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

Should I sell or keep my truck?

I have a 2005 Nissan Frontier King Cab with 24,965 miles on it. We also have a 2012 Subaru Forester with 600 miles and a 2001 Saturn with 66,000 miles on it. There are only two drivers in the house. We will be having a second child this May and will not be able to carry both kids in the truck for the next two to four years. The number of years will be determined by the answers we get from the local police and fire department about using a booster seat in the passenger seat of a truck. The first two year the passenger seat is unusable with a rear facing car seat.

When I do the math to keep the truck insured, licensed and maintained for the next four years it comes to the equivalent of 6 new truck payments. To me it makes sense to just keep the truck, but my wife goes on about the truck being a driveway ordainment and rotting in the driveway. She would like to sell the truck and buy new Frontier Crew Cab. My general feeling is that I will not be able to sell it for the value that I feel it is worth.

What does the community think should I try to sell it or keep it?

There are only two drivers in the house…Why do you need THREE vehicles???

A 7 year old truck with only 25K miles probably won’t sell for what it’s actually worth. Even though it hasn’t been driven much age has depreciated it’s value more than use. I have a '97 Ford Escort with 32K miles, I’d never consider selling it for it’s book value.

There’s an old saying…If Mama ain’t happy, NOBODY’s happy!
There’ll be other trucks. Keep mama happy.

1st question, on some 2 seater cars you can disable the passenger side airbag to accomadate a situation where the airbag could cause injury to an undersized passenger. Does your truck have this feature?

How are you currently using the 3 vehicles? Is it really necessary to use the truck when taking the kids along? You have 2 other cars that are more kid friendly, so why not use them for family trips? The truck is the Home Depot buggy of choice.

Is the truck paid off? At this point you have gotten past the high depreciation years, so it won’t depreciate that much per year from now on if you keep it. The is really a question of family economics and how much you need the truck. A driveway ornament indicates that someone doesn’t see much value in having it.

A Subaru Forester with a utility trailer can handle most/all of your PU needs as I don’t hear you making a strong “truck case” use to keep it. Personally, given the gas prices. I would sell both the truck and Saturn, and get a used Corolla/Civic/Focus type car and aluminum utility trailer. Everything will be cheaper to insure, register and run.

As long as you have a wagon type SUV for the clean stuff and trailer for the dirty and weighty stuff, you have everything covered.
A 200 lb aluminum trailer can be rated for over 2000 lbs. No compact truck made can handle anywhere near that…and it uses NO gas and costs nothing to insure…A Forester has a max tow capacity of 2400 lbs with trailer brakes. So as everyone says, nothing is stopping you going to two cars.

If it were me, I’d get rid of the Saturn because it’s the oldest of the three vehicles and has the highest mileage of all 3. The brand-new Subaru Forester would be the choice for carrying the kids around in, and keeping the truck would be ideal for those trips to Lowe’s, Home Depot, or your local hardware/garden supply store to get stuff that you wouldn’t want to haul in the Forester that could likely dirty up and/or damage the interior space.; throw that kind of stuff into the bed of a pickup and you’re good to go; better than having to hook up a utility trailer to the Forester for that purpose; the trailer may not use any gas by itself, but it WILL cause the tow vehicle to use more than it normally would. And for maneuverability, I’d much rather have the truck by itself than have to maneuver in a parking lot with a trailer in tow behind the Forester.

Another option is to designate the Subaru as the child car. Either one of you can drive it when necessary. Then keep the truck and sell the Saturn. I assume that the truck has an automatic transmission and your wife could drive it. Also, is it possible to fit the child seats on the jump seats? Even if you could pull the passenger seat forward to make it fit, you could at least carry one child in the Frontier.

First of all, never ask the police or fire department anything…It’s way too easy for them to say no…Just do what you want to do and beg forgiveness later if it ever comes to that, and it usually does not…

Don’t put yourself in a financial bind with a new big debt load when, with a little creative thinking, you can work around the problem…

Safety geeks think rear-facing infant car seats are a mandatory thing…I doubt any of them have children…

@MikeInNH - Just bought the third car, we’re getting rid of one of them. Just trying to figure out which one and when.

@the same mountainbike - mama will be happy, just trying to make a better finical decision since we’ve already paid for the truck and have taken most of the largest deprecation hit.

@Uncle Turbo - Passenger seat has a sensor that turn the airbag off. The truck is used for primitive camping on roads that require a high clearance vehicle, hauling whitewater rafting gear, transporting mountain bikes, driving the canyons when 4X4 or chains are required, runs to home depot, driving into work when there is a bad snow and moving other people’s stuff. The truck is paid off, the offer from CarMax was $15,000 and private sale looks to be around $17,000 both of which are really lower than what my personal value of the usefulness of the truck is.

@dagosa - Trailer is a good option that we will consider. Drifter62 does make some good points as to why I don’t really like to pull a trailer unless I have to. My other issue is finding a place to store it, with a vehicle I can just grab the keys and move it out of the way when I need to get something into my driveway.

@Drifter62 - The only reason I can see keeping all three is to drive the Saturn when I don’t need to spend as much on gas.

@jtsanders - The only issue with designating the Subaru as a child car is when we both need 4X4 or AWD and one of us is dropping the kids off and the other one needs to pick them up. The only thought is that this may never occur.

@Caddyman - they gave me a good resource to talk to. There is a rafting saying we use: “I always want to say I wish I did than I wish I didn’t”

Thanks for all the replies so far, I’m getting a lot of great ideas to think about.

The Saturn could be more trouble because of age and maybe brand reliability. But then, in our family, I have always made sure that both cars can carry all 4 of us around relatively comfortably. By that I mean a Corolla will do too, but not a 2 seater.
Right now we have 3 cars, just because I am thinking about getting rid of the extra one. But whenever I want to work on one car, the peace of mind of knowing that we could all still make it to work/school even if the one car stays on stands, has been invaluable.

Erick…thanks for your concise and well thought out replys. You are right about my trailer suggestion. Storage can be a problem though small utilities can be tipped up and leaned against sheds and trees and are light enough to store on the back lawn area and hand wheeled out for use. The good point I agree with, you do have to be comfortable towing in traffic. If you can’t back one up easily in crowded areas and have little interest in doing it, I agree, it is not a viable option. I try to use mine for other stuff like an off ground tent platform and storage for other items I want off ground or tarps hidden underneath. It gets borrowed by neighbors when I would be more hesitant about loaning a vehicle.
I’m also 100% with Galant on his excellent comments.

Keep the truck unless you are ready to give up the white water rafting and all the other stuff you like to do. Sometimes family time doesn’t allow for some things. I’d say the car to go is the Saturn.

I’d keep the truck and lose the Saturn if that’s an option. If it’s not an option just keep the truck. You can still use it when you’re not transporting the kids. So it’s not like it’ll just sit there for the next few years.

@MikeInNH , I have three cars and I’m the only person in the house who drives, I’m also the only person in the house.

How much do you really use the truck as a truck? I mean, is there really much it does, that the Subaru can’t do? Be honest! I’m only asking because I’m sure the truck is easily the least efficient (both in terms of fuel, and as being a “family vehicle”). Are you against taking the Subie on the trails because it’s so new? Also, how important is fuel economy to you? If it’s at all important, I can’t imagine getting rid of the Saturn, especially with the way gas prices are skyrocketing now (just jumped up 30 cents overnight here!). I know Saturns weren’t the best-made cars in the world, but @ 66K miles, it still should have quite a bit of life left in it!

Also, and I hate to burst your bubble, but RARELY does anyone sell a vehicle for what they think it’s worth! Just throwing that out there too…

@FoDaddy…If you can afford it and need it…GREAT…If not it’s a waste. I never have owned more then one vehicle per person in my household…but I know many who have…To each their own.

Here’s an option no one has mentioned yet:
Trade both the truck AND the Saturn in for a newer 4 door truck; better if you could do an even trade, as you still wouldn’t have payments to worry about.