Author Topic: Buy a car or ride it out?  (Read 1120 times)

Spondulix

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Buy a car or ride it out?
« on: July 09, 2019, 09:07:22 PM »
We have two cars that are paid off. We were planning on running both into the ground but bought them long before starting a family and knowing what we might need in a car (we have a 2.5 year old). Now we're trying to decide if we should upgrade one car (and what to get) or just ride it out being uncomfortable. We have:
  • 2008 Honda Fit, 80k miles, 28 city/35 highway MPG. $650 on gas 2018, maybe 5k miles/year
  • 2012 Prius C (the small one), 90k miles, averaging around 50 MPG. $725 for gas 2018, 12k+ miles/year
The Fit is the car we're thinking of replacing. We have a friend interested in buying for $4k. You can fit a rocking chair in the back of the Fit (we've done it!) but it'd be nice to have storage AND a comfortable kid. The carseat only fits in the middle and our LO can kick the driver from there.  This car is primarily used for errands but would be our road trip car, too.

The Prius C is mainly a commuter car (which it's awesome for especially living in LA). It's a terrible family car. The trunk can only fit 3 grocery bags (literally).

We don't have any debt other than mortgage and student loans (not hair on fire - 2% interest). Emergency fund is filled, plenty is going towards retirement and I probably have enough in a brokerage to pay for a car. But, I think I'd prefer to just finance it and pay off early (if I can get a good rate).

Upgrade or keep? What car would you get? Definitely leaning towards hybrid or electric, if possible.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Buy a car or ride it out?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2019, 04:52:27 AM »
We have two cars that are paid off. We were planning on running both into the ground but bought them long before starting a family and knowing what we might need in a car (we have a 2.5 year old). Now we're trying to decide if we should upgrade one car (and what to get) or just ride it out being uncomfortable. We have:
  • 2008 Honda Fit, 80k miles, 28 city/35 highway MPG. $650 on gas 2018, maybe 5k miles/year
  • 2012 Prius C (the small one), 90k miles, averaging around 50 MPG. $725 for gas 2018, 12k+ miles/year
The Fit is the car we're thinking of replacing. We have a friend interested in buying for $4k. You can fit a rocking chair in the back of the Fit (we've done it!) but it'd be nice to have storage AND a comfortable kid. The carseat only fits in the middle and our LO can kick the driver from there.  This car is primarily used for errands but would be our road trip car, too.

The Prius C is mainly a commuter car (which it's awesome for especially living in LA). It's a terrible family car. The trunk can only fit 3 grocery bags (literally).

We don't have any debt other than mortgage and student loans (not hair on fire - 2% interest). Emergency fund is filled, plenty is going towards retirement and I probably have enough in a brokerage to pay for a car. But, I think I'd prefer to just finance it and pay off early (if I can get a good rate).

Upgrade or keep? What car would you get? Definitely leaning towards hybrid or electric, if possible.

A 10 year old Honda with that mileage should be able to run for another couple of years. I think for every year that you will not get another car, you will save money.

I wouldn't replace it with another new car. If you replace it, then buy a comfortable, but fuel efficient (maybe hybrid) second hand car. That is always the best economic choice after keeping your current car.

If you need to finance the car, it is a sign that you can't afford it. It would rather save up for a car I could afford, or buy a cheaper car.

RelaxedGal

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Re: Buy a car or ride it out?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2019, 08:43:40 AM »
I don't think I understand the question.  Is it "should I replace my Fit with a Minivan now, knowing that we plan to have 3 more kids"?

Wait until you have more kids, life is uncertain.

Also: your 2.5 year old in carseat only fits in the middle of the rear seat.  Both parents must be tall/have the front seat back!  I had a similar problem with the infant "bucket" seat in my Scion xA and spent a while car shopping but graduation to a convertible seat resolved it.  Your 2.5 year old will move to a booster eventually and have more room.  Can you sit in the rear seat of your Fit?  Can you switch your kid back to rear-facing?

No one on these forums will recommend buying a new car just because you want one.  But if that's what will make you happier, you do you.  For my part, I replaced my Scion xA when it was no longer reliable (at a horrifyingly young age of 9 years, way too young for a Toyota!), 2 years after that frantic "infant seat won't fit!' shopping. 

It sounds like you want a road trip/hauling vehicle, and plan to use it for the fewest miles/year, while having a sensible commuter car for the majority of miles.  I think you are on the right track.

catccc

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Re: Buy a car or ride it out?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2019, 08:58:51 AM »
Mom of 2 in a 2005 Toyota Matrix with 217K miles.  Ride it out.  I know another family of 4 in a Honda Fit as their main family car, and it works just fine.

Teach your kid to stop kicking, or turn kid back to RF.  It's safer, anyway.  Both of my kids RF to 5 y/o.  If your kid can't RF in the current seat, I promise a car seat that works will be cheaper than a new car.

Buffaloski Boris

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Re: Buy a car or ride it out?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2019, 08:22:47 PM »
I donít understand the need for a bigger car. 2 kids and one on the way? Get a bigger car. Not for just one. If you need to haul big stuff, you can rent a truck.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Buy a car or ride it out?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2019, 08:57:56 PM »
Not sure on what to do, but I will say that the fit is worth much more than $4k with 80,000 miles.

Spondulix

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Re: Buy a car or ride it out?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2019, 11:51:55 PM »
I don't think I understand the question.  Is it "should I replace my Fit with a Minivan now, knowing that we plan to have 3 more kids"?

Wait until you have more kids, life is uncertain.

Also: your 2.5 year old in carseat only fits in the middle of the rear seat.  Both parents must be tall/have the front seat back!  I had a similar problem with the infant "bucket" seat in my Scion xA and spent a while car shopping but graduation to a convertible seat resolved it.  Your 2.5 year old will move to a booster eventually and have more room.  Can you sit in the rear seat of your Fit?  Can you switch your kid back to rear-facing?

No one on these forums will recommend buying a new car just because you want one.  But if that's what will make you happier, you do you.  For my part, I replaced my Scion xA when it was no longer reliable (at a horrifyingly young age of 9 years, way too young for a Toyota!), 2 years after that frantic "infant seat won't fit!' shopping. 

It sounds like you want a road trip/hauling vehicle, and plan to use it for the fewest miles/year, while having a sensible commuter car for the majority of miles.  I think you are on the right track.
I'm a bit confused where anyone got the idea that I have more than one kid. I have one toddler = 2 1/2 years old. I'm not pregnant, no plans for more kids. And I f'ing hate the idea of putting money into cars especially when I own two that are safe and drivable. I think that's what's bothering me - I'm not one to even consider buying a car for "something better" or looks or to "do you". But, the fact is we live in a driving-centric area with two subcompact cars and it is inhibiting to our lifestyle, choices, and comfort.

For example, I have a small bin of car emergency supplies that I'm constantly having to leave at home (like if we travel and don't have room, if I'm going to make a Costco run, if I'm picking up someone from the airport, etc). My car (the Prius) is the go-to because of the mileage. Sometimes we have to take both cars places to fit everything we need. These aren't every day occurrences (maybe weekly?) - and they certainly don't necessitate buying a $30k or even a $15k car to solve the problem. But, is there maybe a solution under $10k? Like, I could get a Leaf for $6k which would certainly cut gas costs and maybe help the space issue and I could pay in cash... and maybe rent a car for the long road trips where we really would need the space... or storage for on top of the car...?

You're spot on that my husband needs to put the front seats back. But it was a problem for me, too (the leg room in the Prius C and Fit are 3-4" less than an xA. Not sure the seat depth difference). It wasn't that bad with infant seats but really became obvious with convertible seats. In a convertible seat (rear facing) my son's knees are inches from his chin (he's very tall for his age). We've tried three carseats (including compact/slim ones). If we're crunched now and can't switch to a high-back booster til he's 4, how bad is it going to be in a year? And does the high-back booster even save any space?! It is possible for an adult to ride in the back of the Fit - we've fit two adults for a short ride but it's not comfortable. But we don't need to do that often.





Tuskalusa

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Re: Buy a car or ride it out?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2019, 12:29:49 AM »
I can see why you might want something a bit more comfortable. I like to have my seat back a bit, and I donít like to feel scrunched.

Agree that looking for a solid used car that allows for a couple kids in the back (we only have one kid, but weíre constantly carpooling) would be ideal. We just picked up a 6-year old RAV4, and it will be perfect for carpools and road trips. Yay!  Another car with excellent mileage and a bunch of storage is the Camry.

Iím a huge fan of driving a car into the ground. But I think starting with a car that fits your current needs is necessary.

Spondulix

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Re: Buy a car or ride it out?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2019, 12:36:21 AM »
If you need to finance the car, it is a sign that you can't afford it. It would rather save up for a car I could afford, or buy a cheaper car.
Not necessarily. Just because you don't have cash-on-hand doesn't mean you can't afford something. I'm looking at leveraging debt.

To explain it more simply, I don't keep a lot of cash around because I want it working for me. My emergency fund is a savings account which I'm not going to tap into to buy a car. My extra funds go into a brokerage account. So, instead of saving 500/month in a savings account (where it might earn 2% interest) I put it into a brokerage (index funds) where I'm earning 20% for the year right now.

If my goal was to pay for a car in full, I would have to take the money out of the brokerage to pay. But, by doing that, I would be losing out on interest and compounding. My bank has car loans at around 3% which isn't amazing but when you consider the current inflation rate is 1.8% it's not horrible, either. It doesn't matter whether the loan is 10k or 30k - I would be losing money in interest by taking it out of the brokerage (unless the market has a bad year... but I'm not going to start making choices trying to time the market)


Spondulix

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Re: Buy a car or ride it out?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2019, 01:01:10 AM »
Mom of 2 in a 2005 Toyota Matrix with 217K miles.  Ride it out.  I know another family of 4 in a Honda Fit as their main family car, and it works just fine.

Teach your kid to stop kicking, or turn kid back to RF.  It's safer, anyway.  Both of my kids RF to 5 y/o.  If your kid can't RF in the current seat, I promise a car seat that works will be cheaper than a new car.
Ohhh this is interesting. Yeah, there is no way we could RF til even 3 years old in the carseats we have. He hit the weight/height for both where they said to switch to FF.

I hadn't thought of it before but maybe I should check with one of the agencies that does seat adjustments. I'm sure they've seen it all and might have some ideas...

Spondulix

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Re: Buy a car or ride it out?
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2019, 01:04:34 AM »
Not sure on what to do, but I will say that the fit is worth much more than $4k with 80,000 miles.
Both bumpers need replaced... but I'm glad you mentioned it cause I see blue book is still $5-7k. We didn't want to bother with the repair (especially if our friend is fine buying as-is) but yeah, it's probably still worth more than $4k.

chemistk

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Re: Buy a car or ride it out?
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2019, 06:02:40 AM »
Mom of 2 in a 2005 Toyota Matrix with 217K miles.  Ride it out.  I know another family of 4 in a Honda Fit as their main family car, and it works just fine.

Teach your kid to stop kicking, or turn kid back to RF.  It's safer, anyway.  Both of my kids RF to 5 y/o.  If your kid can't RF in the current seat, I promise a car seat that works will be cheaper than a new car.
Ohhh this is interesting. Yeah, there is no way we could RF til even 3 years old in the carseats we have. He hit the weight/height for both where they said to switch to FF.

I hadn't thought of it before but maybe I should check with one of the agencies that does seat adjustments. I'm sure they've seen it all and might have some ideas...

I share your point of perspective (way above average boys who are avid seat kickers). The first thing would definitely be to investigate different car seats. Our convertible car seat is an absolute monster compared to the high-back booster seat our older one uses. I think we switched him to the high back booster a couple months after he turned 3, and it definitely freed up a ton of rear leg room.

That being said, your criteria are kind of limiting (mainly, the hybrid/electric preference). I think the 2 largest reasonable vehicles that would truly be an upgrade in terms of cargo volume and comfort would be a Rav4 Hybrid or a Prius V, but expect to shell out close to $18k for the Rav4 and $10k for the Prius. Most of the other electrified options (Leaf, regular Prius, Ford C-Max, Focus Electric, etc.) have less interior volume than your Fit.

Remove the electrification requirement and you'll find many more options - Mazda 5, Toyota Matrix, etc. Obviously if you venture up into the CUV (CX-5, CR-V, Escape, etc.) you'll find the most space and comfort but I have a feeling you'll not be too happy with the mileage (or the cost in most cases).

Really, it comes down to 2 things - can you successfully relocate your toddler in the car to gain interior volume?, What's your realistic use case if you can't?

RelaxedGal

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Re: Buy a car or ride it out?
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2019, 10:47:57 AM »
I think you are right - a different carseat might do the trick.  E.g. a "front-facing only" with harness,

https://us.britax.com/forward-facing-only-seats/

I can't testify personally, but it looks like a good solution that would take you until the little one is out of booster seats entirely.

Sorry for my confusion - I thought the Fit was a lot bigger on the inside, everyone here always talks about them like the best thing since sliced bread.  I have only seen them from the outside.

For us we went from Scion xA as commuter and Ford Escape as hauler to 2012 Nissan Leaf and Honda CR-V, to 2019 Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid.    I mention this because you said the Leaf might help with the space issues.  The Leaf does have more space than the xA in the trunk (8 paper grocery bags vs. 3), but the seats do not fold flat so that rocking chair?  Yeah, not going to fit.  I did fit a child's bike in the back once, with the 60% seat folded and the child on the 40% side.  And I did fit an office chair in the back but I think I needed both the 60% and 40% sides folded.  We've also squeezed 2 grandparents and the kid into the back seat of the Leaf very, very briefly and uncomfortably.  2 adults and the kid in booster fit much better in the Outlander PHEV (it's an Outlander Sport on the inside) or in the CR-V. 

chemistk is right, "Most of the other electrified options have less interior volume than your Fit. "


Spondulix

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Re: Buy a car or ride it out?
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2019, 07:42:15 PM »
Update... my husband realized the Prius C has a lot of space around the spare tire (if you take the Styrofoam out) so he built a wood box with a lid and I can now store all my emergency supplies down there. Then, we bought some new luggage that fits much better in the trunk. So that's about $100 spent and we'll see how it goes for our next road trip. Thinking through all this makes us realize we really do want a hybrid or an electric for our next car. The options get better every year (and more used ones on the market) so it's in our benefit to hold out.