Which car should we replace?
September 28, 2010 9:40 AM   Subscribe

Which car should we replace? My husband’s grandmother is going into a nursing home and has decided to give us her car. My husband and I both have a car and both need a car for work. So, which one do we get rid of? Her car – 2003 Honda Accord, 25K, blue book value (per edmunds) $9000 My car – 1998 Jeep Cherokee, 215K, bbv $1700 My husband’s truck – 2003 Nissan Frontier, 75K, bbv $5000.

All the cars are paid off. We would love to sell one to pay off our stupid credit card debt (25K worth), but there are some issues. First, her car is the most valuable, but she would probably be unhappy if we sold it after she gifted it to us. Also, it’s a Honda Accord, which in my mind is the best car ever and would last a long time.

The obvious choice is my car, but selling it won’t pay off much debt and it might go, per my mechanic, another 100K without too much expense (but with 215K, who knows, and I need new tires and brakes soon). My husband’s truck is in great shape, so it could either last a while or sell at a decent price. It’s a truck, which is really useful 3-4 times a year, but also a truck, only really useful 3-4 times a year. It's also a stick, which I can drive but not very comfortably since I rarely do it.

posted by NancyR to Work & Money (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How about getting rid of the one with the worst gas mileage?
posted by oreofuchi at 9:43 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Jeep.

The truck is useful for moving stuff around so keep that, and the Accord is newer, less mpg, and just as good as lugging people around as the Jeep - so ditch the Jeep.
posted by zeoslap at 9:46 AM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

Ditch the jeep. Oldest car, most mileage, worst gas mileage.
posted by valkyryn at 9:49 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not to mention the Jeep is ancient, needs work and she'd be unhappy if you sold her Accord... I mean it could run another 100k but it certainly won't do that without any work and when it conks out you'd need to buy something anyway.

Jeep hands down.
posted by zeoslap at 9:51 AM on September 28, 2010

My only question is: how much will it cost to insure her car for collision coverage? If it's not much more than your current (I'm guessing liability-only) policy for your Cherokee, then definitely get the Accord. It sounds like you might have trouble getting a replacement should one of the other two go out of commission, and you need two cars.

Anyway, I don't think there's a good argument for ditching the truck since you do use it in that capacity and it's a sunk cost. By the way, get comfy with the stick shift - it opens doors, especially if you travel outside the US.

The only reason to sell the Accord is to pay down the CCs. And if you would need to take on a car loan to replace a lost Cherokee in a year, all those payments will make paying the 25k much harder.
posted by SMPA at 9:54 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Like you say, the Jeep is the obvious choice (unless there's something you use it for that you couldn't use either other vehicle for--two possibilities that come to mind are dog transport and off-road driving).

If you want to get the most money, sell the Accord. If you want to banish manual-transmission vehicles from your life, sell the Frontier. If you want to wind up with the two best possible cars, sell the Jeep.
posted by box at 9:55 AM on September 28, 2010

The jeep. Because it will die the soonest, and if you've gone and sold the newer truck, you'll have to spend money to replace the jeep once it dies. But now as it stands, the truck should last you a good long time.
posted by kpht at 9:58 AM on September 28, 2010

The Jeep, because even if it's paid off, you're going to start -- sooner rather than later -- having car-payment sized issues to pay for (tires, brakes, other stuff) and the Accord will have less cost of ownership as far as that goes for a LONG while. It will also kick the Jeep's ass on gas.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:14 AM on September 28, 2010

try to imagine the feelings you will have when your mechanic says the transmission in the Jeep is dying and then sell it now, while the new owner can still drive it away.
posted by ennui.bz at 10:17 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

N-thing Jeep. Two newish, reliable cars will means a LOT LESS "oh, crap, I blew a head gasket!" emergencies when you're trying to pay down debt. If debt reduction were getting in shape, having a nice reliable Accord would be like one of those exercises that "tones the core".
posted by julthumbscrew at 10:36 AM on September 28, 2010

Lose the jeep. You're about to sink another $600+ dollars into it for tires and brakes. Nissans and Hondas are both known for reliability and hold their value well.
posted by cosmicbandito at 10:38 AM on September 28, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks guys. It's now an easy decision.
posted by NancyR at 10:45 AM on September 28, 2010

Jeep for reliability reasons. If you told me your Jeep was 2009 with 10k miles I'd still say that.
posted by thilmony at 11:04 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Agree, ditch the Jeep. Don't think of this as an opportunity to make money or reduce your debts but to forestall future expenses. The Jeep has 215,000 miles for God's sake!! Even if it doesn't collapse into a pile of scrap metal tomorrow, which it easily could, it's going to cost more and more in terms of gas and upkeep going forward.

Also, it's redundant. You already have the pickup for moving stuff around if you need to do that. You don't need the Jeep as well. All another car needs to do is get you around and the Honda will do a better job of that, longer, and for less money.

Also, if you do sell the Honda, and the Jeep dies, you're going to have to buy a car, which is going to mean car payments, interest costs, etc. etc. Keeping the Honda is a smart move all around.
posted by Naberius at 12:05 PM on September 28, 2010

Another vote for the jeep. I can't imagine it will get to 300k miles without needing some serious money, where serious is the different between the values of the Jeep vs the Frontier.

Sell the jeep, and then up your payments on the debt to what you would be spending on additional gas/maintenance for the jeep. :)
posted by desl at 1:24 PM on September 28, 2010

Yes, you wouldn't get the $9000 you would get from selling the car if you kept it, but it's $9000 worth of reliable, low maintenance, inexpensive to maintain transportation that you're apparently getting FOR FREE. You know how much that's worth? (Hint: somewhere around $9000).

Your Jeep will die, someday. Maybe not tomorrow. But, although you don't get the cash now you get years of trouble free transportation. You can for example budget less for repairs (and gas). Some, maybe most of that might be offset by higher insurance.

Finally: a transfer between family members may be exempt from taxes where a sale might not be. In my area, that's over $800 difference.

That Accord is the PERFECT "get out of debt" car. It's not like you're getting a old Range Rover gifted to you or something.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 1:51 PM on September 28, 2010

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