Man, all I can tell you is there's not a whole lot of folks on this board who will say 'car'.
For my .02- cars will come and go, but you will always be a pilot; for me there would be no decision to make.
I would save up at least 5 grand. You might not need all of it, but there will always be little things you will want, like a headset, flight bag, transciever, etc.
Also, beware of flight schools milkin' ya. Try to get some kind of guarantee from them, and then look real hard for the back door they will inevitably use to sap more money or flight time from you.
Well, it might take a while to walk to the airport for those flight lessons. Worse, you'll have to walk to work after you get that (2nd/3rd) job to pay for the flight lessons once you're really hooked. From my point of view, one makes the other possible.
Well, both my views have been expressed, one makes the other possible but I would rather be spending it on something that lasts. Yeah I figured about 4-5 grand, I am hoping if I get good grades my parents will pay for one of them, but this is my backup plan. Well, for things on saturdays I can usually drive my mom's minivan to the airport for a few hours, she rarely leaves the house on weekends. But then again I could use a car to get to jobs and all that. Anybody ever in this situation?
Don't be picky about what kind of car you drive. I know I was when I was young. Had to have a cool car to look good in, no way was I going to be driving some jalopy. Now I wish I would have used that money to have started on my ratings at 16 instead. My point to all this: now I drive a $500, yes that is right $500, car that has a 160,000 miles and no fith gear (well not a fith gear that works atleas). This thing smells like some sorta old jock strap, the brake light points into the cab, which illuminates the car in a red glow every time I brake. I call it "mood lighting," the chicks dig it! Ahhhh... the sacrafices we make to be a CFI. Yeah I 'm in this for the money
, right. Get a crappy car that is still reliable and get your ratings with what's left over. Hope that helps.
My advice - get a $1000 1992 Toyota Corolla with whatever miles (they last well beyond 200,000 miles) and use that to get to your job to be able to save money for your pilot ratings. But, if you can manage to get to work without the car, get your pilot rating first - then the car. Cars take up too much of your wallet, so make sure you get a cheap and reliable beater like an old Toyota Corolla, Tercel or Honda Civic.