5 Reasons NOT to Drive Your Kids Around in a Junk Car

It’s not always easy to stop driving that junk car. You tell yourself, “Just a few thousand more miles, she can do it…”

I know what it feels like to try and squeeze that last bit of juice out of an old car before either donating it or selling it to an auto salvage yard. Maybe it has sentimental value, maybe you don’t know if you can afford a replacement yet. But no matter your reasons, the cons of driving around in a junk car with kids far outweigh the pros. So if you need a little motivation to stop driving around in a junk car with kids, then here’s “5 Reasons NOT to Drive Your Kids in a Junk Car”:

1. Safety First

Many a reckless teenager has thought themselves to be invincible, at least unit they grow up and have kids of their own. Then they suddenly realize that not only is safety cool, safety is the coolest. That’s why safety is our #1 reason not to drive around in a junk car with kids. When you’re buying a new car, the safety rating will probably be one of the first questions on your mind. But over time, you can slowly drive a car to death, and when it’s on its last legs, you don’t even realize that you’re putting your entire family at risk every time you start the engine.

Have you ever been in the fast lane on the highway when your car suddenly gives out? And I mean really gives out — no turn signals, no gas — just you and a horn against three lanes of rush hour traffic. Trust me, it’s a nightmare. If you have a junk car, play it safe and keep your kids out of harm’s way. And it’s not just the risk of the car breaking down and crashing that puts you in danger. There’s also…

2. Getting Stranded

Junk cars aren’t known for their reliability, obviously. That means that while you’re driving around in that junk car, it could give out at any second. Even if you manage to safely get off the road without so much as a scratch, you and your family will still be stranded in a potentially sketchy situation. Do you really want to answer the question, “Are we there yet?”, with a terrified, “No, AND WE PROBABLY NEVER WILL BE!” Plus, not all tow trucks can accommodate too many passengers. If you’re traveling with kids when your junk car breaks down, are you certain you’ll be able to stay together? Do you have everything you’ll need to get through a long detour on the side of the road?

3. Teaching All The Wrong Lessons…

Although parents of teens have probably caught their kids giving them some epic stink eye from the back seat (even though they still depend on you for everything), kids really do take after their parents. If you want to teach your kids how to responsibly take care of a car — and how to safely drive it — then driving them around in a junk car sends all the wrong messages. So unless you want your kids to think the “Check Engine” and “Change Oil” warning lights are purely decorative, then don’t drive a car that belongs in the parking garage in the sky.

4. Car Seats

There was a time when really little kids sat on their siblings’ laps, without a care in the world. Of course, there was also a time when cars had more ashtrays than airbags. Modern cars have made leaps and bounds in improving safety, particularly for young kids. For example, now we now that even big kids should stay in car seats, which should be facing backward, in the back seat. By definition, junk cars tend to be older models that lack modern safety features. You don’t want to have to MacGyver a new car seat so that it fits into an old junk car, barely.

5. Harmful Emissions

Speaking of lax safety regulations… In days gone by, the average car had exhaust fumes that would make even the most committed chain smoker cough in disgust. Older junk cars usually have terrible exhaust fumes that aren’t just bad for the environment, they’re bad for your lungs, too. Even worse, over time junk cars can break down, so that harmful fumes and gasses leak inside the car, mixing with the air your kids breathe. Don’t put their developing lungs at risk by exposing them to emissions that have been rightfully banned from modern cars.

But, There’s An Exception To Every Rule…

Of course, there is one situation in which it might be acceptable to put your kid in a junk car. If you’re buying a first car for a teenage driver, then you’ll want to find not just a used car, but a used used car. Now, that doesn’t mean you should waste money on a total lemon that will break down or put them at risk, but unless you want your kid to come down with a serious case of Affluenza, then there’s no reason to shell out for a brand new Beamer that, statistically speaking, is doomed for the auto body shop anyway.

What are your thoughts on this?




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I'm Crystal. I'm married to Dale, and mother to Johnny.Some might say that my life is perfect because I get to do all the cliché wife things like cooking, cleaning, and decorating - but there's more! I also have many hobbies including needlework (crochet), sewing, and reading. My son's education is important, so we homeschool him together.

7 comments on “5 Reasons NOT to Drive Your Kids Around in a Junk Car”

    • That’s good to hear. I’ve seen some teenagers driving in cars that I’d be scared to drive. The bad thing is teenagers as a whole feel invincible and takes chances they shouldn’t. If they are in a car that isn’t strong enough to handle that, they have a greater chance of getting harmed. (I thank God and my father I was in a strong Chevy S-10 during my teen years!)

  1. We go on a lot of road trips so I ensure my car is in great shape. Safety is the most important factor. My daughter is almost to driving age and will be wanting a car, and I am nervous about finding a relatively inexpensive, safe, reliable car for her.

    • I can understand that fear. Maybe I should write up a post on how to get the best deal from a car dealer on a reliable car.

  2. I’ve been guilty of trying to drive my kids around in an old car before. However, like you said, it’s better to send the junk car to a salvage yard than to drive your kids around in it. If your old car poses safety or reliability risks, then the cost isn’t worth the danger for your kids. Thanks for the article.


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