Managing the "Fleet"

I currently have a 2001 Camry CE (4-cyl)with around 190,000 miles (well maintained, but is scheduled for timing belt replacement that will cost several hundred). My daughter has a 2000 Honda Civic EX with around 90,000 miles (which needs a variety of transmission and suspension repairs because she drives like a maniac – estimated cost of repairs $4000).

My mother will soon be giving me her 2008 Impala (around 15,000 miles), but I’m not enthused about Impalas…

Should I:

1. Use the Impala, give my daughter the Camry (have her pay for the belt), and sell the Honda?

2. Sell the Impala and Camry to get something else for me (and leave my daughter to deal with the consequences of her driving)? If so, what would be a good (reliable but not boring) option for me?

3. Sell the Impala, Camry, Honda and my 61 T-bird to get 2 new somethings? (can be used cars)

4. ?? something else?

This is too complicated for me… I need your help figuring out the best combination.

Economically, what would probably make the most sense would be to sell the Impala, fix the other two and put the rest of the cash in reserve for future maintenance.

Although if the daughter is really such a maniac, I’d say either she can pay to fix her own dang car (or not have one for a while) and learn a lesson about taking care of your things, or else maybe she should be driving around a big old-lady car like an Impala.

Why don’t you like Impalas? What kind of car do you like?

Leave your daughter and her car out of it. If she beats the car let her pay for the damage on her own. The sooner she learns that owning a car is expensive the better off she’ll be.

If you don’t like the Impala I suggest you sell it and the Camry and get something you like. We don’t know what you like. “Reliable but not boring” is what everyone wants. When I read that phrase, the MazdaSpeed3 and the Subaru Impreza WRX come to mind. They’re both reliable cars, but no one will find them boring.

Why would you want to sell the T-bird? If you’re serious, I’m interested.

#2 if you’ve got the new car itch. If your daughter drives like a maniac, and doesn’t live at home, let her deal with her own problems(tough love)

I’m puzzled why you don’t like the Impala but like the T Bird, a truly awful (and unsafe) road car by today’s standards. Even the standard size tires were too small for the car’s weight and power.

It makes sense to keep the low mileage Impala, it’s good for a lot more miles, sell the T Bird, and get rid of the Honda, while selling the repaired Camry to your daughter for the same dollar proceeds you got from the Honda, with the proviso that she takes care of all future repairs herself.

I don’t know your daughter’s age, so I’ll withhold judgement.

My inclination would be to sell the Impala, and with the proceeds get the Camry timing belt changed, and if your daughter is still in HS split the cost of her repairs…starting with any safety issues.

I’ll be by to pick up the T-bird tomorrow morning…you fool, you.

I also don’t like Impalas. Too big and too cushy for my tastes.

The Impala is a reliable, comfortable sedan. If you are concerned about reliability, you need not worry. Has Mom had any troubles with it? I’ll be it’s been good for her. If it were me, I’d keep the Impala to see if I could learn to like it. If you want to keep the Camry as a commuter, that’s fine. It’s only worth abut $3000 anyway. The mileage is so high that it drops the price by $1700.

How old is your daughter? If she is in her 20s and working (not in school), I’d let her figure it out for herself. Or you could buy her a car that she will abuse because Daddy will take care of it. I prefer the former, as I’m sure you can tell.

Don’t sell the Honda, make your daughter take care of it herself. Even if you have to loan her the $. Nobody will want to buy it in its current state anyway. As far as what to do with the other 2 in the fleet, I think the other guys have given you solid advice.

I do have to ask one thing, though. I really don’t see how “driving like a maniac” would cause a $4,000 transmission repair unless she likes to drive it on the interstate in 1 or something (or she was in an accident). Heck, with only 90,000 miles I’ll bet according to the owner’s manual it hasn’t even needed a fluid change yet. As for the suspension, if it just needs struts, I think at this age and mileage that approaches normal wear and tear.

That’s not to say that excuses her maniacal driving or that it might not be a good thing for her to take responsibility for her own transportation, but I don’t think you should be overly punitive if it’s really not her fault.

That’s a great idea! I could end up with cash in hand at the end of this… and in today’s economy that’s a smart move.

But no way I’m giving her the Impala. I cringe at the idea of giving her my well kept Camry. I was really looking forward to see how many miles I could get out of it – hoping for at least 250 to 300k.

Thank you for your input!

Thanks for your suggestions!
I just hate to see her do anything stupid (… which, unfortunately happens fairly regularly…). To me it doesn’t make sense to put that much into repairing the Honda when KBB value is only around $4k. And the Camry would be a good option… (it’s just too messy - I wish this was just a technical & economic question).

The T-bird is a similar thing. It was my Dad’s and I love driving it, but this summer didn’t even take it to one car show. I feel guilty about just letting it sit. Selling it would make economic sense, but I don’t know if I could do it.

No particular new car itch. Actually, we usually didn’t buy new cars because depreciation in first year is outrageous. “New” to me is good enough.
Plus, I wasn’t really planning to replace the Camry for several more years. Figured I could get another 50,000 miles at least out of it, and after the timing belt it doesn’t need much major scheduled work (but according to Murphy’s Law, if I do something with the Impala, the Camry will die suddenly, and I won’t be able to get as good a car as the Impala was for the money I’ll have…!) AARUGH!

Thanks for your help in thinking through this!

Good points!
Daughter is early 20s still in college. Problem is she knows that Mom is planning to give me the Impala and has asked if she can have the Camry as a “hand-me-down” (which does have certain logic to it.) Otherwise it would sit in my driveway (like the T-bird sits in my garage…), or I could sell it & get nothing for it…

Actually, I recognize that this is a nice problem to have. I’m blessed to have “too many” cars. Thanks for your ideas.

She’s been pretty quiet about why the repairs are needed…(but did meet her last boyfriend while street racing him on his motorcycle on hilly country roads). And she says the suspension is not her fault.

It’s just hard achieving that balance between “tough love” and economic/practical decisions about equipment.

Thanks to everybody for sharing suggestions and thoughts!
I replied to all, but for some reason not all of them are showing in the discussion board (I promise I didn’t use foul language or anything that would have had it censored).

Let us know what you decide. If you are still thinking it through, bounce some more ideas off us. And if you want to cover Mom’s back, keep the Impala for a while; at least until you see if she can get along without it. Make that your back-up car and the insurance will be low.

#1 on your list is what I would do

The depreciation from selling the Impala would be greater then the combined value of both other cars. So my suggestion is to keep the Impala, Sell the Civic, and with the proceeds fix the Camry. Give the Camry to your daughter as punishment for driving like a maniac, after all a Camry is not cool like a Civic.

     Beggars can't be choosy

You just explained why repairs are needed (street racing).

Your daughter is over 18 years old. She is now legally responsible for her actions. Quit coddling her. It’s time for her to learn that she has to pay her own way.

“She says the suspension is not her fault.” If she’s the only driver of the car, who else’s fault could it possibly be?

It’s time to cut the strings. Tell your daughter she’s on her own, and then stand by what you say. Otherwise, you’ll continue to pay for her self-imposed problems, which won’t help you or your daughter.

Why would you want to do that?