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759NRNG Dork
12/20/17 12:41 p.m.

Newish to youish  with SWMBO's blessing, a mommie van.  Having said that, your locale will probably not serve you up something sans the 'disease'. If the finances could stand it, perhaps a fly 'n drive(clist,autotrader) to a region where rust doesn't reside. Yes there is a lot of fine print in this scenario. I can expound if you're interested.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
12/20/17 12:43 p.m.

I'll drive something up from Texas to you if you want. I'm coming up at the Beginning of May for One Lap. It'll be fun!

skierd SuperDork
12/20/17 1:35 p.m.
BlueInGreen44 said:

Selling the Focus would fund the purchase of a good mom-mobile since the other two vehicles aren't really worth anything.  In my mind better to do that sooner rather than later before the Focus loses value since it's a depreciating asset.  Or am I thinking about that wrong?

Wife's wants for a vehicle: heated seats, enough room for everyone, decent gas mileage, aux input for the stereo, and bonus if it's a fun color (hard to do with minivans, I know.)  She also likes the little display that tells her how many miles until the gas tank is empty cheeky

As others have said, any daily driver is going to depreciate to nothing eventually.  How much depends on the brand and what you buy it for initially, but overall I feel like the best bet is to either buy a new Tacoma, Wrangler, or damn near any Subaru, and/or something 3-4 years old i.e. when the depreciation curve starts to level out.  I'd personally try to shoot for something CPO and low miles.

Is the Focus paid for? If so, it's probably best financially to keep it and put a "car payment" away every month.  When you're ready to replace it or need to fix it or the van, you'll have cash on hand. 

If not, and if you're ok continuing to drive the van, sell/trade in the focus and buy her the car/van/suv she wants.  

If you're ok driving the focus, sell the van for cash (even if it's only for $1000, you can bank cash or put it towards a down payment and take it off insurance) and buy her a newer car/van/suv that she wants.


BlueInGreen44 SuperDork
12/26/17 10:27 p.m.

So it sounds like we’d be fine keeping the Focus while putting money away to keep up with depreciation until the wife decides she wants/needs a change. I wouldn’t want the Focus for myself and I’m pretty comfortable with my pattern of switching out my sub $2k beater when I get bored every year or so.

I remembered we are thinking about the possibility of adding another dog to the family in the spring. That might speed up the decision.

BlueInGreen44 SuperDork
12/26/17 10:32 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

I'll drive something up from Texas to you if you want. I'm coming up at the Beginning of May for One Lap. It'll be fun!

How serious are you? It’s always fun to meet another GRM member. That might be when we would be mommie-mobile shopping. I figure we’d be looking for something 8-10 years old so I might consider a fly and drive for something non-rusty anyway.

ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) Reader
12/27/17 9:01 a.m.

We went through a similar process earlier this year, and it sounds like you've got all the relevant considerations on the table. Long is explication below, the short version of which is: Peace of mind counts for quite a lot where wives/kids are involved.

 When I noticed my wife's 15 y/o Volvo had started shifting hard/flaring, I planted the kernel with my wife that it was time for something newer, and she was onboard after a couple of months. Like others, I never worried too much about getting stranded by a beater, but it's different if it's 11pm and my wife/kids are at the mercy of AAA. Truth be told, I also just wanted something different.

Our family car was old, so we didn't have to do the depreciation versus savings math. We did check with insurance, and the cost difference for a newer/new car was surprisingly small. (Upside of reaching middle age I guess.) We gamed the "catastrophic failure" cost versus spending savings to buy newer. Not surprisingly, it's almost always cheaper to r&r even an engine or transmission than to do down payment/payments, assuming you do your own wrenching.  If you pay someone to work on an older car, all the cost savings evaporate.  But dollars don't tell the whole story here. 

What ended up tipping the scale was the idea that the biggest/family car/road trip car should be dead nuts reliable. I travel for work, so not having to worry about wife and kids being stranded while I was away was hugely valuable, especially if they'd have to pay someone to get the car running again while I was out of town.  Secondary was having modern safety features, given the growing number of boogerhead drivers in our part of the world, and Third factor was more room, so that when grandparents come to visit we don't have to take two cars everywhere.

A 5-7 year old minivan topped my list. They're reliable, useful, and drive really nice, but my wife wanted a midsize SUV. We ended up with our first new from dealer car, but that's a longer and different story...

eebasist Reader
12/27/17 9:45 a.m.

In reply to BlueInGreen44 :

What about the panther chassis?  Plenty of room in the back seat for a dog and kids. 

Volvo wagons if you maintain them also work well for family duty 

BlueInGreen44 SuperDork
12/27/17 2:54 p.m.

In reply to eebasist :

I would love a Crown Vic but my wife is not a fan of the Panther chassis. She just doesn’t like how they drive and since we’d be replacing her beloved yellow Focus it should be something she can be excited about.

I’m trying to convince her that a Mazda 5 would be big enough.

BlueInGreen44 SuperDork
12/29/17 8:55 a.m.
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) said:

What ended up tipping the scale was the idea that the biggest/family car/road trip car should be dead nuts reliable.

Yep.  My thoughts exactly.

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