Author Topic: Should I get a second car?  (Read 20129 times)

Stretch

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Should I get a second car?
« on: August 19, 2013, 01:19:04 AM »
My current vehicle is a Toyota Tacoma. It was used when I got it and I've owned it for over 9 years and plan to keep it the rest of my life. I am attached to it, and I like the satisfaction of knowing I drive the oldest vehicle of anyone I know. I live 2 miles from work and most of the time ride my bike in.

I was thinking of getting a used Toyota car, something in the 1-3k range with a manual transmission. I see a lot of good deals on craigslist, especially for older cars with less than 150k miles. Although I don't consider myself a mechanic I have done a lot of my own work on my Tacoma and feel fairly comfortable with my Toyota abilities.

Reasons for wanting a second car-
1) better mileage
2) safer than a motorcycle
3) learn new mechanic skills

Is this a good idea, or am I violating a key command of the moustache??

gooki

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2013, 01:46:56 AM »
The key to mustachinasm, if to be mindful of your spend decisions, and understand the true cost.

My 2 cents. Don't buy a second car.

FunkyStickman

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2013, 05:06:29 AM »
You live 2 miles from work, what do you even need a car for??

My current vehicle is a Toyota Tacoma. It was used when I got it and I've owned it for over 9 years and plan to keep it the rest of my life. I am attached to it, and I like the satisfaction of knowing I drive the oldest vehicle of anyone I know. I live 2 miles from work and most of the time ride my bike in.

Even if the Tacoma gets horrible mileage? I can see wanting to keep it if it's paid for, but how many miles a year do you put on it? Emotional attachment to cars is a very bad thing.

Reasons for wanting a second car-
1) better mileage
2) safer than a motorcycle
3) learn new mechanic skills

Is this a good idea, or am I violating a key command of the moustache??

Bad idea. Even if you can afford it. If you want different car, just keep the one you'd actually use... sell the Tacoma and get a manual Corolla, call it a day.

unpolloloco

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2013, 08:12:32 AM »
How many miles are you putting on the Tacoma and what's your gas mileage?  Do the math to figure out savings (or not!)!

EK

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2013, 08:23:08 AM »
No you should not.  If the Tacoma does not suit your car needs for whatever reason and get a different one.  If you don't drive very much, then the bad gas milage probably isn't a terribly big deal.  If you do drive a lot and the gas savings would make a big difference, then don't be silly about your attachment to the car and just let it go for the sake of your mustache.

Myrmida

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2013, 09:58:05 AM »
As others have pointed out, the mustachian issue is keeping the Tacoma in the first place as an expensive hobby.  Assuming that you will not change your mind on that point, consider the costs of a second car (registration (and any other taxes or fees that your jurisdiction imposes), maintenance and depreciation) compared to the savings you may reap from the second car (savings on gas mileage).  It seems unlikely that the savings of having a second car would outweigh the costs if you rarely drive to commute, but you know your individual circumstances best.

We received a gift of a second car when we had a baby.  For us, the cost of registering and maintaining the second car is greater than any convenience of having a second car, so we are planning on selling one of our cars.

EDIT: I forgot to mention insurance in my description of the costs of owning a second car.  Oops!
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 04:31:12 PM by Myrmida »

Hunny156

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2013, 10:51:05 AM »
Don't buy the extra car.  We have two, mostly b/c hubby's current job gives him a company car, but in case the job doesn't work out, he has his personal vehicle.  The cost of insurance is minimal, but neither of us drive very much, so at least once a week, I wind up driving his car to work, just to let the engine run a bit.  It's an older car in excellent condition, but it's totally wasteful to have more than one vehicle/person, and probably wiser to have 1 vehicle/family if you can swing it!

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2013, 11:21:17 AM »
I think a lot of people are judging not even knowing your financial situation. That is what matters. And I would say yes, ONLY if you can easily afford it while still saving a ton.

Reason being is that you can use the car to learn new skills. It is a hobby and those cost money. We all need hobbies! And you'll save instant $ on gas. Even if you put out $ to buy the car, you'll be surprised how quick saving $20 every time you fill up, adds up. I don't see this as a horrible thing, buying a $2000 Corolla as long as you remember is a want and not a need. You can even 'pause' the insurance while you work on it. Learning mechanical basics is very valuable skill IMO.

Yes I think you can still own 2 cars and live the MMM lifestyle.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 11:23:18 AM by Mr.Macinstache »

Jamesqf

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2013, 12:26:48 PM »
You live 2 miles from work, what do you even need a car for??

Because there's more to life than work?  By your logic, since I work from home, I shouldn't need a vehicle at all, no?  But without, how would I get to mountains/lake/desert for hiking, biking, skiing, and all the other fun stuff that's a big part of what makes life worth living?

Indeed, I own two vehicles, a Toyota pickup (from before they started calling the pickup a "Tacoma") and a Honda Insight.  The pickup hauls stuff and gets me to places where high-clearance 4WD is a necessity.  The Insight saves on gas when I drive on paved roads.

So my advice to the OP is probably yes, get the second vehicle, if your lifestyle is such that it's useful and you can easily handle the extra costs.

Hunny156

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2013, 12:41:04 PM »
Yes I think you can still own 2 cars and live the MMM lifestyle.

++1 

There is no one recipe that works for everyone.  You can optimize every want and need to still get the most out of life while doing it in a mustachian way!

sleepyguy

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2013, 12:09:49 PM »
Agreed, I'm a 2 car family as well... we generally don't need it but one is pretty covered by the company and it's pretty convenient (uh-oh... didn't just use that word :))

I think MMM isn't about fitting into some perfect optimized spending/saving mould, but more about thinking about your present/future and making justified decisions on your spendings/time and how it will fit with your overall lifestyle goal of FI, well that's my take anyway :)

I'd say get the corolla... long term you'll probably make out a bit better and learn the inside out of the car and maybe starting fixing other corollas (tons on the road) on the side for some side income :)


You live 2 miles from work, what do you even need a car for??

Because there's more to life than work?  By your logic, since I work from home, I shouldn't need a vehicle at all, no?  But without, how would I get to mountains/lake/desert for hiking, biking, skiing, and all the other fun stuff that's a big part of what makes life worth living?

Indeed, I own two vehicles, a Toyota pickup (from before they started calling the pickup a "Tacoma") and a Honda Insight.  The pickup hauls stuff and gets me to places where high-clearance 4WD is a necessity.  The Insight saves on gas when I drive on paved roads.

So my advice to the OP is probably yes, get the second vehicle, if your lifestyle is such that it's useful and you can easily handle the extra costs.

Forcus

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2013, 12:13:54 PM »
Not enough info to make a recommendation but if the Taco is an automatic and you crave a manual, you might be able to get both in one vehicle. I test drove a 4 cylinder / 5 speed / 4x4 Taco some years back and really liked it. Plus I think it was rated around 23 MPG (I don't recall, but it was definitely north of 20). And I'd walk or bicycle to work. I think they were one of the few small truck makers to offer that combination with an extended cab too if you need the room, but I think the crew cab was V6 only with the manual.

Numbers Man

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2013, 02:17:20 PM »
This is not 2 for 1 happy hour. You only need one car.

Jamesqf

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2013, 11:42:13 PM »
This is not 2 for 1 happy hour. You only need one car.

Crap.  That's like saying you don't need a screwdriver, a hammer will do it all :-)

Now I suppose you could argue that technically no one needs a car at all, 'cause we could just stay home and watch TV.  But I think my quality of life is much improved if I can get out and go hiking, biking, skiing, ride the horse...  And to get to a lot of the places where I want to do this stuff (in reasonable time), I need a high-clearance 4WD.  I also need to haul stuff; loads of firewood, hay & feed for the horse, etc.  Therefore, I have this "hammer", AKA a Toyota pickup.

Unfortunately, since it is a hammer, it has hammer-like qualities such as not handling very well on the highway, and getting piss-poor (by my standards) gas mileage (about 27 mpg average).  Therefore, I have the screwdriver for screwdriverish tasks, like driving places on paved roads.

Now I would like you to explain how I could accomplish both sets of tasks more efficiently with a single vehicle.  Either I sacrifice considerable quality of life by giving up activities I enjoy, or I spend a lot more money (and time, aggravation, etc) by trying to do everything with the hammer.

theSchmett

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2013, 02:26:49 AM »
Why do you want another car REALLY.

The mpg gain, even at double, rarely produces enough savings on its own.  How much weekend driving are you doing?

If you want to learn new mechanic skills I'm sure you've got a friend in need.

If you just WANT one that's perfectly valid,  but not mustachian. Although I get it, and if you can swing it, go for it.

I think the let is to really understand your motivation.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2013, 09:00:49 AM »
This is not 2 for 1 happy hour. You only need one car.

Crap.  That's like saying you don't need a screwdriver, a hammer will do it all :-)

Now I suppose you could argue that technically no one needs a car at all, 'cause we could just stay home and watch TV.  But I think my quality of life is much improved if I can get out and go hiking, biking, skiing, ride the horse...  And to get to a lot of the places where I want to do this stuff (in reasonable time), I need a high-clearance 4WD.  I also need to haul stuff; loads of firewood, hay & feed for the horse, etc.  Therefore, I have this "hammer", AKA a Toyota pickup.

Unfortunately, since it is a hammer, it has hammer-like qualities such as not handling very well on the highway, and getting piss-poor (by my standards) gas mileage (about 27 mpg average).  Therefore, I have the screwdriver for screwdriverish tasks, like driving places on paved roads.

Now I would like you to explain how I could accomplish both sets of tasks more efficiently with a single vehicle.  Either I sacrifice considerable quality of life by giving up activities I enjoy, or I spend a lot more money (and time, aggravation, etc) by trying to do everything with the hammer.

Exactly. Many MMM'ers own just one car and its a newer model that might cost them $12-15k.

Other, myself included, use the logic James is talking about here. The right tool for the right job. I have a 2000 Jeep Cherokee for recreation and a 4x4 winter vehicle. And I have my Honda civic for running errands/commuting. Both cars are paid for. I have about $8-9000 in both cars. Insurance is cheap, under a $100 a month. So its really no different that owning one new car cost wise.

Jamesqf

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2013, 11:34:54 AM »
So its really no different that owning one new car cost wise.

In my case, it's actually a good bit cheaper than owning one newer car, even if that one car was a small, highway-only type.  (And WAY cheaper than if I'd financed the new car.) 

As to whether buying a fuel-efficient car for highway trips saves significant money over using the pickup for everything, I've put a bit over 120K miles on the Insight since I bought it, averaging 71.4 mpg, which works out to 1680 gallons of gas.  I get about 26 mpg in the pickup, so to drive the same distance would have taken 4800 gal.  At $3/gal (a reasonable average over the last decade), that's an extra $9358.  I paid $8500 for the car, so I'm well ahead, even before figuring things like less expensive tires, oil changes, and so on.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2013, 11:48:48 AM »
Not to mention depreciation. Mine are so old... over 13 years old, that depreciation has basically stopped. In many cases, the better I care for them, the more the value increases. XJ Cherokees and Civic hatchbacks have sort of a cult following, the value for them is steady if not climbing with any money I have to put in.

Take a newer 2006+ car and your value is dropping like a rock, while paying or financing it. Even if you own it, the value is still falling. This is why I prefer older, tried and true cars. Cheap parts, solid reputation and cultish followings helps keep the value up and cost of owning way down.

The 2000 and older Corollas fit this model. They are well known for being reliable gas savers. Owning one can be considered very worthwhile IMO.

Jamesqf

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2013, 01:22:50 PM »
Maybe it's a sign of increasing age, but I really find it hard to think of any car newer than 2000 as "old".  The pickup's an '88, and barring accident or major mechanical breakdown, I don't see any reason to ever buy a newer one.

theSchmett

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2013, 02:52:38 PM »
Jamesqf - I think your situation sounds sensible, but our OP, Stretch, doesn't drive much at all (unless I'm missing something?).

Also, I look at everything through the lens of where I am, NJ. Insurance here is astronomical. 

My Jeep (93YJ Sport) is sitting in my garage, unregistered and uninsured because it wasn't suitable to carry my son (trust me, no exaggeration there) when he was a newborn/infant, and now it would only be a gas powered toy. We replaced it in MMM fashion (used, high utility, low mpg, low price, paid cash), and just don't NEED it on the road, and its in such a condition that it won't command a decent sale price, although its functional. If it were cheap enough to insure, I would be out with it a few days every summer and winter. Registration + insurance, without collision, would probably be around $800 for the year and my wife and I have relatively clean records. And you can't just decide drop insurance here, you would have to turn in your plates as well.

Long term plan is to fix it up, make a father son project out of it... we'll see.  It would also be fun to go diesel, or keep the monster I6 and set it up for homebrew ethanol... its fun to dream! Electric seems way out of the park for me, although people have done it. 

theSchmett

 


Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2013, 03:31:56 PM »
Maybe it's a sign of increasing age, but I really find it hard to think of any car newer than 2000 as "old".  The pickup's an '88, and barring accident or major mechanical breakdown, I don't see any reason to ever buy a newer one.

True enough. I tend to think in terms of something that is pre 1996/ODBII as "older".

My old roommate had a 91 Toyota pickup, 2WD. Great truck.

Jamesqf

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2013, 05:08:30 PM »
Jamesqf - I think your situation sounds sensible, but our OP, Stretch, doesn't drive much at all (unless I'm missing something?).

I didn't get that from the OP, just that he drove hardly at all for work commuting.  Well, I don't either: pretty much all my driving these days is for recreation, or for things like cutting firewood, which I combine with recreation.

Of course everyone's situation & needs are going to differ: some people can get along just fine with one vehicle or none at all, some (families especially) might do better with three.  Likewise, insurance & registration costs need to be considered - mine's pretty cheap, at about $40-50/month for both.

True enough. I tend to think in terms of something that is pre 1996/ODBII as "older".

Yeah, that's about where my "old" line is, with "antique" being pretty much anything with a carb and/or ignition points  :-)

Stretch

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2013, 10:05:15 PM »
Ok, I'm convinced to sit tight. From a pure $$ perspective the gas savings wouldn't cover the insurance/registration. Guess I can keep growing the mustache!

My truck is a 98 with a manual transmission. It is one of my 3 main possessions- the others being my mountain bike and my bed. When you do your own maintenance you really see and appreciate the true impact of a modern vehicle. They are filthy and disgusting! Changing oil, differential fluids, transmission, coolant, smearing grease on the u joints...if you don't get it all over your hands and you pay a shop it really doesn't sink in how dirty they are. During the week it sits. It gets around 20 mpg but since it sits the mileage is irrelevant. I ride everywhere and even ride to the gym! I hate driving and avoid it as much as possible. However, I haven't quite figured out a way to go completely car free. My grandma lives out in the desert near the Mexico border, no other way to get there except by driving (one time I got stopped by BP in an unmarked car, they saw a truck and assumed I was a smuggler). The Southwest is HUGE and there is so much to see, and many places are remote/ off the beaten path that without your own independent transportation you wouldn't be able to experience.

As for the comment about working on friends cars, have you ever done it? I would love to but it just isn't practical. I would be worried about messing something up, or they have new clown cars that I wouldn't want to touch (a new BMW is not the proper place to learn how to work on European cars).

I do wonder though, if I had asked should I buy a motorcycle/ camera / other item would i have gotten the same responses?

seattlecyclone

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2013, 10:27:47 PM »
Contrary to what a lot of people here have said, there's no one right answer that works for everybody. As I see it, you have three options:

Option 1: Do nothing. Keep the Tacoma and continue doing your limited amount of driving in it. It isn't a very fuel-efficient vehicle, but fuel-inefficiency doesn't affect your wallet much when you don't drive much.

Option 2: Sell the Tacoma, replace it with a smaller car. You'll save money on gas this way. Depending on the relative values of your old and new cars, you may come out ahead instantly by trading down in value, or you may have to wait a while before the fuel savings have made up for the purchase price of the new car. Registration and insurance costs probably won't change much. In the event that you do have to haul stuff that doesn't fit into your new car, you'll have to rent or borrow a truck, so keep that cost in mind.

Option 3: Keep the Tacoma, buy a second car. You'll save basically the same amount of money on gas as in Option 2, but you'll have to pay a second set of registration and insurance fees. You will also have to find a spot to store a second car. This is easy in some places, hard in others.

It seems like if you drove a lot, option 2 would be a no-brainer, because you would really save a lot of money on gas. If you drove a lot and also hauled large items often enough that it would be expensive to rent a truck each time, option 3 might make sense, to save money on gas for most trips while still keeping a truck around for when it's needed. From what you have said about your situation, though, buying a second vehicle probably doesn't pencil out financially, and your fuel usage is low enough that option 1 is likely your best bet from a purely financial perspective.

If you want to have the chance to try out your mechanical skills on a smaller car, the purchase could potentially be justified, if you have compared it to anything else you might want to do with your spare time and decided it's a worthwhile purchase for recreation and recreation alone.

fiveoclockshadow

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2013, 06:55:46 AM »
Based on your updated post with more info, keep the truck and don't get another car.  You don't have enough mileage for a lower MPG second car to be worthwhile and given where you live and your usage I'd want the truck if I had a single vehicle.  For low mileage the cost of ownership difference between a truck and a car is small.  Adding a second vehicle on the other hand is rather pricey.

Forcus

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2013, 08:27:50 AM »
XJ Cherokees and Civic hatchbacks have sort of a cult following, the value for them is steady if not climbing with any money I have to put in.

Yeah, the Cherokees around here keep getting more miles (generally around 200k+), more rust and the values climb. If I'm ever going to get another guess I'll have to do it soon, lol.

theSchmett

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Re: Should I get a second car?
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2013, 08:04:48 PM »
Stretch you are right about working on friends cars, especially if they are late model import expensive types. Good point.

I think keeping the much loved Tacoma is the right choice!