The Great Car Swap '08

Once upon a time, 8 years ago, I got my driver license. My parents allowed me to use the car they had been saving for just such an occasion, our little 1992 Honda Civic our family bought when we first moved to Hawaii (Let's call it Hawaii Civic). It was red. Maroon, even.

I drove it, very happily, through high school until the fall of my junior year of college, when my parents deemed it Too Old for me to be driving on rural Indiana roads late at night, and got me a 2004 Honda Civic (Let's call it New Civic), and my then-boyfriend Josh bought the Hawaii Civic. He thinks it's purple. It's something we argue about to this day.

Well, us Civic owners got married (I know a couple other Civic owners that are about to get married...!) and we had two Civics- which is great for gas mileage but not so great for carrying stuff after buying a home. Josh has always wanted a Truck, and I've always said Trucks are Impractical because they don't carry people and suck gas. In my high school days, I got 7 people in the Hawaii Civic (not exactly legally.)! I moved to and from college in my New Civic! What more do I need?

There was a couple times Josh made his case: once, when we were taking our then-baby nephew in the New Civic, and his backward-facing car seat would not fit behind either front seat, even slid all the way forward. This was troubling, and a case for a bigger vehicle in the future. The second incident was when Josh was building a bookcase, and we discovered that a standard piece of plywood would not fit in the car (I don't remember which car we had along) and we had to bungee-cord it to the roof the best we could and drive while each holding a hand out of the window to prevent it from flying up. In the winter. Without gloves. It was cold. Yet again, a case for a bigger vehicle.

So, flash forward to last week. Brother-in-law Mitch is headed off to Indiana University in the fall and will inevitably be making trips home periodically. His latest vehicle was a 1990 F150 (Let's call it The Huge Truck) that didn't exactly fit a college kid's gas budget.

At the same time, my sister, who had been driving my mom's old 2000 Toyota Camry (Let's call it the Silver Camry) moved to Chicago and decided not to have a car at all.

(I didn't take this picture. It's from cars.com)

Here's what we did:

  •  We traded the Hawaii Civic for the Huge Truck

  • We got the Silver Camry from my parents.

  • We kept the New Civic.

The result:

  • Mitch ended up with Hawaii Civic. He'll get great gas mileage going to and from IU and home, giving him more time to focus on his studies because he won't have to work all the time to pay for gas for the Huge Truck (Right, Mitch? Right? Studies?)

  • My sister ended up with No Car. She's going to learn to navigate the Chicago public transit system, and save thousands of dollars a year in parking costs, registration, and insurance. Way to go, sis!

  • We ended up with New Civic, Silver Camry, and Huge Truck.

Three vehicles for two drivers. Not a ratio I'm thrilled about, but Huge Truck will only get driven when necessary, which shouldn't be that often. And I will never drive it. Ever. Silver Camry will be a good family car for the future, theoretical family, and New Civic will continue to be a good commuter car that has practical aspects, even if it won't hold a backwards-facing car seat.

That said, we took Huge Truck camping this weekend and it kept us dry. We couldn't have camped without it. It earned itself points on its first trip, for sure, as I was highly skeptical of it. More on the camping story later.

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Kacie said...

Lol! Cars moving around all over the place. That is fun.

I've got to admit, I'm a little panic-y now about a car seat fitting in my backseat. I drive a Focus, and there isn't a ton of room back there. Oh my gosh. Better find that out sooner than later!

Joanna said...

We asked my brother-in-law about the car seat after we had trouble, and he said it was on the bigger side. It made us decide that, before we ever bought one, we would have to try it out in the cars first!

Brett said...

Sounds like everyone was a winner in the deal(s). Very cool.

Too bad about the car seat. Would it have fit in Hawaii Civic? I ask only because we have an older civic (we'll call it Rhonda Stivik) that's similar to Hawaii Civic and our car seat did fit. It was snug. And the front seat was pushed quite a bit forward but it did work. Still, good idea to test car seat/back seat compatibility before buying.

Oh, yeah, can I borrow your truck?

Joanna said...

Brett - We didn't try the car seat in the Hawaii Civic. I think we'll just look for a smaller one than the one our nephew had when the time comes.

And, yes, you can borrow the truck anytime. I think Rhonda Stivik would almost fit inside it.

Matt Wissman said...

I can't wait for my 2-civic family to become official ;).

We're anticipating the same issue with having a 2 small cars. My next car will probably be something like an Accord or Camry or Subaru.

Brett said...

Ok. I don't need to borrow Huge Truck but I do appreciate the offer. I'll keep that in mind when want to haul lumber or home improvement stuff.

Joanna said...

Matt- I can't wait till your 2-Civic family becomes official, either! Soon!
And, if we were buying new, we'd go with a Subaru Outback or Forester and forgo the truck. As it is, this was a pretty good deal, and should serve us just as well- without a car payment.

Alisse Goldsmith said...

Matt forgot to add that my younger brother has that EXACT same Camry (silver, 2000), which was what I always wanted, and was my mom's until she upgraded and he turned 16.

Also, I fit a large car seat into the backseat of my car (2002 civic)... so you could always use that type of car seat :). IT TOTALLY WORKS. Even better than my friend's 1995 Camry. You just have to scoot the front seat up a bit.

Larissa said...

Subarus are the best. They last forever. Everyone in Daniel's family owns one since they need the 4-wheel drive to get up the hill to their house in WV. They really are great cars. I'd recommend them to anyone.

Anonymous said...

You'll appreciate the 3 cars the first time one of them is in the shop and you don't have to rent a car or carpool to the wrong side of town.

And BTW - it is a purple civic. I don't know how you found a picture that made it look red. Maybe a little photoshop going on?

- Matt

FJ said...

Well, I guess you dont want mine anymore :)


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