Author Topic: Which vehicle would you keep?  (Read 952 times)

Zamboni

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Which vehicle would you keep?
« on: May 23, 2021, 07:26:15 AM »
I am in the unenviable position of owning 4 vehicles: cars, van, truck.
None have loans, of course, so that is good.

The two which are newest and in the best shape (by far) are with my college-aged children, and I have mentally given those away. I still pay the registration, insurance (yikes!), and taxes. More on that plan at the bottom if you are interested.

Which leaves me with two vehicles for just me:
2003 Chevy Impala, 66K miles
2003 Honda Odyssey, 179K miles

I have almost no commute and will be bicycle commuting to work, so the vehicle are for shopping trips, doctor visits, and long road trips. Mostly they sit in my driveway. I also have access to a full sized pick up truck if I need it, at least for the next year. It seems stupid to keep them both, although there have been times when one was being repaired that it was nice to have the spare. I should sell one, though, if I'm being realistic about it.

Pros and Cons:

Impala, 66K miles
Pros: paint and interior are in excellent shape, comfortable to drive, good for passengers, large trunk, very low mileage for its age
Cons: has cost me quite a bit in repairs over the past year, so even though the mileage is low, I'm questioning the reliability of the brand. Not good for hauling/moving larger stuff. No CD player and radio reception is awful.

Odyssey, 179K miles
Pros: still runs like a top, comfortable to drive, good for hauling/moving large stuff, CD player which I use on long trips, better for trips with the hound
Cons: High mileage, paint looks pretty awful, some minor things are broken and I'm not inclined to repair them (like the sliding doors won't shut right, so you have to bump them shut with your hip, the driver side door lock doesn't work with the key anymore, seat recline handle broke off on one of rear bucket seats, carpets badly stained and with holes, etc.)

Both vehicles seem to get about the same gas mileage, which perhaps a slight edge to the Odyssey, although I haven't tracked that carefully enough to be sure. Both have always had essential maintenance done and have fairly new tires. It's hard to get an accurate Kelley Blue book value on vehicles this old, but as far as I can see it's likely the Impala would sell for at least double due to the lower mileage and appearance.

What would you do? What am I not considering? Do you have either type of vehicle with higher mileage that still works?

Aside on the other two cars: I mentioned, I own two other vehicles that are 4-7 years old. My kids drive those. I will continue to pay the ownership expenses for those until my kids get out of school and hopefully find real jobs. Then I'll sign the titles over to them, which hopefully will minimize the temptation of the stupid "but I'm 22 now!" clown car loan that so many of us got in our early 20's. Hopefully just the shock of having to pay their own insurance will be enough to keep them in the older vehicles for awhile.

Sibley

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2021, 08:09:00 AM »
Personally, I'd sell the Impala, bank the cash, ride the Odyssey until it gives up the ghost, then buy a Honda Fit. But I'm partial to hatchbacks. In terms of practicality, minivans are going to win out over sedans. And its a Honda, which I'm going to favor over a Chevy in terms of reliability.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2021, 10:09:19 AM »
I'm with Sibley. Ditch the chevy, ride the honda till it hits unreliable or too expensive to fix. I would hold off on any decision about a replacement until I had to make it, because of the EV transition happening right now. I certainly wouldn't recommend a gas-based (eg, gas or hybrid) honda fit, despite driving a gas one myself.

Something that shape (eg, hatch) and an EV if the charging problem for a road trip looks okay (also, plug-in hybrid)? Yeah, go for that, whatever "that" is a the time. If chevy improves the bolt a bit (boosts the range up over 300 miles and improves the charge rate), that'd be a real contender in my mind. Similar size as the fit, hatchback (even if it lacks the magic seat)...
« Last Edit: May 23, 2021, 10:11:17 AM by AccidentialMustache »

Malcat

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2021, 11:08:03 AM »
IDK, I don't live your life or have your preferences. I think it's a toss up, which one to keep, it all depends on which one you prefer.

But yes, it's a huge waste to own both and pay insurance on both, so I would definitely get rid of one for that reason alone.

draco44

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2021, 11:19:32 AM »
Based on your own description it sounds like you trust and like the Odyssey more. If I'm right about that, this internet stranger gives you permission to go with your instinct and sell the Impala, for what that's worth. As long as you think through what either sale means for your own life, which it sounds like you've already done but there will always be factors we forum randos won't know, I think you are good. The overall goal of downsizing your fleet makes financial sense.

Zamboni

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2021, 11:27:28 AM »
Thanks, all, for the feedback so far.

I hadn't thought about the EV transition much, because I'm not currently thinking about buying, but that is an excellent point! Surely my next purchase will be a plug in hybrid if not a straight up plug in.

I also have two snow tires in my garage for the Impala. They've been used exactly one winter. Anyone here ever sell used tires, lol?

Malcat

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2021, 12:24:35 PM »
Thanks, all, for the feedback so far.

I hadn't thought about the EV transition much, because I'm not currently thinking about buying, but that is an excellent point! Surely my next purchase will be a plug in hybrid if not a straight up plug in.

I also have two snow tires in my garage for the Impala. They've been used exactly one winter. Anyone here ever sell used tires, lol?

Just sell them with the car.

Zamboni

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2021, 04:08:54 PM »
Okay, just had the Impala cleaned in anticipation of possibly selling it . . . and it is just so very shiny! Wow, it is in really good shape in terms of appearance. On the bright side, that will make it easier to sell.

Our mechanic did assure me that the particular Impala model year I have is a good one, so it should last a good long time now that I've had the brakes done.

Ugh, this is going to be a tough decision. I need to get the Odyssey cleaned pretty well now to make a fair comparison. I also need to sleep on this for a few nights.

Paper Chaser

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2021, 06:42:27 PM »
I think that generation of Odyssey is known for transmission failures, especially as the miles climb. If true (don't take my word for it, do your own research), I'm not sure I'd trust it any more than the Impala.

You've got a clean, low mileage sedan that you don't really trust, and you've got an ugly, high mileage minivan that may have its own costly repairs on the horizon. I'm not sure there's a clear winner here. In fact, it might make sense to sell them both and use the proceeds to find something that's a better fit for what you want and need.

Edit: at least I wasn't imagining things:

https://www.cashcarsbuyer.com/honda-odyssey-transmission-problems/

https://www.motorbiscuit.com/the-worst-honda-odyssey-problems-could-cost-your-family-a-lot-of-money/

https://www.cartalk.com/blogs/car-talk-car-complaints/used-honda-odyssey-buy-year-not-one
« Last Edit: May 23, 2021, 06:53:00 PM by Paper Chaser »

Dicey

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2021, 07:53:37 PM »
I think that generation of Odyssey is known for transmission failures, especially as the miles climb. If true (don't take my word for it, do your own research), I'm not sure I'd trust it any more than the Impala.

You've got a clean, low mileage sedan that you don't really trust, and you've got an ugly, high mileage minivan that may have its own costly repairs on the horizon. I'm not sure there's a clear winner here. In fact, it might make sense to sell them both and use the proceeds to find something that's a better fit for what you want and need.

Edit: at least I wasn't imagining things:

https://www.cashcarsbuyer.com/honda-odyssey-transmission-problems/

https://www.motorbiscuit.com/the-worst-honda-odyssey-problems-could-cost-your-family-a-lot-of-money/

https://www.cartalk.com/blogs/car-talk-car-complaints/used-honda-odyssey-buy-year-not-one
Hmmm, I think the answer's in @Paper Chaser's siggy line. Very wise.

Zamboni

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2021, 09:40:34 PM »
^Lol, indeed.

Oooh, I could sell them BOTH!

Or just donate the minivan to the rescue mission and sell the Impala. The minivan prices are really quite low for that year and mileage, and the minivan is so beat up and quirky that I can't imagine why someone would pay more than parts money for it. Hmmm, thank you for sending the obvious idea that wasn't so obvious to me.

At least one child will not be taking a car to college campus this year, so that leaves me one of the nicer vehicles to drive and buys me 9 months even if I dump the Chevy and the Honda at the same time. I shall ponder this option.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2021, 01:35:39 AM »
How much car do you need? Surely a lightly used low miles Chevy Impala would be fine, but if all you need is a small hatchback, then maybe an option is selling both and buying something more suitable.

The minivan is probably ready to pass on unless you want to wrench on it and flip it.

Is the Impala the 3.8 or the 3.4? What work did you need done to it recently? From what I have heard, the 3.8 has a good reputation.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 02:39:47 AM by alsoknownasDean »

six-car-habit

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2021, 01:47:39 AM »
Anecdote story against keeping the Odyssey . Guy i work with had a similar year Honda van as yours, iirc it had about 140-160K miles on it. It was relatively clean and the body was in good shape.  Family liked it and it was usefull , and they had owned it since near new, it had a decent maintenance history -but it was starting to get a couple small quirky issues which the family just dealt with, switches not working and such. Then the transmission started acting up. Within a month the minivan was stuck in a parking lot with a distressed wife. 

  They had it towed to their local Honda dealer who quoted in the realm of $5000 for a new transmission, i believe this was the installed price.  He asked what his Odessey might be worth as a trade-in, assuming he paid the 5K, the dealer did the work and installed a new transmission - and was told "at most, maybe a $3000 trade-in value".   They ended up buying a new hybrid accord and got $500 trade-in credit for the running- but not able to drive/move anymore minivan.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 01:55:07 AM by six-car-habit »

chemistk

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2021, 06:00:05 AM »
You'll probably get more money for the Impala based on mileage and appearance after being cleaned up. Nearly every one of those GM sedan reskins from the late 90's to the early 00's is trash in my opinion. Reliable engines if you maintain them, and not much else after that.

I'm partial to the Ody for practicality. If you haven't since you've owned it, an upgraded transmission cooler and regular transmission drain/flushes (every 15k miles or so) will go a long way in preserving that transmission. I'll assume you've done the timing belt at 105k (you have, right??). '03 was near the end of that generation's run and most of the kinks had been worked out by then so I really can't imagine you're at extreme risk for failure.

Morning Glory

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2021, 08:13:20 AM »
I have sold used rims and tires, but it's much easier to just let them go with the car.

I am biased towards keeping the Impala because we do all our own maintenance and they are easier to work on and parts are cheaper, but I'm thinking sell both and get something that works better for you.

ETA don't listen to me because I posted a question four years ago about what kind of car to buy and I finally just got one last week.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 08:14:57 AM by Morning Glory »

Dicey

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2021, 08:31:19 AM »
I have sold used rims and tires, but it's much easier to just let them go with the car.

I am biased towards keeping the Impala because we do all our own maintenance and they are easier to work on and parts are cheaper, but I'm thinking sell both and get something that works better for you.

ETA don't listen to me because I posted a question four years ago about what kind of car to buy and I finally just got one last week.
You got four more years out of the old car? Badass!

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2021, 09:27:19 AM »
Several years ago, we had a very similar dilemma, although it was choosing between keeping our '01 Odyssey (150k miles, transmission had already been replaced), and our '95 Corolla (about 200k miles, running like a top).  We had just bought an '06 Odyssey because we needed the 8th seat.

We decided to keep the Corolla and sell the Odyssey, and I have regretted it ever since.  Not that the Corolla is bad--it is still a great car at 240k miles!  It's just that I use our (new-to-us) Odyssey for hauling stuff a lot, whether it's building materials from the hardware store, bikes for the kids, lawnmowers I pick up off the curb, etc, and folding down and/or removing seats is annoying.  Yeah, yeah, first world problems, I know.  I only drive the Corolla about 5,000 miles/year, so gas mileage isn't a major concern for me.

The transmission *may* be a concern.  However, by 2004, the failures had diminished greatly, and the fact that you've made it to 179K miles would indicate that Honda had sufficiently addressed the issue by the time yours was made.

As for the little stuff that's broken....are you handy?  And do you have a you-pick salvage yard near by?  A seat recline handle will cost you peanuts to replace.  Even if you want to replace the whole seat, it's not expensive.  Door won't close all the way?  I had the same issue, and I remember that I fixed it, but I don't remember how.  It might have been something as simple as cleaning the electrical contacts on the sliding door.  Worn carpet? Get floor mats or just ignore it.  Power lock doesn't work?  That's a cheap junk yard part, or you can get one off ebay.  Or if it's the mechanical key lock, flush it with machine oil to get it free again, or take apart the mechanism and take it to a locksmith.

Don't let the tiny details drag you into a multi-thousand-dollar decision.

Morning Glory

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2021, 09:35:02 AM »
I have sold used rims and tires, but it's much easier to just let them go with the car.

I am biased towards keeping the Impala because we do all our own maintenance and they are easier to work on and parts are cheaper, but I'm thinking sell both and get something that works better for you.

ETA don't listen to me because I posted a question four years ago about what kind of car to buy and I finally just got one last week.
You got four more years out of the old car? Badass!
Hatred of shopping was the biggest factor there I think. The ac going out permanently was what pushed me over the edge.

Zamboni

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2021, 09:57:52 AM »
@Morning Glory lol I might end up being slow with you on the time lag between thought and action. I don't really care much at all about cars, and I just put a lot of mental energy into helping someone else upgrade.

Speaking of AC, that is one of the on-going issues with both vehicles. They both seem to have very small AC fluid leaks. The freon (or whatever it is now, may still be freon in these older cars) can be recharged pretty cheaply for about $90, and it works for months after, but then eventually the AC is no longer blowing cold air. A fluid recharge gets me through the summer and sometimes into the next summer, but then it's uncomfortable. I do have a very reliable mechanic nearby run by a bunch of honest old guys, which is helpful.

There is a Carmax a couple miles down the road. I might go see what they would offer for the Impala. I'm assuming it will be a low number, but it would be nice to have that hassle free data point. Maybe they will surprise and delight me?

I've now done some market research and was surprised to find a couple of very very similar comps for it. Just in my vicinity at different dealerships, there is a 2003 Impala with 60K asking $6150, a 2003 with 226K asking $4397, and a 2004 with 226K asking $6759. The decent number of higher mileage ones on the market makes me more optimistic about the reliability of this car than I was previously.

Mine Impala is very clean. There is a little bit of black paint here and there on the corner of a bumper, so I'm going to see if I can figure out what to use to wipe that off. It's not a scratch or anything. Based upon the number of consistently dark dings, I'm guessing that someone flanking my son's space in the HS parking lot had a dark car. Otherwise it is spotless.

Similar comps for the Odyssey are pretty low (like $995 to about $3000). I don't know if all of those are running, except for one of the higher priced one has a very smashed front end in the photos.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2021, 10:13:29 AM »
FWIW, recharging the A/C is very easy to DIY.  You can pick up a kit (includes the special hose plus a can of refrigerant) at Autozone for something like $20, and it only takes a few minutes to do.  And you can reuse the special hose, so the next time you only have to buy the can of refrigerant.

Zamboni

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2021, 10:43:17 AM »
Aha! That is very good to know! Thank you!

Paper Chaser

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2021, 10:47:09 AM »

There is a Carmax a couple miles down the road. I might go see what they would offer for the Impala. I'm assuming it will be a low number, but it would be nice to have that hassle free data point. Maybe they will surprise and delight me?

I've been hearing a lot of positive interactions with online car dealers like Carvana and Zoom lately. I think you just take a few pics on your phone and upload them with some pertinent details and they text you an offer. (I've heard the offers are usually strong, given the market rate for a specific vehicle). They'll come pick it up too. Instant electronic payment on the spot if I recall.

For the amount of time/effort that it might take, I'd say it's worth going through their process to see what how competitive their offer might be.

Zamboni

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2021, 11:25:47 AM »
Lol Carvana offered me $200 for the Impala. Pretty sure these vehicles are older than their sweet spot.

Morning Glory

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2021, 11:33:44 AM »
Lol Carvana offered me $200 for the Impala. Pretty sure these vehicles are older than their sweet spot.

FB marketplace works for selling the older vehicles

Uturn

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2021, 11:37:31 AM »
I've been hearing a lot of positive interactions with online car dealers like Carvana and Zoom lately. I think you just take a few pics on your phone and upload them with some pertinent details and they text you an offer. (I've heard the offers are usually strong, given the market rate for a specific vehicle). They'll come pick it up too. Instant electronic payment on the spot if I recall.

For the amount of time/effort that it might take, I'd say it's worth going through their process to see what how competitive their offer might be.

I bought my current car from Carvana and it was an absolute dream.  No up sell, no bs.  For trade in I just put in the VIN.  They emailed with a couple of questions and wanted a picture of the odometer.  All of the finance and warranty questions were just checkboxes on the website.  They even took care of the wire transfer from my bank.  It took about 3 days to get everything done.  I then went to their place at a designated time, did a test drive, and about 20 minutes of paperwork.

Zamboni

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Re: Which vehicle would you keep?
« Reply #25 on: June 09, 2021, 04:47:32 PM »
I successfully sold the Impala! After trying both facebook marketplace (free) and Autotrader ($49 for the ad) it was Autotrader that sold it.

Facebook marketplace mostly got me 1) scam artists and 2) people who wanted to buy it but didn't have enough money. Certainly the auto "buying" scams have gotten much more sophisticated since the last time I sold a used car using an old fashioned newspaper ad. Be very careful if you are selling . . . I was surprised by the level of sophistication of the cons, and one of the guys even came to my home but there were red flags all over the place. I did successfully use facebook marketplace to sell a bunch of smaller ticket items quite efficiently (furniture, appliances, yard equipment), so it works well for that.

Thanks to all who chimed with opinions on this conundrum. Special thanks to @zolotiyeruki for the facepunch about the fact that I CAN indeed fix all of the annoying but minor little problems with the Odyssey.