Making the right choice


Tonight I finally managed to put our 4×4 car online for sale. Yesterday and today we cleaned it thoroughly and around noon we made a series of photographs. Only an hour after I put the announcement online I had growing doubts. Are we really doing the best thing in common sense? Let’s analyse the whole process that lead to this action:

  1. Ownership of two cars is rather expensive so we decided to replace the oldest car by one or two small motocycles.
  2. An old car uses a lot of fuel and has an expensive maintenance and insurance.
  3. At school A. had the opportunity to have lessons and do a theory exam for a special drivers licence (‘patentino’ that allows youngsters from the age of 14 to drive a small size motor vehicle).
  4. A. will have the possibility to travel without having to bother us.
  5. If one of us uses the only remaining car the other(s) will have the motorbike to move around.
  6. We will have to pay less insurance and less fuel.
It is amazing to see that all these points are money driven. And that they are potentially leading to spend even more or at least not making decisions based on common sense. Let’s analyse deeper the point I mentioned:
  1. If I manage to register the 4×4 car as an old timer I can save up to € 500,–/year on insurance and taxes.
  2. Maintenance is a risky point for an old car.
  3. We save money by having A. doing this with school compared to doing it at a private car driving school. It still costs quite some money and until now nobody was able to tell us what we were going to spend for the whole thing.
  4. A. has to travel 40 lm to go to school, too far to do with a motorcycle at her age for now. Other destinations she might want to reach are in colse and can easily be reached by bike.
  5. In winter and other bad weather conditions it is useless to travel with the motorbike especially in the case we need to pick up J. from his school in a nearby town.
  6. I was shocked when I found out that the insurance of a motorbike is very expensive. The less expensive one is more or less the same price as the car insurance with old timer discount. If we want to have two motorcycles this will just double the price and there will be no benefit anymore.
Having summend this up, It seems there is no commons sense in selling the car and replace it for a motorcycle but for the fuel consumption. A motorcycle uses roughly 2,5 times less fuel compared to the car. The price per liter is high since it needs lubricant added. In a year that is a difference of about € 200,– more for the car. In other words, to travel 2000 km a year with one motorcycle will cost about € 1200,–, to do the same with our 4×4 dong nothing the same! If we register the car as an oldtimer we will spend only € 600,–.
The only thing that remains is the maintenance costs that can cause nasty surprises with an old car. Replacing the car for another, smaller car is not interesting, you might only save some money by buying a cheaper car but it will be without the old timer benefits. In common sense it seems we have to stick to the car at least for now.
Selling it without getting something in return is not an option since public transportation is almost inexistant. As long as I have to travel regularly for my work there is a practical need for a second car for the remaining members of the family in the situation we live in now.
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