Author Topic: Help me decide - rent or drive own car?  (Read 3398 times)

frugaldrummer

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Help me decide - rent or drive own car?
« on: March 05, 2014, 02:34:47 PM »
Hi all -
I have a 2600 mile (total, for the roundtrip - 1300 each way) car trip coming up.  I had planned to make the trip in my Toyota Matrix, which has almost 100k miles on it.  It recently had a new clutch and starter motor and some extensive electrical debugging done at the dealership (they messed something up when they fixed the clutch, took a while to find and fix it).

I'm driving instead of flying because I have to transport some unwieldy musical instruments.  My best friend is driving with me, but she hasn't driven a clutch in a few years (she did used to own a volkswagen bus).  The Matrix has pretty good storage for a small car but it will definitely be tight trying to fit all of our gear in it, and we will need to transport our gear and that of others when we are at our destination, requiring multiple trips to the venue we are performing at.

Now - my question for you.  I could rent a small SUV (Ford Escape or similar) for about $360 for those 9 days, including all taxes and fees.  The highway gas mileage is surprisingly the same.

This would have the advantage of about a third more cargo space, and an automatic so I don't have to worry about my friend possibly burning out my new clutch.  Plus, with a newer vehicle, less chance of unexpected breakdowns in mid-Texas.   And less wear and tear on my car.  Plus, it would help a little with transporting other people's stuff once we arrive at our destination.

How would you calculate the true cost of this rental?  How much dollar value should I put on saving the wear and tear on my car (which is my daily driver and I hope to get it well past 200k miles)?


Thegoblinchief

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Re: Help me decide - rent or drive own car?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 02:46:04 PM »
Depreciation/maintenance hit would be around $0.25 per mile given the age.

I would still give yourself a 25% increase in gas mileage with an SUV, even a small one.

So, that's roughly a $650 hit on car value versus $120 or so in fuel savings. Looks like rental wins.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Help me decide - rent or drive own car?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 02:58:02 PM »
I looked it up, the published highway MPG for both vehicles was the same.  And given that my car has lot more miles on it than the rental, it will probably be true that the gas mileage is the same.

How do you come up with your $0.25 figure?

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Help me decide - rent or drive own car?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 03:12:48 PM »
Seat of the pants. For a new car $0.50 per mile is normally the rule, but when I've done the math on my own cars, it's much lower than that since the initial depreciation has hit and it's just slower depreciation plus wear/tear.

Unfortunately, you can't truly measure cost per mile until you know how much your car actually sells for versus how many miles you drove it, but $0.25 per mile is a good (low) number.

SunshineGirl

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Re: Help me decide - rent or drive own car?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 03:15:40 PM »
I think the rental makes good sense for such a long trip.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Help me decide - rent or drive own car?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 03:18:54 PM »
This thread is suddenly having me reevaluate my own travel planning, but I think I'd be way too stressed over my goblins destroying a rental car, and any trips will now require a bike rack....

frugaldrummer

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Re: Help me decide - rent or drive own car?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 04:58:33 PM »
Well, AAA gave a figure more like 5 cents a mile for repairs and depreciation on a small car. 

If my car is worth, say, $8k now, and at 200k miles is worth 2k, then depreciation over that 100k miles would be 6k divided by 100k = 6 cents/ mile.  Add in, say, another 6k for 100,000 miles worth of oil changes, repairs, and tires - still only 12 cents/ mile.

12 cents/mile x 2600 miles = $ 312.  Still pretty darn close to the $360 cost of renting, plus the greater convenience of larger cargo space and an automatic for my driving partner. 

mjb

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Re: Help me decide - rent or drive own car?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2014, 05:24:50 PM »
ProTipô: rent a Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Town and Country minivan instead of an SUV.

They have "Stow and Go" seats that make it a breeze to turn the minivan into a cargo van, and they get ok gas mileage.

I rent these all the time for the bands I tour with -- in the last week alone, I've rented them in SF, Minneapolis, and DC. We fit 3 guitars, a cello in a flight case, several Pelican cases, suitcases, and a couple of t-shirt boxes, all with enough room for 4 people to ride comfortably.

I've also put all rear seats down and put a full backline (drums, amps, guitars, etc) in there.

Great, great cars (to rent, at least), and usually cheaper than renting an SUV.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Help me decide - rent or drive own car?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2014, 05:39:13 PM »
Minivan was $100 more than the Ford Escape.  If we were actually touring, that would be the choice - but just the 2 of us meeting up with the rest of the band in Austin, playing SXSW, then coming home.  I can make two trips from the hotel to the venue to carry the instruments - which will include a cello and vibraphone.  (The cello is flying there, though, not driving in with me).