[OP]
Newbie
Jun 3, 2017
24 posts
6 upvotes

One vs two cars

Hi all,

My partner and I are expecting our first child in June.

We currently have 2 cars, but since my partner started working remotely, we have taken one car off of insurance and it's just been sitting. The car is near the bottom of it's depreciation curve, so we aren't really losing much aside from the small opportunity cost of the $.

I'm tempted to sell the car, but I really enjoy driving and grassroots motorsports (autox, track days) so I've been hesitant. I haven't done any of that since COVID, and am sceptical I'll have time when the baby is born.

Furthermore, I am now a bike ride away from work - so that's another reason we only need one car.

Once the baby comes - is having 2 cars super useful? I expect the car will stay with mom and I will bike(get a ride to work on rainy/snowy days) so maybe not. Any unforseen circumstances that I am missing? Only thing I can think of is if one parent is out with the car while the other parent is with baby and suddenly needs a ride. I wonder how often this happens.

I know there are a ton of parents that do just fine with one or even no cars. Wondering everyone's thoughts.

Thanks!
22 replies
Deal Guru
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Jan 9, 2011
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Wife and I have been together for 20 years. Kids are now 18 and 16. We have only ever had one car. I too bike or walk to work. Never wanted or needed a second car. I joined car2go when it was operating here and used it occasionally. That worked fine and was a heck of a lot cheaper than owning a second car. car2go has been gone for more than a year now and I haven't joined any other car sharing service yet. The one car has been enough.
Deal Addict
Mar 24, 2015
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Ottawa, ON
Husband and I managed with just one car until our first was 5 and second was almost 2. We had great public transportation. The only reason we decided to get a second car was because I changed job and the location wasn't great (1.5hrs by bus, compared to 15mins by car). We also moved to a bigger house and buses are limited. Also just convenient for when my parents visit or when kids have their own activities.
But in your case, with just one kid, it's totally manageable.
Last edited by ckay1980 on Feb 27th, 2021 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Expert
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Oct 26, 2003
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Having a car rarely used is not economical but the convenience makes it worth it, but it depends on how much you value that convenience.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 21, 2004
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Wife and I have always had 3 cars... Sometimes 4 Face With Tears Of Joy

We are car enthusiasts too. No way we'd move down to just 1 people mover.

We have 1 main family hauler and 2 "fun" cars. If you can afford it, I say keep the 2. If everything is paid for, the added expense isn't too bad.
Member
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Nov 24, 2014
221 posts
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Toronto, ON
divx wrote: Having a car rarely used is not economical but the convenience makes it worth it, but it depends on how much you value that convenience.
It also depends on if you will continue biking to work. I was in a similar situation and keeping the second car made sense since it was easier for my wife to get out and about and do errands and stuff (multiple dr appts etc).
I really enjoyed biking to work, but it soon got to the point where I wanted to get back to the family asap to be with the kid and to help out (it is exhausting for the mother especially with no assistance, partially since they rarely catch up on lost sleep)
so I started driving again.
Additionally you will most likely keep the "better" car and not recoup the replacement cost of the second car. (I mean if you sell it for 3grand you probably won't find something equal for 3 grand when /if you look for its replacement...keeping in mind you know your present cars history and maintenance record)

So having the second car at home was an economical luxury and super convenient. (plus I could do costco runs and groceries and not have to worry about my wife being "trapped" at home.

This also depends on if you own both cars and don't need the funds that selling the second car would bring in. (also if the second car is a two seater or two door coupe, I'd say it is less convenient for the purposes of parenting) Face With Stuck-out Tongue And Tightly-closed Eyes

edit: I just realized the post above says the same thing
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Feb 8, 2014
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If its near the bottom of the depreciation curve and the extra cost is minimal i would keep it. Its useful to have two cars in a 3 person family and you know its maintenance and reliability history.
That said i would drive it around occasionally and keep up on its maintenance but if you don't have insurance on it thats a bad idea. I wonder if you can get occasional insurance on it somehow?
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburders eat people
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
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A big part of this depends on where you live -- how accessible public transit is, etc.

We have grade-school age kids and have only ever had one car, and have never had the desire to own another. But we are pretty close to good public transit.
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Nov 16, 2004
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Fast forward. If things change in 2 or 3 years, will you still want to use this current vehicle or you feel some sort of way because now it's "old" ... (to each their own)
Not to mention, depreciation. The clock is ticking.

It's super convenient (especially if you have the space) for a second vehicle but from what you've described, it doesn't sound like you need it. Take the moment now, sell it.

WORST CASE SCENARIO ... you gotta start all over and buy another car. Okay, and?
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Feb 20, 2014
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Why don’t you keep the second car until after the baby comes and decide then?

Before the baby comes, it’s easy to say you’ll take transit with a baby or bike to work every single day, but from my experience, once you’re in that sleep-deprived phase, a car ride to work or being able to drive to the grocery store is amazing.

You might feel differently after the baby comes. Better to decide after the baby is born, than to sell now and have to buy another car down the road if you end up deciding you want two cars after all.
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Jan 17, 2002
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We went down to one car a few years ago as we live close to the subway, but likely would have kept the second one around if that was not the case. Plus I love biking so I'm doing more of that, good excuse to get a fatbike for the winter commute :).
Sr. Member
May 14, 2010
568 posts
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Mississauga
Having one car would not work for us. Husband works odd hours and child has sports. We could not rely one the person with the vehicle to be available for everything. I did not drive for a very long time, and if I never drove, my son would not be able to do half the things he is able to do today.
What happens when you have multiple children with afterschool activities in opposite directions of the city?
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Oct 24, 2010
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My wife and I used to work near each other, so we carpooled to work. We had 1 car. Before my son was born, we bought a more reliable new to us car but kept my old 250,000 km shit box. I used the shitbox to commute, and the newer car became my wife's while on materity. We were too far from work to reasonably transit or cycle.

Before we moved to Ottawa, we sold the old car and kept the new one. We've had only 1 car since. Our new place is closer to both of our places of employment. Pre-pandemic, my wife and I both biked or walked to work so we didn't have a need for a second vehicle. Saves quite a bit of money not needing a second vehicle.

Now that we have a second on the way, we're shopping for a larger vehicle and we're considering keeping the car. My wife and I both live relatively close to our places of employment, but our offices are in exact opposite directions of each other. Our son's school will be in the direction of my work, and the daycare we've been using is in the direction of my wife's. And I don't think I want to bike my kid to school on my daily 12km ride to work!

It's definitely a tough decision.
Deal Guru
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Sep 1, 2005
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Kiraly wrote: Wife and I have been together for 20 years. Kids are now 18 and 16. We have only ever had one car. I too bike or walk to work. Never wanted or needed a second car. I joined car2go when it was operating here and used it occasionally. That worked fine and was a heck of a lot cheaper than owning a second car. car2go has been gone for more than a year now and I haven't joined any other car sharing service yet. The one car has been enough.
When I visitied Vancouver, I signed up for Car2go and EVO and I loved it...so easy and convenient to use and cheap especially when you factor in that it includes gas, parking and insurance in your minute rate.

Why don't you join EVO car share? There's next to zero cost /yr unless you use it. Better to have it just in case IMO.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
Sr. Member
Jan 20, 2012
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Toronto
With COVID and working from home. We rarely drive our 2nd and 3rd cars out. We've been sharing 1 car for the last 18+ months ever since our child was born. It was only 2 or 3 occasions that we had to drive separately. We lives remote enough which require owning vehicle to go anywhere.

But once everything back to normal, we need both cars for work.
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Jul 12, 2003
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Same here, we just had our new born late last year and we both WFH all year last year from March.
My car is a lease, hers is purchased and paid off.
To make the most our leased car, we drive mainly the lease one and keep the owned one sitting in garage. Even we drive out, it is only maybe twice a week just for grocery trip and some errands. For sure less than 80km per week.

I don't plan to lease another car once the lease is up in October this year, we may down to 1 car since wife is still on mat leave and I work from home Full time. Most likely she will work from home most of her days even she go back to work this end of the year.
Lease or buying another new car doesn't make sense because the car will sit there and keep depreciate or waste of money on the leasing (for not driving it enough).

We plan on just keeping one car or maybe buy a used one as a cheaper "spare" car. It will be way better than lease and buy a new car and sit there to lose money,
Last edited by MP3_SKY on Mar 9th, 2021 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Retired Forum Moderator February 2009 - June 2015
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Mar 31, 2008
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I got 2 reliable used cars cheaper then 1 new car. That's the best way to go. And that's with 'splurging' on one of the model year, type, etc.
Deal Addict
Mar 2, 2017
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If the car is at the bottom of the depreciation curve and currently you aren't paying insurance for it I'd lean towards keeping it...but it really depends on what car it is. Let's start there.

Otherwise, like you've correctly mentioned it will probably keep collecting dust for the foreseeable future. If it's a run of the mill car, dump it, and in a few years get something again if the itch comes back.

<- hypocritical advice as I've been in the same situation and still have more cars than drivers.
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Mar 2, 2017
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If the car is at the bottom of the depreciation curve and currently you aren't paying insurance for it I'd lean towards keeping it...but it really depends on what car it is. Let's start there.

Otherwise, like you've correctly mentioned it will probably keep collecting dust for the foreseeable future. If it's a run of the mill car, dump it, and in a few years get something again if the itch comes back.

<- hypocritical advice as I've been in the same situation and still have more cars than drivers.
Realtor, Investor, CPA

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