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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: pomegranate on November 24, 2014, 09:24:16 AM

Title: Buying a third vehicle?
Post by: pomegranate on November 24, 2014, 09:24:16 AM
My husband is self-employed (running a business out of our home) and I work from home. We own a Prius and a Tundra truck. Both paid off. We don't drive much, we do use bikes frequently. The Prius is used as our main commuting vehicle and the truck is only used for business to haul equipment to client locations. We have two toddlers and two step kids who spend part of the year with us. When my stepkids are with us we have to use two vehicles. My toddlers car seats take up the entire back seat in either vehicle. We have rented minivans occasionally but that gets to be very expensive.

Is it worthwhile to buy a minivan for the 80 days in a year that stepkids are with us? We live in a small suburb with practically no public transportation. We have 25K handy for a used minivan and in a few years we'll sell it off and recuperate some/most of the money put in. The insurance expense is a concern so is gas, but right now we can't drive anywhere with all the kids in a single vehicle.

Is buying a used minivan, in this situation, insanity?
Title: Re: Buying a third vehicle?
Post by: Greg on November 24, 2014, 09:38:33 AM
What kind of equipment does the truck haul?  Could the van do the same thing?
Title: Re: Buying a third vehicle?
Post by: GizmoTX on November 24, 2014, 09:49:16 AM
Yes. That's a high price for 80 days per year, especially if you're not driving the family every day.

Does either vehicle seat 6? If not, replace one of your current vehicles for one that will.
Title: Re: Buying a third vehicle?
Post by: greaper007 on November 24, 2014, 11:49:17 AM
I have a 2000 sienna and a $400 harbor freight trailer.    I can haul 1700#s in the trailer, and the van can pull 3500#s.   There's also lots of covered room in the van when I pull the seats out.

Personally, I think it's way more useful than a small pickup truck and it gets about the same gas mileage. 
Title: Re: Buying a third vehicle?
Post by: pomegranate on November 24, 2014, 11:04:35 PM
Yes the minivan could replace the truck as a business vehicle. That will limit its availability to the family but it can be done.
This is what my husband wants to do.

I feel that we'll lose more on the value if we trade in the truck for the minivan. I think we'd save more if we brought a used minivan that we can sell off in a few years. The truck is 3 years old and I expect it'll easily last us another dozen years.
Title: Re: Buying a third vehicle?
Post by: john c on November 25, 2014, 02:33:24 AM
How many does the Tundra seat?  If it seats at least three, I would not buy a minivan, but take two cars for the 80 days the stepkids are at home with you.  Also, your toddlers will soon be out of their car seats an into booster seats.  That will free up one space in the back seat.

$25k is a lot to spend on a car that you won't use much.  You will lose a lot of money to depreciation, even during the other 285 days per year that the step kids aren't with you.
Title: Re: Buying a third vehicle?
Post by: lakemom on November 25, 2014, 04:55:15 AM
I'd say to go ahead and buy the minivan BUT you want an older used one that would cost under 5k.  They are out there!  Just take your time to find one that is mechanically sound.  Then, with the cost that low all you would need is liability on the van which shouldn't run you too much since it will be listed as the 3rd seldom used vehicle.  It will also come in handy once the older ones get their licenses.  Being able to load everyone up in the same vehicle to go places is priceless.
Title: Re: Buying a third vehicle?
Post by: greaper007 on November 26, 2014, 08:06:42 AM
Also, there's really no reason to spend $25k on a minivan.  Especially if you do most of your commuting by bike.   I bought a 2000 Sienna last year with 138,000 miles for $3,800.    I did a 2000 mile trip with her this summer through the desert to Vegas, and the Grand Canyon, then back through the Rockies on I-70.     We ran at 70mph all day without a single issue.

At 150,000 the valve covers are weeping a little bit of oil, so I'm going to change the gaskets this weekend ($60 in parts).   Otherwise, I expect to get 200,000 out of this van.

If you're concerned about a vehicle this old, you could get a really nice van for about $10,000 that's much newer and has fewer miles.   At that price, you could sell the Tundra and come out ahead money wise.

What exactly do you use the pickup for?    Construction, landscaping?   Towing more than 3,500lbs?

Title: Re: Buying a third vehicle?
Post by: Bob W on November 26, 2014, 08:28:48 AM
Agree that mini vans can be had for 3-6K.   I see them frequently.    I'm kinda in the same situation in that we end up taking 2 cars sometimes.

One thing you didn't mention is just exactly home many day or better yet how many miles you will use the van in 80 days.   If it is like 3000 miles it is a different equation. 

The liability on the van would be about 400 per year.   So why not just sell the prius?      Let me guess you run the prius 12K per year.   A van gets 20mpg or costs a total of 1800 per year in gas.  A prius gets 45, so around 800 per year.   

Net insurance and gas cost for Van only = 2200
Net insurance and gas cost for Prius only = 1200
Net insurance and gas cost of Van plus Prius = 1800.  If you add the 500 K you will not earn in investing the 5K paid for the van and you are at 2300.   So it appears slightly cheaper to own the van only.  Of course this doesn't take into account maintenance which may be a wash?

It appears the best option would be to sub out the Tundra for a van that is highly rated to tow what is needed.  But then you have the problem of not having the van available when hubby is at work.

So my vote,  give up your love of the Prius and embrace the van.  The money will be like $400 either direction but the flexibility of the van will make up for it.   If you drive the van only 6000 per year then it becomes much more desirable.