Our Favorite Family Car: Saying Goodbye

Our Favorite Family Car: Saying Goodbye

 family car family car working on the car moab working on the car learning to change a tire family car family car

I’m getting ready to sell my beloved family car because my children have outgrown it, and the process has been a little more difficult than I expected.  I’m really curious how all of you buy and sell cars, because I’ve never bought a new car before.  Can you believe it? My husband and I have always bought used cars and repaired them ourselves as they break.  Which actually means my husband and the kids repair our cars while I sit comfortably inside the house.

We currently own three cars, but in 18+ years of marriage, my husband and I have never bought or owned a new car.  We spend our money on travel instead, which we haven’t regretted it for a minute, but now that we don’t fit in our favorite family car anymore it’s time to buy a new one. We bought our current car when our kids were 8 and 3, and it was the perfect size for our little family. Now our kids are 17 and 12 (sob)and there isn’t enough legroom for anyone, even when my husband isn’t in the car.

Getting a new car and getting rid of your old one is a little bit like a break-up, isn’t it? This family car has seen us through sippy-cups and car seats, camping trips and road trips, treks to hospitals and schools, choir concerts and orchestra performances, grocery store runs and swim meets.  This is the car in which my daughter learned how drive, to fix a flat tire and change the oil, and where my husband taught our son to rebuild an engine.  It has seen us through a lot.  Selling it and buying a new car is bittersweet, but it’s time. We just don’t fit anymore.

My husband and I spend a lot of time looking before we buy a car, even a used one, because we want to get the absolute best value for our money. We’d just rather spend our money on other things. And every time we get close to buying a new family car, I get really anxious about the whole thing and end up backing out. Going to a car dealership can be so stressful; test driving cars and haggling with the dealer to figure out financing is overwhelming, so I love it when the process is streamlined in any way.  Capital One has created an Auto Navigator ® site so you can test drive your auto financing options ahead of time and check out the inventory at car dealerships near you, all without leaving home, which I love.

Capital One runs some of your basic information to pre-qualify you without damaging your credit. That way you can see what kind of payment and APR you qualify for, along with what kind of car you can afford, before you show up at the dealership.

I don’t know about you, but knowing what kind of monthly payment I can comfortably make, along with what APR is commensurate with my credit score, makes me feel a whole lot more in control of the whole experience. I love the idea of walking into a dealership armed with knowledge before negotiations begin.

Right now we’re looking at a handful different cars to fit our family, and using the Auto Navigator ® as we look at a variety of factors so that when the day comes to trade in the keys of our beloved, favorite family car, we know exactly what we’re getting.


// This post was written in partnership with Capital One. All children, photos, and crumb-filled seats of the car are my own.  As always, thank you for your kindness to the sponsors who keep Petit Elefant going. //

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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. Jamie :

    I just wanted to add that I found my new (to me) car through Auto Navigator! It was a make I wasn’t even really considering, but Auto Navigator found it for me and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I feel like it was a GREAT find and it only came up on Auto Navigator. I am THRILLED with it. Good luck with your purchase- I hope that it ends just as well!

    • Allison :

      Really? I love hearing that! I love, love, love online tools that make the back end easier. That’s so cool, and I’m happy to hear you found a perfect fit for yourself. I’m crossing my fingers we do the same, thank you!