How long do cars last these days (electronics)

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DebiT
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How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by DebiT » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:52 am

DH and I have generally bought new cars and then kept them for at least 10 years, often longer, so figured that depreciation at purchase time wasn't much of an issue. We both have 0-5 mile commutes, so mileage per year tends to be low. One of these days we will be in the market for at least one car, probably two. Because it's been so long since we've bought a new car, we are really out of touch with repair costs on electronics in newer cars, really on repair costs in general for newer cars.

My question is, with all of the modern electronics on cars these days, is it still cost effective to keep a car past the warranty? Is it cost effective to buy an extended warranty? How do you Bogleheads handle this, if you are in a low mileage situation (meaning any warranties would last the full number of years?)

I should also add that I find buying a used car to incredibly more time-consuming and stressful than researching and negotiating a new car. That's another reason we have enjoyed "buy new and keep it til it dies".

Thanks for any help.
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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by invst65 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:40 pm

I'm driving cars that are 11 and 12 years old and I'm amazed at how well modern cars hold up with only routine maintenance and fairly minor repairs. I never even had a warranty repair on either one of them. They don't have a lot of electronic gadgetry like my stepsons's car and he did have to have some bugs worked out during the warranty period but things have gone well since. I tend to eschew fancy electronics if possible.

I rarely buy an extended warranty on anything, let alone cars. The last one I remember was my fishing rod and reel which cost $6. The company that made it is now out of business so it was a waste of money that could have bought a six pack of cheap beer. I suspect most bogleheads agree but they can speak for themselves. As for cars, I find it strange how they tell you what a great and dependable car it is on the sales floor and then when you get in the accounting office they warn you that future repairs can cost thousands of dollars so you'd better buy an extended warranty. And the after-market sellers are a real hoot. Barely a month goes by that I don't get either a phone call or something in the mail announcing it is my official last chance to extend the warranty on my stepson's car.

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by 123 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:40 pm

One of the reasons I have been reluctant to a new car in recent years is the increasing electronic components. I rent cars 6 to 10 times a year for business travel and the ever broader electronic dashboards and displays just strike me as something that will eventually blossom into an expensive repair/replacement headache. It seems a small failure could require replacement of the entire thing.
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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by sport » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:43 pm

I would address this concern by buying a brand that is known for reliability, such as Toyota or Honda. Similarly, I would avoid brands with poor reliability records. Consumer Reports would be one source of such information. Personally, I only buy Toyotas.

DebiT
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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by DebiT » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:03 pm

Hi Sport. I totally agree re the brands. But even then, I wonder about how to keep them.
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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by sport » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:10 pm

DebiT wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:03 pm
Hi Sport. I totally agree re the brands. But even then, I wonder about how to keep them.
My experience with Toyotas is to change the oil on schedule and not worry about them. I have a 2010 Camry and a 2013 Camry. I cannot recall ever repairing either one. (They are both low mileage.)

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by Joeko » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:12 pm

I have a 2000 Toyota 4 Runner w/ 150k miles. No issues with having a used car. I plan on getting another 100K miles out of it

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by parigi723 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:16 pm

2001 Ford pick up 120Ks and still running great!

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dm200
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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by dm200 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:18 pm

Over the last decades, the reliability and longevity of cars has increased a lot. The one exception, though, is the increased powered aspects and some of the electronics. I do not need (or want) power windows, power door locks, etc. You cannot buy a car today, though, without them. Manual transmissions are becoming an "endangered species" as well.

Two years ago we bought a low mileage 1998 Toyota Camry from friends. It has turned out a very good vehicle for us, but the majority of the few things that have gone wrong are powered/electronic things - such as drivers side power window and power door lock component.

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by bottlecap » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:26 pm

I don't think electronics are a concern. It's not like the seventies. Your entire vehicle is regulated and controlled by electronics.

In general, cars last as long as you want them to nowadays. My daily driver is almost 18 years old. My wife's is 13. We had to put some money in the vehicles as the got older, but they are as reliable as they were when they were new.

JT

DebiT
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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by DebiT » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:14 pm

So all of you who are kindly replying with the longevity of your very old cars are, like me, happy that they have lasted so long.

My question, though, is, when I buy a new car, will the crazy electronics like backup cameras, weird dash displays, automated mirrors, etc, mostly unwanted but not optional, last 100K miles?
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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by lightheir » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:16 pm

DebiT wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:14 pm
So all of you who are kindly replying with the longevity of your very old cars are, like me, happy that they have lasted so long.

My question, though, is, when I buy a new car, will the crazy electronics like backup cameras, weird dash displays, automated mirrors, etc, mostly unwanted but not optional, last 100K miles?
Yes, they will. Plety of Prius and Teslas well over 100k miles, no problems with electronics.

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by FrugalInvestor » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:23 pm

DebiT wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:14 pm
So all of you who are kindly replying with the longevity of your very old cars are, like me, happy that they have lasted so long.

My question, though, is, when I buy a new car, will the crazy electronics like backup cameras, weird dash displays, automated mirrors, etc, mostly unwanted but not optional, last 100K miles?
I think it's very likely that they will, especially on a reliable brand. And as with most electronics if they're going to fail it will likely be relatively early on. If there is no early failure they'll probably last a very long time.

I suppose the good news is that if the electronics are 'mostly unwanted' then if they fail you probably won't care anyway. :twisted:
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by investor997 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:26 pm

I'm not as worried about the reliability of the electronics as I am about the nature of how dated they'll seem ten years from now. Many of us here are driving cars that were made in the early to mid-2000s, built back when everyone had a Motorola RAZR or a Palm Treo, two technical gadgets that are hopelessly outdated by today's standards.

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by invst65 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:29 pm

FrugalInvestor wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:23 pm
DebiT wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:14 pm
So all of you who are kindly replying with the longevity of your very old cars are, like me, happy that they have lasted so long.

My question, though, is, when I buy a new car, will the crazy electronics like backup cameras, weird dash displays, automated mirrors, etc, mostly unwanted but not optional, last 100K miles?
I think it's very likely that they will, especially on a reliable brand. And as with most electronics if they're going to fail it will likely be relatively early on. If there is no early failure they'll probably last a very long time.

I suppose the good news is that if the electronics are 'mostly unwanted' then if they fail you probably won't care anyway. :twisted:
I think those 10 and 11 year old cars actually do have a lot of electronic gadgetry. It's just not so flashy. Onboard computers have been standard equipment for a long time and I've never heard of anybody's failing before though I'm sure it's happened.

As for the fancy stuff not being optional, what kind of car are you thinking of buying? When I went with my stepson to pick out his car most of it was still optional and we had to talk him out of it.

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by kjvmartin » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:31 pm

investor997 wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:26 pm
I'm not as worried about the reliability of the electronics as I am about the nature of how dated they'll seem ten years from now. Many of us here are driving cars that were made in the early to mid-2000s, built back when everyone had a Motorola RAZR or a Palm Treo, two technical gadgets that are hopelessly outdated by today's standards.
If you have a screen and compatibility with iOS or Android, you should be able to get software updates for the life of the car.

In any vehicle, the cost of repairs for technology is expensive and cumbersome. I had an '07 Mazda where the disc changer froze in the dashboard. I lost 6 irreplaceable CDs years later when I sold it to another person. The cost to replace that item + labor was absurd and beyond my abilities to tackle as a layperson. Years prior, the tape deck failed in our family Toyota Corolla. We just listened to the radio.

These concerns are not new.

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by investor997 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:40 pm

kjvmartin wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:31 pm
If you have a screen and compatibility with iOS or Android, you should be able to get software updates for the life of the car.

In any vehicle, the cost of repairs for technology is expensive and cumbersome. I had an '07 Mazda where the disc changer froze in the dashboard. I lost 6 irreplaceable CDs years later when I sold it to another person. The cost to replace that item + labor was absurd and beyond my abilities to tackle as a layperson. Years prior, the tape deck failed in our family Toyota Corolla. We just listened to the radio.

These concerns are not new.
I'd still be concerned about Android / iOS compatibility. Odds are Apple or Google will change something. The auto manufacturers can't ever hope to keep up with the consumer electronics guys. They have to put their electronics modules through much more rigorous testing and validation than the cell phone guys do.

It's not all hopeless, however. If you're somewhat mechanically handy, you may be able to find used replacements for things like your CD changer from wrecked vehicles on sites like Craigslist and eBay.

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by Watty » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:09 pm

dm200 wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:18 pm
I do not need (or want) power windows, power door locks, etc. You cannot buy a car today, though, without them.
There is actually a good reason for that. The side test crash results standards, and safety marketing demands, have become a lot more important over the last ten years or so. That means that to make the cars perform better in side crash test the manufactures have had to put better heavy duty reinforcing bars in the car doors. The addition of the heavier reinforcement means that there is little room left for mechanical window cranks or levers for the locks.

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by FrugalInvestor » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:13 pm

investor997 wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:40 pm
I'd still be concerned about Android / iOS compatibility. Odds are Apple or Google will change something.
This is always the largest concern for me. Apple and the others know how to make their perfectly good hardware obsolete though software upgrades. Either it becomes too slow to put up with because you've updated the operating system or you can't use current apps because you haven't udated the operating system - pick your poison. I don't know why this wouldn't apply to your phone's ability to communicate with car's systems. Hopefully I'm wrong.
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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by curmudgeon » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:22 pm

To my view, most auto electronics will last a reasonable usage lifetime. I might be a bit concerned about 20-year old touchscreens and displays, but not so much the compute and storage.

Electro-mechanical components are a different question, and largely dependent on design and quality standards of the manufacturer. The recent airbag recalls have shown some of the limitations even for quality manufacturers. This is also one of those areas where the "type of mileage" can matter; a car driven 70,000 miles around town may have much more wear on doors/windows/seats than one driven 150,000 miles on the highway. Sometimes though, the electro-mechanical component is actually *more* reliable than the low-end purely mechanical one.

In general I am comfortable expecting 15 years or 150,000 miles of relatively low-maintenance use out of new cars these days, but I do avoid a lot of the "leading edge" gadgets (both for cost and reliability reasons).

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by DebiT » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:29 pm

Thanks, curmudgeon, I hope that's true. I'm not in the market right now, but a conversation with a friend sparked my concerns. When I do buy, I would be inclined to want as few "bells and whistles" as possible. Most especially in terms of display etc options, I want a car designed to make use of my phone's capabilities, rather than try to duplicate them. In other words, no navigation, just use and display my phone.

Hopefully you're right about the other electro-mechanical devices like mirrors, etc being good . I'm sure you're right that 100K miles of short trips is way harder on those things, esp doors, than 100K miles of long commutes.

Thanks all!
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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by bottlecap » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:36 pm

DebiT wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:14 pm
So all of you who are kindly replying with the longevity of your very old cars are, like me, happy that they have lasted so long.

My question, though, is, when I buy a new car, will the crazy electronics like backup cameras, weird dash displays, automated mirrors, etc, mostly unwanted but not optional, last 100K miles?
The point is that electronics have been well-integrated into cars for more than 20 years now. Your engine is controlled by "electronics." I don't know why a backup camera would be more likely to "break" than anything else.

If you want a specific datapoint, the "crazy" electronic DVD player in my wife's 13 year old vehicle has never broken. How much different is a backup camera?

JT

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by CULater » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:51 pm

Just bought a new CRV Touring with all the electronics, including the full safety suite. My last CRV was still going strong at 15 years old when I traded on the new one. I'm not only concerned about the dashboard electronics but all the other electronics that govern the engine and transmission functioning and everything else. Vehicles these days are a computer network with wheels. I was able to keep my 2002 CRV serviced with the help of local garages and mechanics but I'm pretty sure that won't be the case with the new more complex, computerized vehicles. So -- I'll be paying close attention to what happens during the warranty period and will have to take a hard look at trading off for a new vehicle under warranty when the 3 years runs out. Besides, it seems likely there will be improvements and advancements in the technology during that period of time that might make we want to upgrade at that point anyway.
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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by mmmodem » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:54 pm

I'm Generation X and find myself a lot more comfortable with electronic components rather than mechanical components. For example my first car required pumping the gas pedal before can start the car. I seemed to always do it wrong and need my sister to help start the car. I was so relieved when I upgrade to a vehicle with electronic injection. When the power door lock actuators broke on my Civic, I bought a replacement part on eBay and changed it out myself. When the crank windows on my Tercel broke, I never opened the windows again. I couldn't figure out how to repair it.

The first few cars I owned had slightly over 100k miles and drove like clunkers. My Sentra with 107k miles never had fogged up windows because there were so many holes in the car. Contrast that to the last few cars I owned in the 2000's and they drove and felt much better than my 80's cars. Most also have lifetime transmission fluid and timing chains that don't need replacing. The 80's cars didn't even have an OBD2 port for easy computer diagnostics. My 88 Ford escort only had 5 numbers on the odometer. Even Ford didn't think the car would last part 99,999 miles. Contrast this to my plug in electric Prius hybrid, with 133k miles, arguably one of the most complicated electronic vehicles on the road today. Everything in the Prius still works. The Ford? AC doesn't work and the interior door handle doesn't work.

My new vehicles are trending to last much longer than vehicles I owned when younger. Repair costs and maintenance is much lower. My opinion? Computers and newer technology are contributing to longer lasting vehicles.

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by bluebolt » Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:59 pm

FrugalInvestor wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:13 pm
investor997 wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:40 pm
I'd still be concerned about Android / iOS compatibility. Odds are Apple or Google will change something.
This is always the largest concern for me. Apple and the others know how to make their perfectly good hardware obsolete though software upgrades. Either it becomes too slow to put up with because you've updated the operating system or you can't use current apps because you haven't udated the operating system - pick your poison. I don't know why this wouldn't apply to your phone's ability to communicate with car's systems. Hopefully I'm wrong.
Android Auto and CarPlay use the audio/video systems of the car but the apps/processing happen on the phone. So, it's much more obsolescence-proof than other systems that might be built into your car. That said, there's always the possibility that there are features in the future that aren't supported in your car or that your car will become incompatible with a future version of Android Auto or CarPlay.

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:00 pm

parigi723 wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:16 pm
2001 Ford pick up 120Ks and still running great!
My 1997 Ford Explorer with 180k plus is still running fine.

But going forward we are going to buy car more often then we used to. I'm not going to hang on to a 20-year old car, not anymore because we may not have that many multiples of 20 year. Beside, I need to spend money. So maybe 100k or 10 years max, whichever comes first.

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by nedsaid » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:59 pm

A well maintained car should last about 20 years. They could go beyond that but at some point availability of parts gets to be an issue. I too am amazed how long modern cars last.
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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by just frank » Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:28 pm

A car at 150,000 miles has probably only been running the engine for about ~4-5000 hours, about 6-7 months continuous.

Most electronics can easily last 4-10x longer than that.

Cars are the least durable major appliances we own....they last maybe 2-3x longer than incandescent light bulbs, about as long a cheap CFL, half as long as a cell phone, and one tenth as long as an LED bulb or a refrigerator compressor.

For a low mileage commute....get a cheap electric car like the LEAF, very few moving parts and few things to break. They are pushing very cheap lease deals, and everything is under warranty for the life of the lease. $200/mo, zero maintenance costs/worries, no oil changes, and plugging it in at home is cheaper than filling a similar car with gas. No worries about starting it in the cold, or after letting it sit while you're on vacation, etc.

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by keaton » Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:44 pm

I’ve got 10yrs on my vehicle and all the “fancy” features work. I Love having auto tinting rear view and side mirrors, auto headlights, auto tracking headlights and auto windshield wipers! My favorite features ever! And all this is done by very simple sensors that are not expensive to replace if need be.

Keep in mind, when your 10-15yrs down the road, the parts will be cheaper and easier to find. I couldn’t bring myself to buy a new car, as I want the stock pile of used parts on the automative forums to pick and choose from for dirt cheap... $1000 for an abs control module at the dealer? No thanks! But $50 bucks for a good used one at the junk yard or craigslist, yup!!!

Keep in mind that the cars you drive that are 10yrs old still have plenty of electronics, that are just the same as today!

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by DebiT » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:04 pm

Thanks for all the replies. Lots of good points. Sounds like we will continue in our mode of buy a new Honda, Toyota or very similar, and keep it forever. At this rate, it won't be long before we're on our next to the last car!
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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by Chip » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:01 am

DebiT wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:04 pm
Thanks for all the replies. Lots of good points. Sounds like we will continue in our mode of buy a new Honda, Toyota or very similar, and keep it forever. At this rate, it won't be long before we're on our next to the last car!
Be aware that your concern about the cost/reliability of electronics was the major extended warranty sales gimmick that the F&I person at Honda used when I bought my last one. He had an intimidating looking metal box full of electronics on his desk which he gravely told me was $1200 just for that part. Plus labor to install. And that was only one of many such boxes in the Accord.

He deflated a little when I told him that my experience with most electronics is they either fail pretty quickly or last a very long time. And that I'd rely on the Honda 3/36 warranty to get me through that initial failure period. He asked me what I would be willing to pay for the warranty he was offering. I told him maybe $100. That got me out the door pretty quickly.

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by dm200 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:08 am

My understanding is that for popular cars, down the road a few years - there become more available lower cost aftermarket parts and components.

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Re: How long do cars last these days (electronics)

Post by dm200 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:04 am

Chip wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:01 am
DebiT wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:04 pm
Thanks for all the replies. Lots of good points. Sounds like we will continue in our mode of buy a new Honda, Toyota or very similar, and keep it forever. At this rate, it won't be long before we're on our next to the last car!
Be aware that your concern about the cost/reliability of electronics was the major extended warranty sales gimmick that the F&I person at Honda used when I bought my last one. He had an intimidating looking metal box full of electronics on his desk which he gravely told me was $1200 just for that part. Plus labor to install. And that was only one of many such boxes in the Accord.
He deflated a little when I told him that my experience with most electronics is they either fail pretty quickly or last a very long time. And that I'd rely on the Honda 3/36 warranty to get me through that initial failure period. He asked me what I would be willing to pay for the warranty he was offering. I told him maybe $100. That got me out the door pretty quickly.
New car dealers/sales folks first pitch how reliable their cars are to make the sale -- then the F&I (finance and insurance) guys/gals pitch extended warranties (at high prices) because all these things can go wrong. :confused :confused

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