Which car should we sell?
December 12, 2012 8:47 AM   Subscribe

CarTalkFilter: Mrs. Rakdaddy drives a '97 Toyota Camry with 38K (no, really). I drive a '05 Prius with just under 95K. We bought Mrs. Rakdaddy a '12 Prius Plugin, and figured we'd do the work to sell one of the other cars rather than trade one in. Of course, now we're not sure which one.

At first, we were going to sell the '05 Prius, though it has one catch: it's a salvage title. It was stolen off a dealer's lot, joyridden, then abandoned. The dealer's insurance wrote it off, and a friend of ours who is a car dealer bought it, then sold it to us. We're effectively the car's original owner. KBB says it's about $8000 in a private party sale; we figured we'd knock a grand off because it's a salvage (KBB wouldn't give us a price for a salvage, go fig).

The Camry was owned by an elderly couple who bought it new, then drove it, like, two miles a week for groceries. I think it had 17K on it when we bought it from them when they could no longer drive themselves. We've had to replace the struts (oy, those speed bumps in their apartment complex), and the timing belt (from age, not wear), but that's been about it. KBB says $4.

So, we'd get more for the Prius, right? Except I keep wondering if we're going to start replacing more bits and pieces on the Camry as they age, and the cost will start piling up. The Prius also gets better gas mileage, especially since it's going to be a too-far-to-go-by-bike car. But we're going to have to replace the Prius's HV battery in a few years, and that's going to be a couple grand. But but but...

Of course, I'd be much happier if we could dump both these bloody things, buy me a bakfiets, and be done with it. But everyone, including Mrs. Rakdaddy, says it's better to have two cars in case there's an emergency and I have to take the Rakbaby to the hospital or the Emergency Godzilla Evacuation Center. So, which shall it be, MeFi Hive Mind?
posted by RakDaddy to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
Sell the Prius, buy a bakfiets and use the Camry when you have to.

Toyotas will last forever and the parts and labor are cheap. The Prius repairs are going to be more expensive than the Camry, just because batteries, new technology, etc.

Plus the Camry is cheaper to insure, more comfy, etc.

One thing you could do is take both vehicles for an evaluation to see what's on the horizon. About $200 to your mechanic can give you a more enlightened idea of what will make the most sense.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:52 AM on December 12, 2012 [10 favorites]

Don't buy a bakfiets unless you live in Holland. Seriously!
posted by jannw at 9:05 AM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

My non-expert thought is that that Camry will outlive us all, including Godzilla, and will go to college with Rakbaby, and you will get some nice dollars for the Prius. Mmmmm, dollars.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:29 AM on December 12, 2012 [8 favorites]

Yeah. As long as you live somewhere without rust that Carmry is gonna give you 150k+ more I'm mileage. Their will to live is just so strong!
posted by saradarlin at 9:59 AM on December 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

You could have more trouble selling a salvage vehicle than you'd think, especially on a Prius. The Venn diagram of folks who buy Priuses and salvage title buyers wouldn't have much overlap, so I would prepare for a greater price difference than $1k.

But even if the cars are worth the same, it's still probably better to keep the Camry due to the future battery costs for the Prius.
posted by hwyengr at 10:39 AM on December 12, 2012

I think it is a wash--both cars will give you years of service.

Which do you like better? Sell the other.
posted by LarryC at 12:13 PM on December 12, 2012

I like the Prius better, but that's only because I've driven it more. I could learn to like the Camry. Thank you, Hive Mind!
posted by RakDaddy at 12:54 PM on December 12, 2012

I'd be surprised to see you get anywhere near the $4K KBB value of the Camry; 15-year-old cars tend to draw a lot of long looks at private resale. This actually makes the decision easier for you, because like everyone else has said upthread, those things are the Nokia 3310s of automobiles. My wife's '98 Camry is still going strong, and I'm pretty sure she didn't even put oil in it for the ~5 years before I knew her. Regular maintenance on that thing, and it'll be around until your kids are driving it.
posted by Mayor West at 5:23 AM on December 13, 2012

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