Help! I'm moving abroad for 28 months - what should I do with my car?

I have a 2006 Honda CRV manual transmission with 40K miles on it. I bought it new and it runs perfectly. I am moving out of the country for 28 months and don’t know if I should sell it, ship it to Florida where my brother can drive it weekly, or can I put it in storage in California (where I live) and not drive it for that long or will that ruin it? I’ll need a car upon my return to this country. Any advice? Thanks!!

Hopefully, you will get a variety of suggestions here. Read them carefully, and see which one appeals to you.

Figure out the depreciation one would expect over 28 months, vs. the cost of storage; cost of shipping to Florida, and do some cost figures on what another one will cost v. what this one will bring if you sell it.

Usually, stored cars need some sort of gas treatment, and the battery will not last forever without charging. You can put the car on blocks, perhaps, to save the tires from going out of round. If you really like the car, and will get plenty of bux for those 28 months, what the heck. Store it, and show up with a new battery when you come back. :slight_smile:

What you will find is a lot of different opinions, based on personal choices. But, 28 months should not ruin the entire car.

Good luck on lots of good answers.

The longest I have parked a good car was somewhat around 3 or 4 months. Anything shorter and I just got in it, hit the starter, and drove off, That 4 months drained the battery, and my son-in-law put the charger on it. So, then I got in it, hit the starter and drove off.

Usually I’d lean towards selling it, since the car will see major depreciation between being 2 years old and pushing 5. Theoretically, you should be able to sell it now and buy a 2008 model when you get back. However, a manual transmission CRV is a somewhat rare vehicle-- they didn’t sell many of them and I don’t think you can get a manual CRV new anymore-- and if you really like this car, it may not be quite as simple to just buy a new one when you get back.

If you’ve got a safe place to store it, I’d say change the fluids, put in some gas stabilizer or consider draining the tank and putting it on jackstands. There might be some rubber parts that might deteriorate from sitting that long, but it’s not that likely on such a new car and also nothing that will cause long term damage or damage that will cost more than shipping the thing to Florida.

Agree with previous posters; the depreciation is worth considering. If you sell the car, and put the money in high interest account, after 28 months you will have a nice return.

Compare this with the cost of either “mothballing” it or taking it to Florida and let your brother drive it on and off for that time while paying for insurance license and some maintenance. Ideally, your brother could pay you some rent and have the use of it; that would be a win-win situation, provided he is a good driver.

We were overseas for 5 years, but my wife took the summer off (2 months) and I was home for 2 weeks every 3 months. It was to our advantage to keep the cars ready and our son drove them every few weeks.

Proper mothballing needs careful attention to details, and of course you need to pay for storage. But you can take the insurance off. Are you planning to come to the US for holidays? If so, you will have to rent or borrow a car when you do.

I would sell it. Fuel stabilizer will not keep the fuel from turning to varnish over that period of time. You might end up with plugged up injectors as well as the fuel lines full of varnish. I would want to run the fuel out of it once a year at least. Then there?s depreciation and storage cost and the battery concern?
Sell it.

Think about it. In 28 months you will be a different person and your car choice will change.

Well all of those choices could work. But I suggest you consider:

That is a long storage. Today’s fuel with stabilizer should keep the fuel OK. no other specific damage is likely with storage that long so storage is possible. However your car will loose value (depreciation) and you will need to pay storage unless you have a good place to store it and you will need to keep up comprehensive insurance on it.

My last choice would be shipping it to Florida. You would need to keep all the insurance on it. Then there is the shipping cost. Unless your brother would drive it a good distance, enough to bring it up to full temperature and then some every week the car could suffer more than in storage.

The logical choice is to sell it, put the money in a CD and when you get back you will have more money than you started with to replace it. Your needs and desire in a car may have changed so you then have a choice and you will have avoided all the worry and concern.

What we don’t know is your emotional feelings for the car. If you really like it, then it might well be worth it to store it. Only you can answer that part.

Sell it. No hassles or insurance to carry while it sits doing nothing but causing some worry or at least back of mind thought about.

Sell it . . . put the $$ in a CD, let it gain value instead of losing $$ while the vehicle depreciates, then buy something else when you return. Rocketman

High interest implies added risk. Catdoctor needs to assess whether the risk of lost value of the asset is enough that it could reasonably offset the interest earned. Docnick, I’m sure that you meant to get higher interest on an investment that will not lose value, like a certificate of deposit backed by solid assets. An investment that returns 6% annually and is compounded monthly would return a little under 15% over 28 months. That isn’t bad, but is not what I would consider a nice return. Maybe you do, and that’s just a small difference of opinion.

Agree, it is better to earn 15% on a solid low risk investment than have an asset like a car depreciate rapidly. In terms of buying power, cars are actually getting cheaper over time, so selling your car, investing the money and buying an equivalent car after 28 month has to be a preferred choice.

Oh, I guess I’d be inclined to sell it too but this is really a terrible market to be trying to sell cars. I would rather have it in Florida where it would be a little cheaper to store and can be looked after, but I would drive it there not spend the money to ship it.

It really depends on what you intend to do when you get back. Depreciation expense is funny money much like stock market losses. You only lose it when it is time to sell. It will depreciate, but the loss will be less each additional year you keep it. So if you plan to drive it another two or three years when you get back, might as well keep it. But if you will be trading again in a year, better off to take your loss now and be done with the headache.

I would ship it to your new home. you might want to travel around

Get a U-Haul, it’ll help ya get that broad moved a lot quicker!

Hey Everyone - Thanks so much for the postings. I really do love this car, only drive a manual, and was planning on keeping it until it died which I was hoping was around 200K miles, so it’s less of a depreciation concern than a question about whether the car will get ruined over 28 months. I can’t take it with me as the taxes on importation are super high. Also, I hate selling cars as I always seem to take a bath on them. I am glad to see such a difference of opinion as there obviously isn’t one right or wrong answer. I will be back in the US a few times a year so perhaps storage is a viable option. Thanks again - your advice was all very helpful. Catdoctor