Tom & Ray pose the question: Should a 16-year old have their own car?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1997

Dear Tom and Ray:

I'm about to turn 16 and I'm talking to my parents about getting a car. They seem to think that sending me to a good, expensive college is more important than buying me my own car, but I disagree. They have said I could use one of their cars, but I want a car of my own so I don't have to ask permission every time I want to go out somewhere.

I have a job, so I'm thinking of buying my own car. My mother says they won't just lend me the money for the car, that I'd have to put up some "collateral," which I don't have. I have no past credit history, so I can't take out a loan. When I asked them to co-sign a loan, they said "Sorry, not until you're out of the house." So how do I go about getting a car?

-- Sarah

TOM: Get in line, Sarah, right behind my son. I have a 16-year-old son, who -- at this very moment -- is tediously pleading the same case with me. And I can't help him either.

RAY: My brother just doesn't think that 16-year-olds SHOULD have cars. Why? Mostly because he's an old f--t!

TOM: That's right. I think you should have to ask permission every time you go out somewhere. So I'll give you my son's phone number, Sarah, and you two can
commiserate about what a mean old goat I am -- while you're waiting at the bus stop together.

RAY: I'm interested in what other people think. Other 16-year-olds, parents, parents who had a car at 16. Write us in care of this newspaper or e-mail us through the "Talk To Car Talk" section of our web site and let us know what you think about this issue. Should a 16-year-old have his or her own car? I'm sure it won't change my brother's mind, but it'll be interesting to see where America stands on this one.

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