My Son Bought His First Car—Help Me Give Him Advice

In the grand tradition of proud, yet awkward and uncool moms the world over, I’m so very pleased to announce to you that my son has bought his first car.

A ’98 Honda Civic.

He paid cash. The kid negotiated and got a really good deal.

He didn’t even have to buy bumper stickers, as you can see by the ready supply already attached to the car. (Thank goodness they’re okay bumper stickers, eek!)

So much proud mom-ness.

So I got the wise idea to give my boy some unsolicited advice. I texted it to him. (Because true to his generation, he won’t answer the phone. Or listen to his voicemail.)

And then I got the even wiser idea to ask for your help. It takes a village, ya’ know!

Here’s what I told him:

  • Unsolicited car advice #1— Have the oil changed, and the tires rotated while you’re at it, every 3,000 miles without fail. This is the single-best way to keep the car running forever. Or as forever as it’s gonna get.
  • Unsolicited car advice #2— Since you don’t have a car payment, set aside $20-$50 each paycheck for a maintenance/emergency fund. This is far, far, far cheaper than a car payment. This way it won’t surprise you when the car needs a new valve cover seal or new tires one day—hopefully no time soon, but setting aside a little at a time will cover it.
  • Unsolicited car advice #3- Have a hippie friend bless the car with you. The car will appreciate it and treat you well.

I’m no car whiz, so from me, that about covers it.

So what’s your unsolicited advice for my kid and his new car?

p.s. He named the car “Ronnie,” and I bet you can figure out why.


20 thoughts on “My Son Bought His First Car—Help Me Give Him Advice”

  1. Just bought my fourth car — after not owning one since 1989. Putting money away is great advice! I got sticker shock with my first garage bill! Love your blog! Thanks.

    • Congrats on your new car, Randy—hope you’re not in shock or out of practice after 2 1/2 decades! My son is loving his car, and I can only hope he’s taking all our advice. Fingers crossed, that’s for sure.

      And thanks for the high five—it’s always great to have a new fan. 🙂

  2. Can’t believe he is all grown up and driving his own car! You forgot to tell him to purchase a heavy duty hula girl for the dash!

    • Oh good gosh, I sure did. Maybe I’ll have to pick one up for him!

      (Funny you should bring up dashboard hula girls, too— I’m in the process now of recovering my former dashboard hula girl posts that got lost in the Great Shiny Butter Hacking of 2015.)

  3. Looks like you got it down now. I have nothing to add. Hope he heeds the advice. You know how kids- even grown ones can be. Some gotta learn the hard way.

    Loved Pooks advice. I’m thinking about heeding that one myself. I would add some tie-down straps or a rope to that list- just in case you have to haul something too big to close the trunk.

    • I know what you mean about having some line, bungee cords, or tie-downs on hand… you never know when you’ll find something good on the side of the road. 🙂

  4. My dad kept a small notebook in his glove compartment in which he recorded the date of each oil change and the mileage. He would look for one or two cents lower gas prices-may not sound like a lot but it adds up when you get 10 or 15 gallons!

    Love the bumper stickers!

  5. I’m quite sure that you are a careful, safe driver. But just remember that there are a lot of other drivers out there who are idiots. Watch out for them!

    • So, so true. Always be on the lookout for idiots—they’re everywhere. And the longer you drive, the more evident that is.

  6. Tire rotation is not as important as maintaining proper pressure. Remind him that as temperature goes down, tires will need air at a rate of one pound per 10 degrees of change. Buy him a pressure gauge if he does not have one.

    • You’re right, Steve, thank you. I once wore a pair of tires out prematurely for that very reason. Now I’m kind of obsessive about my tire pressure, so I’ll pass that obsession on to Junior.

  7. Yay! Congrats to your man-kid! Putting away money monthly is awesome advice. I’ll share with you something my stepdad did for me as a youngun that I seriously underappreciated at the time. Buy a small plastic trashcan, two bungee cords, a can of fix-a-flat, a container of: oil, brake fluid, and windshield wiper fluid, jumper cables, a flathead screwdriver (for pokin’ stuff, if I’m using it correctly), a Phillips head screwdriver, paper towels, and a few bottled waters. Pack all that stuff in the waste can, then secure it with bungees into one corner of the trunk with the bungees. You don’t think about it much, but when you need it, it’s like having solid gold treasure.

    Bonus item: car lighter-powered air compressor.

    • Aw, thanks, pooks, great advice here. I really like the little trashcan idea for containment. And yeah, strap the thing down—nothing worse than crap rolling around in the trunk. (And I think Ima get me a can of fix-a-flat, myself.)


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