Author Topic: Haven't driven my car in a month...and a few other milestones  (Read 1351 times)

zurberts

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Haven't driven my car in a month...and a few other milestones
« on: January 24, 2018, 09:23:02 AM »
Feeling pretty good about this so I want to celebrate openly.

I parked my car in the garage on Dec 23rd after taking it to a car wash bay (we get a lot of salt due to snow in our area) and parked it in the garage. I realized this morning that I haven't taken it out in a month other than to spin around the block to turn the engine on.

We took my wife's vehicle away for Christmas time since she has winter tires and I don't. I just left it there over the holidays since we really didn't need it and TBH I didn't want to get it dirty :). When back to work came after the new year, I wanted to push myself to get up earlier and decided to carpool as a family and see how long we could do it since my wife works 1 off-ramp from my office. We went one day, then another, and another, and now we are at a month. I can't believe it! It just feels like part of the regular routine now. There are so many benefits I have realized: I get to spend more time with the kids dropping them off at school, my wife and I get to talk as we commute, we lowered our environmental impact, have less wear on my vehicle. I am going to see how long I can keep this going.

A few notes to understand our situation:

- we drive the kids since they are in a French immersion program not offered at the nearby school. The school is good but the area is not the best place to live
- yes we travel to work rather than live nearby since the cost of housing in our area is about 40% less by comparison. This has served us well as we have lived at our homestead for 11 years, like it, and it is fully paid off (another milestone we hit last year).

What's on tap for us is:

- seeing if it we could go down to a single vehicle family. I am on the fence with it since it is a 2005, fully paid for and I do need a vehicle at times for work travel.
- Paying off the house last year was a big thing for us. At the same time, we have been putting savings aside. The house is worth about $420ish and we are about $100k short of hitting $1M. I hope we can get there for the end of 2018.

diapasoun

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Re: Haven't driven my car in a month...and a few other milestones
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2018, 03:44:37 PM »
That's fantastic, congrats! I'm down to about 1x/week in my car... I'd love to get to 1x/month. ;) Especially since I just had to drop it into the shop today for an expensive repair that I simply cannot do (dropping the transmission is beyond my ken).

If the big reason to keep the car is work travel -- does your work reimburse you? If so, would it reimburse the cost of a rental? If not, is the cost of a rental still potentially cheaper than the cost of insurance + maintenance?

zurberts

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Re: Haven't driven my car in a month...and a few other milestones
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2018, 07:22:17 AM »
Sorry to hear about the transmission. Maybe it is time to look into an electric car :)

Thanks for suggesting the occasional rental. I am going to look into our reimbursement policy. It it qualifies, it could make my decision to go to a single vehicle family a lot easier. Still need to do some investigating.

Just Joe

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Re: Haven't driven my car in a month...and a few other milestones
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2018, 08:41:55 AM »
CONGRATS! Any plans to sell the redundant vehicle? Can you makeup its utility with a bicycle where you live? I know folks who have done the school run with a cargo bicycle with the kiddos on board and an ebike kit to help with hills.

DW and I carpool too. Took a long time to tweak our employment situations to make this convenient. During that process we were able to get us both employed closer to home where before one of us was driving to the next county. Noticeable reduction in fuel consumed when carpooling. She is as eager to be in one car as I was.

Our second car sits around a fair amount of time but the car's resale value is low and cost to keep it is minimal. We do still have occasions when it is needed b/c our schedules won't jive but its rare. Also it is a backup car if car #1 has a maintenance issue. We rotate which car gets driven to keep the battery up, etc.

ketchup

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Re: Haven't driven my car in a month...and a few other milestones
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2018, 08:55:46 AM »
Single car + occasional rental can definitely be a solid strategy.  It's worked pretty well for us for almost two years.  Renting a car sometimes "feels" expensive, but really it's just showing you all the actual costs of driving at once.

Recent example: last week GF rented a car for six days (Mon night - Sunday night).  Cost was $145, plus 12 miles (6 miles each way, about 10 minutes) of driving in our car to the rental place to drop her off to pick up the car (12*$0.25=$4) and an Uber for her to come home after dropping it off ($12).  She drove the car 652 miles.  $161 divided by 652 miles is $0.247/mile.  The car got 34MPG while she drove it (Corolla) and she paid $2.70/gal for gas (7.9cents/mi). 

That works out to $0.326/mile for the rental car.  According to my spreadsheet, our car costs us about $0.25/mile all-in (gas, maintenance, repairs, insurance, registration, etc).  So the premium to have the rental car for those 652 miles was $.326-.25 = $0.076, $0.076*652 = $49.55. 

Call it fifty bucks.  That's about what it would cost to insure a second car for a month, not to mention opportunity cost of tying up more capital in a vehicle or dealing logistically with a second car lying around.  We on average do this dance less than once a month (and usually at a similar cost), so it pencils out as cheaper.

Run your own actual numbers, but I was surprised how well it can work out for us.

diapasoun

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Re: Haven't driven my car in a month...and a few other milestones
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2018, 11:00:00 AM »
Sorry to hear about the transmission. Maybe it is time to look into an electric car :)

Thanks for suggesting the occasional rental. I am going to look into our reimbursement policy. It it qualifies, it could make my decision to go to a single vehicle family a lot easier. Still need to do some investigating.
Wishing you tons of luck in figuring out what's most optimal for your needs!

Actually, I just talked to a friend yesterday about her teaching me to drive stick shift (she has a manual). The transmission itself is fine, the repair the car actually needs is just in a place where it requires dropping the transmission to reach the part that needs replaced. If it were a standard transmission, they wouldn't need to drop it, and I'd save six hours of labor costs. Since this is true for a good number of repairs, if I learn stick I'll have options for cars that are much cheaper to maintain.

Skills = money saved. :)

Renting a car sometimes "feels" expensive, but really it's just showing you all the actual costs of driving at once.

This is such a succinct way of putting it. I really like it.


zurberts

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Re: Haven't driven my car in a month...and a few other milestones
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2018, 10:02:13 AM »
Wishing you tons of luck in figuring out what's most optimal for your needs!

Actually, I just talked to a friend yesterday about her teaching me to drive stick shift (she has a manual). The transmission itself is fine, the repair the car actually needs is just in a place where it requires dropping the transmission to reach the part that needs replaced. If it were a standard transmission, they wouldn't need to drop it, and I'd save six hours of labor costs. Since this is true for a good number of repairs, if I learn stick I'll have options for cars that are much cheaper to maintain.

The car sitting in my garage is a 2005 Matrix XRS, 6 speed manual transmission. I only ever drove automatic before this one. Picked it up and forced myself to learn, never looked back. From the POV of learning new skills, I won't ever regret this purchase. Now driving stick just feels like second nature. If you do go with the manual transmission, the one trick that someone gave me early on is to lightly feather the gas a few times as you pull off the clutch to prevent stalling. Not too hard. You have to find the sweet spot.

The best part, you can usually find manual transmissions on the cheap since few people want them.

Syonyk

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Re: Haven't driven my car in a month...and a few other milestones
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2018, 05:42:29 PM »
I realized this morning that I haven't taken it out in a month other than to spin around the block to turn the engine on.

Buy a Battery Tender.  And stop taking it around the block.  That's literally worse for engines than not running at all.

The main issue with long term storage of a modern vehicle is that the battery will go dead because there's all sorts of electronics that need power.  A Battery Tender hooked up (loop the power cord over the driver's side mirror or something so you don't drive off with it attached) will solve that problem.

Running an engine for a few minutes is worse than not running it at all.  You heat things up enough to suck air in, which condenses, and you get water in your oil, and cold start combustion blowby, and all sorts of other nasties.

If you're going to run it for the sake of running it, let it get properly hot - half an hour on the highway should do it.  Otherwise, just let it sit.

zurberts

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Re: Haven't driven my car in a month...and a few other milestones
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2018, 09:41:41 AM »
Buy a Battery Tender.  And stop taking it around the block.  That's literally worse for engines than not running at all.

The main issue with long term storage of a modern vehicle is that the battery will go dead because there's all sorts of electronics that need power.  A Battery Tender hooked up (loop the power cord over the driver's side mirror or something so you don't drive off with it attached) will solve that problem.

Running an engine for a few minutes is worse than not running it at all.  You heat things up enough to suck air in, which condenses, and you get water in your oil, and cold start combustion blowby, and all sorts of other nasties.

If you're going to run it for the sake of running it, let it get properly hot - half an hour on the highway should do it.  Otherwise, just let it sit.

Thanks for the advice. I will look into it. I have never had think about this before so I am learning.

zurberts

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Re: Haven't driven my car in a month...and a few other milestones
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2018, 08:31:43 AM »
I picked up a battery tender over the weekend. Installed it in about 15 minutes. It has a bus connector to the power cable so easy to connect/disconnect when I want to take the car out. Regardless of long term storage, now I have a quick charge connector when I pull it into the garage at night....and it is effectively free with the $ I saved in gas alone.

Car Jack

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Re: Haven't driven my car in a month...and a few other milestones
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2018, 06:55:05 AM »
Single car + occasional rental can definitely be a solid strategy.  It's worked pretty well for us for almost two years.  Renting a car sometimes "feels" expensive, but really it's just showing you all the actual costs of driving at once.

Recent example: last week GF rented a car for six days (Mon night - Sunday night).  Cost was $145, plus 12 miles (6 miles each way, about 10 minutes) of driving in our car to the rental place to drop her off to pick up the car (12*$0.25=$4) and an Uber for her to come home after dropping it off ($12).  She drove the car 652 miles.  $161 divided by 652 miles is $0.247/mile.  The car got 34MPG while she drove it (Corolla) and she paid $2.70/gal for gas (7.9cents/mi). 

That works out to $0.326/mile for the rental car.  According to my spreadsheet, our car costs us about $0.25/mile all-in (gas, maintenance, repairs, insurance, registration, etc).  So the premium to have the rental car for those 652 miles was $.326-.25 = $0.076, $0.076*652 = $49.55. 

Call it fifty bucks.  That's about what it would cost to insure a second car for a month, not to mention opportunity cost of tying up more capital in a vehicle or dealing logistically with a second car lying around.  We on average do this dance less than once a month (and usually at a similar cost), so it pencils out as cheaper.

Run your own actual numbers, but I was surprised how well it can work out for us.

I think your accounting needs to be more complex to really determine the true costs.  You left out depreciation of your car, which is typically 1/3 of the overall cost for a car (approx 1/3 each: gas, insurance, depreciation).  Having been on car plans at work for 20 years, I go through this every year.  Maintenance is mouse nuts overall.  Anyways, in your calculations, if you had a car, your per mile cost would be higher because of the left out depreciation.  Or in other words....renting the car was less expensive, comparatively than owning another car.

Of course, you could get super duper detailed and break depreciation up between age of car (which happens whether you're driving it or not) and mileage (which doesn't add when you rent a car).

ketchup

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Re: Haven't driven my car in a month...and a few other milestones
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2018, 08:31:28 AM »
Single car + occasional rental can definitely be a solid strategy.  It's worked pretty well for us for almost two years.  Renting a car sometimes "feels" expensive, but really it's just showing you all the actual costs of driving at once.

Recent example: last week GF rented a car for six days (Mon night - Sunday night).  Cost was $145, plus 12 miles (6 miles each way, about 10 minutes) of driving in our car to the rental place to drop her off to pick up the car (12*$0.25=$4) and an Uber for her to come home after dropping it off ($12).  She drove the car 652 miles.  $161 divided by 652 miles is $0.247/mile.  The car got 34MPG while she drove it (Corolla) and she paid $2.70/gal for gas (7.9cents/mi). 

That works out to $0.326/mile for the rental car.  According to my spreadsheet, our car costs us about $0.25/mile all-in (gas, maintenance, repairs, insurance, registration, etc).  So the premium to have the rental car for those 652 miles was $.326-.25 = $0.076, $0.076*652 = $49.55. 

Call it fifty bucks.  That's about what it would cost to insure a second car for a month, not to mention opportunity cost of tying up more capital in a vehicle or dealing logistically with a second car lying around.  We on average do this dance less than once a month (and usually at a similar cost), so it pencils out as cheaper.

Run your own actual numbers, but I was surprised how well it can work out for us.

I think your accounting needs to be more complex to really determine the true costs.  You left out depreciation of your car, which is typically 1/3 of the overall cost for a car (approx 1/3 each: gas, insurance, depreciation).  Having been on car plans at work for 20 years, I go through this every year.  Maintenance is mouse nuts overall.  Anyways, in your calculations, if you had a car, your per mile cost would be higher because of the left out depreciation.  Or in other words....renting the car was less expensive, comparatively than owning another car.

Of course, you could get super duper detailed and break depreciation up between age of car (which happens whether you're driving it or not) and mileage (which doesn't add when you rent a car).
I do include depreciation in my per-mile number for driving our car.  I have a silly-detailed spreadsheet tracking vehicle costs.  My split is more like 50% gas, 20% maintenance/repairs, 20% depreciation, 10% insurance/registration.  My only cheat I suppose is that the maintenance/repairs doesn't include labor since I DIY most jobs.

Plina

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Re: Haven't driven my car in a month...and a few other milestones
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2018, 02:13:01 AM »
I sold my car a couple of years ago. I counted that I could rent a car every weekend for the price of the car payments and maintenance. I use a car pool were you pay a hourly fee and a kilometer fee for  for sporter trips up to a day. For weekend trips or longer I rent a car.