Keep "totaled" car as 2nd vehicle?

My 1996 Mazda 626 was rear-ended 1 yr. ago. The frame was damaged so it was “totaled” by the other driver’s insurance. I took the payout minus the salvage money and kept it. After getting a new tail light installed, it passed inspection and still looks pretty good; currently runs well. I bought a new 2010 Sonata but kept the Mazda to drive around town (college town with lots of fender-benders). A mechanic is now pushing me to sell him the Mazda for one thousand dollars. The price seems fair but I feel the car is worth that much to me to keep the wear and tear off the new car, plus I can tote animals and haul stuff without worrying about messing up the Sonata. My brother thinks I should sell. I do upkeep but would not invest a lot of money if/when down the road it needs a major repair. It could go a long time with no need for a major repair or it might end up needing one a week from now. I live alone, am sole driver. I’m in a dilemma!!

Keep it. It’s nice to have a “beater” for the reasons you mentioned.

If you change your mind in the future you can get $1,000 for it any day of the week.

I would consider your fixed costs like:

maintenance (eg oil changes etc)

And then decide if its really worth it.

The good thing though no rush, as long as the car is running its worth $1000 now or $1000 latter. The depreciation is very little now year to year.

How much of a discount are you getting from your insurance company for having multiple vehicles on the policy? If this value is higher than the costs of registration and insurance, then its worth keeping the car.


Thank you all so much for your input! I felt a little uncomfortable selling it at this time; especially with a lot of ice still on our roads, but I didn’t want to pass up a good offer. Good to know that I should be able to cash in on it later if need be. Thanks!

In PA a second car means $36 for registration and another $20 a year for inspection. Add to that the cost of additional insurance. The old car will get zero maintenance? Oil changes only? Or, oil changes, filters, brakes, tires, etc. as needed?

It is worth more running decently. If you keep it and let it deteriorate it might not be worth anything. Add to the other costs the lost $1,000 or whatever else you could sell it for. If keeping it is worth the $500 to 1,000 a year it will cost you, then keep it.

I would do normal upkeep but not sink a lot of money into a major repair. Here in MO an inspection is @ $12, registration is maybe $25, and I get an insurance discount for 2 cars. In fact, I think my insurance would go up if I sell it. The savings of wear and tear on the new car has a dollar value also, though hard to calculate.

Check with your insurance agent to make sure they will insure it.