Expected Longevity of a car

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ramink
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Expected Longevity of a car

Post by ramink » Tue May 06, 2008 11:20 am

What is the expected longevity of an average car? I drive a 13.5 year old Toyota Corolla with 148K miles on it. I expect to drive 11K miles a year for the next few years as well. I am trying to plan for its replacement.
My car is in good condition - About 10 years ago, the car was flooded a couple of inches in parking lot. It didn't cause any repair. Even the battery worked fine.
I have heard of corolla's driven for over 225K miles but since in my case, I only drive about 11K miles, I am not sure if it can go on for that long...
What are your experiences?


The other reason I am curious about car lonegivity is because I am looking to replace it (when I absolutely have to) with a used car that would give me about 10 years life. I do subscribe to the theory that you can never get a good deal on a used car but I loathe spending on a new car as there is a chance that I might take public transportation if I change jobs and that might reduce my annual driving to 2K.

tibbitts
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corolla

Post by tibbitts » Tue May 06, 2008 11:50 am

The only corolla that I know of started needing work around 100k. As in starter motor, CV joints, engine gaskets, etc. I would say normal stuff. Another toyota I know of had other issues at about the same time. Some maintenance, some random failures. I think there is not a huge difference in makes and models now unless you have one with known issues (head gaskets in the 3.1L GM engine, for example.)

So how long a car lasts depends on how much work you want to do on it, and how inconvenient and costly it is for you to do that work.

Even with engine internals, brakes, clutches, and such, there isn't a fixed life, because so much depends on the type of use.

I also think you won't know when to dump it until it's too late, in the sense that all of a sudden you'll wake up and realize that you just spend several thousand dollars in repairs, a little at a time. Once you do one, it seems to make sense to do another... and another...

Paul

veryamusing
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Post by veryamusing » Tue May 06, 2008 11:54 am

Hi, ramink.

There's a similar thread entitled "When is it time to buy a new car?" In that thread I posted about my 1995 Acura Legend with ~142,000 miles. I've had it just three years and the repair bills have been...exorbitant. But I'm also not in a position to pay cash for another used car, so replacing it isn't an option.

Anyway, I think the longevity of a vehicle depends on its year, make, model, etc. In fact, it very well may depend on who's owned it (teenage first-time driver, soccer mom, etc.). So I really think it varies.

I hope that my car will last at least 200,000 miles, and it should given that it's an Acura (Honda), I drive cautiously and it's kept in good condition (washed and waxed regularly, tires, oil, etc.).

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gunn_show
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Re: corolla

Post by gunn_show » Tue May 06, 2008 11:56 am

tibbitts wrote: Even with engine internals, brakes, clutches, and such, there isn't a fixed life, because so much depends on the type of use.

Paul
Agree with Paul. Too many variables to determine a true answer - where you live, weather conditions, driving conditions, driver error, driver style (do you beat on it or take care of it), type of car, model, frequency of maintenance, etc.

But for a Corolla I would imagine, with proper care and maintenance, it can go on for 200-300k or longer. Just make sure you change the oil, belts, tires, brake pads when you are supposed to.

If you plan on keeping cars for 10+ years, I would also buy new every time.
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

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Boris
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Re: Expected Longevity of a car

Post by Boris » Tue May 06, 2008 12:03 pm

ramink wrote:What is the expected longevity of an average car? I drive a 13.5 year old Toyota Corolla with 148K miles on it. I expect to drive 11K miles a year for the next few years as well. I am trying to plan for its replacement.
My car is in good condition - About 10 years ago, the car was flooded a couple of inches in parking lot. It didn't cause any repair. Even the battery worked fine.
I have heard of corolla's driven for over 225K miles but since in my case, I only drive about 11K miles, I am not sure if it can go on for that long...
What are your experiences?


The other reason I am curious about car lonegivity is because I am looking to replace it (when I absolutely have to) with a used car that would give me about 10 years life. I do subscribe to the theory that you can never get a good deal on a used car but I loathe spending on a new car as there is a chance that I might take public transportation if I change jobs and that might reduce my annual driving to 2K.
ramink,

Consume Reports has a database (which is published yearly) of the reliability of used cars and where they fail. They're then distributed in relation to each other. Toyota and Honda are all "red" (best). If you're looking for a used car then check out CR (a library will have it if you don't want to subscribe). It's very useful info.

HTH,

Boris
Short term moves in the market are like "a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." | - John C. Bogle quoting Shakespeare

baldeagle
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Post by baldeagle » Tue May 06, 2008 2:50 pm

Longevity? In miles? In years? FWIW, here's my experience:

1984 Peugeot 505 STI 4dr sedan, 4 cylinder (gas engine)
Bought new
24 years old
185K miles
Could last forever, I think, if I keep maintaining it.

1988 Toyota Camry 4dr wagon, 2.0 liter 4 cylinder
Bought new
20 years old
170K miles
Ditto the forever

1989 BMW 750iL 4dr sedan, 12 cylinder
Bought used with 3 years on it
19 years old
120K miles
Ditto the forever

It's all about taking care of them.

gary11
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Re: Expected Longevity of a car

Post by gary11 » Tue May 06, 2008 3:16 pm

ramink wrote:What are your experiences?
I recently donated my 1992 corolla with 195K miles on it. It didn't have any significant engine problems. I guess for some cars its always your call when to give up on them rather relying on them to die.

Valuethinker
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Post by Valuethinker » Tue May 06, 2008 3:38 pm

baldeagle wrote:Longevity? In miles? In years? FWIW, here's my experience:

1984 Peugeot 505 STI 4dr sedan, 4 cylinder (gas engine)
Bought new
24 years old
185K miles
Could last forever, I think, if I keep maintaining it.

1988 Toyota Camry 4dr wagon, 2.0 liter 4 cylinder
Bought new
20 years old
170K miles
Ditto the forever

1989 BMW 750iL 4dr sedan, 12 cylinder
Bought used with 3 years on it
19 years old
120K miles
Ditto the forever

It's all about taking care of them.
Hi

I don't know if this is still the case, but no 1970s or 80s car would last so long in Ontario, if driven in winter.

Corrosion due to road salt kills cars: not just bodies, but every crevasse and it works its way into the interior. I know the steel is better now, but generally corrosion (and the freeze and warm cycle of winter driving) just eats away at cars.

A lot of stop and go driving isn't great either: stresses the brakes, suspension, engine etc.

likegarden
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Post by likegarden » Tue May 06, 2008 8:11 pm

I agree with Valuethinker, rust is important in states with significant winters with salt on roads.

I do not understand why to keep a car which needs engine work repeatedly, sounds like a clunker to me. I never had a Japanese car, but my new VW beetle in 1970 was spinning on ice too much. We like a little heavier and more powerful cars for winter driving here in New York State.

In respect to salt, a friend of mine had a Honda Civic, also with rust. We are only driving Buicks with 6 cylinder engines, had never any need for engine repairs. Buicks have low used car prices due to the general misconception that foreign cars are better. Since after 12 years and 120k miles, repairs get into $1000 per year - more than the car is worth, the interiors tend to need improvement and rust shows up to eat the bodies - too much fiberglass and painting work, we buy new cars, and run them again for 12 years, etc..

Good Luck!
Bernd

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Petrocelli
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Post by Petrocelli » Tue May 06, 2008 8:16 pm

I expect 39 months. That's when my lease runs out.
Petrocelli (not the real Rico, but just a fan)

tibbitts
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repairs

Post by tibbitts » Tue May 06, 2008 8:19 pm

The problem is that car prices have held relatively steady for some time, while repairs (labor) hav increased at a faster rate. So today you can buy a basic small car for say $14k, but you can spend almost $1k just putting in a new water pump or timing belt - just a routine maintenance item. So it's hard to know what to do. One $1000 repair, then another... when do you bail? If you do your own repairs, that's ok, but there are some time and logistics issues to that (need a 2nd car, etc.)

Paul

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Boris
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Post by Boris » Tue May 06, 2008 8:34 pm

Petrocelli wrote:I expect 39 months. That's when my lease runs out.
Petrocelli,

That's really helpful, really. Do you have your pool boy and your gardener drive you around in it too? Sheesh, I used to think you're funny but you're just being a jerk, just like in the Lawn Mower thread.

Boris
Short term moves in the market are like "a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." | - John C. Bogle quoting Shakespeare

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Steve Thorpe
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Post by Steve Thorpe » Tue May 06, 2008 9:17 pm

I bought a new 5 speed Corolla 18.25 years ago. Now its at 230K miles and counting, and I still drive it daily here in NC. Runs like a top and annual service costs tend to be less than $500. Insurance is about $300 per year. Gas is the only other expense.... I love this car :)

To the OP: wouldn't be surprised if you have similar results, provided you do the usual basic service.
Steve Thorpe

tibbitts
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Petro

Post by tibbitts » Tue May 06, 2008 9:54 pm

Boris wrote:
Petrocelli wrote:I expect 39 months. That's when my lease runs out.
Petrocelli,

That's really helpful, really. Do you have your pool boy and your gardener drive you around in it too? Sheesh, I used to think you're funny but you're just being a jerk, just like in the Lawn Mower thread.

Boris
I must say there have been a lot of auto discussions here, and not every diehard is exactly on the efficient frontier in the car department. People can be selectively diehard-ish, so I think Petro was just pointing out that not everybody is into long-term car ownership. You have to pick your battles, and not everybody is comfortable running an increased risk of inconvenient and expensive failure.

Paul

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daryll40
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Post by daryll40 » Tue May 06, 2008 10:39 pm

Climate, as mentioned above, is a major issue. My wife's 6 year old 2003 Mercury Mountaineer (Explorer clone) now has 70K miles on it and runs fine because I maintain it. But I am seeing the first rust around and in the rear wheel wells...and this vehicle is garage kept (although an engineer friend once pointed out to me that he leaves his car outside in winter because the freeze-thaw cycle actually promotes rust faster than just leaving it frozen).

tot chaos
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Post by tot chaos » Wed May 07, 2008 12:10 am

Boris wrote:
Petrocelli wrote:I expect 39 months. That's when my lease runs out.
Petrocelli,

That's really helpful, really. Do you have your pool boy and your gardener drive you around in it too? Sheesh, I used to think you're funny but you're just being a jerk, just like in the Lawn Mower thread.

Boris
Boorish, er... ok, no name calling, Boris, you need to lighten up!

bearcat98
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Post by bearcat98 » Wed May 07, 2008 12:17 am

I seem to recall reading somewhere that the typical car lasts about 18 years in the US, and that many of the cars that are past their useful US lifespan get shipped to Mexico, where labor for repairs is cheaper (and maybe emissions regulations might be different).

I gave up on my Corolla after about 150k miles...something to do with a cascade of odd repairs that began to be needed (my mechanic thought it was unusual for a Toyota), and something to do with a big dent from a parking-lot fender-bender.

I gave up on my Taurus after about 150k miles...it needed a whole new drivetrain (my mechanic wasn't at all surprised...Ford earned its reputation for low quality in the early 90s).

Even so, cars are better than they used to be. It's very reasonable to expect a properly-maintained car to make 200k miles.

On the other hand, as Paul said, cars are more expensive to fix than they used to be when something does go wrong. A Corolla that is only halfway through its potential useful life can be totaled in a relatively minor fender-bender.

My guess is that your car could very well last you another decade. But it wouldn't be unusual for things to start to go wrong in an expensive way. And even a minor encounter with a careless driver and it wouldn't be worth fixing.

Valuethinker
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Post by Valuethinker » Wed May 07, 2008 12:13 pm

bearcat98 wrote:I seem to recall reading somewhere that the typical car lasts about 18 years in the US, and that many of the cars that are past their useful US lifespan get shipped to Mexico, where labor for repairs is cheaper (and maybe emissions regulations might be different).

I gave up on my Corolla after about 150k miles...something to do with a cascade of odd repairs that began to be needed (my mechanic thought it was unusual for a Toyota), and something to do with a big dent from a parking-lot fender-bender.

I gave up on my Taurus after about 150k miles...it needed a whole new drivetrain (my mechanic wasn't at all surprised...Ford earned its reputation for low quality in the early 90s).

Even so, cars are better than they used to be. It's very reasonable to expect a properly-maintained car to make 200k miles.

On the other hand, as Paul said, cars are more expensive to fix than they used to be when something does go wrong. A Corolla that is only halfway through its potential useful life can be totaled in a relatively minor fender-bender.

My guess is that your car could very well last you another decade. But it wouldn't be unusual for things to start to go wrong in an expensive way. And even a minor encounter with a careless driver and it wouldn't be worth fixing.
Median car life in the US is about 12 years.

*however* accidents are one of the main 'finishers off' of cars.

I expect that the underlying distribution has a very long right tail, with most cars dying around years 13-16, and a few lasting very much longer.

The roads are not generally packed with cars more than 13 years old, so it may also be the case that those cars aren't driven much.

I think the rule of thumb for car life is 200,000 miles and 3 owners, but I could be wrong about that.

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