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To sell or not to sell the car?

December 3, 2012

As we are in the final stretch of paying off our mortgage, the question frequently arises: How can we save more money?

To sel or not to sell the car

I currently drive a 2010 Subaru Forester which averages about 22-24 mpg. It has a dent and small paint damage to the front right panel of the car that would cost about $1500 to fix.  Here are the things I’m considering: Should we sell the car and buy a used one that gets better mileage and try to make money off the sell to throw at our mortgage? Is it worth it to go through all that hassle when we could maybe make 5K? Or do we keep the car since it’s already paid off, and we probably wouldn’t get the blue-book price since it’s damaged.

I’ve been reading this article by Mr. MMM regarding the top 10 cars for smart people, and I’m leaning towards a used Honda Fit.  Although the Prius get excellent gas mileage, I’ve been reading that there is an exorbitant fee for replacing the battery that could cancel out the money you save on fuel.

Questions for you:  What do you think?  Have any experience with one of the cars listed on the article by Mr. MMM?

Thanks for reading!

20 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2012 11:08 am

    That’s a tough one. I think I’d probably keep the Forester just because those babies are known to last forever (200k+ mi) and are much safer than Honda Fit if you are planning on having kids down the line (if you are rear-ended in Fit, there is not much space between the back bumper and back seats). Honda recently also has had a slew of warranty recalls that makes me weary…

    • December 17, 2012 11:16 pm

      Thanks Caitlin…..I never really thought about what I would do when children arrive with the scenario of selling the car.

  2. steggy81 permalink
    December 3, 2012 12:07 pm

    I suggest you figure out how many hours you will have to work to earn 5k that will be strictly used for mortgage payoff. Then decide if it’s worth keeping the car. Don’t fret too much over this. You can make yourself crazy analyzing past financial choices.

    • December 17, 2012 11:20 pm

      Seriously…I feel like it’s just not worth all the hassle for such a little payoff!

  3. December 3, 2012 1:18 pm

    I have a 2010 Honda Fit. I love my car. It’s bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside, it drives nicely – though, I haven’t driven it in snow or on ice. I get about 27 mpg on city streets and 35-40 mpg on highways. My sister had a wedding, we folded up the back seats and were able to fit her entire cache of presents inside the car – so it’s a great versatile vehicle. It also looks a little like a spaceship, which works for me because I’m a nerd. I don’t have small kids, so I don’t know how that would work.

    • December 17, 2012 11:21 pm

      Wow…..35-40 mpg sounds like a dream!!! I don’t have any children either, so I’m not sure either ;( I do know that the Honda Fit would be an EXCELLENT commuter car because the mileage is awesome 😉

  4. Tricia permalink
    December 3, 2012 1:31 pm

    I agree with steggy81. That is exactly what I did last night after paying off 2 credit cards ! : )I figured I need around 5 twelve hour shifts at the hospital in December (plus my teaching job) to pay off the van next. So excited and you are an inspiration!

    • December 17, 2012 11:24 pm

      Thanks Tricia!!! So sweet 😉 I’m excited that it will take you 5-12 hour shifts to pay off your van! Sweet!!!

  5. December 3, 2012 3:21 pm

    I think that the stuff about Prius batteries is all scare tactics. Battery replacement might not be necessary and you could get it done cheaper if its not at a stealership. Anyway, consider the money you will make in the changeover and the gas savings, and turn that into hours worked. Also Subarus may have a good reputation for longevity but when something goes wrong they are really expensive to fix. The Honda will also be cheaper on tyres and brakes and things like that.

    • December 17, 2012 11:25 pm

      “stealership”…..I love it! That’s awesome….they do have a tendency to steal people’s money 😉

  6. Jessica Backlund permalink
    December 3, 2012 8:12 pm

    I say keep it since it is paid off and the potential profit is only $5k, which would be about 3-5 months of mortgage payments? Consider the cost of your time to sell it and to buy another car too (its time consuming and frustrating!). Just my 2 cents 🙂

    • December 17, 2012 11:33 pm

      Your 2 cents make a whole lot of sense…….I would DREAD going through the process of buying and selling a car.

  7. December 4, 2012 3:03 am

    How many miles do you drive and what would you save in gas with a different car?

    Here’s MMM on the prius battery issue:
    When our Civic hybrid battery failed, the dealership replaced it for free because it was still under warranty.

    I have a 2005 Hyundai Accent and it is still going strong. Hyundai went way up in quality right around that time. It has had some repairs recently though.

  8. John S @ Frugal Rules permalink
    December 4, 2012 7:28 am

    I think it depends on how serious you are about paying off the mortgage and how much of a gas savings you’d get over time. $5000 may not seem like a lot, in terms of a mortgage, but it’s still a nice chunk of money. But, if you’re not rally going to benefit from much in the terms of gas savings it may not be worth it.

  9. December 4, 2012 5:17 pm

    I currently have a 2008 Honda Fit and I love it! I currently get anywhere between 33-37 mpg with it. Maintenance on a Honda is very cheap compared to many cars so the upkeep on the car is relatively cheap. I was debating on trading it in for a hybrid such as a Prius but the gas mileage doesn’t justify the cost for me. I calculated that I would have to own the car for another 6 years before the gas consumption breaks even. I have two little kids and I feel safe driving them around.

    The Fit is very spacious in the inside. The backseats fold down and you can ‘fit’ many items such as bikes, large boxes, snowboards, etc. I’ve taken the car up to Mammoth and Big Bear a couple times, but I didn’t have to drive in any snow during those trips. It is a front-wheel-drive 4-cylinder car so it may not be the ideal car to take up when it is snowing.

    Hope this helps regarding your choice of whether to get a Honda or not. But as for selling your paid-for car, I would go either way, especially if your Forester is still in great condition mechanically!


    • December 22, 2012 3:53 pm

      The Forester is in excellent condition…..but I think you just sold me on the Fit for my next car. Especially if it is spacious inside with the kiddos 😉

  10. Healthy Glow Nutrition permalink
    December 4, 2012 7:42 pm

    It’s a tough decision. I don’t drive the cars you listed, so I cannot comment on that. I drive a GMC SUV and it isn’t so bad on gas but it isn’t great either. It is payed off so I figure I’ll keep it versus trying to sell it as I won’t get the price I would be happy with. I am sure the answer will come to you 🙂 Good luck 🙂

  11. December 5, 2012 5:15 pm

    No sell Subie!

  12. permalink
    December 5, 2012 5:26 pm

    $5K is a lot to make! I’d probably go for it. For recommendations, I’d go with an IIHS safety recommendation or Consumers report.

  13. journeyman1977 permalink
    December 17, 2012 11:30 pm

    Perthcyclist’s comment is spot on. Subaru’s are expensive long haul….The Honda’s good to go.

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