By William Phillips, Bellaire High School, Houston, Texas
Some say they will always remember their first car – fresh off the used car lot, the original paint fading to rust, the breaks and suspension squealing – betraying their age.
One’s first car could probably be described as a bargain car, bought because of the price asked and not for its aesthetics or reliability. But the question that must be asked is whether or not these cars really safe for teenagers?
Some parents might argue that buying teens cars made while the U.S.S.R. still existed teaches them the value of maintaining a vehicle. Others might say that their kids should be happy to have something with four wheels and a motor, but what parents seem to overlook is that cheap cars are cheap for a reason.
“When I got my 1998 Ford Explorer it was leaking transmission fluid and motor oil and the ball bearing was wearing out; also the air conditioner was all but worn out. I had to go and replace all of that and it all ended up costing me more than the car itself and there were still things left to fix,” John Villanueva, a senior at Bellaire exclaimed.
“I have to keep it for a few more months while my other truck, (a Chevy Trailblazer) is getting an engine swap for a new V8. I can’t get rid of the Exploder!” he shouted, referring to his current truck by its nickname.
Although it seems like a good idea to some parents to give their kids bad cars to teach them responsibility, some teens view the cars as something they don’t really have to take care of, causing them to fail to properly maintain and sometimes go so far as to drive it recklessly.
“When my friend got his car, he got a cheap Honda, and he never treated it well because he despised it, and didn’t even feel safe driving it,” Charife Pongpruksaton said. “The brakes were shot and the transmission was nearly destroyed.”
Ray Leonard recalls the first car he got for his son being an old Toyota Corolla that had aged quite a bit and told his son that if he maintained the car for a year he would get him a new one to replace it. Lacking the interest to keep his car running his son let his car fall apart.
“I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a car that I didn’t think he would take care of,” Leonard stated. Little did he know that the car’s suspension was falling apart and that when the car got above 70 mph, the steering wheel would start to violently vibrate.the original article from hsj.org, written by William Phillips