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Author: WendyBG Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 71413  
Subject: How long does the "typical" car last? Date: 6/23/2008 1:13 PM
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I am approaching this board of car experts because of a statement on the METAR Board,
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=26755382
that the typical car lasts 100,000 miles.

How long does the typical car last? I would have thought well over 100,000 miles. I drive a Honda Civic, and I expect it to last (with maintenance) over 250,000 miles.

Since METAR is an Economic Trends board, the question is actually:
How many cars will auto manufacturers NOT have to build, if Americans drive less, due to higher gas prices?

Wendy
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Author: iPodder Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58742 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/23/2008 1:22 PM
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Wendy, there is how long a car lasts, and there is how long a car lasts.

When many people talk about how long a car lasts, they're talking about the mileage or the years that they owned the machine. They move it on to someone else and, for them, it ceases to exist.

Others include the miles that second owner puts on, too.

Saying that a Honda Accord "can go to 225,000 miles" is meaningless for most people, because they will never keep one that long. They will have one of the planet-alignment deals where the car "suddenly" needs a new transmission and a radiator and a seat-back thingie and a trunk liner gizmo and both power-steering and water pumps, and they'll just decide to bail. More than likely: They will just get bored with the car and start wanting something different. Or their needs will change. Their commute will suddenly triple or their family size will suddenly double or something like that.

So be careful. "I got 114,000 miles out of my Altima" may mean it was towed to the junkyard at that point, but it probably means they just got tired of it or their needs changed and they got a different car. Someone probably took that car from 114,000 to 150,000 or beyond….

But yeah, you can reasonably expect to see 100,000 miles with good care and maintenance. Even Korean and American nameplates can reach that with minimal attention.

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Author: mmrmnhrm Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58743 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/23/2008 1:40 PM
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Beyond what iPodder said, it also depends greatly upon your local conditions. My old '96 Sable had suffered badly from five years of neglect/abuse before I purchased it (A passenger car should never need its coil springs replaced, the touch-up paint was atrocious, and already a couple of rust precursor bubbles were forming), and barely made it to 130k miles before the repairs were killing my pocketbook. But that's with winters in Northern Ohio, where road salt is used like it's going out of style. Had this been Phoenix, though, I'd bet that thing would still be cruising along with over 200k by now, and apart from some new floormats, probably wouldn't be any worse for the wear.

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Author: aamw Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58744 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/23/2008 1:55 PM
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Wendy,

I would think if you limited your question to 'How many TRUCKS/SUVS will auto manufacturers not have to build due to higher gas prices?' you may have a more accurate picture of the current market. Ford and GM have reduced production of their half ton pickups. Should gas prices remain this high or higher they decline even further, as the only buyers that remain will be those who truly need a SUV or truck.

http://www.automobilemag.com/features/news/0804_gm_cuts_full...
- Article on GM cut

http://www.forbes.com/afxnewslimited/feeds/afx/2008/06/20/af... - Article on Ford cut and delay of new F150


On the flipside I've seen an unreal number of Toyota Prius' flying off the lots even though they may not be the best fit for many families. I'd love to understand what some folks are thinking when they are trading in cars for losses to pick up a car that might save them $1000 a year on gas. So we'll likely see an increase in the short term for more fuel efficient models.

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Author: devoish Big red star, 1000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58745 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/23/2008 2:05 PM
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WhenI first started repairing cars in 1977, if you got 100,000 miles out of your new car it was considered that you had done well. You would then sell it or give it to your kid for the next and last 15-30k. Lots of cars went to the junker at 80k. Today if you do not get 100k you are dissapointed. It is realistic to expect 150k, from your new car and then sell/give it to someone who will junk it around 170k. As always a few last longer 200k-250k, but the majority I would expect come in near where I am describing.
JMHO based on the cars i see in NY. I did not keep records.

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Author: eudaimon6 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58746 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/23/2008 2:47 PM
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It varies. And depends on what you mean by "last"

How long will the engine and transmission last?
HOw long will the body and frame last?
How long before the expense of fixing very expensive electrical/computer failures drives you to replace a basically sound vehicle?

A simple vehicle such as a Honda Civic LX with a manual transmission will provide reliable transportation for 200,000 miles or 10 years at a minimum.

A more complex vehicle such as a Mercedes E350 will be mechanically sound at that same point, but electronic gizmos might fail and be very, very expensive to fix.

You used to be able to buy a Toyota pickup with roll-up windows, conventional brakes, no power steering and a manual transmission for about $9,000 brand new. I owned one and wish I still did. The engine and transmission were very solid, and there was nothing on the vehicle to break.

You can't legally sell that vehicle in North America any more. Not safe by today's standards.

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Author: iPodder Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58747 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/24/2008 9:02 AM
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>
> The engine and transmission were very solid, and there was nothing
> on the vehicle to break.
>

The guys on TopGear tried to kill one, and couldn't.

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Author: TMFTwitty Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58748 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/24/2008 11:11 AM
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The guys on TopGear tried to kill one, and couldn't.

Not that it didn't require considerable resuscitation to, um, "fire" up again :)

The best place to find critters that just won't die is the small farm.

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Author: brewer12345 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58751 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/24/2008 12:10 PM
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Wendy, there are statistics on this floating around, but I do not have them at my fingertips. I would guess that either the feddle gummint or Ward's Automotive could probably supply the figures on average age when they get junked. But its worth remembering that a certain percentage are junked every year due to wrecks, some are stolen, etc. I want to say that the average car that isn't wrecked is on the road for 14 years, but I can't remember where I read it.

Anecdotally, my 1995 ford escort is still on the road with 140k miles and significant body rust. Like the toyota pickups mentioned, thee isn't a lot to break on it (no power anything, manual tranny, etc.).

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Author: 3BeeJay3 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58753 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/24/2008 1:09 PM
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Most cars these days have a realistic chance, with proper care(barring wrecks etc.), of seeing 200,000 miles. Any GM pickup and some of their cars built since 1990 or so can go double that (I've witnessed many). Some Hondas, Toyotas and VW diesels can also get extra long service lives.

The key factor is usually rust and time. Nowadays most car drivetrains will outlast the body in the rustbelt areas. Time is also hard on plastics and rubbers used extensively for seals, mounts, belts etc. etc.
Often the metal mechanicals are fine on a car but it's not cost effective to have to replace these types of parts that are time ravaged.

If a vehicle is driven extraordinarily high miles yearly, say over 50,000/yr., that vehicle will likely see much higher than average mileage life, because the mechanicals will be fine, but the car won't be as affected by rust and time.

My 11 yr old VW Jetta has 371,000km (~232,000 miles), runs fine, but the body is starting to get rust perforation in a couple vulnerable areas. It's got 2-3 good years left before it's time for the junkyard. By that time it should be at about 500,000km.

Statistically, I suspect the real average mileage life for any recent or current car is probably somewhere around 150,000 miles, due to all factors.

BJ

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58754 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/24/2008 1:21 PM
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<<The key factor is usually rust and time. Nowadays most car drivetrains will outlast the body in the rustbelt areas. Time is also hard on plastics and rubbers used extensively for seals, mounts, belts etc. etc.
>>


A major cause of early death for cars is a detriorated cooling system, which exposes people to overheating dangers and head gasket failure.

Fix one leaking hose and another crops up before long. Makes me wonder if a complete changeout of hoses shouldn't be something people do after say ten years as routine maintenance. And what about other cooling system weak points, like water pumps and radiators? Perhaps the whole lot should be changed out after a certain point for those who want to maximize reliability and longevity of their vehicle.



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: eudaimon6 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58755 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/24/2008 2:15 PM
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Hose manufacturers recommend replacing cooling system hoses at around four-five years.

Maintenance is key. As I have posted here many times, I've seen some pretty mediocre cars go well past 175,000 miles, but those were well-maintained mediocre cars. If my dad got 175,000 miles out of a Volare station wagon, I would think similar maintenance practices would deliver twice that from a Honda Civic. One of my coworkers drives a 1994 Toyota Camry ten miles each way to work every day. I think he told me last October the car has in the range of 335,000 miles. He has no short-term plans to replace the car.

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Author: Volucris Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58765 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/25/2008 1:09 AM
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"Typically", 150,000 miles.
3 sets of tires
2 timing belts
2 serpentine belt changes
30 oil changes
15 air filters
3 tranny fluid changes
3 or 4 radiator flushes and changes
2 sets of spark plugs
1 set of spark plug wires
1 set of brakes, for me anyway
maybe a set of struts

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Author: martybl Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58768 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/25/2008 7:44 AM
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Maintenance is key.

I also think that driving style plays a big role. I like sports cars, like to run them through the gears at full throttle, and corner hard. I'm pretty good about maintenance - synthetic oil, oil changes more often than the manufacturer recommends, frequent washing, dealer servicing at recommended intervals.

My cars still aren't going to set any reliability or mileage records. As was pointed out upstream, I don't keep track of what happens to my cars after I trade them in, but I doubt any of the cars I got new are going to make it to 350K miles.

martybl

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Author: jeffbrig Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58769 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/25/2008 8:53 AM
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3 sets of tires

Looks like I'm way ahead of schedule. ;)

On my 4th set of rear tires, at 27k miles.

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Author: PSUEngineer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58770 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/25/2008 9:12 AM
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On my 4th set of rear tires, at 27k miles.

Tires every 8k miles? That's crappy tire wear you have.

PSU

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Author: BigKahoona Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58771 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/25/2008 9:17 AM
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Tires every 8k miles? That's crappy tire wear you have.

PSU



Nah. I think he just has a "throttle oversteer" problem.

BK

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Author: eudaimon6 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58773 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/25/2008 9:48 AM
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Good points. My parents taught me to buy cars with the intention of getting all the use out of them possible. Hard starts and hard braking stress the frame and driveline. That's why race cars get rebuilt so often.

Of course, the sorts of cars I favor (currently own a Grand Am and a Buick Lacrosse, drive a C-class for a demo) and the roads I drive on (mostly straight highways) don't lend themselves to spirited driving in any case. If I lived in the mountains and owned an SLK350, things might be different.

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Author: Patzer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58784 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/25/2008 4:11 PM
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On my 4th set of rear tires, at 27k miles.

Tires every 8k miles? That's crappy tire wear you have.


Or maybe a broken odometer? <g>

The worst tires I ever had were bald at 19k miles. Pirelli something or other cheap on a VW Fox. I bought better tires to replace them.

Patzer

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Author: jeffbrig Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58789 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/25/2008 8:33 PM
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Nope, the odometer works just fine. That's just the result of having a RWD sports car with soft performance tires. And... driving it like it was meant to be driven.

Sure, I could probably get more mileage out of the tires if I wanted. I could tone down my driving. Or maybe pick a harder tire compound. But what would be the point of that? Might as well trade it in for a Camry. ;)

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Author: PSUEngineer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58790 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/25/2008 9:25 PM
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Nope, the odometer works just fine. That's just the result of having a RWD sports car with soft performance tires. And... driving it like it was meant to be driven.

Sure, I could probably get more mileage out of the tires if I wanted. I could tone down my driving. Or maybe pick a harder tire compound. But what would be the point of that? Might as well trade it in for a Camry. ;)


It still seems like excessive tire wear. When you say like it was meant to be driven, do you mean you lay down a strip of rubber every time the light turns green?

PSU

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Author: eudaimon6 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58794 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/25/2008 10:45 PM
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I've never owned a sports car, but I've owned motorcycles for years. Motorcycle tires are quite a bit more expensive than car tires, and don't last long at all. A rear tire maybe is good for ten thousand miles.

Jeffbrig owns an S2000-the kind of car who's owners want to know, if they drive over a dime, whether it was heads or tails. Everything about an S2000 is compromised towards performance and handling. He probably does drive it hard. Why bother with an S2000 if you aren't going to wind it up. Might as well have a Miata with an automatic, or a camry. Camrys are nice cars-they do everything ok. An S2000 does one or two things fantastically well, and most things not at all.

Twenty years ago,when I was pumping gas at the Amoco station in St Paul, we had a semi-regular customer who preferred to use the full-service pumps. He drive a twelve cylinder Jaguar with two gas tanks. Back when full-service premium was $2.25/gallon it would cost him seventy or eighty dollars to fill both up. Once he commented about the amount of money he was spending on fuel, to which I offered the smart-aleck response: "If that was really important I suppose you could have had six festivas and change instead"

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Author: jeffbrig Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 58797 of 71413
Subject: Re: How long does the "typical" car la Date: 6/26/2008 12:24 AM
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It still seems like excessive tire wear. When you say like it was meant to be driven, do you mean you lay down a strip of rubber every time the light turns green?

Nope. Laying down strips of rubber is obnoxious, and in the S2000 it's also abusive to the drivetrain. The S2000 is more about handling than absolute straight line acceleration. Powering out of turns/curves is where the rear tires get eaten up. As someone mentioned previously, "throttle oversteer" is available on demand, and the S2000 is a wonderfully balanced car.

Among other S2000 enthusiasts, 10k is the typical life of rear tires in city driving, with the fronts lasting twice as long. That's perfectly acceptable to me, because that 9-10k miles represents about two years of fun behind the wheel.

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