Flutterby™! : drive it 'til it falls apart

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drive it 'til it falls apart

2007-09-09 02:41:15.915319+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

From Medley: "Consumer Reports says 'keep that car'". Largely a "well, duh" article, but sometimes it's nice to have my going against the grain reinforced:

By keeping your car for 15 years, or 225,000 miles of driving, you could save nearly $31,000, according to Consumer Reports magazine. That's compared to the cost of buying an identical model every five years, which is roughly the rate at which most car owners trade in their vehicles.

[ related topics: Consumerism and advertising Automobiles ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-09 03:30:33.048066+00 by: ziffle

My 99 Lexus LS stills feels tight and new at 110k; my 1989 Dodge Van is up to 220k and still going, albeit smokes some.

In the 60's and 70' a car that hit 40k was considered done, and should be traded. Then Toyota began applying Deming to its production and look what happened! It worked.

Interesting to note that Mercedes SL and BMW 7 were bad bets.....

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-09 03:42:49.806583+00 by: TheSHAD0W

My Toyota minivan is up to 56,000 miles - but I've had it for less than 2 years.

I'd have to opine that whether to keep your car longer depends on how prepared you are to cope with being stuck on the side of the road; the longer you keep that car, the more likely you're going to experience a breakdown. Is it worth an extra $2K/year to make sure your wife and kids aren't sitting on the side of the highway waiting for a tow truck?

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-09 04:40:07.584407+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

getting stuck beside the road builds character ;)

Seriously, Our '97 Chrysler minivan broke down in Chapel Hill a few weeks ago. It had about 170k miles on it. Got an '05 Honda with 33k miles to replace it.

Oh, when the car broke down, it was just the wife and kids in the car. I was on-site and couldn't get them.

I plan to keep up with the maintenance better on the Honda and make it last to 300k.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-09 11:00:43.132009+00 by: Medley

I'm hoping we can drive out Honda into the ground - it's at about 80K miles right now.

As for being stuck on the side of the road, I've found AAA-Plus to be invaluable. I've been stuck a few times over the years (one manual transmission Ford had repeated problems with a 'computer chip') and AAA was great. Usually I can find ways to take advantage of the benefits, even if we're not having car trouble, such that it pays for itself -- discounts on this and that. This year, we had them come and replace the Honda's battery right in our driveway - parts-only, about 1/2 to 1/3 what it would have cost us at our regular service place, for example.

Not crazy about the organization as a whole, but I've found AAA membership to be worth the cost of admission.

Since about 2002 we've had just one car and have made it work. (I can Metro to work, and we commute home together after I Metro out to where S works.) But there seem to be increasing moments when it would be helpful to have 2 cars, so I'm beginning to think we may have to get a second. That kind of bums me out. But we always said we'd just try to make it work as long as we could... we may have reached the limit with that...

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-09 11:10:23.998557+00 by: warkitty

My car is at 120k or so. He's starting to have minor issues. I'm still keeping him. I'm not ready to take on a car payment again. Its nice not having to pay out that money every month.

Maybe later. Like, when hybrids get cheap enough to pick one up easily, or maybe after I've stashed a decent down payment away into savings so its a quick payoff. I just don't want another looooong car payment.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-09 11:55:59.141735+00 by: meuon

I abuse my Truck (03 F150 SuperCrew), yet it gets regular full synthetic oil changes, air filters, and is about to get a major going over (tranny fluid, brakes, etc..) at 100k. Others are commonly reporting 300-500+k miles. The drivers side seat is tearing/wearing out even with a seat cover. Other than that, it's just over 90k, finished a 6+k road trip towing a trailer and runs strong. If fuel/technology for such a vehicle changes, I'll consider a new one, but I'm hoping this beast lasts a very long time. If I use it for just when I need a truck, it should last a very long time. The Subaru (32k), I'm expecting it to last 200k+. It'll eventually become the 'beater and we'll eventually buy a nice high mpg road car.

(WarKitty) As for car payments: Start a savings account now and save up your car payment (or a part of one) for 4-8 years, it'll make a big difference in the total cost of a car when you go to buy.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-09 22:49:14.913543+00 by: markd

My 87 Integra got to 224K or so. Engine was fine, but it finally lost the battle to body cancer. Western PA puts a *lot* of salt on the roads in winter.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-10 15:24:17.588116+00 by: Larry Burton

The problem I have with buying a used hybred is the same problem I have with buying a used laptop. How much longer before the battery pack needs to be replaced?

My Silverado is a '95 with 180,000 and it runs as well as it did when I bought it with 70,000 on it. My wife's Chrysler Sebring is an '00 with 107,000 on it and I'm not seeing any reduction in performance. My son's '93 Grand Cherokee has 240,000 and it needs a lot of work but I think it may be worth the money to fix it and keep it. Today's cars will last forever if properly maintained.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-10 15:40:13.506021+00 by: ebradway

Of the cars I've owned, the most cost-effective were:

1985 Toyota Pickup: ex-farm truck I bought for $1800. In the two years I drove it, I put about $500 into it (including a clutch and new tires) and then sold it for $1000.

1986 Porsche 911: I bought for $9,000 with 165K miles on it. I drove it for about a year and a half and put maybe $1500 in it (plus my own labor - but it was a labor of love). The odometer broke, so I don't know exactly how far I drove it but I sold it for $12,000.

That said, my father is a mechanic. I grew up rebuilding small engines on lawnmowers and mini-bikes. For me, getting stuck on the side of the road is part of the adventure. My wife takes a very different stance. She bought her Ford Ranger new in '98 and took it to the dealer for almost everything. It has 145K miles on it and has never done anything worse than a rough start.

Modern cars are amazingly reliable. But they are also amazingly complex. Preventative maintenance with the dealer is key. This is also how Rolls Royce maintains their reliability records: the hood has a lock on it that only the dealer can open!