What to do with my car for the next 2 years?
February 19, 2007 4:24 PM   Subscribe

What should I do with a car I won't be using for the next 2 years?

I have a 2004 Mazda 6 that would be more of a hindrance than a help during my upcoming 2-year time commitment in New York City (after which I imagine I'll need a car again). Several Mazda dealers in my area have contacted me about wanting to buy it from me over the past 3 years, so apparently it's a hot commodity now, but with its extremely low MPG I can't see it staying that way for long. Is it better to keep the car at a friend's house somewhere and continue to pay low-use insurance on it (and get it serviced, etc.) or should I sell it and get another car when I leave the city?
posted by liberalintellect to Travel & Transportation (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sell now, buy [used] later.
posted by FlamingBore at 4:32 PM on February 19, 2007

Forget depreciation. Letting a car sit in one place for two years without moving it is bad for the suspension, bad for the tires, probably bad for a lot of other things. You're better off selling it.

Then again, I lived in Manhattan for a few years and had a car, loved it.
posted by phaedon at 4:45 PM on February 19, 2007

Sell the car. I used to have a car I only drove once a week for short distances. The exhaust system rusted out because of lack of use.
posted by acoutu at 5:05 PM on February 19, 2007

Definitely sell it. My parents stored their Dodge Caravan in the garage for about a year and when they went to start it up, well, it just wasn't the same - they ended up selling it a couple of weeks after they took it out of retirement.

2 years is a long time, sell it and relieve yourself of paying insurance and maintenance for a car that you're not even using.
posted by 913 at 5:07 PM on February 19, 2007

Do not assume that because dealers have contacted you that your car is a hot commodity. They want to buy your car so you'll use the money to buy another, more expensive car..
posted by MegoSteve at 5:26 PM on February 19, 2007

posted by ColdChef at 5:35 PM on February 19, 2007

How familiar are you with NYC? If you've never lived here before, you might regret getting rid of the car. Its never real easy to own a car in NYC, but anywhere but Manhattan its often quite useful (not convenient, but useful!) We would not have fared well in Bay Ridge without a car... guess it depends upon your needs. And that's a relatively small, easy to park car I think - you might get away with squeezing into some good spots!
All in all, I guess I say leave it with a friend for now, and see how things go - you can always get rid of it later if its really not gonna be useful, but it would be a hassle to have buy a new one if you really needed it.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:37 PM on February 19, 2007

While I can't comment on the 6, I know that older (pre-2004?) models of the Mazda RX-7 are in fact hot commodities because they were constructed with an easier to tune (aftermarket) engine, and also came with a turbo option (something unavailable in newer RX-7's). i pretty sure the 6's don't have the rotary engines, so all in all, im a little confused by the excitement of your dealers.
posted by phaedon at 5:52 PM on February 19, 2007

Sell the car now. Or keep it. I actually recommend the latter.

When I moved to Philly from the Midwest, I sold my car. I kicked myself about twice a week for the past six years. Until I bought a new car a couple of months ago.

I don't know where you're coming from, but you should keep in mind that by not having a car, you are limited in your bubble of travel to those (relatively) sparse locations that mass transit will provide you. While you won't want to drive it every day in Manhattan, if you have it and keep it garaged in NJ or something, you'll certainly find uses for it.
posted by Netzapper at 5:57 PM on February 19, 2007

Is your car paid for? Have you checked the Kelly Blue Book Value and Edmunds?

If the car is paid for then I would possibly consider keeping it, but only if you had someone reliable to drive it once or twice a week for an extended time. Maybe you could work out a deal with a friend who needs a car?

As someone who has "car sat" before it's a little hard to stay motivated about driving a car you don't own or aren't particularly interested in. It's also not a priority to keep it clean and in good tune.

If you're still making payments then maybe now is the time to get out. Nothing is fun about making payments on a car you won't see or drive for two years.

The Mazda 6 isn't a "hot commodity" - it's a well made, well rated vehicle - yours would be a perfect entry level car for a high schooler or college freshman.

[phaedon, as a former 3rd gen RX7 owner I can say that they are "hot" because only about 10,000 of them were imported into the US. They certainly are not "easier" to tune, although there is a fine after market for them. Hell, its hard enough to keep them running reliably with out after market mods. The turbo wasn't an option either - it was standard on all 3rd gens. The 3rd gen RX7 is also one of the most beautifully designed cars in the world, certainly the most attractive sports car ever out of Japan.]
posted by wfrgms at 6:07 PM on February 19, 2007

The people that want to buy Mazda 6s so badly that dealers are trying to buy them back are not concerned about MPG.
posted by mendel at 6:22 PM on February 19, 2007

I lived abroad for a couple of years and asked my parents to drive my well-loved, 5 year old car to keep it from rusting. They put about 1000km a year on it and it still rotted from within. I loved that car. Even with light use, it decayed faster than if I'd lent it to a teenager.

BTW, you can almost always get more selling a car through the paper or on ebay than you will at a dealership.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:28 PM on February 19, 2007

so you're saying the 3rd gens *added* turbo? hm. well i thought it was the other way around. i was in greece a few months ago and met this guy that lived down the street, he had a 3rd gen and he offered to take me out for souvlaki in it. agreed, its a totally neck-snapping car.
posted by phaedon at 6:33 PM on February 19, 2007

How familiar are you with NYC? If you've never lived here before, you might regret getting rid of the car.

Oh hell no. Sell the car immediately.

(I mean really, unless you're living way out on the ass end of Queens or the Bronx, who drives in NYC??)
posted by rkent at 6:36 PM on February 19, 2007

goddamnit, i meant he had an rx-8. i think thats where my confusion is coming from? the latest rx-7's had turbo, but the rx-8's dont?
posted by phaedon at 6:47 PM on February 19, 2007

@rkent: (I mean really, unless you're living way out on the ass end of Queens or the Bronx, who drives in NYC??)

As someone who grew up way out on the ass end of the Bronx (Co-Op City, to be exact), I couldn't agree more. If you're going to live anywhere even remotely well-served by public transit, unload the car, bank the proceeds, and if it turns out you need a car occasionally while in NY (Ikea can be a bitch to get to without wheels, and EVERYONE in NYC shops there at least occasionally, even if they're too cool to admit it.), sign up for Flexcar.

When you leave NY, you'll have saved on the 2 years worth of insurance, you'll have earned a bit of interest on the money, and you won't have taken the depreciation hit on the car. This one is a no-brainer to me.
posted by deadmessenger at 7:28 PM on February 19, 2007

So far no one has mentioned the obvious...Put it in a barn in Portugal. Geesh what is wrong with you people?

Me, I 'd put it up on blocks, and have your friend start it up and run it at least 15-20 minutes at least once a month. It should be fine.
posted by Gungho at 8:07 PM on February 19, 2007

If you store it for 2 years, you'll have to drain the gas. Gasoline deteriorates and turns to gummy crap in less than a year. Having a friend start it up and run it is not going to prevent that, unless he uses up all the gas every few months and puts new gas in.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:01 AM on February 20, 2007

wfrgms is bang on. If the car is paid for, then there is no point to selling it. You'll lose if you do so.

Storage is relatively cheap depending on where you are as well. You don't need to store a car inside

Storing is easy too.
1) Drain half of the fuel and add a fuel stabilizer, then refill with fresh fuel.
2) Change the oil.
3) Remove the spark plugs and fill each cylinder to overflowing with motor oil. Crank it over a couple of times without the plugs.
4) Spray the airbox (exterior) with a mild insecticide.
5) Cover any access to the engine (intake and exhaust)
6) Put the vehicle on blocks on frame points or jack points and remove the tires (draining them of most of the air).
7) Smear your tires with vaseline if stored outside.
posted by pezdacanuck at 8:01 AM on February 20, 2007

Even with a fuel stabilizer, the gas will only be good for 15 months, and if you don't run the engine long enough to get the stabilized gas everywhere in the system, fuel in the lines and in the pump will go bad after 3 months.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:10 AM on February 20, 2007

I've not had any problems past two years. Mind you the gas we get up here is full of additives. The stabilizer will circulate on the way back from the station.

On a precautionary note, when you do get ready to fire things up again, you will be draining the tank and refilling with fresh gas, and repriming the system, uncoupling the lines at the injector point.
posted by pezdacanuck at 9:29 AM on February 20, 2007

@Netzapper: Philly's SEPTA is not in the same league as NYC's transit system. He may want to hold on to the car anyway, but NYC is actually doable without a car. Philly is really hard.

(I've lived in both Philly and NYC, with and without a car in both.)
posted by qvtqht at 4:37 PM on March 16, 2007

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