Recently I discussed in my Plymouth Laser thread that I bought the car intending to have my g/f drive it to save her some expenses on fuel as well as mileage/wear and tear on her nicer, newer car. Based off that....
You can crunch numbers all day and figure out to the penny (if you calculate for gas prices at a constant price...) how much money it would cost/save you to drive a more efficient second vehicle. I've been doing so regarding the '90 Plymouth Laser vs. her '04 Pontiac Grand Prix.
For conversation's sake, I'd like to hear from others on the topic of having two cars (those of you who specifically have more cars than drivers in your household), the benefits it gives, the drawbacks, the expected or unexpected expenses, etc. (I personally now own 5 cars and 1 motorcycle, but I only insure 1 car and the bike, the others are project cars or future replacements for my current car. I also live alone, so no one is using the other vehicles. Yes, I know I have a problem.)
The way I see it, if she really wants to keep mileage off her '04 Grand Prix and aim to have that car another 10+ years, driving a cheap to maintain, more fuel efficient second vehicle when needing to commute most days is a pretty good idea, regardless even if it ends up being a minor expense.
I'll just guess that she puts 20k miles on her car a year currently. Once school starts again, that'll jump to 30k or more. If she transferred 15k of that to a car that gets 8 mpg better than hers, at an estimated 2.80/gal average, she'll save just $313. Factor in the additional insurance costs and it's about the same expense of just owning 1 car.
So the logic here is turning out to be, "half a dozen of one, 6 of the other."
The only advantages I see are:
*Saves wear/tear on the nicer vehicle
*Second cars are great for when your primary car has mechanical issues
*She would enjoy driving a "sporty" car occasionally since the Laser is 2-door 5sp.
The potential disadvantages:
*A 1990 Laser might not end up being very reliable compared to her '04 Grand Prix.
*If I cannot get the Laser to produce 37mpg highway, she wouldn't be gaining 8mpg, and any less would put the scenario into the negative $ rather than breaking even.
*Laser isn't as "safe" as the other vehicle or as comfortable (other car has heated leather)
Long winded, but lately this forum is like a ghost town, maybe this will breathe some life into the General Discussion...
I have many vehicles. 1998 GMC K1500, 1981 Buick Regal Limited, 1986 Chevy C-10, 2006 Harley Super Glide, and a 2000 GMC Savanna 3500.
None of the vehicles are particularly new, but I have several, so I have the option of jumping in something else if my first choice vehicle won't start or needs repairs. Being older, they're all relatively cheap to register and insure. I don't think I really save enough on fuel, factoring in taxes, insurance, and registration fees to warrant multiple vehicles, but I do thoroughly enjoy each and every one of my vehicles.
From a strictly economic standpoint, its probably not viable unless you can get a killer deal on a nice Civic VX or Geo Metro. It is nice to have the second vehicle in case one needs repairs, instead of getting raked over the coals at a repair shop because your only vehicle is out of service, you can spend the time to research and get the best deal on repairs, or get the parts and do it yourself in your spare time. This is certainly worth something, along with the fuel savings is probably enough, but on a strictly fuel cost basis in most cases its probably not worth it.
I always do all my own repairs and like you said, when something messes up and all you have to do is walk inside the house, grab a different set of keys, and continue on your way... that's pure bliss.
I guess the real question is, is saving the wear on the newer vehicle worth the expense of the older vehicle? I realize everyone values things differently, and that question may only need to be answered by the owner of the "nicer vehicle." I think it's worth it....
What if I can get this Laser to 40mpg? Would you then say go for it? That would save $398 based on the same 15k mile equation above, over driving her Grand Prix and might actually save money/make money.
I have a 4'x8' sheet of coroplast I plan to use on the grill/underbelly of the car, along with a HAI, full tune up and timing change, I'm hoping to get the car to 35+, 40mpg highway being a dream. Being that I've got $600 in the car right now, depending on what MPG achievements I can reach with those things, the car may end up getting the basjoos treatment.... AKA go nuts on aero. I'd imagine its already pretty slipperey.
A Chrysler Laser is just geeky enough that I'd go for it. Then again, I'd have fun a Laser, whether or not I was trying to save fuel. I've made my point several times though, make sure its a car that she will enjoy driving, because if she decides that she doesn't enjoy it, she may stop driving it. There are people that will endure a car that they hate, because its cheap to drive, but I'm not one of them.
A 1.8L Chrysler Laser is just geeky enough that I'd go for it. Then again, I'd have fun a Laser, whether or not I was trying to save fuel. I've made my point several times though, make sure its a car that she will enjoy driving, because if she decides that she doesn't enjoy it, she may stop driving it. There are people that will endure a car that they hate, because its cheap to drive, but I'm not one of them.
Fixed that for ya...
They are quite fun IMO too... and geeky because no one wants them/you never see them. Everyone wants the 2.0T AWD. They handle well, have unique interior/dash design (its center portion is angled towards the driver, so it's like a cockpit kinda), and the flip up headlights are pretty nostalgic 80's.
If she stops driving it, I'll start, and that'll give me time to re-ring the SL2 in-frame... then put struts on it and keep it a few more years. Watch, it'll be 10 years from now before I ever start driving the SL1. LOL
I guess the real question is, is saving the wear on the newer vehicle worth the expense of the older vehicle?
The wear on the newer vehicle is not particularly meaningful. Besides repairing it, it can always be replaced with an equally nice vehicle. I'm not sure that rotting in the yard is any worse than piling on the miles, so I'm not sure an additional vehicle means anything from that standpoint.
However, it can still be quite worthwhile, just not for the sake of preserving a car as if it was a museum piece...
If the extra vehicle does not pay for itself and you already have a surplus of vehicles, then the answer is no, it's not worthwhile.
If the extra vehicle pays for itself but you already have a surplus of vehicles, the answer is neutral.
If you do not have a surplus of vehicles, and the extra vehicle either pays for itself or doesn't cost much, then it is absolutely worth having.
Having a surplus of vehicles, if you do your own repairs, is a HUGE money saver. You get to be patient with the broken vehicle, do the job right, and get the parts as economically as possible even if that means waiting for a Saturday junkyard trip or mail-order parts. There's no pressure and there's no days off of work when you realize that the broken car won't go today. As you said, just grab another set of keys and go to work.
If you already have a surplus (Jay!), then it's only about whether the vehicle pays for itself (or better). My leased VW, for example, has exceeded my FE expectations. I calculated it to come out approximately even compared to fueling and maintaining my truck for over 30,000 miles per year. Truck tires are very expensive!
I have found ways to make the truck cheaper (used tires, for example) but I've also gotten well over 150% of my expected FE from the VW (I caculated based on getting EPA only).
Having a brand new vehicle to make sure I could get to my new job every day....that was priceless! Now that I'm settled in and expect to stay here a long time and I've found that it is ok for me to be unexpectedly late or absent, I could drive a beater, but at that time it was vitally important that I get there on time every day.
I'm at a spot right now with kinda the same situation.
We have the Toyota Corolla that my wife drives to work and we use it for long trips. But once the Del Sol is painted then we will be using it for most of the time. If its more then just the two of us we will have to take the Talon. My goal for the Talon is 35mpg freeway verse 39mpg freeway for the Toyota. So far the Talon's best is 30mpg freeway. It just might not get to 35mpg.
As for regular maintenance and repair I do all my own work on all of our vehicles, so that's not a major issue.
So after all this it looks like we might be getting rid of the Toyota. It sucks because its been a great car that we have owned for over 12 years now.
If you already have a surplus (Jay!), then it's only about whether the vehicle pays for itself (or better).
Well, each vehicle has its purpose...
98 GMC Sierra K1500 - Daily Driver and hauler.
86 Chevy C10 - beater pickup parked at my parent's house for when dad wants to haul stuff to the dump, or go to the hardware store.
81 Regal - First car, and being kept for sentimental reasons, but is parked at work so I can drive it home if I ride the Harley to work, and have unexpected bad weather I can always just jump in the Buick, and pull the bike inside at work.
06 Harley - Purchased mainly as a pleasure vehicle, but I also use it on my daily errands, and ride it to work as weather and vehicle needs permit to save fuel.
00 GMC Savanna 3500 cargo van. Used almost exclusively for our hobby of selling at upscale flea markets in the area. Yearly registration and insurance on the van are cheaper than yearly rent on a storage unit. It saves money without even turning the key! When we want to do a show we just jump in and go, no loading up necessary. Its our warehouse on wheels.
Each vehicle fills a special need (or want), and is economical in its own respect. All vehicles listed are cheap to insure, and have been pretty low maintenance over the years (except the Harley - don't know what maintenance will average out to be on that as I recently purchased it).