Author Topic: Time to go car-free?  (Read 892 times)

Geographer

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Time to go car-free?
« on: June 01, 2017, 04:29:23 PM »
I'm currently on the fence with selling my car and becoming a 1-car couple. I drive a 1998 Saturn SC2 with ~143k miles, which was given to me from my grandmother 6 years ago at ~67k miles. Although I love it dearly and it's been a dependable car, I don't think it's necessary and would love to reduce our car dependency. I recently became engaged to my co-habitating GF who has a super versatile Scion hatchback. We live in the DC area where public transportation is pretty decent, and both own bicycles.

Some LIKES about having the car:
  • Due to it being valued so low, property taxes are almost non-existant and insurance is low.
  • It's only a 12 mile and ~20 minute drive to work -- plus gas is still cheap. And it's easy to swing by and pick up groceries once a week on the way home from work.
  • Since the car was given to me 6 years ago, I've never had a car payment and continue to never have a car payment as long as I keep it.
  • I see it as a proud badge of frugality in a land where "luxury" BMWs, Mercedes, and Range Rovers rule the road.

Some DISLIKES about having the car:
  • Air conditioning stopped working many years ago and wouldn't be worth the cost of replacing. I think I received a quote of around $800 back then? I roll the windows down and deal with it.
  • Recently told by auto mechanics that the exhaust system has a leak and it needs a new muffler. Also it's well overdue for a transmission flush and new spark plugs. This would all set me back over $800 if I followed through with them.
  • We live in an urban area where it's street parking only. Although it hasn't really been an issue, I do kind of miss having parking lots and garages to park in.

As I stated above, my current drive to work is ~12 miles and takes about 20 minutes one way. Taking the metro (our subway system) and transfering to the bus takes around ~40 minutes if timed properly and would cost about $5 each way; so $10 round trip. Work offers a program to pay for this tax free which could save over 30%. I've biked to work before, but this involves a mix of nice paths and bike lanes with portions of high-volume roads and intersections. This took around 45 minutes one way, but creates the added issue of being sweaty, having to change clothes, etc..

Given my current situation, what would YOU recommend? Thanks in advance!!

JLee

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Re: Time to go car-free?
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2017, 04:57:07 PM »
If you decide to keep the car, you can do spark plugs yourself. It's very easy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9isV9o7ucCo

I would find an independent mechanic and get another quote for the transmission fluid exchange and muffler replacement.  What is wrong with the AC?