light comes on…
DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! Pull over RIGHT THEN and put oil in or you’ll DIE!!!
I’ve only had the oil light come on in various cars I’ve driven over the years a couple of times. And each time, I almost had a heart attack.
Even so, the kid should be grateful he even got a car and certainly shouldn’t be expecting to get a new one handed to him.
Oh, and I tried calling my mom by her first name once.
Couldn’t see straight for a week.
lezlers, my dad did the same thing in regards to the oil light. Also, he was almost made checking the oil a religion. He would make you check the oil every time you stop at a gas station (even if you’re only running in for a Pepsi), as well as every time before you depart for a trip of over 5 miles. Also, Dad made us always carry at least 2 quarts of oil in the trunk at all times.
And, honstly, it’s a pretty good idea. Lack of oil is about the only thing that can make an engine go from perfect mechanical condition to siezed up and dead in just a few minutes.
As to the OP’s car situation, perhaps you could offer to go 50-50 with your kid in regards to a new vehicle? Something along the lines of “You get a job and save up for a car, and I’ll throw in $1 for every dollar you put towards the car, assuming you spend at least $500”. That way it’s not a handout, but you don’t force the entire cost of the vehicle on the kid, (the $500 minimum allows him to get at least a $1,000 car, which should be enough that it’s in decent mechanical order).
Sounds like a Major attitude problem to me. I’ve been driving for 10 months, am 16, and have a car. However, my car is my Great-Grandmother’s final gift to me, and my parents were glad to help me with the repair expenses of a car that has been sitting for 10 years. I, however, take the best possible care I can of it. Once he experiences life without free transportation, he will realize the kind of responsibility he needs to have. And how un-cool the girls find him without wheels.
Clarification. The car was my greatgrandmother’s, and passed on to me.
The sense of entitlement really gets my goat, too. My parents purchased a used truck for me when I got my license, but I worked that sucker off and paid them back in full. There was never a thought of letting them just soak the payment for me. I’ve kept that car running for nearly six years now, albeit with plenty of dings and such.
My brother, who is 18, has gone through at least four cars in two years, all of them giving up the ghost either through my brother’s inattentiveness (ie, crashing into someone’s front yard) or the car just died on him ‘inexplicably’. And nearly every time, he’s conned our parents into soaking a lot of the financial damage it’s caused. I doubt whether he’s paid more than half the value of any one car since he got his license.
It’s made me a little bitter.