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Old 06-02-11, 01:15 AM   #1
dvald001
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Should I sell my car?

Hi everyone, I was hoping you guys could give me some advice, especially those of you have already followed through with what I'm contemplating.

I currently own a 2002 Chevy Malibu that runs well and has been well-maintained. Problem is that for the last 6 months I've barely used it, I almost always ride my Surly CC! My job, for example, is only 8 miles away from my house. The only times I actually find myself riding my car is when either a. I need to drop my bike off at the shop (rare) or b. I need to haul a load. Even though I barely use it, I still find myself having to pay insurance, registration, and maintenance costs.

My wife still has her car and it's in great condition. We have no kids, but we do live in Southern Cali, where most families buy a car for everyone with a license.

My parents think I should store my car in the garage for a few years. They feel confident that I'll go back to a 2 car lifestyle. I, however, think I should just sell the damn thing, pay off student loans, and cut down on my monthly expenses.

Those of you who live in suburban areas without good public transit, what do you think? Is this doable? Have any of you regretted selling a car and relying on your bike?
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Old 06-02-11, 01:39 AM   #2
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I wouldn't keep it in storage more than 6 months. After that point you aren't planning on using it sell it. If you store it make sure you start it up at least once a month so you don't have problems later. every few moths your value of your car goes down. Pretty soon a 2002 won't seem very new and you might not get alot for it. keep depreciation in mind if you haven't already.

How many miles have you driven the car in the last 6 months?

Personally I think you are ripe for selling the car and you still have your wife's car to run any errands you need to. My wife and I have had to share a car for the past 2 months since my car hasn't been running most of that time. For the most part it just takes a bit of communication to coordinate things. You could also spend a bit to get a backup bike and a bike trailer to carry stuff. You can put a ton of stuff in a used kiddie trailer and they are pretty cheap. The savings of selling your car will probably add up pretty fast.

I am somewhat jealous of you because I would like to get rid of my 2nd car, but its nice to have it around and at this point it hasn't been too expensive. Its also good to have it for my job since I sometimes have to transport students around during the day. I could use a school van I guess, but thats kind of a pain to coordinate. If it wasn't for this I wouldn't have the 2nd car. I get paid mileage which offsets the cost a bit. My job is grant funded and I am going on the last year so I'll see what happens in a few months and go from there.

Anyway those are my thoughts hopefully they were helpful.
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Old 06-02-11, 02:56 AM   #3
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Sounds like a good idea based on your situation. You won't be totally car-less, I live in a suburb I suppose, There's at least 4 or 5 grocery stores within 4 miles in any direction. I agree with the above poster about the used trailer idea, would be great for groceries or what have you. I don't own a car, I just have my Raleigh Sport with a rack, panniers rear/front lights and I'm good to go. The people I live with do have trucks if I absolutely need to drive, but that's once or twice a month generally. Selling after 6 months isn't a bad idea either like above poster said. Just my depreciated .02
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Old 06-02-11, 03:44 AM   #4
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If I was only using the car once or twice a month, I would sell the car and rent one when I needed it.

Ken
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Old 06-02-11, 04:58 AM   #5
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This is exactly what I did. For the money I am saving paying insurance alone, I can afford to rent a car every single weekend.

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If I was only using the car once or twice a month, I would sell the car and rent one when I needed it.

Ken
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Old 06-02-11, 09:51 AM   #6
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I am in similar situtation as the OP--under 10 miles to work, grocery store ~3 miles, the Evil Empire (walmart) is on the way to work (or home), no public transportation, suburban/semi-rural area.
I knew (my wife didn't) when I was thinking about getting the bike that I wanted to get rid of the truck, so I opted for an Xtracycle. Used it for my primary transportation for about 2 years--year-round. I finally convinced her we would be ok without the truck.
I got rid of my truck in Jan.---no regrets at all. My wife still has her van.
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Old 06-02-11, 09:59 AM   #7
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If I was only using the car once or twice a month, I would sell the car and rent one when I needed it.

Ken
I'm going to throw in with this as well. If you're only using the car occasionally, like a few times a month, it probably makes much more financial sense to either just rent a car or take a cab as needed. We're strongly considering doing the same here, shortly.
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Old 06-02-11, 10:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by dvald001 View Post
Hi everyone, I was hoping you guys could give me some advice, especially those of you have already followed through with what I'm contemplating.

I currently own a 2002 Chevy Malibu that runs well and has been well-maintained. Problem is that for the last 6 months I've barely used it, I almost always ride my Surly CC! My job, for example, is only 8 miles away from my house. The only times I actually find myself riding my car is when either a. I need to drop my bike off at the shop (rare) or b. I need to haul a load. Even though I barely use it, I still find myself having to pay insurance, registration, and maintenance costs.

My wife still has her car and it's in great condition. We have no kids, but we do live in Southern Cali, where most families buy a car for everyone with a license.

My parents think I should store my car in the garage for a few years. They feel confident that I'll go back to a 2 car lifestyle. I, however, think I should just sell the damn thing, pay off student loans, and cut down on my monthly expenses.

Those of you who live in suburban areas without good public transit, what do you think? Is this doable? Have any of you regretted selling a car and relying on your bike?
Since your wife has a car, I would say yeah, just do it. I don't see the reasoning behind multicar families especially with a bike commuter. Buy a rack and a call it a day. The rack can take your bike to the shop. If you really need to haul something huge, you can rent a truck. I sold my car and I do not regret unburdening myself of its expenses. I rely on buses which are not that great here in the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles, but they make covering long distances feasible. You just have to learn the bus schedules and routes. I'm not sure about public transit in your area but it cannot be any worse than my area and I make do. Also, do you have a rear rack on your bike? I also have a CC with a Surly Nice Rack in the back. I rarely use it but it's nice to have in case I need to haul groceries or whatever. Also I used reflective tape on it and that's nice. Anyways, yea...sell your car. You might miss it sometimes but the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.
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Old 06-02-11, 10:37 AM   #9
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Do you have a group of friends to create your own car sharing situation?
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Old 06-02-11, 11:53 AM   #10
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Depends on what you can get for a 9 year old car. It may not be worth selling.

If it's paid for and runs well, it might be a good back up in case something happens to your wife's car.
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Old 06-02-11, 11:58 AM   #11
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Depends on what you can get for a 9 year old car. It may not be worth selling.
If it's paid for and runs well, it might be a good back up in case something happens to your wife's car.
I gotta agree with scroca on this. You might wanna look into cheaper insurance(maybe just liability if you have full coverage), and keep it if it isn't very valuable.
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Old 06-02-11, 12:16 PM   #12
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I gotta agree with scroca on this. You might wanna look into cheaper insurance(maybe just liability if you have full coverage), and keep it if it isn't very valuable.
This is a good perspective and for sure keep it in mind as you make your decision, but if you really are not going to use the car it makes no sense to pay money every month to have it just because you won't get much money for it. If you are really only using it 1-3 times per month and those times can be avoided then sell the car and don't look back. If you are using it more regularly then you may be better off keeping it around for when you need it as suggested. It might be time to move that car to someone that needs a vehicle just like that.
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Old 06-02-11, 12:22 PM   #13
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Depends on your birth control! Seriously though, the main thing that might change your situation is kids - if no realistic chance of them in next year or two I'd agree with others, not like there won't ever be other cars to replace it!
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Old 06-02-11, 12:25 PM   #14
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Do you have car sharing in your area? Zipcar or similar?

My wife and I are car free and have few problems, though we live within walking distance of almost everything we need, and biking distance of most everything else. If needed we have zipcar, and for longer trips and excursions we can always rent a car or take the train.
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Old 06-02-11, 03:04 PM   #15
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Get rid of the car. You won't regret it.

My commute is hell whether I use a car or bike/train/bike like I always do. My wife's commute is less than 10 minutes from door to door. We decided we could do it with one car, so I got rid of my perfectly fine, reasonably fuel efficient car last summer. I have done the multi-modal commute thing every work day since, except for a few times when I went to the airport and took a cab. I live in the Chicago area, so winter and its accompanying blizzards slows me down but it does not stop me.

I have two small children, so this has been more challenging than for someone without kids. But I can tell you it is worth it and has brought all of us closer together. We usually bike everywhere on the weekends from early spring to late fall. Church, parks, restaurants, festivals - we get to all of them via bike.

I also have a lot of bikes now, including a heavy duty cargo bike. I would recommend that anyone going car light or certainly car free get at least one bike that can haul stuff. You just need a good rear rack and maybe a front one too. A backup bike is also really important when you rely soley on the bike for transportation purposes.

Get the phone numbers of a few cab companies programmed into your phone and perhaps a car sharing or rental company too. Honestly, it is easier than a lot of people seem to think. Those of us in the US get this attachment to cars and think they are essential to our lives. Those people are wrong. They are nice to have in many situations, but they are far from essential for the vast majority of people.

Sell 'er and happy riding.
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Old 06-02-11, 03:07 PM   #16
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If your wife has a car still, definitely get rid of yours! I've been in the same situation, haven't used my car more than once every couple weeks (or less) for the past 9 months. Seems like a waste of insurance to keep it around. My GF has one, but we don't live together. There's always ZipCar and other car share programs for those times you might need one, and the cost probably ends up being much more reasonable than paying for CA car insurance.
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Old 06-02-11, 03:19 PM   #17
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Just judging by your post, I would say sell it. Use the profit for debt reduction like you want to do. It's not like you are going to be a no car family just cutting expenses and debt by a sacrifice, even though to you its not a sacrifice.
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Old 06-02-11, 03:33 PM   #18
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I, however, think I should just sell the damn thing, pay off student loans, and cut down on my monthly expenses.
Even if you don't sell your car this is still a good idea.

I do feel you should sell your car since you mentioned you:
1. have good public transportation
2. located in Southern Cal
3. within 8 miles of your job & probably shopping
4. your wife has a reliable car

Isn't Cali expensive enough without spending more $$$ for things you don't use?
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Old 06-02-11, 03:54 PM   #19
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Sell it--and don't look back. I'm in Southern California too, and although 32 miles from work, the Commuter Xpress bus line (or the Metro Rail...) puts me literally a couple blocks from work. I sold my BMW and only kept my F250 for trips to the desert, etc. I should probably sell it too. I find myself using my wife's little SUV for taking the kids to school, then rushing home, jumping on the bike, and heading to the bus stop. Totally doable with one car. And if she were in town, it would be even more of a no-brainer.

Besides, its not like you'll never be able to get a car again. If you find you need one down the line, they're a dime a dozen here in So Cal...
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Old 06-02-11, 04:03 PM   #20
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Usually, I'd suggest to keep it because well, it's not a huge cost. However, your mention of stuff like student loans might be better use of the money tied to the car. Seems like more of a financial planning decision than a biking call.

I have car-light life and enjoy it - I almost always ride bike but I keep a car for some trips that are almost impossible to do via bike (e.g. getting to the Airport). In SoCal, a big city, it's probably likely you won't have similar problem.
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Old 06-02-11, 04:36 PM   #21
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Sell it. You aren't using it, and you have access to another car (your wife's) if you need one.

Do not leave your car in the garage for years. If you keep a car, you need to use it at least occasionally, or stuff starts to break. You'll end up with HVAC problems, flat tires, bad gas, etc. This says nothing about the money wasted on depreciation, insurance, or payments (if it's not paid off).

If you don't need it, and don't foresee a need for it any time soon, just sell it and save the money. If you're worried about needing a car in the future, put aside the money you gain from selling it. That way you've got a downpayment if you are forced to purchase another car in the future. (You could also set aside the payment/insurance/maintenance savings and you might be shocked at how large your 'car fund' can become rather quickly.)
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Old 06-02-11, 04:36 PM   #22
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Usually, I'd suggest to keep it because well, it's not a huge cost. However, your mention of stuff like student loans might be better use of the money tied to the car. Seems like more of a financial planning decision than a biking call.

I have car-light life and enjoy it - I almost always ride bike but I keep a car for some trips that are almost impossible to do via bike (e.g. getting to the Airport). In SoCal, a big city, it's probably likely you won't have similar problem.
The fact of the matter is that if you have a car, you will probably use it for something.

If you don't have one, you will happily make due with what you have. Cabs have been fantastic at getting me to the airport and back home. Plus, I don't have to worry about or pay for parking.
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Old 06-02-11, 04:44 PM   #23
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The fact of the matter is that if you have a car, you will probably use it for something.

If you don't have one, you will happily make due with what you have. Cabs have been fantastic at getting me to the airport and back home. Plus, I don't have to worry about or pay for parking.
You can pay for a lot of cab rides with the money saved by not having a car.
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Old 06-02-11, 05:04 PM   #24
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I was never able to take that step. I always asked myself these 'what if' questions and ended up keeping the car just in case. Eventually I did make the move, but only because my car was hit by a drunk driver and I ended up just choosing not to replace it after the insurance company declared it a 'total loss'.

I will say that it's pretty easy to make due with just your bike once you take the step. You tend to think a little differently about how you travel, but your lifestyle does not really suffer without a car. I will say that dating is a lot more complicated, but that probably is not a factor for you since you are married.
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Old 06-02-11, 05:20 PM   #25
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Is Zip car still parking space based? Here in Austin we have Car2Go, www.car2go.com, all GPS and RFID based. It's a really nice system for a city that still has improvements to make on it's public transit and bike infrastructure.

I feel bad about my environmental footprint, owning a car and a motorcycle, and three bikes. I use the car twice a week, the motorcycle for long distance and commute by bike all other times. I imagine the car can go, if/after I move next I think it'll be time.
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