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Friday, July 9, 2010

The Disappearance of the second car.

Every now and then I look around me and notice something has changed. Often in a short period of time. Recently I've noticed the disappearance of the second car.

I'm down to one vehicle. My dad drives just one. A number of my friends have done away with their second car. My uncle used to keep three on the road and is now down to one. One of my daughters sold her car and never replaced it. Up and down the roads around here people have for sale signs on their second vehicles.

Now I've no idea if it's a national trend, but I've seen enough to call it a regional trend.

A lot of the downsizing is economic. When two job households become one job households, the second car goes from being a necessity to a liability. Often the decision to downsize happens when one car has a major breakdown. After getting by with just one vehicle for a while, a lot of people hesitate to spend big money to fix the broken one. My state, NH, just raised registration fees a significant amount. Other states are doing the same. Insurance always seems to get more expensive.

In some cities, the public transportation options are quite good. I've a son-in-law who takes the train into Boston and loves it.

However, out here in the woods, there are no public transportation options. Relying on just one car is a serious decision. If the car doesn't start, it might be hours or days before a ride to town could be found. That's where it pays off to have preps in order. Now if the car doesn't start, I'll just stay home. I happen to like it here.

Now this might be a local trend, but look around and see what's happening in your area. Maybe getting rid of car might be a good idea for your situation.

At some point you don't own stuff -stuff owns you. All your time can be eaten up taking care of things. When it comes down to it, all we have in life is time. Getting rid of that second car may save you some of that precious time.

That's not to say I'm against people having more than one car. Many households can't get by with just one. If, on the other hand, you are maintaining a fleet out of habit, maybe it's time to give your situation a good hard look. Is it worth it?



  1. There are lots of toys for sale around here (boats, RVs, jet skis, ATVs, etc.) but the driveways are still full. I have noticed a lot less "paper plates", as in temporary tags on new cars lately, and the used car lots seem to be thriving while new car dealerships are slow. Some have closed, the rest are selling out to big dealership "chains". We've got two cars because we both work. Which sucks royally...

  2. My wife hasn't worked in 15 months. Made it easy to give up the second car. Plenty of toys for sale here too -RVs, sports cars, boats of all kinds, motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles. You name it.

  3. Another issue about a 2nd cars is the repair cost. If you are not skilled at repairs or can't because of time to do it yourself we're looking at $80-$85 per hour repair rates.

    Vehicles that are 15 years old and newer require maintenance such a timing belts for the overhead cam engines. If you don't do this and the belt breaks usually the entire engine is destroyed. It's not unusual to have a $600.00+ belt maintenance cost every 60,000 miles.

  4. My local professional gets $66/hour. Has all the special equipment. Does excellent work.

    It's worth learning about a vehicle's maintenance requirements before buying it. Just retired a '81 diesel Benz with about 500,000 miles on it. Engine still runs fine. Body finally rusted away.

    My '94 Ford F250 7.3 turbo diesel has 230,000 miles on it and runs like a top. Great engine.