CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Which car to use?

Our daughter is driving from chicago to michigan in a couple weeks. We have 3 cars - a 2010 Ford Fusion with 19k miles, a 2000 Mazda with 150k miles and a 1995 Chevy S10 with 140k miles. The question is which car should she drive? One of us thinks she should take the older car to save the warranty on the new car (9 month old and already 19k miles). The other of us thinks she should take the new car because the old cars have so many miles on them. Which is more reasonable???

Let her take the new car if she is responsible. If a repair issue comes up, it easier to tell her to find a Ford dealer than to find an quality independent mechanic in a town that neither of you know well. To me, “saving the warranty” is not as important as making sure the offspring makes the trip safely.

Otherwise, make sure she has a car club membership like AAA so that she has a good back up for the older car. You don’t get to choose when or where you break down on a trip, when these things occur.

She’s not driving across the country, so the economics are rather meaningless. I would personally want to make sure she’s driving the car she CAN BEST HANDLE SAFELY.

For such a short distance, unless she’s driving to Iron City or Rudyard in the Upper Pininsula, you want to know the best vehicle for the driving conditions.

If she’s only going somewhere in the Lower Pininsula, I would recommend the Mazda with good winter tires. Next the Fusion with good winter tires. The Chevy is too unreliable at that age for you to sleep well when she’s gone. Having driven in Michigan through winter snowfalls makes me stress the TIRES more than any other aspect.

Just check out the Mazda before she goes.

Pickup trucks are about the statistically most dangerous vehicle on the road on four wheels. I’d eliminate the S-10 from contention.

Scrabbler

Pickup trucks are about the statistically most dangerous vehicle on the road on four wheels. I wonder if that is due to the truck or the drivers it attracts?

The S-10 wasn’t really one of their best vehicles they made.
I’d take either the Mazda something-or-other(didn’t specify what model it was) or the Fusion.

My vote would be for the 2010 Ford Fusion. I am a worrier and my son is a young driver (he is only 37). He has a spotless driving record, but I still worry. I would want to insure the safest trip possible, and I think the Fusion would be your best bet.

Chicago to Mich isn’t that big a trip. If the Mazda is up to date on maintenance it should be fine. The S10 is out due to any potential bad winter weather. The number of miles for this trip shouldn’t impact the warranty period significantly, but kids don’t need the responsibility of dealing with a freaked out parent if they should crash the new car. It is bad enough if they crash the old car.

If you don’t trust the Mazda will make it, then it must need more maintenance and perhaps shouldn’t be driven at all.

If the s10 is RWD skip it. A terrible winter vehicle unless equipped with winter biased all-seasons or winter tires.

Flip a coin…its not a big road trip

ok…drum roll…Mazda

Chicago To Michigan And Back ? Just Pick One. My Wife And I Each Drive Our Cars That Distance Weekly.

CSA

My vote is for the Fusion. The trip to Michigan and back is a comparatively short one and if it were my daughter I would feel much better knowing that she’s in a near new vehicle that is less prone to a breakdown.

The way I would look at it would be comparing the loss of a few warranty miles against the safety of my daughter (and I have one) who could possibly break down with an older, high miles vehicle and become part of a crime statistic.
To me the decision is a slam dunk.