Let’s Talk Cars!

by Fred MacMurray

Time to talk about how we all express ourselves through our cars.

– what do you drive as your everyday (commute/errand) car(s)? why did you pick those?
– is anyone a real “road” warrior, driving >20- or 25,000 miles a year?
– do you have a separate “fun” car for the summer or just because?
– what’s your dream car, the one you’ll buy to satisfy your mid-life crisis, because you win the lottery, etc.
– do you have your car serviced at a dealer, an independent shop, national/regional chain? Why? Speak up if you / partner do-it-yourself.
– anything else we should know about your automobile state of mind?

This post was inspired by:

Why Americans Are Buying More Trucks And SUVs Than Cars

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125 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Cars!

  1. I drive a minivan. In four years, I want to go back to the vehicle I had before – Subaru Forrester. With kids and the activities they are in, I need a people and stuff mover about monthly, though daily when selling GS cookies. I am more than ready to downsize from this beast, but practically, it is the best choice for now.

    My minivan doesn’t require much maintenance and I do it at the dealer as between the coupon, the free loaner for pre-scheduled service, and the “advisory items” that get checked, it doesn’t help me on the cost to go elsewhere and the dealership is much closer than the other “good” shop choices.

    I live in a town and state of LARGE vehicles, I don’t want a smart car or small sports car as they can never see over/around most of the other vehicles.

  2. I am not a “car person”. We are a one-car urban family, and drive less than 10,000 miles/year. We don’t commute via car, so it’s mostly used for errands and leisure. Boring. We bought a Honda purely for the practical aspect – reliability. We have had almost no issues beyond normal maintenance with our car for the 9 years we’ve owned it.

    I guess my ultimate impractical dream car would be a Tesla.

  3. I drive a Miata, and am on my third one. For being reasonably priced, it is just s really fun car to drive. I took a break from it for the minivan years, but my husband got me a used one as an extra car for a milestone birthday/anniversary year. As we added drivers, that became my primary vehicle.

    I get it serviced at the dealer, but for two of our other vehicles (2002 truck and 2011 sedan with 108k miles) we go to a nearby guy that we trust.

    I guess this also my fun car. I plan to keep this car forever – I just really like everything about it. I do not let my daughter drive it much, because she is hard on vehicles and not as neat as I like. My son is too long-legged to drive it, which is great. With just the adults, it stays in much nicer condition.

    If money were no object, I like the Porsche Panamera. It is beautiful, for a four door sedan. But at $150k or however much it cost, I may be too practical to enjoy it. I know what idiots I share the road with, and I’d constantly be worrying about it, taking away all the fun.

  4. On service, I am a “secret shopper” for the dealer, so we take the car in whenever they need a shopper. We get paid $55 each time, which more than covers the cost of an oil change, and this past fall they were paying $100 if you had a repair done.

  5. I just left the Acura dealer because our driveway was covered with some stains from a leak. They think it was a leak from a filter they replaced a couple of weeks ago. I hope it’s that simple.

    Our MDX has 23,000 miles and its only 3 years old. We like the car, and we service it at the dealer except for tires.
    This is our second MDX, and the issue is now the third row. It’s cramped for 11 and 12 year olds.

    If we leased it, then we would look for an SUV with easier access for older kids the third row. I generally drive this on the weekends or any time I have to drive more than four kids.

    The BMW sedan that is leased for myself is a year old and I’m just shy of 10k miles. The car is growing on me, and I definitely like it more than the Subarus that I enjoyed driving for over 10 years. The drive is similar, but much quieter. I really like the extra features too.

    My only complaint is that it’s a dark blue car with black interior. You can get burned unless you use sun cover. I started last week before winter made a temporary return this weekend.

    If everything stays the same, I will probably get a similar car in two years.

    We don’t repair our own cars. We’re not car people because we didn’t even insure cars until we were mid 30s!! City living.

    Our priority is reliablility.

  6. We have two cars: a Mazda CX-9 with all-wheel drive that seats 7. Other than the fact that it gets terrible gas mileage (about 16 mpg for in-city driving), I like the car. It’s very comfortable, handles well in the rain and on steep hills, and is great for carpools.

    Our other car is a 1993 Acura Integra hatchback (and a rarity these days – it has a manual transmission). This has been a great car – but I know DH is looking forward to the day when we have the Mazda paid off and we can replace the Acura with something newer. Not sure what yet – but definitely something sporty. Every time we take the Acura with us to some sort of car place (e.g. when we bought our Mazda, when DH had a new stereo installed in the Acura), we always get unsolicited offers from the people working there to buy it.

    DS had to write a persuasive essay for his 5th grade English class. Title of his essay: “Prius = Despicable Pile of Trash” In sum, if you are going to buy a car and you care about mileage/low/non-gas use, he recommends the Chevy Volt. Although what he really recommends is something from Maserati (because they’re fun).

  7. I like the Porsche Panamera. It is beautiful, for a four door sedan. But at $150k or however much it cost

    Invoice is $71,285 with the Truecar average price of $76,311. So, just a little more than a very well equipped F150 or Chevy Silverado.

  8. Minivan, obviously, because we have three kids and we love road trips. We’re going to Connecticut for a long weekend next month and South Carolina in July. The past two weekends, we’ve transported the five of us and DW’s parents in comfort and style to different events.

    And then I’m just squeezing whatever value I can out of the two 13-year-old cars that DW and I each bought when we were dating. If I can squeeze eight more years out of the pair, that should give me some frugality bragging rights.

    DW and I probably drive about 35,000 miles annually, combined. All service is performed at my local independent shop, in business since the 1930s. The current owner purchased it from the founder in the 1970s. In a few years he’ll retire and pass it to his sons.

    I don’t have dream cars any more; I have dream boats.

  9. Timely. I decided this weekend to get a new car this fall. I drive a minivan and it’s been great and perfect for this stage of life. I was resistant to getting one and so, so wrong – it is the perfect car for people in the kiddo stage of life.

    But I want something bigger (I know many will shudder that that). I drive 4 kids every day, and not infrequently I have 5 or 6 kids (carpool, so I don’t drive both ways). Next year the older kids I drive will have instruments, computers, backpacks, and sports equipment, and the younger kids will have instruments, backpacks and sometimes sports equipment.

    I’m looking at the Sequoia and the Suburban (or Yukon XL). Leaning towards Suburban/Yukon.

    I drive between 20,000 and 25,000 per year. Would like to get it before school starts back in late August, but DH thinks I should wait until 2017 models are out later in the fall.

  10. Minivan – I love it for the stage we’re in right now. DH drives an 8 year old Infiniti sedan so when we go out we use that car. DH’s car has about 40,000 miles total so we’ll keep it as long as it’s running. We put about 15,000 miles on the minivan each year because of road trips. DH only puts about 5000 miles on his because his commute is only 7 miles each way.

    In general I don’t care about cars but I think the Tesla is really cool.

  11. – what’s your dream car, the one you’ll buy to satisfy your mid-life crisis, because you win the lottery, etc.

    A Tesla or an S550… I’d have to drive both and compare as I’m not sure which one I’d like most.

  12. We are now a 5 car family:
    – me a new Infiniti Q70L (long wheel base). There is actually legroom in the back seat for adult-sized people over 6′ tall.
    – DW a 2014 Audi Q7 SUV. This was a “downsizing” from the Sequoia she drove for 11 years before that.
    – “kids cars”: 2005 Chevy Equinox, 2011 Nissan Rogue, 2002 Mercedes e-class sedan all acquired for <$10k (the MB I've driven for the past 5 years but finally got to the point of wanting a car that looked like an adult car vs a kid car/winter beater…the rust really blossomed on it in the past 6 months; looks like complete crap on the outside but mechanically and on the interior it's great. Now it's principally our youngest's and he'll get to drive it more once his grades recover from the slow start he got off to this marking period).

    Maintenance is done at a solid local place (any warranty work at the dealers, of course).

    I like driving both my car and DW's SUV, so I'd say they are the "fun" cars. I can't see myself buying a car, e.g. a convertible, for the very few days/year around here where that would be desirable to go for a country drive.

  13. We have 4 vehicles, including a hunting jeep (inherited and in storage half the year, our version of a classic car), an extended cab pickup (Mr WCE’s vehicle and what we use for camping), a new minivan and a Buick Century, which sadly has had a gas tank sensor failure since I last reported on it, a common problem for vehicles of its vintage. We drive around 25,000 miles/year and I expect that will increase as the kids have more activities. We kept the Buick Century when we got the minivan for the “free” commuter miles.

    The minivan is under warranty so we’ve been getting the oil changed at the dealership (Mr WCE’s preference), I get the Buick’s oil changed at the quicky-lube and Mr WCE does routine maintenance including oil changes on his truck and jeep and some maintenance on my Buick. (He changes the fuel filter but I’ve changed the cabin air filter, for example.) The camper on forest roads has been hard on the struts of his truck, in my opinion, so we’ve had to pay for those repairs.

    One of the reasons I was not excited about upgrading to a “modern” Odyssey is all the electronics to fail as the vehicle ages. We’ll see.

  14. “The camper on forest roads has been hard on the struts of his truck, in my opinion, so we’ve had to pay for those repairs.”

    Possible dream car for him…
    http://earthroamer.com/

    There are even some used models in the column on the left.

    I like the fact that the camper is one molded shell, but Lord have mercy, not for half-a-million dollars.

  15. We have a 2008 MDX for the kid car. It is great. Will probably replace it with a Suburban when it dies. Currently has 96K miles on it but hasn’t needed any major stuff yet.
    I drive an Audi A3 for my work car. I like it OK, but am gunshy with it a bit esp over potholes, given the giant one from last year with the big $$ repair. Will probably get something else when the lease is up that is a bit more sturdy. Before this one I drove our old Acura sedan and before that, a Civic hybrid.
    DH has an Infiniti for his work car – he hardly drives it. When the lease is up this fall he will probably get a used F-150 or similar so he can lug all his equipment back and forth to the forest.

    We are not car people at all, but I do feel a certain amount of needing-to-keep-up-appearances for my work car. I also hate minivans so we won’t be getting one of those!

  16. We have a 13 year old MDX and a 2 year old Honda Accord. We love both cars. The Honda is so comfortable and the MDX is great when our streets flood (which happens more often than I’d like). When the MDX dies, we will likely get a smaller crossover like a Honda CRV, Acura RDX, etc.

    I’m not a car person. If I had an extra $20K, I’d rather get a new driveway than a new car.

    DS will start driving soon, so we will have to get a third car. My in laws have a 1996 Acura Integra that they are willing to donate. I am a bit worried about safety/reliability, but DH seems to think that the car will be fine.

  17. L, depending on if the truck will be driven in urban areas, he may want to compare them based on turning radius. That, in my opinion, is the most important variable for driving a truck. (But I’m not exactly Milo in the knowing-the-spatial location of your vehicle department.)

  18. “we service it at the dealer except for tires”
    I started buying tires for my wife’s Sequoia at the dealer, because they always seemed to be running a “buy 3 get 1 free” sale, which made the price competitive with the tire-store places. And I have gotten tires from our regular mechanic vs the tire stores. Usually the price starts out much higher but I tell them truthfully that I’d prefer to give them all my business so is there a way they can just be competitive with the other guys for the same product? I’m not asking for a price-match but I need to feel I’m not paying too much for a commodity item.

  19. Automobiles are a family tradition. My dad was a mechanic who loved cars, two brothers raced cars and motorcycles, and one brother owned a race track. When I first started driving I wanted a cool car and I drove too fast. At one point I had to go to court to appeal not to have my license suspended. Fast forward to today and I consider cars a necessary convenience. We had minivans for many years, and last year bought a Subaru Forester.

    It’s nice to have a new car that is dependable for weekend trips. When we had only our old minivan we used to rent a car for trips or for other times we needed two cars. We only drive about 5,000 miles/year.

    I plan to take the new Subaru to the dealer that sold it to us for its first oil change and for a minor recall issue. Next time if I have a warranty issue I’ll take it to a dealer slightly closer to us. The place where we bought it is about 25 minutes away in regular traffic, but about an hour away during rush hour so I don’t plan to use them again in the future. For normal service I have a local guy that is a 15-minute walk from our house.

  20. ” Would like to get it before school starts back in late August, but DH thinks I should wait until 2017 models are out later in the fall.”

    Unless there are major changes coming to the 2017 model for whatever vehicle you choose, I’d look at the 2016s and aim to buy it in the last week of September.

  21. Unless there are major changes coming to the 2017 model for whatever vehicle you choose, I’d look at the 2016s and aim to buy it in the last week of September.

    I had read or heard the Sequoia was being redesigned, but not sure if that’s actually true. Haven’t really started researching yet. (Did I read that here? If so must be true.) Also have never driven one.

    Driving cars, I enjoy. Test driving cars, not so much.

  22. I have drove the same car I got right of college in 1978. a used 1962 loaded Checker marathon ( AC , overdirive , power steering, jump seat) until a year ago when I bought a BMW i3 with a range extender. I loved my old checker, it went through 2 engines , paint job and one reupholstering job but it’s amazing the number tricks a new car can do. I never saw the need for new, but now I am on the want /wait list for a Tesla . My thrifty totebaggy ways are coming to an end, I want all that the new technologies can offer me. My kids are amazed at my change in attitude now that I am no longer obligated to pay or save for their educations . I am going to have a little fun with cars, vacations , rather than spending just on books, household repair , savings and computers.

  23. DH and I are not car people. We have a 2005 Kia and a 2008 Prius.

    Love not having a car payment

  24. We’ve got a 2012 Odyssey and a 2006 Civic. So… not car people. I care that they are reliable, and I almost never have to deal with leaving one for repairs at any given point in time. We use the basic oil change place in the neighborhood, Costco for tires, and haven’t needed any repairs aside from using the dealer for something from a recall for Civic. In a year and a half or so, my DH is going to need to be able to fit all 3 kids in his car for the occasional drop off or pick up, and we’re debating replacing the Civil that he drives. We’re not in a race to do it, but we aren’t sure what we’d actually want for that second car. We don’t want an SUV or another minivan, but something cheaper to run, but the tiny compacts aren’t exactly a good fit either.

  25. So, y’all know I am car girl. But Finn has really thrown a wrench in my plans. DD was *supposed* to get my ’08 TL next year, and I would get a new car — preferably the Porsche, but more likely something like a WRX. But, no, Finn has to point out all of the new crash-avoidance features, and how they are becoming available in lower-end models, so now I am shifting to DD getting the new car (and DH had independently come to the same conclusion). And, of course, most of the options aren’t really the low-end models — I checked out Mazda and Subaru, and in both cases you have to spring for a more upgraded model to have the option of the extra safety stuff (plus, of course, another $1K for the automatic transmission), so the total cost ends up closer to $30K. Current best guess in Subaru Crosstrek, or whatever they call it — Edmunds says just shy of $25K TMV with the safety stuff, plus Edmunds doesn’t like it too much because it’s underpowered and has a crappy sound system, which means it sounds *perfect* for a teen car. :-) But, dammit, that was supposed to be for MY car!!

    But now all of the focus on safety has me wondering why I am being so careful about my kids’ safety, and not paying the slightest attention to my kids’ mother’s safety? I mean, if the Mustang flips, I’m done for, there’s no roll bar. And the handling and brakes are sloppy, making that kind of bad outcome more likely. One other huge benefit to the Porsche is the rear engine, which makes the front of the car one gigantic crumple zone.

    In a not-unrelated coincidence, I just got to spend two days driving Porsches very fast around a very fun racetrack. Just freaking awesome — I would do this every week if I could. The amazing thing about the cars isn’t the acceleration — it’s the brakes and the handling (my “oh shit” level is about 10 notches down from the point where the car might actually be in danger of thinking about maybe possibly skidding just a teensy bit). It just gives an unreal feeling of security and safety, which I know sounds really stupid, but to have *that* much fun and feel *that* safe while doing it is like nothing else. This is my new lust –http://www.porsche.com/usa/models/911/911-turbo-s/ — we got to drive this, and holy freaking cow, it was head and shoulders above the others (which were themselves pretty phenomenal). Of course, that’s not going to happen. I’m just hoping that the track experience will convince DH to overlook how butt-ugly the cars are (I’d still far rather have a Maserati or Aston Martin on looks alone, but I cannot give up how good it feels to drive that car, plus Porsche is one of the few who still sells an actual manual) and let me start shopping for a nice used lower-end model. The 4S is plenty for how/where we drive, cabriolet of course — and it even has a back seat I can squish a kid in if needed for a few miles. See, practical!

  26. So – we will be in the market for a new car soon. We currently have an Accord, and we have been very happy with it. Top priority is reliability.

    Car cannot be much bigger than an Accord due to our garage space, but we don’t want a truly compact car as DS will most likely turn into a teenager in this car, so the backseat needs to comfortably seat an adult-sized person.

    Is there something else that we should look at or should we just start shopping for a 2016 Accord?

  27. – what do you drive as your everyday (commute/errand) car(s)? why did you pick those?
    I normally drive a red Subaru outback, and DH drives a black minivan. DH has driven one sort of a minivan or another since 1989. The one that he bought in 1989 actually had a manual transmission, and lasted until 2002, when my little todder DS1 cried while he watched the flatbed tow come to take it away. I have driven a red Subaru wagon since 1993. This one is my third.

    – is anyone a real “road” warrior, driving >20- or 25,000 miles a year?
    nope

    – do you have a separate “fun” car for the summer or just because?
    The minivan is the fun car because we use it to haul camping gear, bikes, and two doublebasses.

    – what’s your dream car, the one you’ll buy to satisfy your mid-life crisis, because you win the lottery, etc.
    My dream car is no car

    – do you have your car serviced at a dealer, an independent shop, national/regional chain? Why? Speak up if you / partner do-it-yourself.
    My DH used to do some abount of routine servicing himself, but he stopped having time years ago. We sometimes go to the dealer and sometimes to an independent. We used one independent for years, but it closed a couple of years ago due to gentrification.

    – anything else we should know about your automobile state of mind?
    I hate driving. I particularly hate driving because I just spent one hour 40 minutes driving home from campus, after I got forced into attending a totally unnecessary, 20 minute meeting this morning.

  28. I mean, if the Mustang flips, I’m done for, there’s no roll bar.

    According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2013 Ford Mustang Convertible earned top marks in all of its crash tests (results have not been published for the 2014 model). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the Mustang Convertible 5 out of 5 stars for its rollover protection, but has not yet subjected the car to its other crash tests.

  29. What do we drive: 2015 Enclave and 2011 LaCrosse. We are just as exciting as you would expect.

    Real road warrior? Nope, we are under 7k miles/year combined.

    Fun car? Not unless you consider the extra kid capacity of the Enclave to be fun.

    Dream car: I used to want a Miata, but the Maseratis look lovely….

    Service: Still at the dealer for both, though I use an independent mechanic for older cars whence have one.

    I really like the Enclave, which is good because I will be driving this one for a while.

  30. Everyday car….2011 Camry. I love my Camry. The controls, radio, steering column are built for someone of my height and arm length. It gets 30-35 mpg, and is just comfortable. I can put two teenagers in the back and an adult sized person in the front without too much squawking. I put about 30k miles per year on that car.

    Separate car…2014 sequoia. I drive for my high school kids teams, and I can fit seven teenagers and gear and snacks in the Sequoia. I am not as pleased with this sequoia as I was with the 2001 version. The gas tank is smaller and while there is more leg room for the passengers, there is less cargo space. I put about 12k per year on that car. When my youngest graduates from high school, I want to trade the sequoia for a Miata. Since I really do enjoy hailing the teenagers around, the sequoia is my fun car.

    DH drives a Toyota tundra and puts about 40k miles per year on it. Once again, not as pleased with this tundra as the previous one, but it is still a tough pickup.

    For repairs, we use the nearby dealer. We would buy from that dealer, but they can’t get close to the pricing we’ve gotten elsewhere. We get the cars smogged locally.

    Where do we go to rack up so many miles? Darned if I know. Most days DH doesn’t leave the county. The grocery store is 30 miles away, one way. School is a 16 mile round trip, as is the post office. If a piece of equipment breaks down, and we need the part asap, I have been known the make the 300-400 mile round trip to get it.

  31. Cordelia – wow, that is a lot of miles! By comparison, our school is 0.7 miles away, the grocery store is 1 or 1.5 miles away, and the post office is 0.9 miles.

  32. We have a 2 year old MDX that we love love love and a 10 year Old Camry. We might need to replace the Camry within a year or two and might look to a Tesla. I really like big SUVs but DH points out that we don’t really need one for 3 person family. But honestly, when we go camping or when parents visit and we go on a road trip, it is a tight fit in MDX with all the stuff.

  33. We have a minivan and a suv. DH’s car has more miles because we use it on longer drives. Everything is in close by, so we donr drive a so much. When minivan goes I will buy a much nicer car. I like having no car payments but I also like driving new cars which I have nor done in a few years now.

  34. It’s interesting that a few other families with an “only” are not facing the same carpool challenges as I struggle with even with the MDX. I do NOT want a minivan or truck that seats 8 because it doesn’t make sense for a three person family. The problem is that at least once a week, I come up short a seat for all of the kids that need transportation. I just call another parent, but I am a little envious when so many tweens/teens can pile into those minivans.

  35. I drive a Toyota Sienna AWD. My first car with leather seats. The boys got it detailed for Mother’s Day so now it is like a new car — even the Weather Tech mats are like new. I don’t haul kids but do haul stuff and my dad, who finds it easier to get into and out of the sliding doors than regular sedan doors. This is my third minivan and I much prefer being up high.
    How do you get the secret shopper gig?

  36. “I much prefer being up high”

    Me too, especially as a vertically challenged person. I position my Forester driver’s seat to the highest and most forward positions. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a memory feature to program that position, and my H literally cannot get in the seat after I’ve driven the car until after he adjusts it back. We have dueling seat positions!

    When I rented a car last month I sat on my backpack to drive so i could be higher in the seat. It was a Honda Civic iirc. I dislike sitting low and unable to see over the end of the front hood.

  37. “Car cannot be much bigger than an Accord due to our garage space … should we just start shopping for a 2016 Accord?”

    Like many of us, the Accord has gotten heftier in the past 10 years. So don’t just buy a new one without checking how it fits in your garage space. The CR-V is a foot shorter and an inch narrower, and personally, I think the taller, more upright backseat is more comfortable.

  38. @Milo – I like the CR-V in theory, but was thinking it would not work in our garage because of the bikes we store in the back of the car spot. But if it is actually a foot shorter than the Accord, it might. I’m worried that we would not have a lot of clearance on the back end to open the tailgate as it opens out whereas a trunk opens upward (if that makes sense). I would not like to have to move the bikes everytime I need to unload from a Costco run! I do like the crossover for getting things in & out in the parking lot at the store though.

  39. @ Lauren – We don’t carpool much either as DS is only in 2nd grade. We’ve taken one other kid in our car here & there, but that’s no big deal at the booster seat age. We walk to most of his current activities. Maybe if he does travel baseball in a few years it will be more of an issue. Your “only” is in MS?? Is that right?

  40. Yes, she is in the middle of MS. The carpools are for sport practices or parties. They move together as a pack from town, or from one house to another. Our school district is small, but it covers a lot of area so they can’t walk.

  41. Lauren, I’m in a similar boat. I have one kid and a Jetta now, but want more flexibility for future carpooling and ridesharing. Right now I can take 3 but they squeeze in with their backpacks. The MDX is one on my short list because the 2nd row has 3 seats. But you say the back row is tight?

  42. Lauren – here there are mostly families with a minivan or similar along with one nicer car. My DD almosy expects a minivan as “Mom” car as she calls it.

  43. I have a Subaru outback which is great for my day to day and longer trips, however I sometimes wish I had a 7-seater minivan or SUV. Our big family “car” is a Toyota Tundra with four doors and a shell on the back so that our luggage and our gear is out of the elements. It goes on most family trips, tows the tent trailer, though the Outback can also tow, and hauls the kayak/paddleboards/bikes/skis. It’s a great “family car” for an active family of four because there is a lot of legroom in the back seat, it hauls everything (including the space shuttle, if you’ve ever seen that commercial), doesn’t require chains in the mountains, and it’s indestructible. However, at some point the kids might want to start bringing friends on our adventures, and it only seats 5. That is where my husband’s dream car, the tricked out 4WD Sprinter camper van will come into play. I’m open to the Sprinter, but DH thinks he could use it as his primary vehicle (and get rid of the Tundra), and I’m not sold on it as an everyday car.

    My dream car is a Mercedes SL 500 of almost any vintage. Not sure what’s stopping me.

  44. I have friends who have deliberately kept smaller cars so they don’t get ‘stuck’ carpooling, but I love it. I’m happy for anyone to pile in.

    Lauren/Grocery bags – what about the Honda Pilot? The new one looks great and I think you can get it with captain’s chairs, making the 3rd row much more accessible. But not too big for a smaller family.

  45. DS will start driving soon, so we will have to get a third car. My in laws have a 1996 Acura Integra that they are willing to donate. I am a bit worried about safety/reliability, but DH seems to think that the car will be fine.

    No stability control and no side impact air bags and a 2600lb curb weight against a sea of Suburbans and F150s in Houston traffic? That seems like a bad idea to me. If you don’t want to go with Finn’s new Civic idea, I’d go with a 2008 Ford Taurus which you can get for under 5k.

    Something like this with perhaps fewer miles:

    https://houston.craigslist.org/cto/5564302218.html

  46. I drive an Audi Q7 and DS has a BMW 525. Prior to Q7 we had a BMW 5 series wagon for 13 years…over 200,000 miles! Seriously miss that car. We would have bought another BMW wagon but they no longer have them in the US. When we bought the Q7 we also considered the Suburban…but it wouldnt fit in our garage. That was the deal breaker. DS is considering a Tesla for his next car purchase. We are both road warriors over 20,000 per year….so the sticker would be nice. We bought the Q7 for the 3rd row so we could transport our 3 plus friends.

  47. @ Anon- DH wants me to look at a Q7 and I think they are gorgeous but I think it would be too small if I’m feeling pressed for space in the minivan. If you have the 3rd row up do you still have cargo room for instruments, backpacks, etc. etc.?

  48. “Our big family “car” is a Toyota Tundra with four doors and a shell on the back so that our luggage and our gear is out of the elements.”

    GFM – That’s exactly what I want in a year or so for boat towing, and maybe for transporting some heavier rental equipment for DIY landscaping. But in my casual searching, it seems like half-ton trucks simply do not give up their resale value easily, while the Sequoia, with what must be about the same engine and transmission, is a dime a dozen.

  49. Where do we go to rack up so many miles? Darned if I know.

    Then you answer your own question:

    The grocery store is 30 miles away, one way. School is a 16 mile round trip, as is the post office. If a piece of equipment breaks down, and we need the part asap, I have been known the make the 300-400 mile round trip to get it.

    I have a five year old highlander, just paid off. I drive about 15,000 miles a year. DW has a 15 year old Outback, she drives less than 10,000 miles a year, which just went in today for a $1,000 repair job. We have been talking about getting a new vehicle (looking at the Pilot) but we wanted to put it off another year to save some money. With this latest repair, we might accelerate the timetable a little bit.

  50. “That is where my husband’s dream car, the tricked out 4WD Sprinter camper van will come into play.”

    Think of the tailgating potential. :)

    But I agree, I wouldn’t want it as an everyday vehicle. I’d add something else, used and cheap, to the mix for that.

  51. Lark – if you’ve got 6-7 kids with you in a Q7, they probably have to have their backpacks on their laps if there is also sports equipment, instrument cases etc.

  52. Yeah, that’s what I figured. I don’t think it gives me any more room than the minivan.

  53. When does carpooling start? I am curious. Oldest is in 2nd grade and no one has even inquired about it yet.

    My work car is 1.5 years into the lease and has 7000 miles on it. I am sure the dealership is going to put a fat price on it off the lease!

  54. Rhett, A Taurus? Never! You voiced my concerns about driving such an old car. We might end up giving him the MDX, giving my Accord to DH and my getting a new CRV/RDX. Or getting him a late model Civic. It might depend on where he goes to college and if he needs a car there.

    Still thinking this through…

  55. L,

    Keep in mind your lease buyout price is calculated based on the maximum mileage. For example, the buyout price of a 320i might be $20k based on 36k miles but if you’ve got 14k it would be worth 23k. So, you could exercise your right to buyout the lease at $20k then turn around and sell if for $23k and pocket the $3k.

  56. I’m still happy with my hybrid Accord. I was right to think that the kids still had a few milk spills left in them, so good thing I have the leather. I drive fewer than 5K miles / year.

    My husband is looking to replace his minivan within the next year or so. His front bumper is literally held together with duct tape and wire. His commute is longer than mine and he parks out in the hot sun and that’s taken its toll.

  57. “When does carpooling start? I am curious. Oldest is in 2nd grade and no one has even inquired about it yet.”

    For DD, it was 3rd grade when she started team sports.

    Unfortunately, we haven’t had much luck finding other kids who go to the same school who live near us and need rides home at about the same time. One year we carpooled with a classmate of DS, but haven’t found a carpool partner since.

  58. I can’t get a Pilot or different SUV for a while because our MDX only has 23,000 miles on it. DH doesn’t think it makes sense just so we can drive more kids around. If we had 2 or 3 more kids of our own, then I think we would trade it in for a larger car. Since we just have one kid, we will just make it work and the real issue is that some parents NEVER(!!) want to pick up. It is easy for them to ask me to drive their kids since I’m generally around on a Friday.

    Also, the Pilot has a console between the captain chairs in the second row. IMHO, it sort of defeats the purpose of having easy access to the third row if that console is in the way. We really like the MDX, and the third row was fine until the kids started to get taller in 6th grade.

  59. “trucks simply do not give up their resale value easily,”
    We have a 14 year old Toyota truck with about 85k miles on it, and we get a lot of unsolicited offers for it. There is a strong market for used Toyota trucks, so the price has stayed high.

  60. I think carpooling really depends on where you live. Where we are is very geographically spread out, so people carpool as much as possible. We started regularly with another family to school when our oldest kids were in pre-K, and we’ve always done less formal carpooling for sports or other activities.

  61. We have busing in our town for school, and the carpools started around 4th grade for after school activities such as religious school, dance, sports, practices, etc. The carpools for parties and Starbucks started around here in 6th grade. The kids started to make their own plans with each for Friday afternoons/evenings, and they needed rides from school. Our town does not allow you to switch buses, so if everyone wants to go to one house – you need a carpool because the bus driver won’t take kids that are not on the bus route.

  62. Lark, if you are using the 3rd row there isnt that much space. I am able to fit three maybe four backpacks across. That said, the space has not been issue when I am carpooling day to day. There are a couple of areas where the space has been an issue: when I am using the 3rd row to transport kids to/from scout backpacking trips…they need to put alot of their camping gear at their feet. When we drive up to Tahoe each summer we arent able to use the third row and still fit luggage, golf equip, beach chairs, etc. and that is with a Thule case on top. Its a long 12 hour drive with 3 kids in the second row!

  63. Laura – how did the “driving Porsches around a race track” come about? This would make an excellent Father’s day gift for DH.

    Re: cars for carpooling – we bought our Mazda CX-9 for its 3rd row seat. We looked at the Honda Pilot and Ford Flex and maybe a couple others and felt that the Mazda’s 3rd row seat was the best for fitting teens/adults. I’ve had a 6 foot 4 inch guy in the 3rd row seat a couple times (took my work team out to lunch) and he said the 3rd row was pretty good.

    I think carpooling depends a lot on the kid and their activities. DD plays club soccer with practices 3 times a week all over the city. Carpools were essential (they started in 5th grade when she joined the club team). DS does not play team sports and can walk to his aikido studio. No carpools required.

    Last week was our last soccer carpool! The girls are now all getting driver’s licenses and can drive themselves to practices. Feels like the end of an era.

  64. All this talk of kids and cars – DD just received her driver’s license and is quite put out that we won’t let her start taking one of our cars to drive to/from school every day. She gets a free bus pass to ride the city bus, we live a block from the bus stop, the bus comes ever 7 minutes, and it’s a 20 minute bus ride. Her sense of entitlement lately has been a real PITA.

  65. “Porsche is one of the few who still sells an actual manual”

    So does Mazda. Unfortunately, it seems like their higher trim levels, with the most safety features, are only available with automatic.

  66. “I think carpooling really depends on where you live.”

    The carpool that we were in that parents were most enthusiastic about was from school to practice. That drive required many of us to leave work early, so having to do that every third or fourth practice instead of every practice make life easier for all of us.

  67. “Is there something else that we should look at or should we just start shopping for a 2016 Accord?”
    “Like many of us, the Accord has gotten heftier in the past 10 years.”

    Indeed. Recent Civics are bigger than some older Accords, so you might start by looking up specs online to see if they’ll fit in your garage.

    Whether you get the Civic or the Accord, definitely consider the Honda Sensing™ safety package.

  68. “Or getting him a late model Civic.”

    I don’t think I’d get a late model used Civic. It probably won’t come with the full safety package. If I were looking at a late model car like a Civic, I’d probably go ahead and spend the extra money for a new one with the full safety package.

    And as Rhett has pointed out before, used is not necessarily the best deal these days.

  69. And as Rhett has pointed out before, used is not necessarily the best deal these days.

    That holds especially true for Civics.

  70. @SSM – Google Porsche Sport Driving School – they have sessions at the Barber racetrack in Birmingham (which is an absolutely gorgeous track, btw), with professional drivers as instructors. I can’t speak highly enough about it. They also have driving “experiences” at other locations that I think are a couple of hours vs a couple of days. I did this once before with my dad, and then brought him and DS this time (we did the “trade significant-birthday gifts” approach), and it was really just excellent fun. Especially because I beat them both on the autocross. 😉 Happy to email separately if you’re interested (Laurafrombaltimore (at) gmail).

  71. Ps – I know I’ve said this before, but I do love our Enclave, for both the ease of access and relative comfort of the 3rd row seats – we tried Honda/Acura, Mazda, Volvo, Lincoln, etc, and these won hands down. It is also my favorite SUV to be a passenger in (the MX-9 was my favorite big one to drive, but the Enclave is much cushier).

    And thanks, Rhett – somehow I either missed or forgot that stat (I must have looked it up before we bought, as I was looking for all possible excuses not to buy, but I have zero recollection now).

  72. “the MX-9 was my favorite big one to drive”

    For anyone who prioritizes the driving experience, I suggest test driving a Mazda.

  73. The lease on DH’s 2014 Forester is up in a few weeks and he needs to make a decision. He was thinking he’d get the smaller Subaru SUV (the Crosstrek, I think?) but then he read that it’s underpowered and got bummed out. He might just buy the Forester although he doesn’t love it. I was thinking I’d get a new car but since I just got a house in California I think I’ll drive my ’06 Camry Hybrid for a few more years. It only has 67K miles on it. Every time I spend money getting the dents and scratches taken out of it new ones appear. Grr.

    In other news, my stepson is making an offer on a house in the Boston area. He’s really stressed out. We tried to reassure him that ultimately it most likely will work out well. He’s like a child of the Depression — in 2006, when he was starting college and paying attention to the real world, the housing market imploded and the news was full of everyone getting foreclosed on and losing all their money and dying by the dozens in the gutters. And his father and I are nailbiters about everything too, so he comes by it honest.

  74. I drive a CRV, and DH has a Highlander with a 3rd row. Around here, carpooling starts around age 3 and lasts until the kids get their licenses. We had highly organized carpools for school and various activities, and the carpool scheme kind of runs your life.
    DS drives a Jeep. Status in the senior parking lot is key.

  75. “Or getting him a late model Civic.”
    No, no, honey, no. Honda redesigned the civic in 2012 and it was universally panned. Terrible car. They just re-did it this year, and supposedly it is a good car again. But you will find lots of terrible late model Civics out there. Either go with a 2007 – 2010 or go new.

    FWIW, we found, when we were buying cars for our guys, that compared to new with better safety features, used cars weren’t that attractive. We bought new low end cars (Civic, Elantra) that they are still driving after college. We think that if we had put them in older cars, they would have car payments now, and one thing we were glad to be able to do was launch them without car loans.

  76. “the Maseratis look lovely….”

    The day BIL drove up to our house in a Maserati is the day my kids learned the word, “ostentatious.”

  77. “we found, when we were buying cars for our guys, that compared to new with better safety features, used cars weren’t that attractive.”

    OK, it’s not just me. LfB’s DH seems to agree also.

    “We bought new low end cars (Civic, Elantra) that they are still driving after college. We think that if we had put them in older cars, they would have car payments now, and one thing we were glad to be able to do was launch them without car loans.”

    Hmm, I hadn’t thought of that aspect. OTOH, we weren’t planning to give the car to DS, it would be our car that he could drive while he’s home. When he launches after college, my expectation is that he’d buy himself a car if he needs one.

  78. “Every time I spend money getting the dents and scratches taken out of it new ones appear. Grr.”

    One of the things I like about keeping cars until they start falling apart is that at some point I stop caring about the dents and scratches. As an added bonus, the people who drive nice shiny cars seem to give an old, dented, and scratched car a little more room in parking lots.

  79. “the carpool scheme kind of runs your life.”

    But for us, not as much as having to drive DD to every one of her practices would’ve run our lives.

  80. I agree with Finn. I drive once a month to certain activities instead of 1 or 2 times a week due to carpools.

    I encountered an issue in one of my carpools in April, and it is still bothering me. A parent in my carpool disappeared for five weeks. During that time, she would have been the designated driver one time. We reached out to her husband because we learned from his child that she was in the hospital. Her husband turned down all of our requests to help with driving on other days, and he had his mother drive the carpool instead. A few of us weren’t comfortable because she is really old, and we had no idea about the safety of her driving. She doesn’t live nearby so she doesn’t know the local roads. The school is about 15 minutes away, but all of the driving is on back roads.

    It was fine, but now I wonder about the parent. She was “sick” for five weeks in a hospital. She had no access to a cell phone or kids. All they’ve shared with us is that she was in the hospital. I am positive this wasn’t plastic surgery, so it must be some sort of treatment program for something. Anxiety, drugs, alcohol, or similar. The carpool is over for this year, but I wish I knew what was wrong because I really want to know if she is stable. She was always a nervous and flaky person, but I never realized that it could be something that is much more serious.

  81. I’m a car person. I love to drive. We have a 2010 Lexus RX and a 2009 Highlander. The Highlander is for family trips, but I cart the kids around in the Lexus (quite comfortably) regularly. I drive a lot more than I used to for work (prob about 12,000 miles/year), and the Lexus couldn’t be more quiet and comfortable. BUT – I miss my stick shift and look forward to something more “fun” when the kids get a little older. I drove an Outback (with manual transmission) for years but it started falling apart at around 60K (I know, not typical for a Subaru) so I got the used Lexus after a family member leased it. Perfect timing, because the Outback’s rear area was not big enough for kids in carseats. We aren’t carpooling much yet, kids are still pretty young.

  82. DH is frugal but can be persuaded to buy a used (newer) or new car for DS. He likes new or low mileage used and if I tell him about safety features he is sure to go with a newer car. DH got a good deal on his SUV from CarMaxx. I liked CarMaxx because we could hop into several vehicles and test the comfort and accessibility of the third row. Now, DS is car boy so let’s see where we end up (No Bugattis DS !). DS hates the bus, so he will have to find a friend to carpool with or learn to drive. Time is passing very quickly and driving will soon be here.

  83. @HFN: that was part of DH’s thinking as well. I had been thinking more like Finn: give her my old car to run errands (for me!) through HS, let her take it to college with her (by which time it will be a real beater), and then when she has a real job she can buy a real car. But DH was thinking that new/reliable car would easily take her through college and the first few years of her job or grad school. In terms of kid-life, the 8+ extra years she gets from a new/newer car vs my old one would cover a long period of low funds and tight budgets, so that could really be the gift that keeps on giving.

  84. “Either go with a 2007 – 2010 or go new.”

    HFN: Thank you. Very important info. Still figuring out what to do. Might depend on where he goes to college and whether he will need a car. If we buy a Civic, we will buy new. Since we prefer new cars (never bought a used car), this is not a stretch for us.

  85. “But DH was thinking that new/reliable car would easily take her through college and the first few years of her job or grad school.”

    But by that time, that car will be old, and there will be new safety features on the newer models. It seems like we’re just talking about “safety” in a vague sense, without regard to specific features, just “whatever they’ve got, that’s what we need.”

  86. For us at the time, the “safety” feature was side airbags, which weren’t standard on any entry level car but the Civic, and I wanted those. I don’t think anyone makes cars without them any more.

  87. Lauren, I think you should not participate in the carpool if the other mother will be driving.

    An inpatient program that long is *very* likely to be for suicidal behavior or substance abuse. Most likely substance abuse.

    To let the other family save face, you could say something to the effect of “I know you have a lot to deal with right now, and to make your life easier we would like to drive your DD and give you a break for this session. Think of it as my version of a casserole because I can’t cook.” (Well, maybe you can cook; I can’t :) )

    You should also talk to your DD about what to do if she thinks the parent who is driving or supervising has been drinking too much, not specific to this mom but in general. At her age I used to sail with a friend whose parents never seemed to be sober, and in retrospect we were very, very lucky nothing happened.

  88. ” It seems like we’re just talking about “safety” in a vague sense, without regard to specific features, just “whatever they’ve got, that’s what we need.””

    While there’s a lot of that, e.g., increasing amount of airbag protection, ABS, ESC, I’ve been referring to collision avoidance features, which apparently have only very recently migrated down to some less expense models and trim packages.

  89. “But by that time, that car will be old, and there will be new safety features on the newer models.”

    Indeed, when I first brought this subject up, part of the discussion was a paradigm shift away from buying a car and driving it until the wheels fell off. The increasing pace of safety feature development and implementation was a major factor in leading me to question that paradigm and consider shorter term ownership or leasing.

  90. Sky, I was thinking the same thing. I am supposed to go to lunch with the mom at the end of May. I am not going to ask, but I am hopeful that she will share something about why she sought treatment.

    If they don’t say anything, then I am going to wait to discuss in the fall.

  91. “The increasing pace of safety feature development and implementation was a major factor in leading me to question that paradigm and consider shorter term ownership or leasing.”

    Aren’t you an avid road cyclist? From a standpoint of statistical risk reduction, it just doesn’t compute.

  92. Lauren, I agree with Sky’s comment to limit your daughter riding with that mother. We had a neighbor who used to always invite my daughter along to entertain her son. After she had gotten in three wrecks in just a couple of months (all seemed to be her rear-ending someone), I started making excuses why my daughter couldn’t go on outings that required driving. Very soon after, she passed out while chatting in the culdesac, busting her head open. It came out that she was using drugs, and I guess had been skipping eating for days at a time. (Later, at her going away party, she bragged about her drug use, including huffing freon from air conditioning units when she was younger – super classy chick.) It had never really dawned on me to worry about seemingly normal neighborhood moms having substance abuse problems. After that, I always volunteered to be the parent who brought the kids home at night, realizing that some parents may have had a couple of drinks by that time.

  93. We drive a used Japanese SUV and a pickup truck (Texas!) and have a fun German sports car that is the low mileage weekend car but has now become my daily driver because we have an au pair. Au Pair has already had two small wrecks so I regret letting her drive what used to be my nice car. I try to ride my bike a couple times per week and trying to increase that more. Haven’t posted here at all since starting my new job. Really long hours and very tight security on Internet. All commenting options and virtually anything you might read online are disabled. No fun. But very productive! Hope all are well.

  94. MiaMama – nice to see you drop by! People have wondered how you are doing.

  95. We have two cars: just got an Audi Allroad wagon last summer, and DH has a Ford F150 truck (in the city!). We have found that we need only about 1 and 1/4 cars – he uses his truck maybe once a week. We are very happy with the Allroad – it is sporty enough to zip around in and accelerates quickly, and it is big enough for DH to fit in pretty comfortably. This is always the hardest part because he is very tall.

    We also have a Jetta with manual transmission that DS has at school in the midwest.

  96. Ok random question…have any of you used a concierge Doctor service? We have a high deductible plan ($3k per person) with an HSA. I am not in love with my primary care doctor and our pediatrician retired and I don’t like the rest of the practice enough to stay. Cost for concierge is $90 per adult per month and $45 per child with no copay, responsive doctors who take calls and texts at all hours. Very curious to hear real life feedback.

  97. Not real life feedback, but…are you normally spending $2700 per year for non-preventative doctor visits? Under the ACA, preventative care visits should be fully covered. Also, if you had a medium severity problem (broken ankle requiring surgery, short hospitalization for dehydration, etc), you are only saving the doctor visit fees – not the xrays, MRI, and hospital charges and medications. Unless you have frequent doctor visits (maybe there are chronic problems?), it seems hard to get $225/month of value out of it.

    I do have a colleague whose husband travels a lot, and he values the ability to have someone available who never requires him to come in person.

    The access would be nice (calls and texts), but there may be practices in your community that do that without the concierge payment. (In the city I work in, there are physicians that take many commercial insurances that will do that – usually in large practices, because they have the infrastructure to support it).

  98. Also, totally agree with what Skye said – it is hard to have a prolonged non-medical hospitalization for anything except alcohol/drug abuse. I wouldn’t have wanted my kids riding with the grandma – but I’m probably not confrontational enough to have avoided and would have kicked myself after.

  99. Milo, I haven’t seen the same sort of advances in safety technologies in road bikes.

  100. This conversation (which I’m joining very late) reminds me of my dad’s required factors for purchasing a car: 1. North American 2. From the dealership of a fellow Rotarian 3. No more $ than the precise amount he could write off (some business owner tax thing in ON at the time) and 4. It had to match the house! We had no garage and he didn’t want the car in the driveway to clash w/ the house. This meant they were all shades or brown. The last one kills me.

    DH and I drive CPO cars (certified pre owned) and because they are Big 3 brands there are terrific deals to be had in this area–executives put 2k on the car and then get transferred. DH’s is a CTS4 Wagon (discontinued) and mine is an ATS4. I was all set to get a Fusion but the ATS was such a good deal and I love how it handles so I splurged a little.

    DD’s father just bought her a new CR-V. She loves it-and of course has already named it. Her dad wanted her to get a Subaru since she will be attending a school in a town with gobs of snow, but for a 16yo girl, the Subarus “aren’t cute” so they were out. DS refuses to have a car bought for him so spends hours/week scheming about buying an old vintage Toyota FJ that he will rebuild himself. In our driveway – what a joy. I’m trying to convince him to borrow a bit of $ (from his own account) so he can getting that actually runs and has doors, but he is not on board.

    I always said I don’t care about cars but I have changed my tune. I believe the Flex was a contributing factor to my needing my right fake hip revised and I will never again drive such a heavy vehicle. I borrowed DH’s car one week last summer and I noticed such a difference b/w it and the Flex that I got my ATS the next week. I also spent 20 years driving the sport ute that fit the family and I’ve retired from that chore and am loving having a peppy, light sedan. I only drive 2 days/week to work but I drive regularly to see my parents 5.5 hours away and usually return the same or next day, so my car matters a lot to me these days. It has to be light and I have to want to be in it for a few hours at a time.

    I will say that the Flex Nav system beats the Cadillac one hands down.

  101. My dad’s requirements were from my childhood btw. Now my parents live in a much snowier city so he drives a Subaru. They’re in a condo w/ underground parking so no worries about clashing, thank God!

  102. “But by that time, that car will be old, and there will be new safety features on the newer models. It seems like we’re just talking about “safety” in a vague sense, without regard to specific features, just “whatever they’ve got, that’s what we need.””

    So, first, how many cars do you think I’m buying for my kid? :-) My job is to get her through college — after that, it’s up to her.

    Second, eh, not really. When I bought the TL, it came with top-notch safety for its time and price point (i.e., head and side airbags). I’ve been good with the idea of passing it along to DD for all 7.5 years that I’ve owned it, because the safety improvements have been incremental.

    But active crash avoidance is a game-changer for me, as it was for Finn. Especially for an inexperienced teen — and especially especially for one with ADHD, who is extremely likely to be in a carelessness-caused accident at some point within her first year or two on the road. I have been assuming she’d get my old car both because it’s free and because it’s kind of beat up, so a little fender-bender wouldn’t be a big deal. But avoiding the accident in the first place — or even knocking off a few miles an hour from the impact speed — is SO much the better option that even I am willing to fork over the money (and give up the stick shift) to get it. As the driving instructor said: rule # 1 is “don’t crash faster.”

    And, sure, by the time she gets out of school, the car will be old and outdated, and there will always be something better. So, yay? Because my job is to get her there in one piece, and that will mean I succeeded.

  103. He feels a guy should buy his own car.

    A guy knows a good deal when he sees one and there a few better deals than a gift car.

  104. SSM,
    Good for you for being the mean mom. Someday your daughter will thank you for crushing her incipient sense of entitlement.

  105. Mia: Great to hear from you. Glad all is well. We had a doctor who turned concierge. We decided to choose someone else. We did not need the concierge services, since we were really focused on check ups and occasional strep throat and other illnesses. If we had a chronic condition in our family that needed regular attention, a concierge doctor would be more attractive.

  106. I just want you all to know that I have to google everytime someone posts a jumble of letters and or numbers as the car type!

    My parents gave me the car I’d been driving since HS as a college “graduation present,” and it was a big gift not to have to worry about getting a new car until I was a little bit more established post-college. I ended up getting rid of it when I moved abroad for work and then purchasing my first car on my own when I came back, a few years out of college.

  107. Milo– I’ve seen folks around here charged with child endangerment for leaving their kids in a car with the engine running. Another friend didn’t leave the car running, but left her baby in the car while running to the ATM and received a citation for child endangerment (that threatened her job). So even though it made carting young children around THAT much harder, I never left them in the car at all. I still get side-eye if I leave the 8 year old in the car for the 5 min it takes to walk into and out of the preschool to get my youngest so that she can read her book. I like to think people mean well, but the busybody phone calls put everyone at further risk sometimes.

  108. “I still get side-eye if I leave the 8 year old in the car for the 5 min it takes to walk into and out of the preschool to get my youngest so that she can read her book. I like to think people mean well, but the busybody phone calls put everyone at further risk sometimes.”

    I think I mentioned the time my SIL had the fire department called on her when she left her 11-yr-old reading in the car when she went in to the strip mall to return some shoes. Kid was so engrossed in his book that he didn’t even notice until the guy knocked on his window.

    Your tax dollars at work, courtesy of well-meaning busybody.

  109. Thanks LFB! Looks like there’s a Porsche center opening up in the LA area later this year – but they only offer 1.5 hour experiences. Sounds like you did a full weekend experience. Any thoughts on whether the 1.5 hour experience is worth doing? If it was in Seattle, I’d definitely get it for DH – but am wondering if it’s worth flying to LA.

  110. In the way to work this morning saw a sign for a mobile service that will come to your home or office and change your oil or service your brakes. Now that we have four cars to deal with, that might be worth it.

  111. @SSM — I’ve never done the 1.5 hr version, so can’t say. Although the guys at the track said you could specify your chosen vehicle for that, so may be worth it (hint: 911 turbo S or GT3). My big hesitation would be that I found the instruction part to be the most helpful (e.g., how/when to use throttle/brakes to transfer weight of car, a/k/a Applied Physics 101 — what you do on the track is completely different than the way we are taught to drive in the real world), and I doubt they can spend much time on that in a 1.5 hr experience. But since it’s close to you, I’d give it a shot, and then if he likes it maybe move to the bigger class — several guys in my class were there after having come from one of those “experiences” at different locations.

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