Author Topic: Got a free car: should I trade it for something more efficient?  (Read 2901 times)

samburger

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My wife inherited a 2007 Buick with 50k miles on it. It gets an abysmal 19 mpg. We're thinking we should sell it for something more efficient, but I think I need some validation. My friends and family are singing the "why would you sell it for something junkier?!" song and it's getting in my head. I don't care about the fancy factor, but I've never sold or bought a car privately before, so it's a little too easy to convince myself that it's not worth the trouble.

Note: We can't cut the car out yet. We want to, we absolutely will cut a car out the moment it's feasible, but we can't right now.

Wife drives about 6,000 miles/year at minimum. At 19 mpg that's 315 gallons of gas. If we get her into something that can do 30 mpg, that drops to 200 gallons. At $3.00/gal, that's a savings of $345/year--and that's the minimum!

The big financial sticking point is the reliability ratings: This model has a catastrophic meltdown at 100-150k miles. We're years away from that, but it seems downright ridiculous to knowingly incur those repair costs when we could swap this thing for something that 1) won't give us that kind of trouble 2) costs less in gas and 3) actually fits our needs. We live in the city and camp on a regular basis--Buicks are terrible for both of those things.

I suspect we can get about $8-9k for this thing. That's plenty to cover a nice little fuel efficient hatchback, and we might even come out ahead.

This is a total no brainer, right? It's worth the hassle to save $350/year + untold maintenance costs down the line?

Winston

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Re: Got a free car: should I trade it for something more efficient?
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2014, 08:45:51 AM »
This is a total no brainer, right? It's worth the hassle to save $350/year + untold maintenance costs down the line?

Yep, IMO. Dump it, get what you actually need.

Take it to CarMax, see what they'll give you, then price it a few grand higher on craigslist. If it doesn't sell, take it back to CarMax. Their process is painless.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2014, 08:47:31 AM by Winston »

Greg

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Re: Got a free car: should I trade it for something more efficient?
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2014, 08:47:29 AM »
Yep! No brainer!

Sell it, buy something efficient and most likely handier (think hatchback or wagon) and bank the rest for ongoing costs like scheduled maintenance and repairs.

William

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Re: Got a free car: should I trade it for something more efficient?
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2014, 10:00:53 AM »
As long as there's no sentimental value (aka you'd look like an asshole to your family if you sold the thing), I would sell it private party asap.  Selling a car isn't too complicated.

Wasting money on fuel is boring spending IMO.

Zamboni

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Re: Got a free car: should I trade it for something more efficient?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2014, 10:12:18 AM »
Selling this car is an easy decision, and we are all behind you on it.  My Mom was a Buick loyalist for years until she got a used Toyota Corolla that she has now had for ~15 years.

In addition to the gas mileage issue, you should be able to get something that will last much longer for that amount of money.  As an added bonus, a smaller car is much easier to park in the city.

CarDude

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Re: Got a free car: should I trade it for something more efficient?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2014, 10:43:56 AM »
I agree with everyone else. Look for something by Toyota or Honda and drive it until the wheels fall off.

daverobev

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Re: Got a free car: should I trade it for something more efficient?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2014, 11:14:18 AM »
Check how much the insurance will differ. Here in ON, it is much more expensive to insure a Civic than a Buick.

WTF is it that only gets 19 mpg?? Does that match with the EPA figures?

If you could drive it gently and get a few more mpg, the insurance is cheaper, and it's a known vehicle I might be tempted to keep it - its not like you do that many miles.

Ottawa

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Re: Got a free car: should I trade it for something more efficient?
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2014, 11:17:39 AM »
Sell it before it depreciates another day!!  Then by a used 2nd gen Prius. 

bobmarley9993

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Re: Got a free car: should I trade it for something more efficient?
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2014, 11:52:29 AM »
Sell it. 
Get a toyota or honda.