Trade 2 Cars for 1 SUV for Move Across Country

chuckljrchuckljr Member Posts: 2
edited August 2014 in General

The question is, do you think we should ship one of our cars or just trade in both cars for one SUV?
My wife had our baby in June and we've decided to move from San Diego to live with/by her parents in Massachusetts. Wife and baby will be flying there and I'll be driving a uhaul trailer hitched to one of our cars.
Neither of our cars now would be any good in the snow. Buying a 4 wheel drive vehicle would be great for the weather but also be good for extra space for packing clothes and whatnot for the big move. However, we'll both need cars once in Massachusetts. If we traded in both of our cars for one nice new SUV/van/family-truck, we'd have to buy another car, though it would likely be some old $5,000 in town type car.
Should we just stick with our current cars, weather-be-damned, and ship one for like, $1000-$1500? Or is it possible/reasonable to trade in both our cars for one weather-friendly big vehicle and buy another car at a later time?

My wife drives a 2010 Hundai Elantra with about 60,000 miles and $4,500 left owed to a local credit union. I drive a 2012 Chrysler 200 that I just bought in May with 40,000 miles and $12,000 owed to Capital One.

Thank you for your advice.


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    edited August 2014

    My wife and I sold two old cars earlier this year and got a newer minivan that we are using for our move from MI to NM (currently in SD as I type this).

    We don't have a baby and don't need two cars when we get to NM. And we got the newer car semi-cheap.

    If I owed money on two cars and had a new kiddo, I think I'd try to get them both to MA and invest in some good winter tires. That's not a cheap option but it's a lot cheaper than "swapping" two cars for two other cars. I've lived in snow country for many years and I'm sure you'll see Elantras and 200s getting by in bad weather in MA. Even my San Diego born wife learned to navigate Anchorage in FWD minivans and we never had 4WD or AWD up there. It's the tires. And the driver. (And staying home some days if you have to).

    You can appraise your cars here and get an idea of what they would be worth in trade on a new car.

  • chuckljrchuckljr Member Posts: 2

    Thanks stever. Funny, I'm so dumb I didn't even think about maybe just getting nice tires, honestly :P Still, I mean, would it really be cheaper in the end? I would still have to pay $1000 or so to ship one of the two cars, plus the cost of 8 new tires. That could be a down payment on the new car and I'd be condensing the two car payments into one. Of course, then I'd still need a second car but it'd be a cheapo car that would be paid off sooner anyway or all at once.

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    edited August 2014

    @chuckljr said:
    That could be a down payment on the new car

    Yeah, but you can't buy your way out of debt. Babies aren't that expensive out of the box, but the cost of raising a kid doesn't get any cheaper as they grow. One set of tires is ~one car payment. Shipping a car is around ~three car payments.

    But I'm assuming you're going to have lots of bills with the move, new housing and I have no idea about your finances or income. Lots of people move up (in size) when they have kids for the added safety, so if your budget allows, that's a good excuse to get an SUV. I tend to be a bit, ahem, frugal, so I approached your move from the saving money angle.

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