For a family, having more than one vehicle in a household delivers convenience, especially as the family grows and the kids reach driving age. It gives family members more options on their use, how often they use each vehicle, and who has access to the cars available. With multiple vehicles available, household residents can go to school or work without worrying if the rest of the family will need the vehicle. 

However, having more vehicles in a household equates to more expenses, from upkeep to insurance and beyond. This can take a major part of the household budget, and if not managed correctly, it can lead to financial problems. Here’s how to cut costs for owning multiple vehicles while maximizing its perks and benefits for the family. 

Shared Access

For a family with one or two working parents and kids attending school, having more than one vehicle is common as it saves parents time and makes it convenient to do errands easily as a team. On a normal set-up, one parent can use one car and take the kids to school and the other to pick them up. 

However, in cases where the kids are also working or more family members use the family car as their means of transportation, having shared access can help ensure that everyone can use the available vehicle when they need it. Assigning a car for work or school and another for errands or personal use can help the family distinguish which car will be available so that they can use it. 

small family car in a multi-car household

Fair Use in a multi-car household

Having a variety of cars in a household can also enable a family to do more things together or apart. For example, having an SUV and a regular sedan can enable a family to go on trips together. The family members can also use it to transport their stuff if they are moving houses. They can do all this while still having the sedan available for those going to work or have other places to go to. 

Sharing access is key to maximizing the benefits of having multiple cars in a household, but this has to be managed by figuring out each member’s schedule of using what car. This way, everyone can equally enjoy its comfort and convenience. Proper management of the shared access can also help the car’s longevity, as usage will be moderated for all vehicles, and they will not be easily worn out. 

The Price of More

Additionally, all family members who have access to it must have the responsibility to help out with its maintenance. This way, more people are looking after all the cars, and everyone can split the costs for cleaning and other routine car maintenance services as well if needed.

Moreover, to make arrangements to share access to family vehicles, it is also a great idea to arrange days when people going in the same place or direction share a ride. Car-sharing even has a lot of additional benefits for the family, from helping reduce CO2 emissions and road traffic to creating a bond among passengers. It can help save costs as they only have to fill up one gas tank at a time and have everybody dropped off at their destination. 

The Cons of Having a Multi-Car Household

First and foremost, having more than one car to manage and upkeep means increased costs. Beyond the initial acquisition costs, the total costs of owning a vehicle can reach near $10,000 a year, including expenses in license and registration, fuel, tires, insurance and repairs, according to a 2021 study published by the American Automobile Association. 

However, the total cost may vary and can even go higher, as some cities and states in the US are more expensive to have a car in. As of 2021, California and Nevada are the most expensive states to own a car. The total costs of owning a car in those states are more pricy than the average due to high gas prices and maintenance service costs. But in Texas, which is known to have low gas prices, it is still relatively expensive to own and maintain a car too. 

This is because other charges in maintaining a vehicle, sales tax repairs, and even the liability car insurance in Texas, surpass the average prices. This is the opposite of the case in Hawaii, where car insurance and sales tax are cheaper, but gas prices are high, which makes the state still among the most expensive places to own a car.   Finally, if you ever move to a new home, you might have to consider the price of shipping one or more of the cars

More Things Less Space

More cars also mean less space for you, as they will take up parking space. If you do not have an enclosed parking area, you have more than one item to worry about at night. So it’s important to ensure you have enough secured parking spaces for your vehicles if you have or are deciding to have multiple vehicles in your household.  

Lastly, having two or more cars to share can sometimes create conflicts on who will use what when or who has used the car most or least. This dilemma can be resolved by sitting with the family and discussing it. Setting a schedule and figuring out how to share access and rides can help the family put all the vehicles into better use cases. 

yellow car parked beside white building

Maximize the Multi-Car Benefits 

Having a few cars in the driveway gives a household option and more freedom to go where they wish, together or individually. Maximize all your vehicles’ benefits and minimize costs by effectively getting the family together and managing usage schedules, sharing access and splitting responsibilities for maintaining the car. The more the cars are used properly, the longer they will bring benefits of convenience and comfort to the family.