Peter, a repeat customer, writes:
My last question was certainly well-answered and I thank you for that! Problem is I have another because my situation has changed totally! And this one is kind of urgent.
My wife and I need to relocate to California by March. We’re going to drive my RAV4 appliance across the country with our dog. Problem is, we still have that darn Corolla. Money’s really tight now. We’re looking at quotes of 800-1200 dollars to ship her car out there. I’ve now got three choices:
1. Drive her 95,000 Mile Corolla to Anaheim from VA. It needs about 200 bucks worth of work prior to driving it out there: tires are 1 year old, but it might need shocks, the 100K service and it has some body damage for sure. It’s really, really good on gas so I’m not so worried about that cost (probably another 200). We’d need to drive in 2 different cars. Our ability to take turns driving or be next to each other during this great trip would be compromised. Plus, I may need to get earplugs with the roar and wind noise of the Corolla: it is really loud on the highway.
2. Pony up the 1000 bucks to ship it. I don’t know if any damage will come to it, but it already has some body damage to the bumper and rear door.
3. Sell it. I bet I can get 4K for it. Not sure about that. My wife owes 2 on it. I can use that 2 grand as a down payment on a lease or something else entirely. We’d sell it here, and lease a Civic or something out there. She’s almost got the car paid off though.
I can’t decide. I would love some blunt help from the B&B.
So let’s see. You will spend less money. Have more fun. Get to see the country. Plus potentially have another keeper for the next 10 years. OR….
You can have $2000 in your pocket temporarily; have one car, then blow a good wad of that on another debtful decision with a negative return.
I know you are going to keep the car because otherwise I would have to hire Robert Farago to hunt you down. One option you may have is to tow the Corolla with the RAV4. But I don’t know whether your particular model can accommodate this since I don’t know it’s model year or features. I would either tow it or drive it.
One other side note: California and the entire West Coast has used car prices that are completely detached from the rest of the USA. They are sky high. So high that we non-natives had a saying at the dealer auctions, “they brought ‘balls’.” I wouldn’t be surprised if your Corolla brought $1500 more on the West Coast than in Virginia. I would still keep the Corolla for the long haul. But if you wanted to blow your money on another vehicle driving it cross country would still be the way to go.
As we discussed via email, Option 1 is my only recommendation. This is the easiest/least stressful way to deal with owning a second car while moving across the country. And, as my partner in crime made crystal clear, your Corolla will be very valuable in California’s used car market. I choose the path of least resistance; it’ll probably be the best for your stress level and your wallet.
I know you and your wife woulda enjoyed that trip in the same cabin, but consider this: if you screw up and really piss her off before you hit the road, you have your own isolation chamber! Not that you would, or should…but you totally could.
Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org, and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.