To Sell or Not to Sell… Is It Possible to Live as a One-Car Family?

Get rid of this car...

Get rid of this car...

Loving cars as much as I do, it’s hard to imagine living with just one of them.

My lovely wife, though, brought up an interesting point the other day: We could save a considerable amount of money by cutting back from two cars to one.

My initial response to the idea was a firm “not in a million years.” The more I think about it, though, the more I’m seeing that in our current situation, it just might work.

Should I do it? Have any of you CarGurus readers done anything similar? If so, which car do I sell? Here’s my situation:

...or this one?

...or this one?

I own a 2007 Suzuki SX4 free and clear. It has 28,000 miles on it and a 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Similar cars for sale on the CarGurus DealFinder are priced between $12,000 and $13,000.

My wife drives a 2004 Lexus RX 330. It has just under 40,000 miles on it, and we owe about what it’s worth. It was purchased as certified pre-owned and has warranty remaining. Average DealFinder prices are between $22,000 and $25,000.

I do most of my work from home, so the Suzuki doesn’t go out much. My wife works every weekday, but is home by 1:30 in the afternoon. We could certainly plan our trips around that schedule with one car.

We have two kids and take at least one long road trip every year. Taking a 3,000-mile road trip in the SX4 would be one cramped and cranky affair, but getting rid of the Lexus car payment would really help out the monthly budget.

So our options are:

  • Sell the Suzuki and pay down the Lexus balance
  • Sell the Suzuki and put the money in the bank
  • Sell the Lexus, pay off the loan, and live with a small car
  • Do nothing and keep both cars

I’d much rather buy cars than sell them, but I want to make a smart financial decision based on my situation. As much fun as cars are, they are also financial tools, and I don’t want to let emotion guide a decision like this.

Have you ever downsized the number of cars in your family? What’s my smartest move here?

-tgriffith

Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Suzuki SX4
Used Lexus RX 330

3 Comments

  1. Two interesting responses here, and you could go with either one and save money. The problem with selling the Suzuki and paying down the Lexus loan is that it only gets you halfway off the hook. You would still have the monthly nut to pay the bank, and I guess my decision would depend on how long and whether you can afford to sustain that.

  2. If it were me – I’d base the decision on utility combined with personal preference. I had a BMW and a Nissan truck. Since I couldn’t drive both at once, I sold the BMW even though I liked it better, because the truck provided more utility year round. I only have myself to drive around, so having 2 cars was definitely overkill for me, and your family would have a harder time relying on one car. All that said…I’d sell the Suzuki and pay down the Lexus. The Lexus is nicer, has better utility and probably just more fun to have around. If you only get to have one car, I’d keep the one you like better and that provides the most utility while still saving money. Just my thoughts.

  3. Well my best advice would be to not go into debt in the first place by buying a lexus you cant afford. Although since that is too late, I’d say sell the RX and be done with it. The Suzuki will last you, and you actually own it.

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