10 Tips for Choosing Your Kid's First Car

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Is It Better to Back In to a Parking Space?

Is It Better to Back In to a Parking Space?

How you park a car can have safety implications. Learn which parking strategy parking professionals prefer in this HowStuffWorks article.

Author's Note: 10 Tips for Choosing Your Kid's First Car

My parents bought my first car for me when I was 17. I absolutely, positively did not want it, despite this being the dark ages before cell phones or any other tech wizardry. I had nothing to do with the purchase, and that's how I ended up with the most horrid, faded red, musty smelling Chevy Chevette the world has ever seen. We bought it used, and my parents test drove it while I sulked in the cramped, tan vinyl back seat. It was so cheap they wrote a check for it. I avoided driving it, coming up with any excuse to catch a ride with my mom or have a friend pick me up or just stay home. When I did drive it, I had to lift my foot off the throttle, wait for the automatic transmission to shift down, and then mash the throttle if I wanted to make it over the hill to my house. In my passive-aggressive hatred, I blew up the engine by not putting fluids in the car. I had to pay to replace the engine and keep driving the Chevette. And worst of all, when I got in a minor accident and was hit on the rear quarter panel, my parents allowed the mechanic to slap a two-foot (61-centimeter) bandage sticker on the "wound." I had to drive the car that way until I went to college a thousand miles (1,609 kilometers) away -- too far for that Chevette to follow me.

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  • Clarke, Warren. "Choosing a Safe Car for Your Teen Driver." Edmunds.com. May 24, 2012. (Oct. 31, 2013) http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2013/06/24/the-best-used-cars-for-teenage-drivers/
  • Consumer Reports. "How to Buy Your First Car." ConsumerReports.com. January 2013. (Oct. 31, 2013) http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/12/how-to-buy-your-first-car/index.htm
  • Edsall, Larry. "Choosing Your Teen's First Car." MSNAutos.com. (Oct. 31, 2013) http://editorial.autos.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=434845
  • Gorzelany, Jim. "The Best Used Cars for Teenage Drivers." Forbes.com. June 24, 2013. (Oct. 31, 2013) http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2013/06/24/the-best-used-cars-for-teenage-drivers/
  • Healey, James R. "Stick shifts popular again, despite lower gas mileage." May 1, 2012. (Nov. 6, 2013) http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/04/stick-shift-manual-transmission-ford-focus-surprise-more-interest-------/1
  • Heaps, Russ. "Bankrate's 7 best cars for teenagers." Bankrate.com. (Oct. 31, 2013) http://www.bankrate.com/finance/auto/best-cars-for-teenagers-1.aspx
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Ratings." IIHS.org. (Nov. 6, 2013) http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings
  • U.S. Department of Transportation. "Shop Smart for a Safer Car, SUV, Mini-Van or Truck." Safercar.org. (Nov. 6, 2013) http://www.safercar.gov/Safety+Ratings