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Cars 10 years old and more

I’ve noticed many of the posts involve car 10+ years old and most have 100K miles or more too.

Consumer reports tracks reliability data for the new and nearly new cars, does anyone track repair and reliability data for cars 10 years and older?

Do some makes and models hold up better? Or, is it the care the car received by the owner more critical to long life? Are owners expecting new car reliabilty from these older cars?

When I purchase used cars I assume there is a reason for selling the car, what is the reason? I expect to put about $2,000 into reconditioning repairs in the 1st 6 months as I discover just what the car needs. So far this has worked out for me.

Regular maintenance prolongs the life of key components like the engine and transmission, but not forever. Things like drive shafts, CV joints, tie rod ends, struts don’t get regular maintenance and take a beating on our crummy roads. Lots of other parts, switches, hoses, relays, electric motors simply wear out.

Is it more nobel to keep an old car going? Or, support the manufacturers, banks, and stimulate the economy by buying that new car?

Consumer Reports gives info on reliability going back about 7 years. I have kept all the April car back issues since 1977. However, those reports only tell you how good the cars were compared to others of that era. A better-than-average car of 1977 would likely be a “worse-than-average” car by today’s measures. My 1976 Ford Granada had an “average” repair and reliability record. By today’s maesure, I would call it a substandard car.

You can thank the Japanese for continually moving the goal posts on reliability and durability.

If I want info on a 12 year old car I go to the latest issue of CR that shows it a s a 7 year old car. By that time significant weakmnesses will have made themselves known.

Keep in mind that we get more older car questions because a lot of people with newer cars tend to just take them to the dealer and don't stop by here.

When we get questions about "should I repair my car or buy new’ now we have a new factor the “nobility factor” this is expressed as F(n)= fill it in.

Fixing cars also stimulates manufactures,banks and the economy.

You don’t subscribe to the pre-purchase inspection way of doing business?

I believe in taking the prospective car to a mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection.

My test drive and visual inspection tells me a lot, but the stuff you can’t see requires a mechanic and getting the car up on a lift. Broken motor mounts are a good example. I don’t think many buyers would pick up a bad mount without a mechanic’s pre-purchase inspection.

I don’t expect perfect, I just want to know what to expect down the road. So far, I’ve not had a car flunk the mechanic inspection but it always uncovers something of note. I’ve got a better idea what I’m getting into.

You are comfortable with $2000.00 in missed repairs. This earns a “F” in my grade book.

You did not address the main point of your post or of my response,the “nobility factor”.

Look for engine excessive engine movement when going on and off the gas. For a auto trans you can have someone else watch the engine move while you go on and off the gas while in gear and holding the brake.

I think that the condition of the car is much more important than any repair or reliablility record would indicate when I car reaches this age. In the early 1950’s, Consumer Reports would report on cars that were less than 6 years old and group them as class A, class B, or class C, with A being the highest, most trouble free group. However, they issued the caveat that the condition of the car was more important than the group classification and that a class C automobile that was well-maintained might be a good purchase, while a class A that had not been cared for would be a poor buy. Consumer Reports also noted specific problems and would suggest to the readers that a car might move up a classification if a specific repair had been done. For example, a 1948 Studebaker was a class B used car in 1952, but if an alignment had recently been done, the car would move up to class A.
In his book “What You Should Know About Cars” published in the early 1960’s, the late Tom McCahill suggested that the most important thing is that the car wasn’t rusted out and that the frame was straight. “Body work is expensive and a bent frame is impossible”, he wrote. He suggested that a rebuilt engine might be a good investment for a car that was otherwise o.k. As to whether or not it is noble to keep an old car going depends on whether the vehicle is safe and can pass any inspections. I’ve made some really good purchases in older cars. Whether or not one should keep the old car going depends on how the car is going to be used. If the car is going to be used for local transportation, it may be perfectly satisfactory. On the other hand, this same car may not be the best car for a cross-country trip.

CR’s 7 years of empirical data is enough to give you a good overview of whether a 10 year old car of the same make and model (if still maed) will have aged well over time if well maintained…and in truth the car’s lifestyle and maintenance become far more important with older cars. The most reliable model in the world can be junk in 10 years, and the clunky model can still be in much better than average shape.

I won’t be happy spending $2,000 but things like alternators, fuel pumps, AC compressors, mass air sensors, etc. which can work fine one day and crap out the next. So when I get a car, especially one 10 years old I expect something to go wrong. I just have to wait and see what it is. Not because I missed it, just because stuff wears out.

I’m not sure what you expect as a reply to “nobility factor”. I kind of enjoy seeing old stuff still working properly. Rather than trash it, I probably error on the side of repair when I should let it go.

When I purchase used cars I assume there is a reason for selling the car, what is the reason?

Is it more nobel to keep an old car going?

I would sell my Old car ('88 Accord) if the price were right.

Helps a lot if you’re doing the maintenance/repair work mostly yourself.

Replacements I’ve done myself:
2 cat back exhaust - OEM bolt on
rear ball joints and struts
brake cylinders
fuel pump relay
steering rack

I can address the nobility factor. Keeping the economy going is easier if the job situation is excellent. If credit is easy to get, so are cars.

People with a lot of equity in their homes can get credit for cars any time, if they are employed. Rabid car buying has left us all with a lot of cars. Many people who owned fifteen year old cars are driving two year old cars.

The market will pick up only if there is more money available. Many people are using public transportation until the whole country reaches a stable point. The car market could take a while to rebound.

Seniors used to get 6.5% annual interest on their money with no restrictions on withdrawals.

The extra money is gone from the housing market because it never existed. The value was all inflated. Remember when everybody could flip a house and make $80,000? Now you can lose that much. It takes a lot of noble people to help the car makers.

Many of those repairs have been done on my car, circuitsmith,. Not by me, of course, but the person who did the maintenance saved me a lot of stress and money- and had the added benefit of “giving” me the “grandpa” I never had but always wanted.
Oh, and UncleTurbo, if I wasn’t such a broke-ass college student, I’d invest in a new vehicle :wink:

I’m a broke ass retired person with a kid in college. All the cars I have now are going to have to go the duration. I expect to be driving about 20 more years. That goes for an '87 Ski Centurion boat too. I simply can’t afford anything new. I’ve got a pure fun car, a tow vehicle, and a practical car (in addition the son has a car). The youngest car is over 5 years old and the oldest is just short of 10. I just budget for some repairs and hope I won’t need them.

Along with the other good points, the cars that were “cheapest” for our family to keep inspected and on the road, were compact PUs with their simple mechanics, and compact sedans W/O option packages that included power equipment. We’ve had several Accords in the family that had to go early in spite of good trans/motors because of repeated electrical/ac problems that were the value of the car to fix. Cheapest Nova/Prisms we had for kids, just kept churning much longer w/o that expense.
That’s why I feel reliability reports have to be a little suspect if you don’t consider these added expenses.
For that reason, I plan on getting rid of our 4Runner a little earlier than I would our “cheaper” cars. Everything is power in it…and we had no choice when we bought it and it will cost much more to “run into the ground”.

"Is it more nobel to keep an old car going? Or, support the manufacturers, banks, and stimulate the economy by buying that new car? "

In direct response to the question…it is at least as noble to keep a car. The parts market is a significant part auto profits. It’s all figured by the bean counters, that whether you buy a new Toyota every three years or not, because more than half of the autos purchased use the dealership for service…you still support them.
I contend also, that it will take a MAJOR financially restructuring of the auto industry REQUIRING govt. intervention if we expect them to make truely green cars.
The more we depend upon electric power, the less maintenance that vehicle requires and the less profitable it is. The real all electric car is a stake in the heart of the auto industry…so don’t hold your breath on the Volt w/o a bail out and major job losses. The Prius which depends upon only partial electric power as well as the Hybrid Escape are supporting this point. Both are reliable and non profitable.
Short term support…more Expeditions and Sequoas, long term…who knows, govt. intervention ? Do we have to move further away from an auto based economy ?

I drive a 1992 Nissan Primera SLX 2.0 wagon. The previous owner was a mechanic who kept up with all maintenance and kept a scrupulous record. I bought the car cheap, even though it ran perfectly, in 2005 and have put in about $2000 since then. My mechanic estimates it will last another 3 or 4 years, finally succumbing to rust. The motor will probably run like a charm long after the car is up on blocks.

If I get my hands on some cash I might get a SAAB Biogas car, to be a good citizen and also because of parking privileges and a tax break offered where I live for environmentally friendly cars. Right now, with my dwindling savings, I can’t see justifying a new car, not now and not while this one starts up every time, no problems.

"The motor will probably run like a charm long after the car is up on blocks. "

You could do like my father did with his '48 Plymouth: It had a relatively new motor from Sears when the frame got too badly rusted. He gave it to a friend with a farm who put it up on blocks and attached a saw blade to the rear axle.

There is no need for a car to ever succumb to rust. It is a lack of body maintenance choice on older cars that many of us don’t practice until it’s too late.
It can be stopped dead in its tracks.

I should have also noted that CR ratings of older cars would not be of much help. In older cars the care and maintenance the driver gives the car becomes the overriding factor on reliability, not the original build quality.

How? Just recently I spent $1000 to replace the floor and coat the underside with rust inhibiter. I welcome any suggestion that will prevent this kind of thing in the future.