Do you have a minute to answer an electric vehicle survey? Start the survey | No thanks
A quandary, third car or not? - Nomag

Help me with a quandary, oh knowledgeable BRers.

SWMBO drives a 3 year old Sorento diesel Auto. We own it outright, it's now done 45 k miles. Bought at <2k miles and 6 months old.

Her mileage has increased from 15k/yr to now nearer 20k and whilst considering its size and weight the Sorento will do 35-37 mpg on a run, day to day its nearer 30-32.

We do need a large vehicle to tow our caravan a few times a year. Also we live rurally at the end of a half mile long farm track. Which is perfectly fine 99% of the time with a conventional vehicle. But 4wd suspension stands up to it better, and in the snow of early March, it was not passable without the SUV (more for the clearance than the 4wd however!)

Earlier this year I swapped my IX35 for a Leon diesel, which I love, drive hard and gives 48mpg day in day out.

I am wondering whether to consider adding another car to the fleet for SWMBOs daily use, which will be more fuel efficient and save wear and tear on the Kia, but I'm not entirely sure the sums add up. I've even wondered about a nearly new electric vehicle, used Leafs seem quite cheap . It doesn't have to be an Auto but she much prefers it.

Her driving pattern is 3 days a week commute to work 26 miles each way + add minimum of 10 miles running around kids to school (on way to work) and to various activities. Plus at two other weekdays 40+ mile round trips to visit family. And our use for weekends/holidays etc.

So, does the maths work? Because if I purchase another vehicle I will have another insurance policy, road tax (maybe), and maintenance costs. Maybe we should just keep the two vehicles and carry on as we are. Or maybe we should sell the Sorento, get an older large vehicle for occasional use and a newer smaller/more economical vehicle for day to day.

Incidentally if we went electric we own our own business so could charge at work.

We can't, however, buy it as a business vehicle.

Thoughts?

A quandary, third car or not? - Happy Blue!

A few general views about your dilemma. ...

All cars depreciate. Some more than others. The Sorento will have dropped like a stone due to the mileage. Selling it or trading it in is false economy simply to replace it with a similar vehicle that is simply older, less reliable and no cheaper to run.

A car sitting in the drive not being driven will deteriorate faster than one that is used regularly.. It sounds like the Sorento is getting pretty much perfect use and therefore the best economy.

If you do get an electric car you need to consider a few points. Range anxiety is one. Speak to people who do drive 15,000 miles a year in a Leaf. How do they do it? How long will the batteries last if getting a full charge and say 75% discharge each day? On the cost side, how much fuel cost will you save and is this offset by the depreciation and other additional costs of a third car?

Lastly, if you do buy a Leaf, consider buying it via the company and using as a company car, taking the Sorento replacement into private ownership. The tax rates are meant to be advantageous, but I know this is changing and there are some anomalies.

To me this smacks of 'man maths' rather than a genuine opportunity to save money. We all do it, but rarely does it work.....

A quandary, third car or not? - badbusdriver

What i am curious aboot is why, if, due to the nature of your drive you need a car with decent ground clearance and 4wd, you have a Leon and are thinking about a used Leaf?. Neither of which have 4wd or higher ground clearance!. You either need this or you don't, and going by your own car, actually you don't.

A quandary, third car or not? - bazza

It will never be cheaper to run a 3rd car to save costs on the other two, the sums just don't add up. I've often considered it myself for long commutes ( over now) but it just doesn't make financial sense. It might make some kind of emotional sense though, if you are particularlty attached to a car or it has some unique status. But both your vehicles are being fully utilised, and are easily replaceable when you choose, with newer versions, so no, I wouldn't bother on funancial terms. However, if you just fancy something else, then go for it, finances permitting, but it won't save you money.

A quandary, third car or not? - SLO76
“It will never be cheaper to run a 3rd car to save costs on the other two, the sums just don't add up. I've often considered it myself for long commutes ( over now) but it just doesn't make financial sense.“

I’ve been doing it for years. You can buy a cheap older car privately for under £2k and run it with minimal depreciation, sometimes you can even break even after a years use. Factor in the saving on fuel and depreciation on the much more valuable SUV and the sums do add up if you buy wisely. It’s also handy to have a cheap third car for abandoning at the station or pub car park and for soaking up dents and scuffs at the supermarket. It’s handy for runs to the dump also. If however you intend on buying at full retail money from a dealer then no it’s unlikely to add up.
A quandary, third car or not? - Andrew-T

(deleted - already discussed below)

Edited by Andrew-T on 24/05/2018 at 22:17

A quandary, third car or not? - Andrew-T

So, does the maths work?

If you plan to own 3 vehicles instead of 2, I can't see how any maths can possibly work if the only economy you can make is on fuel. I can't even bother to look at the back of my envelope .... Even if you were to keep only 2 vehicles, your 'cost to change' could quite well cancel out any expected fuel savings.

A quandary, third car or not? - Avant

"I am wondering whether to consider adding another car to the fleet for SWMBO's daily use, which will be more fuel efficient and save wear and tear on the Kia, but I'm not entirely sure the sums add up."

As others have said, the sums don't add up; and leaving the Sorento parked doesn't save on wear and tear as much as it might seem. Financially, you're better off with what you've got.

But finance isn't the only consideration. You and Mrs N need to ask yourselves:

- Can we afford another car comfortably?

- Is she happy with the Sorento or is its size a pain for the journeys she's doing?

- If you sold the Sorento, how big a vehicle do you need to tow the caravan? (If it needs one as big as the Sorento, keep it: an older large vehicle could be a money-pit and have more chance of breaking down when you're on holiday.)

A quandary, third car or not? - RichardW

Lets say you 'transfer' 15k miles off the Sorento onto something else. Fuel cost at 35 MPG and 1.30/l for diesel for these miles is £2530. If you buy something else that will do 50MPG say, then it's fuel costs will be £1770 - leaving only £760 / year to cover depreciation, tax, insurance, maintenance. Seems very unlikely that you can make that work as a saving, and even if it did it would be only a couple of hundred. Doesn't seem worth the effort to me!

A quandary, third car or not? - SLO76

Lets say you 'transfer' 15k miles off the Sorento onto something else. Fuel cost at 35 MPG and 1.30/l for diesel for these miles is £2530. If you buy something else that will do 50MPG say, then it's fuel costs will be £1770 - leaving only £760 / year to cover depreciation, tax, insurance, maintenance. Seems very unlikely that you can make that work as a saving, and even if it did it would be only a couple of hundred. Doesn't seem worth the effort to me!

You’re forgetting to factor in the reduced depreciation on the more valuable Kia. Buy a cheap 3rd car at say £2,000 and put the miles on it instead and you’ll save a substantial amount in depreciation. Best example I can think of was one I was running fairly recently which was a 2003 Mitsubishi Carisma diesel I paid £700 for. I ran it for a year, spent £350 on maintenance and an Mot, did around 10,000 miles then sold it for £1,000. It cost £145 to tax and £185 to insure for the year. The money saved by putting 10,000 fewer miles on our Honda CRV greatly outweighed any cost and it was a useful thing for abandoning places you wouldn’t leave a more valuable vehicle. I’ve had plenty of old runners like this over the years, yes some were trade-ins when I was trading but most were private sales you could buy yourself.
A quandary, third car or not? - Manatee

You might also make the Sorento last 2 or 3 years longer before you feel you should sell it. I had a diesel CRV I sold basically because it had done 100,000 miles - had I transferred say 5,000 a year to an old banger then I could probably have got at least two more years out of it on that criterion. Changing that sort of car for new is an expensive exercise, you're usually writing a cheque for £15,000 or more.

That argument however does raise the question of whether there are better ways of saving money, if that is the objective. such as buying a Duster instead, or buying used.

A quandary, third car or not? - veryoldbear

Irrespective of the financial aspects, it's remarkably handy to have three cars.

We've got three cars; the Saab 9-5 aero estate for sheer b** comfort and motorway cruising to see The Young, towing things, and taking stuff to the tip, Mrs has a Yaris which has been going for at least eight years without blinking an eyelid, just needs service items (yearly MOT and service). And I also have a Saab 9-5 old saloon which is just for the craic, and to keep the mileage down on the others. Again, minimal things need doing.

Zero depreciation on everything, as my philosophy is that if a car costs more than a good square meal at a decent restaurant (including wine) you are doing something wrong

A quandary, third car or not? - Nomag

Thank you all for your responses. The overwhelming advice is what I expected I guess...I'm engaging in man maths. I have no great lust for a third vehicle. I have to say though, there is an appeal in a "disposable" vehicle like SLO mentioned, especially the way the kids treat the car.

A smaller vehicle would tow the caravan (we started towing it with an Octavia Estate) but you get to appreciate that the heavier the tow car, vs the caravan, the more stable the unit.

So I don't think this works with an electric vehicle. It might work with an old Jap petrol hack, but I'm not so sure how keen my wife would be on driving that day to day. She'd probably take the Leon! I hadn't really thought about the savings in depreciation on the Sorento.

I don't think I'm brave enough for bangernomics. Which is a shame, as I'm also envious of those that do it! I helped my father in law puchase an 11 year old Touareg 2 years ago. He dismissed all my "sensible" suggestions to meet his criteria (CRV, etc.) and we were following a Touareg when he said "that's what I'd like, but I could never afford it". I made the mistake of saying, yes you could! His budget was 6k, I thought he was crazy spending 5k on an 11 year old 100k mile vehicle, admittedly with a good service history, but two years and 20k on, its running great and only burning a bit of oil! It also looks like a much more expensive car than it is, for what that's worth.

A quandary, third car or not? - SLO76
“I don't think I'm brave enough for bangernomics. Which is a shame, as I'm also envious of those that do it!“

A safe bet would be a 2001-2005 Honda Civic. I’ve ran and sold loads of these over the years and they’re very robust and highly practical. Last one we ran cost £2100, we had it nearly 4yrs and I got £1500 for it. It cost nothing more than a service, four tyres and an Mot.

Another is the Mazda 3 which is nicer to drive and has a bulletproof chain driven petrol engine that will run and run if looked after. £1,000 is enough to get a decent one. You’ll love hustling one of these down a twisty B road. I ran one a year ago for 6mths. This was a part ex I took in against an Astra for £300. It cost me for a set of discs and pads, a battery and an Mot then I sold it for £650. It was a great thing to drive.

The Honda Accord Estate is also a great bangernomics smoker. Much nicer to drive than an Avensis, will touch 40mpg on a run, plenty of room and again it’ll run beyond 250k if looked after. £1,500 will get a decent example. Great for runs to the dump and flinging the dogs in the back.

I’m currently hunting for another old smoker as my new short commute is not healthy for our other two DPF equipped diesels. Plus I enjoy the buzz of free motoring.

A quandary, third car or not? - John F

Unless you are a trader who can 'buy' trade-ins cheaply and re-sell later, you are better off keeping your cars as long as possible. Most money is lost when you sell a new or nearly new car only a few years after you bought it. As has been argued, a third car is more likely to cost than save money.

It sounds as though you do the lowest mileage, so it would make sense if your wife used the economical diesel for her long commute unless you have a lengthy business trip. In your situation, 'her car' and 'my car' might need to be re-thought. Horses for courses.

A quandary, third car or not? - Octane

I have a spreadsheet which shows over 40 years of motoring. During the first 30 years I ran bangers. The total depreciation of those 11 cars came to about 3K. One of the cheapest was a Saab 99GL 2L automatic which did 23mpg average and 30mpg on a run. It did 9 to 11mpg on track days. I put two front tyres and an exhaust on it plus the usual diy servicing. I payed £300 for it and sold it on four years later for £200. One of the cheapest motors I ever ran and a fraction of the £9000 I have lost in depreciation alone on my now 13 year old Astra. I should add that Dad was an independent motor trader when I was young and I did an engineering apprenticeship so I had some knowledge of cars and their important little places. Punters should acquire knowledge and take advice before entering the snake pit and parting with cash.

A quandary, third car or not? - Andrew-T

I have a spreadsheet which shows over 40 years of motoring. During the first 30 years I ran bangers. The total depreciation of those 11 cars came to about 3K.

Forty years ago inflation was a lot worse. I never ran (or at least depended upon) bangers, but in the 70s it was certainly possible to make a paper profit on a car. IIRC I bought my first Maxi at 2-3 years old for £725 and sold it a couple of years later for £795. The real depreciation happened underneath, usually in the box sections.

A quandary, third car or not? - SLO76
“Unless you are a trader who can 'buy' trade-ins cheaply and re-sell later, you are better off keeping your cars as long as possible.“

Partially agree but many of the bangers I’ve bought were not part exchanges but privately bought. I’ve also sold many of those old part ex’s to people who’ve had great service for buttons too most recently an old VW Passat diesel with 3mths Mot for £400. It passed another for less than £200 all in and gave another years service before being scrapped for £100. Did 50mpg too.
A quandary, third car or not? - SteVee

Would one of these cars be unused for any length of time ? If so, then I would make sure it's in a nice dry garage. My Primera suffered from rodent damage from being little-used and being outside - and that's with me being on the lookout for them and doing as much as possible to get rid of them. This was in a suburban driveway - if you're out in the sticks, this could be worse.

Little-used cars can suffer more than ones in daily use.

 

Value my car