Leaving the country for 18 months, what should I do with my car?

Moving to Mali for 18 months, won’t be back and forth during that time.

I have a manual 2013 Toyota Corolla with 5500 miles on it. I still owe a significant amount of money on the loan.

I would prefer not to sell it-- I love the car, got a great deal when I bought it, and will need a car immediately upon returning to the US.

I’m curious if anyone is aware of programs that allow you to do something like lease a personal vehicle to someone else for an extended period of time? Or any other creative suggestions that might lead to someone else paying for the insurance or paying me to use it while I’m away?


i would sell it in a heartbeat. It’s a Corolla and you should get your money back. Fall in love again when you are ready 18 months from now, otherwise, you are making payments on a car that’s loosing value while you can’t get use out of it. It makes no sense to me. Too much hassle allowing someone else use during that Time. Rent when you return for a few days till you buy another. It’s a few days of hassle vs 18 months of worry.

Do you have an irresponsible brother-in-law you can leave it with?

Seriously… sell it. Even if you left it or leased it to the most responsible person, after 18 MO and 20k or 30k miles, it’s going to be much more “theirs” than it is “yours”. It’ll be a totally different car. I new scratch here, a ding there, the sticky dried coffee in the bottom of the cup holder, the half used tires & brake pads… And when you left it, it was brand spanking new.

Its also an easy car to replace. It’s not exactly a DeLorean that you cant find anywhere.

18 months no big deal, my take, any car ever sat on a dealers lot for 18 months? And did they do anything special before they sold it? Treat and run some gas with stabelizer, put on a battery maintainer if you can, My moms car sat in the garage for 9 months after hip surgery, nothing special, started right up and has been running ever since.

If you decide to store it and would like advice on how to do so, post back. Remember that you won’t be paying insurance and maintenance, or gasoline, or suffering wear & tear if you store it while you’re away, so you need to subtract that from the cost of a storage unit when making a decision.

I don’t see any reason you can’t post an advertisement somewhere, like on Craigslist, offering to rent your car for 18 months. Maybe somebody out there, a student etc, is looking for exactly that. It would be a win-win. You’d get some money toward the loan your are paying, plus the insurance and registration would be paid for. It would make sense, before signing it over, to discuss this with both the DMV & your insurance company of course.

My vote would be to sell it and hopefully get enough to pay off this “significant amount” of money that you owe on it.
Not meaning to get too personal but owing a “significant amount” of money on it does make me wonder just how great a deal this was. The proof will be the top offer when you’re trying to sell it.

The cost of storage on a non-used car, the potential for fuel system issues, and a shaky battery when you return are also strikes against the car and I think that if you turn this car over to someone else for use you will be sweating bullets the entire time you’re gone. I know that I would.

It’s a Corolla; not an exotic. There will be countless Corollas for sale when you return.

Theres another post around here or on the repair index where the lady rents her car out. She got it back after a week totally trashed. No way no how would I allow someone I don’t know rent my car. I’d sell it first or store it. Storing for that long is no big thing at all but as you know you have to keep insurance on it due to the loan and probably need to license it too. Way too much risk.

If you had a rarity, keeping it would make sense, but you have one of the most popular cars sold. When you return rent a car for as long as it takes to get another car. If you want a Corolla just like your current one it spuldn’t be hard to find one. I don’t think renting your car for 18 months is a good idea. There are very complex laws on auto rentals, some of which might apply to you. You might get back and find your car hasn’t been properly maintained or even abused. I see lawyers in your future if you do this. Just sell the car and you will be out no more cash than trying to rent it out. You can start over when you get back.

Unless you are “upside down” in this car, sell it. Don’t rent it to a stranger. You’ll still be liable for any accidents a renter might cause if your name is on the title. If theirs is, then they just stole your car.

Personally, I’d only consider doing something like this with a trusted family member or close friend. If someone does use this car for money, you need to discuss this with your insurance agent. It’s likely that you’ll need a different type of insurance policy, possibly costing more than your current one.

Do you have somewhere to store the car if it just sits? Don’t forget that you can cancel the collision part of your policy if no one drives it.

Do you plan to keep this car for a long time after you return? If so, the depreciation while it sits is less of a factor to consider.

“Don’t forget that you can cancel the collision part of your policy if no one drives it.”

Like I said, I don’t believe this is true if you have a lien on the car. Collision insurance is mandatory because the bank wants to make sure they get their money in the event the car is wrecked. They also have a very expensive back-up policy for people that let their insurance lapse. Whether the car is driven or not is not relevant to the bank and they have no control over that.

Sell it. The insurance and registration fees will likely be as much or more than you stand to lose by selling it. If you want to get an idea of the value, take it to CarMax. They offer somewhere between trade-in and private sale value. Just tell them you are thinking about selling it and want an offer.

According to Edmunds, a Corolla L like your should sell for $14,200 at a dealer and $13,100 in a private sale. What model is yours? Trade-in is $11,800 and I would guess CarMax will be around $12,500.

Sell it and buy a vehicle when you return. It’s been said before but it’s great advice and bears repeating.