Author Topic: Time to sell the car?  (Read 3060 times)


  • Guest
Time to sell the car?
« on: February 04, 2013, 10:33:03 AM »
Need some advice from the Mustachian community about whether it's time to sell the car or not.

Over the last six months, more or less since discovering MMM (though the frugality was itself what led to the finding), I have whittled away hundreds of dollars a month in expenses.  I've taken steps to add to income, and have some additional expenses which are either one-time and now over or which are under contract (looking at you, over-priced gym) and soon to expire.  This had greatly widened the gap between income and outgoing on an already high savings rate.

So, now, the car.  I drive a 2006 Subaru Legacy GT Limited wagon.  The car is amazing - amongst the safest cars on the road, Top Gear's Car of the Year, near lux interior, beautiful (to me) restrained exterior, fire-breathing turbo engine and able to haul drywall on the roof and 40 bags of soil in the back.  With a baby in a carseat.  I love it. 

Car was bought used and paid for cash.  It is very well-maintained and would likely fetch top dollar in the used market.  Gas mileage is poor given the turbo, AWD and the fact that it is largely driven within 15kms of home in city traffic.  Still, for what it is, it's not bad.  100,000kms with likely another 0-50kms on the turbo and 150kms+ on the car itself remaining.  Car is driven less than 15,000kms per year.

The question is whether it's time to part with it in order to lower insurance premiums, gas consumption (premium fuel at that), crazy expensive tires, likely expensive repairs when something finally goes (it has never had the slightest problem to date), etc.  I'm not willing to compromise on a certain level of safety, despite being in broad agreement with MMM's article on the illusion of safety.  My better half knows nothing about cars but sort of wants an SUV of some sort, the wagon purchase originally being to offset some of that.

The thing is, alternate choices that I would be interested in don't materially affect the money calculations over the medium-term, 2-5 years.  Alternatives include things like Nissan Rogue, Honda Element, Jetta Sportwagen, Mazda5, PriusV, Ford C-Max, etc.  Most sell for a premium in the used market, meaning I would at best break even on the sale and re-purchase.  In Ontario, there is HST of 13% on used car transactions, so even modest savings on fuel and insurance would take years to offset, especially considering that the break even point is likely near the end-of-life for the current car anyway.

Long story, short: have run some numbers and am thinking to keep it until it dies, then replace with something very efficient and family-oriented.  But wondering if fellow Mustachians would be more badass than me and sell it now.

Thanks for any feedback and facepunches you might have.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Time to sell the car?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2013, 10:44:18 AM »
One vote for keeping it. You like it, it's reasonably Mustachian, and it's paid for.


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Time to sell the car?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2013, 12:37:45 PM »
Gas mileage is poor given the turbo, AWD and the fact that it is largely driven within 15kms of home in city traffic.

That's not a problem of fuel economy.  Don't drive, bike if it's within 15 km.

Gas, maintenance costs (including tire wear), and even insurance can all be reduced by driving less.  FWIW, I'd keep the car and drive it into the ground . . . very slowly . . . over a long period of time.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Time to sell the car?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2013, 04:40:52 PM »
Selling your car is unlikely to save you money. Your car gets 20/27 mpg, which is honestly quite decent. Since you only drive it 15,000 kms a year, fuel savings are going to be fairly minimal.

Insurance premiums aren't really going to be significantly different.

Repairs may be higher than a new car, but this is a Subaru and incredibly reliable.

Considering the tax on vehicle purchases and I'm sure the fees that come with registering a new car, getting plates, etc, I just can't see this saving you money. Unless you think you can get an incredible price both selling and buying cars I don't see how this can be projected to save you close to anything.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Time to sell the car?
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2013, 09:57:25 AM »
Another vote for not selling if you are just going to make a lateral move. You'd be trading your known quantity used car for a used car with an unknown history. I'd value that unknown somewhere around $1k-$2k.

If your car was getting pretty old and you were trading to something newer or you decided you wanted something significantly different in terms of efficiency or space it might make more sense.


  • Guest
Re: Time to sell the car?
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 11:33:48 AM »
Thanks to all.  Wanted some other views.  There are more frugal options, but based on what I am willing to drive and the particulars of the situation, I feel better about the decision to keep it. 

Thanks again.