We are coming up on an unpleasant milestone. PhoukaDad turns 84 in a couple of months, and the DMV requires that he retake his driving exam. Not only is he not going to pass it, phoukaMom and I have agreed to send in a request to have him road-tested as well. We do not want him on the road.
Currently, there are three cars in the household. Mom drives a new Prius. Dad drives a Buick, and I’ve got a Saturn coupe. Clearly, once Dad is no longer driving, we are better off getting rid of one of the cars. The trouble is, which one?
The Prius stays. It’s new, still being paid off, and in excellent condition. That leaves the Saturn or the Buick.
The Saturn is a 1997 SC1 with 152,000 miles and a Blue Book value of $550. It runs fine, though it does burn a little bit of oil. I need to add about a quart every six weeks. Its maintenance has been spotty due to financial problems on my part, and it’s been in several fender benders but only once needed work on the frame. It’s a stick shift, which I love. Currently, it’s getting about 25 mpg, but on the highway, it’ll do as well as 34 mpg. It’s really only good for driving up to two people plus a dog or a little cargo. The interior is a little worn, but there’s no odor. Plus, Dad hates it. There’s the chance that even after his license is yanked, he may take it in his head to drive “just down to the store”. He’s less likely to do that in the Saturn than the Buick.
The Buick is a 2001 Le Sabre with 250,000 miles and a Blue Book value of $1600. It’s got some engine problems, and repairs on it are more expensive than repairs on the Saturn. It’s also been in a few fender benders, but nothing on the frame. The windshield needs to be replaced. It’s an automatic transmission with power locks and windows. The interior is leather and in very good condition for a car its age. It’s also much roomier, which is nice when the phoukabrothers visit. The majority of the mileage was put on during commutes of 90 miles. The best mpg it gets is 24. However, Dad is familiar with the car, and if he decides to take it out on a drive, I can’t stop him.
Mom and I know that either car is one more fender bender away from being totaled, so we’re not really invested in either. We need to balance cost of running, versatility, and keeping Dad from getting behind the wheel once his license is gone. (Just to be clear: Dad’s not a dangerous driver, but he’s losing his cognitive skills, and he’s more likely to get lost and scare us silly than he is to have an accident.)
Your thoughts, experiences, and advice are welcome.