Help me decide what to do with my cars

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bearpaws
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Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by bearpaws » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:21 pm

Hi all,

We are wanting a new car (mini-van) soon for our 2 small children and would like recommendations on what to do with one or both of the current cars.

We currently have a 2014 Subaru Outback (35,000 miles, blue book value of $16,000, gets about 22 MPG) as our primary family car. My 2nd car is a 2010 Honda Civic (89,000 miles, blue book value $4,600, gets about 32-35 MPG) that I use for my daily commute of 80 miles round trip (roughly 18,000 miles/year).

One option is to get rid of the Subaru and continue to commute with the Civic, however I prefer not to do such a long commute with a car that will hit over 120,000 miles in a couple years, especially since I take call and have to be readily available for work at any hour. Also getting rid of a 3 year old Subaru seems like a fairly significant loss.

2nd option is to get rid of the Civic and commute with the Subaru, however that isn't an ideal commuter car for the long term. And I like driving smaller cars for commuting purposes.

Last option is to get rid of both, get a new mini-van and commuter car (something like a Prius Prime or Volt).

One consideration is that in a few years, my commute could change in that there are talks of adding a HOV lane accessible with electric cars that could dramatically help with my commute in bad traffic (hence the Prius Prime or Volt).

What do you feel like makes most sense, both financial and other factors?

Thanks!

bloom2708
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:31 pm

Are those trade-in values quoted? I don't think many would say commuting with a 2010 Honda Civic with 89k is living on the edge. That car should go past 150k miles no problem. $4,600 seems very low. I'll give you $4,600 for it. :shock: :D (note: Oldest daughter has a 2010 Honda Civic with 45k miles, she likes it..next kids is moving into drivers license zone this summer)

Cars are very personal. There are several threads per day on cars. The buying/selling (transaction costs) are where you really take a hit. If you buy new you get those big depreciation hits. With 2 kids, is the Outback too small? We have 3 kids, so the mini-van or 3 row seat vehicle became a must (was it really a "must"? not sure). But with 2 kids, I can't see an Outback not working. But then, a minivan is a great way to go on trips. People and stuff haulers.

Do you have any cash money saved for the next car purchase? The Outback for a 2-3 year old mini-van seems like an option. (Expensive option)

In the end, you will hear a variety of opinions. Take all those opinions plus your financial picture, money saved for a car purchase, financing options, personal views of debt, and see where it takes you. Very few people have the self control to not buy a different car if you WANT (not need) a new car. Lots of "I am thinking about a new car..." threads that 3-4 days later end with "I bought XYZ car, we just had to have it....".

Good luck!
Last edited by bloom2708 on Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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C4NT
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by C4NT » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:34 pm

Getting rid of both cars makes the least financial sense.
bearpaws wrote: Also getting rid of a 3 year old Subaru seems like a fairly significant loss.
That is already a sunk cost and shouldn't be factored into your analysis.

A better way to think about it is your Civic is already on a smoother depreciation curve. Going forward you will lose more money each year on the Subaru.

gator15
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by gator15 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:35 pm

Do you live in the Midwest? I need a commuter car. That civic would be great.

bearpaws
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by bearpaws » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:44 pm

bloom2708 wrote:Are those trade-in values quoted? I don't think many would say commuting with a 2010 Honda Civic with 89k is living on the edge. That car should go past 150k miles no problem. $4,600 seems very low. I'll give you $4,600 for it. :shock: :D (note: Oldest daughter has a 2010 Honda Civic with 45k miles, she likes it..next kids is moving into drivers license zone this summer)

Cars are very personal. There are several threads per day on cars. The buying/selling (transaction costs) are where you really take a hit. If you buy new you get those big depreciation hits. With 2 kids, is the Outback too small? We have 3 kids, so the mini-van or 3 row seat vehicle became a must (was it really a "must"? not sure). But with 2 kids, I can't see an Outback not working. But then, a minivan is a great way to go on trips. People and stuff haulers.

Do you have any cash money saved for the next car purchase? The Outback for a 2-3 year old mini-van seems like an option. (Expensive option)

In the end, you will hear a variety of opinions. Take all those opinions plus your financial picture, money saved for a car purchase, financing options, personal views of debt, and see where it takes you. Very few people have the self control to not buy a different car if you WANT (not need) a new car. Lots of "I am thinking about a new car..." threads that 3-4 days later end with "I bought XYZ car, we just had to have it....".

Good luck!
It's KBB.com dealer trade in value for fair condition (has been in a couple fender benders). We have money saved for this, but will probably finance it if we can get a good interest rate on it.

We can manage with the Outback if needed. The biggest thing we don't like is that with 2 car seats, we can barely fit someone (very uncomfortably) in the middle back seat. Both kids like us to be with them since they're still rear facing. This isn't a big issue for day to day stuff, but we do a fair amount of longer distance driving and mini-van of course would be great for that.

bearpaws
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by bearpaws » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:45 pm

gator15 wrote:Do you live in the Midwest? I need a commuter car. That civic would be great.

nope sorry :happy

Rupert
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by Rupert » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:47 pm

Replace the Subaru with a minivan now. Keep the Civic, but start saving to replace it. Replace the Civic with an electric car a couple or few years down the road when/if that HOV lane comes to fruition. 120,000 miles on a Civic is nothing.

mckaydw
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by mckaydw » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:48 pm

My 2007 civic with 175k miles has never once broken down on me. Don't sell a car now because you think it might maybe be unreliable in the future.

A Subaru outback sounds like a perfect vehicle for a family of four. We have several family members who drive sedans with three kids. Yeah it's a little tight but it works just fine.

Since you are asking these questions, I'm assuming you aren't wealthy enough for these questions it be meaningless. If that's the case, I say keep both your current cars until you actually need something else.

PowDay
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by PowDay » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:48 pm

I would keep the Subaru, access to a AWD car that does great in the snow, plus it can handle back-up family duty just fine when the Minivan is in the shop, plus you will get to go 6-7 years before having to worry about getting a new car.

If money was the only thing that mattered, you could just trade in the Subaru for a second 2010 Civic and skip the brand new van, but money isn't everything.

bubbadog
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by bubbadog » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:55 pm

Financially speaking, keeping the cars you already own is the best solution. I would think the Subaru would be a good car, size wise, for a family of four (two small kids).

Wellfleet
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by Wellfleet » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:59 pm

bearpaws wrote:
gator15 wrote:Do you live in the Midwest? I need a commuter car. That civic would be great.

nope sorry :happy
I sometimes think that a BH classified section would be a great idea although agreeing on prices would be a bear. :happy

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dm200
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by dm200 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:17 pm

Can you live with the current situation for a while longer, perhaps until some of the uknowns become clearer?

If you keep the Civic as the commuter car, could the new minivan (in a pinch) be used occasionally for the commuter vehicle?

I think getting two new vehicles makes the least sense.

I wonder, also, (have no idea) if a dealer (of some sort) might be interested in a trade or exchanged of both older vehicles for a better commuter car (used)??

researcher
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by researcher » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:23 pm

bearpaws wrote:We are wanting a new car (mini-van) soon for our 2 small children and would like recommendations on what to do with one or both of the current cars.

We currently have a 2014 Subaru Outback as our primary family car.
My 2nd car is a 2010 Honda Civic
Is your Outback a sedan or wagon?
Do you regularly transport more than 4 people?

I'm just wondering what the desire is for getting a minivan?
An Outback wagon is a perfectly suited vehicle for a couple with 2 small children.

onourway
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by onourway » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:24 pm

The Outback is a huge car already, but are you sure whoever would be driving the minivan every day really is going to be happy with that duty? Personally, with 3 young kids and no minivan I can't see how it's worth the expense or having to drive a minivan every day. The kids are just fine without someone sitting between them. Honestly, a minivan is still going to be uncomfortable for whoever sits between them. Is it really worth the thousands this will cost you for that (very) occasional benefit?

You might consider trying different car seats instead. Diono makes high quality seats that are narrow enough to put 3 across even in a compact car. Two new car seats might give you the space you need for hundreds rather than thousands.

denovo
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by denovo » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:28 pm

You and your wife have 2 children=4 people. You don't need a minivan. Stick with your current cars.
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:29 pm

The Outback would be a better back up car in case you needed to pick up kids. Buying a car because they "might" put in an HOV lane is like someone saying they are buying a mini-van because although they're single and have no girlfriend, they might in the future need to transport their 12 kids around.

If the Civic is a manual, throw my hat in the ring as a buyer.

How about door #3. Don't buy the mini-van because you have the 2 perfect cars right now.
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Watty
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by Watty » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:36 pm

bearpaws wrote:...since I take call and have to be readily available for work at any hour.
Do you live in an area that gets snow or ice even occasionally? If so that would favor keeping the Subaru. :oops:

The safety of the 2010 Civic probably isn't bad compared to some but it may be old enough that it does not have ESC and in general it is likely a less safe car than the Subaru.

Look at the driver death rates here; :shock:

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/driver-death-rates

I would just keep the Subaru. You drive a lot of miles in traffic.

It sounds like the Outback would last you at least another five years. An 8 year old Outback with 120K miles will still sell for a decent price so the annual cost of ownership will not be that bad.

It is likely too early now but as you get cars it would be good to stagger them so that you have an older safe car that your kids can learn to drive in so you would want to keep that in mind.

Carson
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by Carson » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:45 pm

I understand the backseat thing. Now it's recommended for kids to rearface longer, and that can make longer drives more difficult because of the attention they need.

I do have a suggestion - have you looked at getting narrower carseats? We have a radian (now diono) in the back and I love it. It supports extended rearfacing and has a very narrow footprint that might allow a normal sized adult to fit between the seats better. In a few years, you should be out of the rearfacing game which should make travel a lot easier.
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DaftInvestor
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:55 pm

Make sure you have valid reasons for needing the minivan. They can be handy - especially if you need to bring your children AND their friends places. However - if you just need extra space to carry extra stuff - it would be a lot cheaper to just go out and buy a really nice Roof Cargo Box to carry the extra stuff.
I noticed you said we are "Wanting" a minivan. Maybe you don't really need one but are looking to just join the parent mini-van club :)

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Rob5TCP
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by Rob5TCP » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:57 pm

What about keeping the Suburu and if you go on a longish trip; rent a van.
Depending on the number of days per year; it might make the most sense.
And then replace the Honda when the time is right.

corysold
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by corysold » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:59 pm

What type of minivan are you looking at? I would think you could essentially trade the Subaru for a used minivan and come out pretty close to even. Keeping the Civic seems like a no brainer.

However, the only minivan I'm aware of with a close enough to full size middle seat in the middle row is the Odyssey. Otherwise, the person riding in the back will have to be in the 3rd row to help out the two kids in the row in front. Probably not where an adult wants to be for a long trip.

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munemaker
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by munemaker » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:11 pm

mckaydw wrote:My 2007 civic with 175k miles has never once broken down on me. Don't sell a car now because you think it might maybe be unreliable in the future.
I just retired but prior to that was commuting 100 miles/day in my Honda CRV that had 193,000 on it when I quit working. Around 130,000, I had to have the A/C compressor serviced, but it stop the car from being driven.

I would not hesitate to drive a Civic with 175,000 miles on it PROVIDING THE SPECIFIED SERVICE WAS PERFORMED.

bloom2708
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:17 pm

corysold wrote:What type of minivan are you looking at? I would think you could essentially trade the Subaru for a used minivan and come out pretty close to even. Keeping the Civic seems like a no brainer.
Has anyone been successful with a "near $0 trade"? The trade-in value is $16k. If you look at a used minivan for ~$16k, they will give you $14k for your Subaru. One time I had a trade worth $20k and was looking at car for $17k. They offered $16k in trade.

It might work out if you sell the Subaru private party and get ~$17k. Then go look for a minivan in the $17k range. With no trade you might be in a little better shape.

This goes back to the transaction costs issue. You don't seem to get quite what you should for your trade and you pay a bit more than you want for the new car, plus taxes, plus fees, plus registrations. Backwards you go even with a good trade-in.
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bearpaws
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by bearpaws » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:47 pm

Thank you everyone for your input!

We definitely recognize the Subaru is a fantastic car and serves our needs right now. While we don't live in the snow, the couple times we've taken it there, it has handled great and feels very safe. The mini-van would be more of a want (never thought I would say this!), but it was something we could afford and figured it would offer us years of good use and convenience. Trying to see if there's a way to make it work so that it's not a ridiculous financial decision to make. To answer one of the poster's question, we were looking at the Odyssey.

I probably do need to trust my Civic a little bit more :D I'm sure there are at least a few years of reliability left in that car. If the HOV lane ever does come to fruition in a few years, that might be a good time to consider an electric car for the long commute.

For now, we'll look into the Diono car seats and see if that will give us more space in the back, as that will help a lot.

Thanks again everyone!

mortfree
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by mortfree » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:00 pm

bearpaws wrote:
For now, we'll look into the Diono car seats and see if that will give us more space in the back, as that will help a lot.

Thanks again everyone!
WOW! Bearpaws comes in asking about a mini van and the bogleheads simply suggest a narrower car seat(s) to solve the problem.

That kind of advice is priceless...

researcher
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by researcher » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:00 pm

bearpaws wrote:I probably do need to trust my Civic a little bit more :D I'm sure there are at least a few years of reliability left in that car.
Are you being serious?

It is a 2010 model with only 89K miles!
You should easily be able to put another 100K miles on this commuter car before needing to replace it.

I've got a 2006 with almost 150K and it looks & drives like new.

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Ged
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by Ged » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:03 pm

bubbadog wrote:Financially speaking, keeping the cars you already own is the best solution. I would think the Subaru would be a good car, size wise, for a family of four (two small kids).
That would be my thinking as well. I never had an issue with space with my two in the wagons I had 30 years ago.

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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:04 pm

mortfree wrote:
bearpaws wrote:
For now, we'll look into the Diono car seats and see if that will give us more space in the back, as that will help a lot.

Thanks again everyone!
WOW! Bearpaws comes in asking about a mini van and the bogleheads simply suggest a narrower car seat(s) to solve the problem.

That kind of advice is priceless...
True dat! (I know you were being facetious :wink: )

$75 for a car seat compared to $20k for a minivan. $19,925 closer to a comfortable retirement.

People don't come here for more marketing. 20 friends say "dude, go for the new minivan..they rock! You so only live once! Yolo! :oops:
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bearpaws
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by bearpaws » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:09 pm

researcher wrote:
bearpaws wrote:I probably do need to trust my Civic a little bit more :D I'm sure there are at least a few years of reliability left in that car.
Are you being serious?

It is a 2010 model with only 89K miles!
You should easily be able to put another 100K miles on this commuter car before needing to replace it.

I've got a 2006 with almost 150K and it looks & drives like new.
I am serious, but I'm coming from a little different perspective. I mentioned briefly in my OP that I take call for work and have to be immediately available if needed. It would not be good if the car does not start or I get stranded trying to get to work at 3am. I know these cars last forever (my previous Corolla was nearly 150k without any issues), but I want to minimize the risk of a broken car as much as possible.

stoptothink
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by stoptothink » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:22 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:Make sure you have valid reasons for needing the minivan. They can be handy - especially if you need to bring your children AND their friends places. However - if you just need extra space to carry extra stuff - it would be a lot cheaper to just go out and buy a really nice Roof Cargo Box to carry the extra stuff.
I noticed you said we are "Wanting" a minivan. Maybe you don't really need one but are looking to just join the parent mini-van club :)
One of the more common topics on this board, which I simply don't understand: as soon as you have the 2nd child, apparently a minivan is a "need". They have their benefits, and they are essentially a need if you have 3+, but OP would be paying a massive premium for that extra minivan space which will almost never actually be needed. The best situation is the current situation.

crazygrow
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by crazygrow » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:03 pm

I agree with many others. No need for more car (I have six kids so I know my way around big cars with one 7-seater minivan and an 8-seater Suburban). What you have is great. Save the money and buy the kids some tablets.

Adam

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dm200
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by dm200 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:19 pm

stoptothink wrote:
DaftInvestor wrote:Make sure you have valid reasons for needing the minivan. They can be handy - especially if you need to bring your children AND their friends places. However - if you just need extra space to carry extra stuff - it would be a lot cheaper to just go out and buy a really nice Roof Cargo Box to carry the extra stuff.
I noticed you said we are "Wanting" a minivan. Maybe you don't really need one but are looking to just join the parent mini-van club :)
One of the more common topics on this board, which I simply don't understand: as soon as you have the 2nd child, apparently a minivan is a "need". They have their benefits, and they are essentially a need if you have 3+, but OP would be paying a massive premium for that extra minivan space which will almost never actually be needed. The best situation is the current situation.
Big minivan fan!! One BIG benefit of a minivan (with 3 seat rows) is that you can separate squabbling children OR the child squabbling with the other parent - or threaten to move them if they do not stop squabbling.

metrunt
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by metrunt » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:21 pm

bearpaws wrote:I am serious, but I'm coming from a little different perspective. I mentioned briefly in my OP that I take call for work and have to be immediately available if needed. It would not be good if the car does not start or I get stranded trying to get to work at 3am. I know these cars last forever (my previous Corolla was nearly 150k without any issues), but I want to minimize the risk of a broken car as much as possible.
I'm not sure buying a new car is the best solution. 80% of the time cars won't start for just a handful of reasons: bad battery or a bad starter. Maybe a bad alternator. Getting stranded is often simply a flat tire. If you're practicing regular maintenance (rotating & replacing) you're not going to get fewer flat tires with a new car. Flats are caused by road debris which affect new and used cards equally.

When buying a new car, you're paying for a whole lot of things, not just making sure it starts and gets you to point B reliably. You could spend a little replacing the battery and starter more often and be in just as good shape. You also have a second car in a pinch. And a short term rental is an option.

It sounds like you anxious about being stranded, but buying a new car is a hugely expensive way of improving your chances, compared to other options.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:51 pm

dm200 wrote:
stoptothink wrote:
DaftInvestor wrote:Make sure you have valid reasons for needing the minivan. They can be handy - especially if you need to bring your children AND their friends places. However - if you just need extra space to carry extra stuff - it would be a lot cheaper to just go out and buy a really nice Roof Cargo Box to carry the extra stuff.
I noticed you said we are "Wanting" a minivan. Maybe you don't really need one but are looking to just join the parent mini-van club :)
One of the more common topics on this board, which I simply don't understand: as soon as you have the 2nd child, apparently a minivan is a "need". They have their benefits, and they are essentially a need if you have 3+, but OP would be paying a massive premium for that extra minivan space which will almost never actually be needed. The best situation is the current situation.
Big minivan fan!! One BIG benefit of a minivan (with 3 seat rows) is that you can separate squabbling children OR the child squabbling with the other parent - or threaten to move them if they do not stop squabbling.
New minivan- $30,000+ versus a Yakama Skybox cargo box (which the OPs Subaru can handle with the built on swinging crossbars): $500. I'd teach the kids to get along :) (although more easily said than done I realize).

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Re: Help me decide what to do with my cars

Post by Easy Rhino » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:54 pm

I'll just chime in to say don't buy an electric because of a potential HOV lane.

First, it's just talk, it may not happen. Second, if construction happens, it will probably take forever, and third, 80 mile round trip would pretty much tap out the small batteries on cars like Nissan Leafs... you'd need to get an extended range electric, of which there's only The Teslas and Chevy bolt right now.

Would a minivan potentially work as a commuter? (Not particularly good mileage)

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