Possibly getting rid of my car and doing without one. Crazy?

My life has had a confluence of events:

  1. An extremely old car that needs to be replaced.


  1. A move to an Urban area where parking on the street is near impossible. Requiring the renting of a parking space.

This set me down a road of buying or leasing a new car and suffering a car payment (my current car has been paid off for years and years), higher insurance and rent for a space (around $250/month my research showed).

Then a curve ball:

  1. My job is transitioning to something where I will be working from home full time.

This changed everything. My main need for a car was my commute as where I will live has a lot of Mass transit. I decided (I think) that once I move, I will sell or donate the car and just not have one. Between Lyft and renting a car for weekend excursions I think it might work. Am I crazy? Anyone else walk away from owning a car? Did it work out for you?

If I lived and played in a city, and didn’t need a car for work purposes, I would absolutely go without one.

I’ll give it a good home!

It sounds like you don’t need a car. A car will bring more stress and aggravation to your life than it will save you.

I abandoned my car when I moved to the city many years ago and I lived without it for four years. I’m glad I did. I only remember missing a car a few times - when I wanted to go to Ikea (no public transit nearby), when I occasionally wanted to go to Target (available only in the suburbs then), when I wanted to go on a few day-trips (although I could have rented a car, I didn’t want to go that badly), and when I needed tools for a Habitat for Humanity build (Home Depot was inconvenient for me and I needed to lug some heavy tools on a bus). I rarely felt limited by not having a car. My wife has always been car free and nowadays, it’s not much of an inconvenience. Public transit and Lyft work great.

When I finally bought a car again, it was more part of my entertainment budget than for any practical purpose. The car added parking, insurance, and maintenance to my burdens. Most of the places I wanted to go were nearby, so it wasn’t worth moving the car from its parking place and finding parking on the other end, risking a parking ticket or damage from street parking.

Rent cars when you need them instead. You’ll save a fortune. Alternatives work better for just about every urban use case that a car fills.

You can rent quite a bit before it’ll cost more than the amortized capital cost of a new vehicle + $250/mo parking. Given the situation as described, seems a no-brainer.

For seven years I lived and worked downtown in a large city and did not have a car for that entire time. Buses and Light Rail Transit went just about everywhere I wanted/needed to go and, in the winter, it was very nice to just sit on the bus and let the driver worry about the snowy roads. My commute was either a 15 minute bus ride or a pleasant 30 minute walk home.

On the very odd occasion that I needed a vehicle, I just rented one for the day. If I wanted to take a cab from my apartment to a pub, it usually cost about $10 one way. I never missed having a vehicle or the associated expenses.

If I could get by without the expenses of a car, I would do it in a heartbeat.
My current car is nearing the end of it’s life, and the cost of replacing it is doable but annoying.

Assume a $30k new car (not cheap but not expensive). Assume you drive it for 10 years and 6 days a week. We’ll also ignore the small resale value at the end of 10 years (call it cost of money over time), and you are paying $10 each day that you drive your car, just for the privilege of buying it. That doesn’t include parking, insurance, maintenance, fuel, etc.

It’s probably close to $20/day to own and use a car. Is it worth that to you?

You may want to check if your area has Zipcar or something similar. Very easy to rent a car for a couple hours when you need it.

Other than commuting, what else do you need a car for?

-Visiting family or friends?
-Travel, camping?
-Medical appts?
-Pet care (pet anything)?

If you have any circumstances that public transportation might not easily handle, consider long term parking arrangements in a less convenient location, and keeping your old car. You’d still have the expense of the parking, but not the new car expense. You could also try this for a few months, rather than going cold turkey.

I’ve thought about it. Getting rid of my car would pay for a hell of a lot of taxis. But the convenience of just getting into the car and hopping over to the supermarket is a little hard to give up.

This, and some of the other responses about rentals.

Where specifically are you moving to? The details change the answer from “hell, no” to “hell, yes” and anywhere in between.

If you’re moving to some place like San Francisco then owning a car will almost certainly be more trouble than its worth, and you may as well rely on walking, ZipCar, ride share services, etc. for your day to day needs. And for the longer trips maybe just regular car rental. Heck, I live in the suburbs in a two car family and we typically rent a minivan anyway for our long road trips with visiting family (six people total).

I lived in Metro Boston for 10 years without a car and loved it. The area has pretty decent public transportation. As noted, you can always rent a car if you feel like it, I seem to remember getting weekend deals from Enterprise for about $40-$50.

I was forced to stop driving by blindness. I hung on as long as I could, gradually reducing my driving below higher and higher urgency thresholds, until finally breaking the link.

I found it wonderfully liberating, to not be tied to a car anymore. The last year, I think I paid about $100 a mile for insurance.

I have a friend that lives in Chicago who does not own a car. He gets around by the El (train), bus, and even Uber and Taxi. When he goes out of town, he either hitches a ride with a friend, or rents a car. He has lived this way for the past two years and absolutely loves it.

If I lived in a big city, I would probably do the same thing, but I live in a small town. It most everything we need (Supermarket, drug store, hardware store, restaurants, etc.). However most of the time when I need to go to appointments or shopping, it is in the nearby larger city that is 20 minutes away. My Doctor appointments are there, my friends live there, the person who cuts my hair works there. Also, my job is about 15 miles away from where I live and there is no way to take a bus or a train there. The reality is that there is no practical way for me to get around while I’m living in my small town, so I have to own a car.

My Barcelona cousin got her driving license at age 42: her boyfriend is a Type 1 diabetic, they like going on day trips, and he asked her to get a license in case he got sick in one of them. When I lived in Philadelphia, I walked to work (6 blocks away) and used cabs, buses or rentals as needed. For three of the years I lived in Miami, I could walk to work and for groceries and didn’t have a car (couldn’t even afford one unless I gave up on going home for Christmas); I only got one when I changed jobs and it became necessary to be able to reach work in a less-than-geological scale.

There’s a lot of things we get only because they’re customary. A car is a big enough expense that I really see no reason to own one if you can do well without.

Parking the car someplace less expensive for a while to test-run living without it is a great idea. I’d love to be without the expense if I lived in an area where I could do that. There’s always Uber or Enterprise.

My kid moved to a city with good public transportation and never bought a car. If a car is required they rent or use Zipcar. Oddly, they had a job for a while where one of the duties was driving the boss around in the bosses car.

Screw cars – if you live in a city with transit, that is.

If you live in Muncie, Indiana…well, you’re kinda car-dependent.

The happiest years of my life have been car-free but I cheat; I usually have at least one motorcycle and we have fantastic public transportation most of the places I’ve lived in the city here. I always work close to home and have a market within a very easy walk so I will probably do it again a time or three before I die.

My son has lived in Chicago without a car for ten years. Everything was fine - the L was close by and went directly past his job, he could walk to a supermarket in five minutes, and there was Uber and Lyft for everything else.

He was laid off a month ago. Now he’s discovering how many jobs aren’t located conveniently close to mass transit, and how many prospective employers expect you to be able to get to a meeting in Morton Grove or Naperville on your own.

Not needing a car for work is great. Just don’t expect it to last forever.