Advice re: keeping car versus trading it in? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 01-22-2013, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am finally going to pay off my car!! woohoo!! I am so excited.  I bought it brand new in 2007 and really couldn't afford it-I think we got caught up in the excitement of buying a super safe family car and went a little overboard (for us at least!) :)

 

In any case, I love the car and have had 0 problems with it-the only money I've put into it has been new tires plus basic maintenence.  Gets fairly good gas mileage, still has fairly low miles.  The only problem is that it is a little too small for us.  I should say, it fits the two little ones well, but when my stepdaughter is with us (which she is just under 40% of the time, plus all long car rides for vacations,etc.) it is tight.  We fit safely, but not really comfortably at this point. 

 

My decision at this point is this: Do I trade in my car for a minivan if I can get an equal trade? I am not at all interested in another car payment, nor could I get a loan if I wanted once since my credit is really bad at the moment.  My car is worth enough at this point that I could trade it for a fairly decent minivan of equal value.  This may not be the case in a few years as the car's value goes down, and while I don't forsee my credit or financial situation getting any worse (knock on wood!) I also don't forsee it being hugely better enough that I would be able to pay for a van out of pocket or want/be able to take out a loan.  I feel like I have this kind of short window to make this decision in a smart way, but can't decide!

 

Pros:

More room=happier kids, easier vacations, etc.

???

 

Cons:

Lower gas mileage=more gas $-not a huge issues since I don't really drive all that much, but still a factor.

Possibly less reliability- older van, more mileage, etc.

???

 

Honestly, I'm leaning towards keeping my car and crossing my fingers because I love the reliability and gas mileage, but if I dont' trade up (or down as the case may be!) now, I worry that I will want to and not be able to later...advice?


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#2 of 15 Old 01-23-2013, 02:29 AM
 
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Sounds like you have a good car - paid off, reliable, decent gas mileage.  If it was me, I would drive it till the wheels fell off.  


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#3 of 15 Old 01-23-2013, 03:08 AM
 
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Everything about a larger car costs money.  More gas, more expensive tires, etc. Repairs tend to cost more as well.   I have gone camping and on vacations with my two kids (almost adult size now) with my Corolla,  And it was absoloutely fine.  You can always get a luggage carrier for the top (I bought a soft one at a yard sale for $15 last year).  Another option is renting a minivan for a vacation or to go camping.  The only drawback I have seen to the smaller car is I can't do a large kiddie car pool.  But I can still get two extra kids in my car.  Since minivans generally cost more than a smallerr car, even an equal trade is likely to give you a vehicle that is less reliable or at least older than the one you have now. 
 

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#4 of 15 Old 01-23-2013, 05:41 AM
 
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I'd keep your current car. I'd try to avoid buying a van until you absolutely have to (i.e. regularly transporting at least 4 kids) because the gas mileage etc. will really add up. It sounds like the car you have now is really reliable and I doubt if you trade it in for a van that you'll end up with something as dependable as you have now.

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#5 of 15 Old 01-23-2013, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks :) Like I said, I was leaning towards keeping my car and now I feel even moreso that I am making the right choice.  The extra space would be really nice, but I think you are all correct that it wouldn't make up for something that cost more $ in gas and is less reliable. 

 

EmsMom, all 5 of us have gone camping in my car before-we have a rooftop carrier for it.  It was tight, but we managed, just had to get creative :) 

 

Hopefully the backseat will be more comfortable for all the kids once ds is a little older and less likely to grab at his sisters being in such proximity.  Also, dsd will be able to sit in the front seat in a couple of years, which will be nice when there is just one adult in the car.  I think you all have me convinced to keep it unless some crazy deal falls in my lap.

 

Thanks again!

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#6 of 15 Old 01-23-2013, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wanted to add too that I think maybe part of feeling cramped in my car is that nearly everyone I know buys a minivan once they have 2 kids, and I am definitely the only one I know with 3 kids who doesn't have one (or a large SUV, etc. with 3 rows.)  It is easy to look at that and talk myself into it, so it is super helpful to hear that it isn't really necessary at all until I would really need all those seats on a regular basis. 


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#7 of 15 Old 01-23-2013, 10:12 PM
 
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If you like the car and it'll fit your needs well enough, yay, no more car payment! 

We had to keep upgrading to bigger cars when we had baby #3 (Honda CRV) and then #4 (the dreaded minivan) since there wasn't a huge age gap and we had a few years of all four in carseats.  And it really is a total pain in the rump to find a fuel-efficient 7-8 person vehicle with cargo space (it's like a magical unicorn I have yet to find).   And barring another cash-for-clunkers deal (it was a *pain* shopping for a used car then!!), you'll be able to find a used vehicle later on if you need to, no worries about that.
 


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#8 of 15 Old 01-23-2013, 10:56 PM
 
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I wanted to post that I actually did the opposite. I had a minivan (Not great condition, but not terribly lousy, either), but I traded it in for a Mercury Sable. I have 2 kids, will have 3 in April, and while camping is kind of difficult (I'll have to look into a luggage rack, I suppose, at some point.), I save *so* much on gas! (Even though I'm pretty sure my Sable still eats gas, it's *nothing* like the minivan did.) Also, I'm not sure about other makes and models, but the model I had (Chrysler Town & Country, and the similar/exact same Dodge Caravan, I think?) are both *really* hard on tires, especially the front ones. (This may not actually be something with *all* Town & Country/Caravan minivans, but I had a lot of problems with the tires going bad, and I have 3 or 4 friends who have either T&C or Caravan, who also had to change tires *very* frequently, enough that they agreed it was something with the design/build/whatever).

 

I say, drive it as long as you can. smile.gif


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#9 of 15 Old 01-26-2013, 11:52 AM
 
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http://www.littlepassengerseats.com

Now that we are a family of 6, we will be spending 1000$ this year on a third (2 passenger) row for the back of our Toyota Highlander instead of having a monthly car payment.
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#10 of 15 Old 01-26-2013, 12:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladylittlebird View Post

http://www.littlepassengerseats.com

Now that we are a family of 6, we will be spending 1000$ this year on a third (2 passenger) row for the back of our Toyota Highlander instead of having a monthly car payment.

 

I would seriously reconsider that option for a number of reasons.  If you look at car-seat.org they have a number of discussions on these and the consensus seems to be that they simply cannot be guaranteed as safe:

 

1) their "standard" is lap belts

2) the are installed in cargo areas which may not have the same protective features as areas designed for passengers

3) there is no actual regulations on them.  when they test the seats, they do not do so in each vehicle they sell them for

4) there is no indication that they actually fit children correctly at four (they are not okayed for boosters, so the child needs to ride with just the seat belt). pictures have shown them not fitting younger children correctly (5 step test)

5) it may increase roll-over risk for SUVs

 

And so on.  If this is truly your only option, that is one thing, but I would look into all other options first before I went with that (just like some people get into a position where they have to put a child under 12 into the front seat, but it should not be considered a permanent solution if at all possible).


 

 

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#11 of 15 Old 01-26-2013, 02:43 PM
 
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Interesting discussion!
When I first read the OP's post I was leaning towards suggesting a trade for a larger vehicle. I think that's because I'm itching for a larger vehicle myself. But the current car is likely to be a better choice because it's reliable, cheaper to maintain, gets good gas mileage, and since it's newer it's probably safer too.
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#12 of 15 Old 01-29-2013, 10:15 AM
 
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I'd keep the car. I understand that it's cozy for 5, but as long as everyone can be buckled in, I'd put up with it.

 

My brother and his wife have a Saturn Vue. They travel 8 hours each way to visit my Mom a couple of times a year, with 2 kids in car seats, my 20-yr-old nephew, and a 50-lb dog (plus all their stuff for a 4-day trip to Minnesota in December). It is definitely cozy, but possible. They would like a bigger vehicle, but can't justify getting rid of the old reliable Vue.


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#13 of 15 Old 01-29-2013, 11:14 AM
 
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Have you assessed your carseats? MIght give a tad more room.

I often have 2 preteens plus a toddler in the back of an old civic

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#14 of 15 Old 01-29-2013, 05:33 PM
 
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DH and I were(maybe still are...) in this boat. We have a very nice little sedan... 5 seats, 4 doors.. small, but not THAT small, well, we are expecting baby #3... lol. DH's parents paid off the car for us as a Christmas present, and I think just buying car seats that are compatible is smarter, especially where we are right now(poor, wanting to save to move somewhere bigger, etc). We'd only get about $4k if that in trade-in since it does have body damage, so I think while we're at this phase financially we should keep it and save the couple hundred bucks that a monthly car payment would be and hopefully get enough money for a down payment on a larger house. 


DH wants to trade it in, even though it was his smart idea to get a small car in the first place(his dad was willing to co-sign for ANY type of vehicle we wanted.. van, SUV, car, etc.) but I'm trying to be the voice of reason lol.


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#15 of 15 Old 01-29-2013, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chel View Post

Have you assessed your carseats? MIght give a tad more room.

I often have 2 preteens plus a toddler in the back of an old civic

Haha...oooh yes, I have assessed the carseats..over and over and over again :)  have a radian and the evenflo amp booster seat, both the skinnest I could find that I could also afford.  Most of the problem with room is that ds has had a loooong hitting, kicking, harpulling stage in the carseat which we are slowly coming out of-also, once we turn him FF sometime in the next year probably, he will not be able to reach so much when he is trying to get his sisters to pay attention to him :)


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