Author Topic: Need Advice on Automobile Decision - Sell, Trade-in, or Keep  (Read 2909 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Need Advice on Automobile Decision - Sell, Trade-in, or Keep
« on: November 07, 2016, 03:03:56 PM »

Scenario Details:

Year: 2009
Make: Chevrolet
Model: Tahoe LTZ 4x4 (Fully loaded)
Mileage: 102,000
Annual Avg. mileage per year: 22,000 (Mileage is high due to work. I get reimbursed $0.54 per mile.) Work mileage is about 20% of my driving but the reimbursement may disappear due to a career move in the next 6 months.
Location: Texas
Recent expenses: Over the last year I put on 2 new tires (fronts still got some mileage left), new brakes/brake system, and replaced the sway bar.
Recent discoveries: A motor mount broke on the vehicle. I don't have an estimate on the cost yet but the internet is estimating $200-500.

Current Trade-In Value: $14.8K - $18K  (Source: Kelley Blue Book 11/7/16)
Money Owed: $9,456.00 (3% interest rate and $550 payment) Last payment is scheduled for 2/18.

So I've been pondering an automobile decision for the last week and have been getting mixed advice from various individuals (some credible, some not). My decision spawned after seeing the 100,000 mark on my odometer. I've been trained since childhood to believe that you trade in a car at 100K miles.

Here are my choices:

1. Keep the car, pay for the motor mount, and ride the car out to maybe 200K miles or 250K? (Not sure how many miles to expect out of the vehicle, nor do I do how much I would get for the vehicle if I got to the 200-250K range.
2. Trade in the car and buy a newer base model truck. (Saw a 2015 Silverado 1500 for $19.9K w/ 44K miles.)
3. I'd consider other options that entail me owning a pickup truck or SUV.

My goal is to make a decision that gives me the best value and cost savings for the foreseeable future. The original purchase of the vehicle wasn't well thought out but I'm forward looking.

For those of you who are gracious enough to spend a few moments of your time reading and possibly giving your 2 cents, I appreciate it and thank you.
If I forgot any crucial details please let me know and I'd be happy to discuss further.


  • Bristles
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Re: Need Advice on Automobile Decision - Sell, Trade-in, or Keep
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2016, 12:09:21 AM »
There is something to be said "for the devil you know".

I think you missed an important point. The Tahoe is a huge unwieldy beast of a car. Do you need that much space for anything? Do you need 4x4? In this context "need" means "will your life be severely inconvenienced by not having it".

If you don't need that much car I would sell it immediately and trade it in for something smaller and more fuel efficient. The ever popular civic comes to mind, but also the Nissan Leaf if you can live with the range.

Go even smaller and think about the Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris.

Tiger Stache

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Re: Need Advice on Automobile Decision - Sell, Trade-in, or Keep
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2016, 12:26:25 AM »
22,000 miles per year is a ton of miles on a 4x4 Tahoe unless those miles  involve going off-road quite a bit.  How's the reliability of Tahoes up above 100,000 miles? I'd trade it in and get a more basic more fuel efficient car, something that can get at least 25-30 mpg if possible. If you need a 4x4 Tahoe for work, then fix the motor mount and keep it rolling another year or two


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Need Advice on Automobile Decision - Sell, Trade-in, or Keep
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2016, 04:22:46 AM »
I don't know or understand trucks or giant SUV'S.

I feel like (no data to back that up) a giant SUV is going to be expensive to maintain in old age, especially a chevy. But if you're going to replace it with another new giant SUV then you are better off keeping the old one and repairing as needed.

Are you willing to consider a smaller SUV? You would see significant fuel savings.

We really need to know what it is you "need" a truck/SUV for, though. Are you towing or something? If not, everyone will try to convince you to ditch the giant gas's guzzler for something more sensible.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Need Advice on Automobile Decision - Sell, Trade-in, or Keep
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2016, 10:04:14 AM »
Sell.  Buy a used Ford Ranger / Chevy S-10 / Toyota mini (early Tacoma models) / Nissan truck.  Add an overhead rack if you need more hauling capacity.
Fortunately, MMM (Pete himself!) has weighed in on this topic - see the full blog post HERE - What Does Your Work Truck Say About You?


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Need Advice on Automobile Decision - Sell, Trade-in, or Keep
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2016, 10:28:12 AM »
Buy a used mini van.

Almost no one needs a truck/suv.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Need Advice on Automobile Decision - Sell, Trade-in, or Keep
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2016, 10:41:20 AM »
1. Being that I'm young I'm constantly re-assessing my apartment location for better deals on housing. I haven't committed to home ownership yet, because there's a possibility I will be moving to a new metro area soon. If I can't commit 5 years to a home then I'd rather not buy. My point is I've moved annually for cost savings and having the big vehicle has been convenient for that. There's an argument that I could just rent a truck for a day each year to move and believe me I hear ya, but this leads me to reason #2.

2. In my spare time I've been assisting my family member with their rental properties. This requires me hauling goods such as ladders, tools, equipment, etc in a SUV/Truck. Ideally a truck bed would be better suited for this type situation but I've put down a heavy duty mat in the back of my Tahoe to avoid most wear/tear from the hauling of stuff.

You answered yourself on #1. Renting a truck once a year is still going to be way cheaper than running one year-round.

With #2: if you aren't getting paid enough to clear profit after the cost of the truck, you're subsidizing your family member's non-ownership of said truck.

For $14-18k you could probably buy a cheap commuter car AND a small work truck, though that may not be possible living in an apartment.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Need Advice on Automobile Decision - Sell, Trade-in, or Keep
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2016, 12:33:59 PM »
What is the value of a 200K vehicle?

Could be anywhere from nothing to 5K+.  Depends if it is running or not :)  Often at this age/mileage, people drive them until there is a problem worth more than the vehicle, then scrap them.  But if you are talking a nice bigger truck that is still running, then it may be worth 5K+.  Our ~200K minivan is worth about 5K in good running condition.  The huge savings comes in because a car does most of its depreciation in the first 100K miles. 

Looking at our Civic, its been worth ~4-5K since about 120K miles.  It will continue to be worth about that as long as it is running.  It depreciated 10K in the first 100K miles, and now it is rpetty much flat from here on out. 

The old message to sell at 100K was because most cars catastrophically died around 100K.  That is no longer nearly as true (although of course there are always lemons). 

In terms of what to buy:  I will say we love hauling crap in our old minivan, and we can easily put a trailer on it if needed (we rented one for 20$ from Uhaul when we needed to move a playset).  I can fit sheets of plywood AND 2 children in it!  Win win, lol!

On a more serious note, a friend recently bought a small truck (she is a farmer) and landed on the Toyota Tacoma.  Hers is a early to mid 2000's and has around 100K miles, I believe.  She has been very happy with it.  I have a few relatives with CRV's and RAV4's, and I would say they are kind of a joke to haul stuff (about the size of our Civic, they just sit up higher).  But again, you can easily put a hitch on and tow a small trailer.  I am not too familiar with mid size SUV's, all I know is they get pricier than a minivan, fast, and I'd rather have a minivan with twice the interior space, same fuel economy, and lwoer price tag, than a medium sized SUV.  YMMV.