How long to keep a car

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sean.mcgrath
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How long to keep a car

Post by sean.mcgrath » Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:12 am

I just read that the average age of cars on the road in the US is twelve years.

Thought I was doing well having my last one for seventeen. But roughly doing the math, it seems to me that the average expected "in registration" time of a car is now about twenty years. I assume many are extra cars, only used occasionally. But still, if that's the average, there must be plenty of twenty-five year old cars still being registered, insured and driven.

Are people here really keeping their cars for 20 - 25 years?

RobLyons
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by RobLyons » Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:44 am

Our van is 7 years old and my car is 3. I've never kept a car longer than 5 or 6 years.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Bud
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by Bud » Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:49 am

Depends on the purpose of the vehicle.

1999 Suburban - For Dad and when the family all goes places together
2012 Dodge Journey - for the children drivers
2015 Ford Escape - for the spouse

two parent family, four children, two of whom drive

We will add another driver in a couple of months and probably another vehicle next summer. The vehicle will be a 6-8 yr old Honda, Toyota, or other low maintenance, high gas mileage vehicle for the children to drive.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:15 am

I'm going to look at a car for my son this morning. 2004 Honda S2000. Cars last far longer than they did in the 60's and 70's, when they were almost universally junk well before 10 years or 100k miles.
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chipperd
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by chipperd » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:19 am

Two parent drivers and three teen/20 year old drivers (5 total drivers in the house now, yikes)
2011 Chevy Colorado (90k miles)
2012 Toyota Camry (115k miles and currently on a trip across the country)
2014 Toyota Sienna (120k miles)
It seems we typically keep our cars almost until the end of their life span, or about 250k miles. Tho this is the first Chevy we've owned (we typically go Toyota), so we'll see how the local talent does vs the Toyota over time.
We also purchase our vehicles used, about 3-4 years into their lifespan. Haven't bought a new car since the early 90's. Let someone else eat that first 50%-70% depreciation. Source:( https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insuran ... al%20value.)

zeal
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by zeal » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:28 am

Our two cars are 14 (Corolla) and 16 (Escape) years old. Around 120k and 140k miles, respectively. We are replacing the 16 year-old one soon because my wife is tired of it (she's had it for ~7 years). Both run fine, but the older one needs an alternator & alignment. I've had mine for 13 years and hope to get another 13 years out of it... We'll see!

alex_686
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by alex_686 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:30 am

I have a 19 year old car, but I am drive few miles.

Mu understand is that 10 years is the default. Combination of increased safety features on newer cars and increased maintenance costs.

From there it goes to the secondary market to be driven into the ground.
Former brokerage operations & mutual fund accountant. I hate risk, which is why I study and embrace it.

jebmke
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by jebmke » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:31 am

I have a 2008 RAV4 with 105K on it. Unless it develops real problems I see no reason I can’t get 20+ years out of it.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

kwahmaye
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by kwahmaye » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:39 am

sean.mcgrath wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:12 am
I just read that the average age of cars on the road in the US is twelve years.

Thought I was doing well having my last one for seventeen. But roughly doing the math, it seems to me that the average expected "in registration" time of a car is now about twenty years. I assume many are extra cars, only used occasionally. But still, if that's the average, there must be plenty of twenty-five year old cars still being registered, insured and driven.

Are people here really keeping their cars for 20 - 25 years?
The average car on the road may be 12 years and the average registered time may be 20 but that is not by the same person.

Swansea
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by Swansea » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:46 am

I have a 1998 BMW which is a second car.

Topic Author
sean.mcgrath
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by sean.mcgrath » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:59 am

chipperd wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:19 am
We also purchase our vehicles used, about 3-4 years into their lifespan. Haven't bought a new car since the early 90's. Let someone else eat that first 50%-70% depreciation.
True, I've never bought a new car in my life. Thinking back on how long our last four cars lasted:

Renault diesel: 14 years (first four as a taxi)
Ford: 17 years
Renault: 15 and counting (nearly done)
Jaguar: 12 and counting (still great condition)

As I said, I thought I've done pretty well, but none has hit twenty. If that is really the average, I'm a bit blown away.

chipperd
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by chipperd » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:01 am

sean.mcgrath wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:59 am
chipperd wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:19 am
We also purchase our vehicles used, about 3-4 years into their lifespan. Haven't bought a new car since the early 90's. Let someone else eat that first 50%-70% depreciation.
True, I've never bought a new car in my life. Thinking back on how long our last four cars lasted:

Renault diesel: 14 years (first four as a taxi)
Ford: 17 years
Renault: 15 and counting (nearly done)
Jaguar: 12 and counting (still great condition)

As I said, I thought I've done pretty well, but none has hit twenty. If that is really the average, I'm a bit blown away.
I think you have done well.
As I understand it registration doesn't necessarily mean regular or daily driver. Ex: Antique car taken out once a week in the summer, could have been registered for 50 plus years.

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sean.mcgrath
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by sean.mcgrath » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:03 am

kwahmaye wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:39 am
The average car on the road may be 12 years and the average registered time may be 20 but that is not by the same person.
Yes, good point. I've sort of assumed a car is done when I get rid of it. But even my 17 year Ford that I traded in for 500 Euros: when the dealer saw it, he said "oh, that's actually still in pretty good shape. I can give it to my nephew."

I guess there's the long tail student use, like my first car ($300 Chevy Nova, split the cost with my brother). So maybe not so crazy after all. It does provide testimony to how well cars are made these days, though.

Piratethecat
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by Piratethecat » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:05 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:15 am
I'm going to look at a car for my son this morning. 2004 Honda S2000. Cars last far longer than they did in the 60's and 70's, when they were almost universally junk well before 10 years or 100k miles.
Lucky kid...

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bottlecap
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by bottlecap » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:06 am

I tend to keep them 15 to 20 years, minus however old they were when we bought them.

The one I’m driving now is 15 years old, although we bought it used and have only owned it 9.

I suspect there are lots of people who drive them 4-5 years and/or 90-100k miles, get scared of repairs, and sell them.

JT

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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by General Disarray » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:12 am

The current car I drive, a 2000 Toyota Camry, just passed its 20-year birthday. I am the original owner and have kept the car in very good condition. In fact, mechanics always tell me that they are shocked the car looks so good. The car is showing signs of age, however. In the past two years I have spent a small fortune on repairs. In fact, right now the car is in the shop. I knew the brakes (pads and rotors) needed to be replaced, but it turns out the problem was really the control arms, which needed replacement. That will not be cheap to repair.

Although I've spent a lot in repairs in the last couple of years, I still think there are lots of years left in the car (at 122,000 miles odometer). Nonetheless, I am still shopping for a new car.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by jabberwockOG » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:12 am

Our current vehicles - 13 year old Toyota and a 14 year old Lexus. In the past we have kept cars for 10-12 years on average. But these latest two are ultra reliable and in great shape. Retired and not driving as much so likely keeping for 4-6 more years.

smitcat
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by smitcat » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:20 am

RobLyons wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:44 am
Our van is 7 years old and my car is 3. I've never kept a car longer than 5 or 6 years.
Agreed - I am not sure we ever kept a car/truck more than 5 or 6 years either. Some of them may have been fairly old when they were bought them but none of them 'hung around' after purchase whether used or new for more time.

pennywise
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by pennywise » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:28 am

sean.mcgrath wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:12 am
Are people here really keeping their cars for 20 - 25 years?
We have followed the same car buying strategy throughout our 30+ years of marriage: we buy new vehicles for cash, then drive them for at least 100K miles and/or 10 years.

Right now husband drives a 17-year old F150 w/180,000 miles and I have a 10-year old Ford Fusion w/112,000 miles. Both are running fine although they both are having various age-related minor problems. The one thing that concerns me about our vintage fleet is the lack of many of the safety and convenience options which are very evident over a decade's worth of car development. No back up or lane assist, adaptive cruise control etc nor bluetooth, navigation screens and so on.

I've got replacement funds budgeted for both vehicles in case something major fails but we are not in a hurry. Even before COVID we didn't do any long distance driving. Should there be real bargains coming down the pike soon we will pull the trigger--I took advantage of the Obama cash for clunkers program and who knows what may happen if the economy continues to tank.

Otherwise we will probably replace both cars within the next couple of years at our leisure.

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topper1296
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by topper1296 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:47 am

I have kept my previous cars for about 10 years before trading for a new one. My current car is a 2015, so I plan on keeping it until at least 2025. It might even even longer since I'm now working from home and it is looking like that will be a permanent option for me moving forward (or at least partially since I may only have to into the office once or twice a week even AFTER covid).

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lthenderson
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by lthenderson » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:35 am

sean.mcgrath wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:12 am
Are people here really keeping their cars for 20 - 25 years?
Finally broke down and sold one of my cars at 21 years old (I bought it new) last summer. I finally sold it because it was being used as a nest for ground squirrels due to the fact that I didn't drive it very much anymore. It spent the last five years mostly being a backup or when I felt like driving a manual transmission. If I had room in a garage to store it, I would still have it because it was cheap to own. Yearly registration fees and insurance costs were minuscule compared to my newer vehicles. It was by far the cheapest car I ever owned as far as dollars per mile.

h82goslw
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by h82goslw » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:43 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:15 am
I'm going to look at a car for my son this morning. 2004 Honda S2000. Cars last far longer than they did in the 60's and 70's, when they were almost universally junk well before 10 years or 100k miles.
Best dad ever!

andypanda
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by andypanda » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:47 am

There's a registered 1964 Olds 2-door convertible Jetstar 88 in our garage. It belonged to my wife's late husband. Those averages being quoted include a lot old clunkers on their 4th or 7th owner as well as collectibles going back into the '20s if not earlier.

Me? I like to get rid of them and buy a new vehicle when they're around 6 or 7 years old and still bring a fair amount and are an easy sale. I haven't had a car payment since 1986.

runner3081
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by runner3081 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:54 am

Just sold our 21 year old car a few months back.

My wife's is 8 years old and mine is 15 years old.

68K and 140k miles on them.

lazydavid
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by lazydavid » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:06 am

General Disarray wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:12 am
The current car I drive, a 2000 Toyota Camry, just passed its 20-year birthday. I am the original owner and have kept the car in very good condition. In fact, mechanics always tell me that they are shocked the car looks so good. The car is showing signs of age, however. In the past two years I have spent a small fortune on repairs. In fact, right now the car is in the shop. I knew the brakes (pads and rotors) needed to be replaced, but it turns out the problem was really the control arms, which needed replacement. That will not be cheap to repair.
Control arms for a 2000 Camry cost about $60 each, and it would take me (an advanced amateur mechanic at best) about an hour to replace them. A real mechanic with a lift should be able to do it in about 25-30 minutes. Should not be a super-expensive repair, unless you and I have very different definitions of expensive. :)

Back OT, we keep our cars to about 12 years/150k miles. Just replaced my wife's 2007 RX350 about two years ago at 155k miles, and my 2011 335d is at about 109k, so coming due in a couple years.

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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by General Disarray » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:08 am

lazydavid wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:06 am
Control arms for a 2000 Camry cost about $60 each, and it would take me (an advanced amateur mechanic at best) about an hour to replace them. A real mechanic with a lift should be able to do it in about 25-30 minutes. Should not be a super-expensive repair, unless you and I have very different definitions of expensive.
They said it would be about $790!

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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by lazydavid » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:11 am

General Disarray wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:08 am
lazydavid wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:06 am
Control arms for a 2000 Camry cost about $60 each, and it would take me (an advanced amateur mechanic at best) about an hour to replace them. A real mechanic with a lift should be able to do it in about 25-30 minutes. Should not be a super-expensive repair, unless you and I have very different definitions of expensive.
They said it would be about $790!
I would get a second opinion. I would say about half of that would be fair, unless there's other work involved.

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Toons
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by Toons » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:14 am

10-15 years when I was younger
Age 69 now
Every 2-3 years

:mrgreen:
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

General Disarray
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by General Disarray » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:16 am

An internet search of the parts indicate that the parts are actually $100-350. One site indicated that the cost to replace one arm can range from $160 to $390. There is a lower and upper arm connected to each front wheel. If a wheel alignment must be performed afterwards, that is additional $.

Frugalbear
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by Frugalbear » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:29 am

I really try to make every effort to keep a car as long as possible. People will talk about safety enhancements, but I think that is just a justification.

RIde every car as long as possible- until the juice is not worth the squeeze! You will know when that is.
Last edited by Frugalbear on Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

bloom2708
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:35 am

Between 120k and 150k miles is when it is "time".

I see a lot of cars that are not that old 2013 to 2016 with 120k+ miles. People in general drive a lot. Sometimes I am amazed how many miles. A 2 year old car with 120k miles. That is some seat time.

If all maintenance has been done, a car with 120k+ miles should be fine. The problem is "most other" people do not do maintenance. Too busy. Too many other things to do.

I usually change vehicles when the usage requirements change (more kids, less kids, hauling, towing, etc) and/or the previous one gets "old" or I just want something different. :D
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead

tibbitts
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by tibbitts » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:44 am

General Disarray wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:08 am
lazydavid wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:06 am
Control arms for a 2000 Camry cost about $60 each, and it would take me (an advanced amateur mechanic at best) about an hour to replace them. A real mechanic with a lift should be able to do it in about 25-30 minutes. Should not be a super-expensive repair, unless you and I have very different definitions of expensive.
They said it would be about $790!
While that seems a high I don't think it's super-outrageous especially with the expected parts markup, taxes and alignment. Although I have experience with similar work on other cars, it would be an entire day's project for me, including a couple of hours of walking around the car wondering how I could have been stupid enough to have gotten myself into this project. I suggest getting more quotes, assuming you know that this repair is actually needed.

Hockey10
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by Hockey10 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:00 am

After reading dozens of car threads here for several years, I have concluded that the average Boglehead keeps his Camry for 17 years and at least 250,000 miles.

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cheese_breath
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by cheese_breath » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:17 am

2009 Chevy Impala. I admit I had to put a few thousand into it recently, but now I expect it to last longer than I do (age 79). From that perspective it's better than buying a new car which I'll only need for a few years.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

lazydavid
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by lazydavid » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:29 am

General Disarray wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:16 am
An internet search of the parts indicate that the parts are actually $100-350. One site indicated that the cost to replace one arm can range from $160 to $390. There is a lower and upper arm connected to each front wheel. If a wheel alignment must be performed afterwards, that is additional $.
The lower front arms-your Camry does not have upper arms--cost anywhere from $22-$62 each. Most don't include ball joints, I initially expected to be included (they are on most I've seen): Those cost an extra $6-42 I would buy the MOOG arms for $56, and the Beck/Arnley balljoints for $23, so $79 total per side. May as well do the stabilizer endlinks while you're in there, those cost anywhere from $5-40 each, so figure on another $18 apiece for those. Obviously there's some additional markup from the shop, and labor to account for, but it's a pretty long way from $194 to $790. I would say $400-500 would be a fair installed price for lower control arms, balljoints, and swaybar endlinks. Again, if it's just the control arm, should be quite a bit less. here's an 11-minute video of a guy replacing one control arm on your Camry using only hand tools.

For reference, I replaced the entire front suspension (upper and lower control arms, tie rods and steering rack bellows, swaybar endlinks, and all new hardware) on my BMW with all OEM/OE parts for about $500. Obviously I wasn't paying for labor though. :) Would probably have been about $900, all-in at my local indy.

Alignment is typically only required when messing with the tie rods, or if the struts are removed and replaced. In my case, since I replaced the tie rods that was another $100 at one of the top alignment shops in the state.

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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by General Disarray » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:56 am


austin757
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by austin757 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:09 am

I have a 2018 Camry. I absolutely love the car. About 35k miles so far (I don't drive a lot) and I plan to keep it as long as possible.

Chuck107
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by Chuck107 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:13 am

During my accumulation phase, till it was not fixable (by me) any longer.
Ages ranged from 12 to 21 yrs old.

Now, retired comfortably (for me) idk, my 2017 car only has 8k on it.
Maybe at 10 yrs, I'll think about another new one, but I'll be 73 then.
I'll think about it then.

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Quirkz
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by Quirkz » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:19 am

One of the blind spots of this forum is going to be people without much money. Old cars aren't just "student" cars, they're also for people who can't afford newer replacements and drive them out of necessity. (There's also tinkerers and hobbyists and folks driving their 60's era Porsches and whatnot, but they're probably not throwing the averages off that much.) Regardless, what's "average" and what the typical person on this site might strive for probably aren't the same thing.

Personally: I aim for 10-14 years and 200,000+ miles out of my cars, but they hit a point where they become difficult or expensive to maintain and I would rather replace proactively than wait for a crisis.

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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by lazydavid » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:49 am

From your second link:
control arm replacements costs are typically $117 – $306 for the majority of vehicles. The part itself will normally cost between $42 – $103, with labor time usually an hour or two.

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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:04 pm

Frugalbear wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:29 am
I really try to make every effort to keep a car as long as possible. People will talk about safety enhancements, but I think that is just a justification.

RIde every car as long as possible- until the juice is not worth the squeeze! You will know when that is.
Except the last drops of juice are bitter, and therefore not enjoyable or desirable.

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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by Petrocelli » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:50 pm

I lease a car for 15,000 miles a year. When it hits 44,000 miles, I take it back and get a new one. I get a new car about every 32-36 months. So I am really messing up that average.
Petrocelli (not the real Rico, but just a fan)

iamblessed
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by iamblessed » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:36 pm

austin757 wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:09 am
I have a 2018 Camry. I absolutely love the car. About 35k miles so far (I don't drive a lot) and I plan to keep it as long as possible.
Do you like it better than the 2015-2017 Camry?

Kiter
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by Kiter » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:44 pm

1988 Nissan extended cab pickup 5 speed stick.Speedometer broke 10 years ago ? My beach truck,racks for windsurfers,SUP, OC-1 canoe ,Kites and boards in the back,bike fork connection .NO ONE parks near me :)

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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by austin757 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:01 pm

iamblessed wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:36 pm
austin757 wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:09 am
I have a 2018 Camry. I absolutely love the car. About 35k miles so far (I don't drive a lot) and I plan to keep it as long as possible.
Do you like it better than the 2015-2017 Camry?
I couldn't tell you. My previous model was a 2013 Camry. As you'd expect, the 2018 version is far superior in every metric. Just overall a good car: comfortable, efficient, reliable, etc.

tesuzuki2002
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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:42 pm

Until the maintenance costs exceed what a new payment would be roughly.. ?

Unless there is sentimental value.

I have a 2003 jeep. Registration, Insurance, and Maintenance run me about $700 a year... I see no reason to get rid of it. The gas Mileage could be better, but it is a jeep.

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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by Cycle » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:53 pm

I sold my car after 12 years, someone else is probably driving it now. I now share one with my spouse, it is 9 years old with 100k miles, and hope it will be the last car we own.
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

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Re: How long to keep a car

Post by mikeyzito22 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:56 pm

jebmke wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:31 am
I have a 2008 RAV4 with 105K on it. Unless it develops real problems I see no reason I can’t get 20+ years out of it.
This! I had a 2000 RAV4 with $135,000 on it. Then my partner crashed it last December. I would've held onto the car until there were major problems. 20 years I got out of it.

MathWizard
Posts: 4232
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Re: How long to keep a car

Post by MathWizard » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:59 pm

Our son is driving my wife's 2000, we traded the 2001 van he was driving for a 2015. I traded my 2002 last Nov for a 2017.
These are the newest cars we have ever driven.

davebo
Posts: 909
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:02 am

Re: How long to keep a car

Post by davebo » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:04 pm

We're driving a 2007 and 2011 right now, hard to imagine trading it in anytime soon with the limited amount of miles we're putting on it.

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