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Trying to decide when to trade in for larger vehicle. Help!

We’re having a difficult time trying to decide whether or not to trade in our 2010 Mazda 5 for a true minivan with 8 passenger seating (most likely a used Honda Odyssey). We’re a family of 5 (with three small kids) and only have one vehicle - the Mazda 5 and it only has 21,000 miles on it. We often would like to have additional people in our car but are limited by capacity (we live far from our family who fly into town to see us). Our car had an issue with cupping on the rear tires and so needs new tires and an after market camber kit installed. We’re not sure if we want to invest this amount of money into a car that is barely meeting our needs most of the time and not meeting our needs sometimes. Or if it’s better to just go ahead and trade in the 5 for a used Odyssey? This would require dipping into our savings, which we’re not thrilled about since we own the 5 outright. However, we’re worried that if we wait and fix the Mazda we’ll just end up trading it in a few years anyway, having put money into it and lost trade-in value. If we got an Odyssey we would drive it until it dropped. What makes the most sense in our situation? Keep the Mazda for a year or two until we absolutely can’t stand it anymore or just trade it in now while it’s still under warranty?

A minivan such as an Odyssey probably won’t get the gasoline mileage you are getting with the Odyssey. If you can stand to drive the Mazda for a few more years, you will come out ahead. You have taken the big hit on depreciation, so over the next two years you won’t lose too much. If you decide that you really need a larger vehicle immediately, I think you should try to sell the Mazda yourself to get top dollar. You are then in position to bargain for a minivan.
I drive a minivan because I frequently have musicians with their instruments with me. I presently have a Toyota Sienna and have been very satisfied.

If the “5” simply isn’t big enough, you have no choice do you? You need more room. Buy a bigger car or SUV.

If what you are saying is that the “5” is a might crampy, but big enough to get by, what are the plusses and minusses to an upgrade? … well, that’s another question. To this I’d recommend to not upgrade. You’d be taking too much of a hit on the money you paid for the car in the first place. The depreciation is huge the first year. You’d be better off $$-wise if you can keep this “5” car for 3-5 years minimum.

And it’s very unusual in my experience for a car – new or used – to require a special “camber kit”. Have you consulted other mechanics about this? Something doesn’t sound right. It may simply by an up-sell.

There comes a time in some families when the family outgrows the family buggy. Mine did. It sounds like yours has. Buying a minivan was one of the best decisions I ever made. You might also wonder how you lived without one.

Later, when the kids are grown, you can begin to live again.

Instead of trading the Mazda5, sell it to a private buyer. You could net an extra $1600 or so by selling it. You will have to earn the money, but that is a big differential, and well worth the effort IMO.

Get the Odyssey or whichever minivan you like. The extra $1600 could translate into a year or two newer Odyssey or keep your savings up.

If your family flies in, why not have them rent a vehicle when they come down. This would be the perfect opportunity if they can rent an Odyssey. If they can, gather the family in it and do your running around in it to see how you like it.

Since your family doesn’t visit often, it doesn’t make sense to buy a larger vehicle just for those rare occasions they might come in.

A 3rd option would be to find a small/mid-sized vehicle as a 2nd vehicle to have around and keep the 5 as your normal/family car.

Thanks for all the suggestions and information. It sounds like we’ve already taken the biggest hit on the Mazda 5’s value so if we can wait a year or two, we’ll be in better shape. The Mazda is fine for us day to day for the most part. We have a cargo box that we use for long trips or Costco runs. So we’re thinking we’ll plan to keep the Mazda until we absolutely can’t stand it anymore.

As for the after market camber kit, a few people have recommended that to us. Apparently the factory camber kit on the Mazda 5 is not adjustable and causes cupping of the rear tires. I’ve seen kits online for around $110 so it hopefully won’t be a huge deal to fix. I’m not excited about buying new tires with only 21,000 on the car but if we get the camber properly adjusted I hope the new tires will last a long time.

Many thanks for all your help and suggestions.

I was told that I had a rear wheel on the 2006 Chevrolet Uplander minivan that had the camber way out. I was told this by a chain tire store where I had to buy a new tire in a hurry–my tire had a nail that was too close to the sidewall. I had a meeting about 25 miles away and was in a hurry, so I bought the tire and was on my way. However, I didn’t notice the cupping. When I had time, I took the Uplander to my independent tire store and had a 4 wheel alignment performed. I am not sure, but they may have had to put in the kit. At any rate, my bill was less than $100.
At any rate, I would seek out a good alignment shop.

I dunno, if the vehicle doesn’t meet your needs, what would waiting gain you in the long run? Especially if you’re going to keep it awhile. If you need tires and trade it, they will discount your trade value due to the tires so either way you’ll pay for them. With interest rates for new vehicles at aywhere from zero to 3%, I’m not sure I see the wisdom of buying used or paying cash.

Upgrade time as I see it, as my grandfather used to say if you need eggs it does not matter what they cost.

our you routing your tires ??

How bad is the tire problem? The 5 is the cheapest car you can have right now,find a good alignment shop with a good reputation and request that an experienced tech work on it,good luck-Kevin

I like vanilla, you may prefer chocolate. Neither is best for everyone. Same when it comes to cars.

There is no one right answer. In fact what is best for you today may well be a poor choice six months from now.

Good Luck

This was a hard decision. We’d love to have a true minivan for the room, but I feel good about keeping the Mazda 5 for now. Financially it makes the most sense and maybe in a year or two we’ll be able to afford a nicer minivan without pulling from our savings.

I’ve ordered new tires from Tire Rack and the camber kit from another site. We’ve made an appointment to have everything installed and aligned at Big O Tires. We haven’t used this tire chain before but the tire guy we’ve used in the past wanted to charge us a ridiculous amount for the camber kit. I’ve read online that this camber issue happens frequently with the Mazda 5 and since the tires were rotated they sound HORRIBLE and the car drives really poorly so I don’t feel like they were trying to sell me something unnecessary or at least I hope not.

We’re hoping with the camber kit and new tires we’ll be in good shape until we are ready to trade in or sell. Many thanks for all your replies.