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Down size the fully paid vehicles.?
Old 11-15-2011, 09:49 PM   #1
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Down size the fully paid vehicles.?

I am planning to retire next year. Just like most Americans, despite my relative frugality, due to the fact that we live in a town where there is no public transit, plus we have awful winter weather, we ended up having
three vehicles. Fortunately for us, they are all fully paid.

What is the thought of the group with regards to "fully paid" vehicles.?
Should we just keep them until the wheels fall off? Is there a financial benefit is keeping one and trading the two left to a newer one, thus downsizing to 2 newer ones.
The vehicles are:
1. Ford F150 Supercrew 4x4 truck -4000miles only
2. Honda Accord Coupe v6 - 15,000 miles.
3. Nissan Altima v6- 23,000 miles.

I think I am still spoiled in liking to drive the sporty Honda coupe during the summer and the Ford truck during the winter. The Altima is my wife's car. I am thinking of trading the two cars to a new minivan for travel.
I don't know if I will save money or not. BTW, I can afford to maintain the vehicles.

Thanks for advice.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:56 PM   #2
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We also have three vehicles and can't really justify more than two. But like you, they are all paid for and DW likes her SUV to haul the grandkids around, the truck pulls our RV and my car gets great mileage around town. That's how I rationalized keeping all of them.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:01 PM   #3
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What is the thought of the group with regards to "fully paid" vehicles.?
We had 2 fully paid vehicles when we retired. Fully paid or not they still depreciate and have annual running costs. We RE'ed to a place that has zero public transport, but is small and has lots of access for bikes, so we immediately sold the older car (9 years old) and kept the 3 year old car.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:10 PM   #4
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If you are just using the truck for winter driving and not doing a bunch of hauling, maybe you could replace the truck and one car with something like a new Jeep Cherokee 4X4. If you are hauling, there's always a trailer for the Jeep.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:11 PM   #5
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As has been said, there still is O&M costs, depreciation, etc. You don't say what model years they are so depreciation could be a lot (or not). That should be the guiding principle. I don't see the need for 3 vehicles.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:14 PM   #6
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Being "paid for" isn't really key to the issue. Whether you kept your cash in the bank and are making payments from that stash or withdrew the cash and paid in full at the time of purchase doesn't amount to very much in today's low interest environment. What does matter is the cost of plates, insurance, maintenance and, especially, depreciation. You have three relatively new vehicles all depreciating away, a considerable expense.

Having said that, I also have three vehicles.........
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more data for analysis
Old 11-15-2011, 10:45 PM   #7
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more data for analysis

OK, we're planning to move to Northern Colorado for retirement.

1. Ford Truck is only one year old. I don't haul or pull trailers or anything.
I just like to put my bike in the bed and go to the nearest bike trail for exercise. The truck will also come handy during the winter specially in the mountains. I like to take road trips and do nature photography. The truck is prob. an over kill, but when you get into trouble in the snow, you can get out fast.

2. The Honda Coupe is two years old. It was an emotional buy, when I was making good money, I said I like to drive that sporty coupe and could pay cash. It has 270 hp but makes 28mpg HW. Of course I could have bought a Prius but why?

3. The Altima is about three years old. My wife's car.

Of course all of them will depreciate. Of course I'm payingfor plates, maintenance and gas. My wife's car usually last foreve with few miles.She drives gingerly.
I was thinking of driving the two cars for big road trips and keeping the truck for winter, mountain and hauling my bicycle.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:55 PM   #8
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I was thinking of driving the two cars for big road trips and keeping the truck for winter, mountain and hauling my bicycle.
OK, why not? I guess I'm not hearing a question here. You enjoy having the three cars, you can afford them and don't have a more enjoyable way to spend the money in mind, so keep them.
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:29 PM   #9
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Keep the truck and one car. Negotiate with DW as to which car it is. If you really can't deal with that, then conflict avoidance is going to cost you money.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:52 AM   #10
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Personal preference (IMO).

We have two vehicles (passenger cars) one for DW and one for me. One is older and one is newer.

I thought about buying a truck. From time to time I need one to haul something. I decided that my needs are infrequent and it is less expensive to rent one when I need it.
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:30 AM   #11
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I'd say keep all 3, but store the Honda during the winter and turn off insurance on it while its sitting.
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:46 AM   #12
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OK, why not? I guess I'm not hearing a question here. You enjoy having the three cars, you can afford them and don't have a more enjoyable way to spend the money in mind, so keep them.
I agree.

We also have three vehicles (all paid for). My DW's Olds, my Mustang (summer), my SRX (winter & Meals on Wheels delivery).

Each of the three cars are driven only a few thousand miles each year; in fact in our state (PA), they are exempted from annual emission checks due to the mileage driven.

Each has its own reason for owning and have no impact on our finances (e.g. expenses are in the budget). It's a different situation in owning/downsizing if you are/plan to travel a lot (we don't - fly to most destinations) or still wor*ing and have a long commute.

Just our story...
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:53 AM   #13
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You clearly enjoy your vehicles. I'd suggest buying a fourth.
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:54 AM   #14
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I'm saving and sacrificing during my working life so that I can splurge and enjoy certain things in life. For me, its not having 3 vehicles, but I say if that gives you pleasure then keep all three of them and enjoy the sacrifices you made earlier in life.
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:56 AM   #15
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Keep the truck and one car. Negotiate with DW as to which car it is. If you really can't deal with that, then conflict avoidance is going to cost you money.
Exactly. A small pickup truck is very handy for homeowner. A reliable, safe, and fuel efficient car can be your day-to-day vehicle. Here in PA, my pickup is exempt from emission test because it's driven less than 5000 miles/year. Another consideration to save money is to do some basic diagnosis, maintenance and repairs by yourself. Dealers have no motivation keep your cars running in top shape, because they will become victims of their own success.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:01 AM   #16
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I'd say keep all 3, but store the Honda during the winter and turn off insurance on it while its sitting.
+1, if it is legal. In California it would not be, if I understand the law correctly. Insurance is a condition for the car to be registered. I don't think it is worthwhile to deregister and reregister the car each year (think inspections and all that goes with it).

If you can afford it, and if you are sure you can afford it, and you really enjoy it (more than you would enjoy the savings and other hobbies resulting from downsizing), then what's the problem?

FWIW, we will always have a truck, DW loves her minivan, so those two are a given. But it is very much a possibility that we will have a third (smaller) car for use as a toad for the (eventual) RV.

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Old 11-16-2011, 07:08 AM   #17
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FWIW, we will always have a truck, DW loves her minivan, so those two are a given. But it is very much a possibility that we will have a third (smaller) car for use as a toad for the (eventual) RV.
This is exactly how we ended up with three vehicles. Once I sold the motor home, I kept the car/toad as it gets good mileage and is no longer depreciating very much (2004 with 95,000 miles).
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:14 AM   #18
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You clearly enjoy your vehicles. I'd suggest buying a fourth.
It surely sounds like an advice from someone who used to work in the auto industry!

If the OP makes that 4th vehicle a motorhome, then he is like me.

Well, except that mine are all older. They are all paid for, of course, and because I do much maintenance myself to keep them running, the costs to me are not that much. I do use them for different tasks. I am not a car lover, by the way, and when they get driven to the ground, I will not replace them. I will settle down with one or at most 2 cars, plus a motorhome.

If you want to start a controversial thread, you should ask if that 4th car should be an EV.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:25 AM   #19
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It surely sounds like an advice from someone who used to work in the auto industry! ..........
Self interest aside, I believe in doing what makes you happy, whether it is collecting cars or Hummel figurines, as long as you can afford it.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:35 AM   #20
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Have you considered selling the Altima and having DW drive the Honda? That way it will be available to you for trips and tooling around town.

That would work only if DW is willing to occasionally drive the truck when you are tooling around in the Honda.

If she is hesitant to drive the big Ford, might she be willing to drive a smaller truck? If so, then you could downsize the truck and get a smaller 4WD truck (4WD Ranger or similar) that could still be good in the snow, handle transporting the bikes and occasional towing and the inevitable things around the house that a truck is handy for.
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