CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Keep a car in storage or sell now and buy later

My wife got a new car and now wants to save her old car a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid for our son. This means that we will be storing the Civic for the next 3 years and rarely if ever driving the car. I have concerns about storing a Hybrid because of loss of battery life and the car will depreciate in value over the next 3 years. I think that we should sell the Civic now and buy a reliable used car for him when the time comes.

Safety improvements, cost of ownership over time if you insure and maintain it for occational use and depreciation …all this and more making storage for anything but an antique not worth it for more then one year. Cars are changing so rapidly, in three years, a then 7 year old car that will age, even in storage, could cost more then one you use. Cars are made to be used, especially with ethanol contamination over time. Hybrid or not storing any car that long for future use is not financially worth it. Sell it now and investing the money makes more sense.

One possible mouse infestation makes everything not worth it…

Hybrids (and EVs) are NOT good to store, as you’ve already recognized. Sell it and put the money away for a better car in 3 years. I bet the owners manual states a max time between drives. Mine (Ford hybrid) does.

It’s not a special car. Sell it and get your money out now.

I think if you can find time to start it up and let it idle for 15-20 minutes once a week, storing it would prove considerably less out of pocket dollars to you in the long run.

Sell it and invest the money. There is a time value to money – it increases. Cars depreciate.

I hate buying cars and I hate selling cars but I would get rid of it. This one could have some serious deterioration, it’s not really a car a kid would want, and I would be concerned that the technology could become obsolete. So all in all, if you have no real use for it, just sell it.

Sell it and buy something simple (non-hybrid) later for your son. A first car should be simple and inexpensive so that you can write it off in an accident.

Sell the Hybrid now and save the money for a later date.

I don’t agree with George’s post. Just idling the engine can be worse for the car than doing nothing.
If she insists on keeping it stored, take it out atleast once a month for a nice long highway drive and get things moving in it.
If you can’t do that, then consider how much it’ll cost to get the car back on the road after sitting for 3 years. If you know anyone who pulled an old car from a barn that’d been sitting for several years, listen to them explain everything they had to do to the car to get it running again.

The worst thing you can do to a hybrid is let it sit, the very expensive batteries will be dead 3 years from now if you don’t run it.

I wouldn’t keep it in storage for more than a year, so my vote is to sell it now.

With the money you can get for a Civic Hybrid now in good condition, you should be able to buy a “newer then 2009” regular Civic in three years. These cars are nothing special and less capable then a Prius and a regular Civic is much more fun to drive with mileage that that is still pretty good. Dump it.

Storing it for 6 months makes sense, but not for 3 years. Sell it. An '09 would have good value and you can put the money in a “kids” car account until you are ready to buy another car.

I put my Subaru into storage for six years. The total cost to rent a storage unit? $12,600. The cost for new tires and seals? $2800. The cost for new tensioners and water pump? $1400. Cost to rent a trailer and get the car? $800 Total? $17,600. You can buy a really nice car for $17,600. I would suggest driving the car once in a while and not put it into storage or buy another car in three years.

I agree with common sense and with nearly everyone else here.

A mistake on the battery issue will be very expensive. Storing a car involves insurance expenses, deterioration, etc. Some people have legitimate reasons for storing cars but this is surely not among them. Sell the car, invest the money, and buy a car in 3 years if he wants one.

You may want to involve your son in this issue, as an exercise in rational planning. Good luck.

Sell