As of this afternoon, I no longer own a car. The car that I got rid of was a black 2001 Honda Civic LX 4-door sedan. When I bought in 2005 for $12,000, it had a mere 49,445 miles on the odometer. Initially, I was making a 50-mile round trip commute to work every day, so I put over 22,000 miles on the car in 2006 alone. But things changed over time. Those who know me are well aware that I now get around almost exclusively by walking, biking, and riding transit. In 2016, I only drove my car a mere 1,355 miles.
Over the last couple months, I realized that I needed to make a decision about whether I would continue to be a car owner. My car now had 142,851 miles on the odometer, and after researching its value using KBB.com, I knew that it just wasn’t worth much anymore. I also realized that maintaining the car in good working order was a ticking time bomb of expenses. When I last had my car serviced and the registration renewed in September, I was quoted $2,000 in recommended maintenance. (Yes, I am well aware that mechanics love to recommend maintenance, but what they were recommending wasn’t much of an exaggeration.) My car had reached the point that continued maintenance would cost more than it’s worth.
So, I had a decision to make, and it didn’t take long to come to a conclusion. Considering how seldom I drive these days, buying a new or newer car would be an insanely stupid decision. Continuing to maintain the car didn’t make much sense, as explained in the previous paragraph. Continuing to drive the car until it died seemed a bit irresponsible. In the end, selling it, while the car still had some value in it, won out.
But what about those times, when walking, biking, and riding transit can’t get me where I need to go? Well, I’ve been living this lifestyle long enough to know that those situations are few and far between. Plus, I have options like taxis, Uber, and Lyft available in case emergencies arise. If I want to drive myself, Enterprise Carshare is available at $12 per hour. If I need to go out of town, I can rent a car for a mere $30 a day. And last fall, I took four trips on Salt Lake Express in order to get to Idaho and back, and it worked great. Now, you may have the urge to point out that all of those options cost money. Well, let me remind you that I’ve just saved myself a bunch of money by dumping my car.
So, this afternoon I executed my plan. Since my car hadn’t been moved since Thanksgiving, the battery had discharged. Over the past couple winters, I have learned that dead batteries are a symptom of rarely driving your car, and it’s actually been something that has further discouraged me from driving. After jump starting my car and clearing off the snow, I drove it to Ken Garff Honda in downtown Salt Lake City, where I had already arranged a tentative quote pending a final inspection. I sold my black 2001 Honda Civic LX 4-door sedan for $1,250 and figure that recovering 10% of what I paid more than 11 years ago wasn’t half bad.
There was one last thing that I researched prior to finalizing my decision: auto insurance. I’ve had experiences in my life that have taught me the value of insurance, so I wanted to explore the option of keeping my coverage. I wanted to be safe in case of situations like borrowing someone’s car and, let’s say, they only have liability coverage and, let’s say, I crash the car and, let’s say, it turns out to be my fault. So, I contacted Progressive, who’s been covering me for four years now. I learned that switching to a “named operator” policy would be a feasible option. Just before I started writing this, I got off the phone after making the change with Progressive.