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Drove my car to the scrap yard today

I’m not sure how many people get to do this, but today I drove my one-owner 1996 Plymouth Breeze to a scrapyard. 17 years, 181,000 miles; original clutch and exhaust system. Started fine and ran OK, but significant oil and coolant leaks that lead me to think the head gasket was gone; significant body damage from an accident in 2011 that totalled it, plus a theft attempt that peeled the steering column and ruined the passenger side door lock, a check engine light (bad EGR system) that meant it wouldn’t pass emissions testing made me think that it was time. Still 17 years, $12,000 of depreciation, low operating costs and manageable repair costs mean- all in all, I can’t complain. 44 oil changes, and I think I did 43 of them.

I wonder what percentage of cars have one owner, ever?

Well if you include the cars that are wrecked and totaled while much younger than yours, then it would be quite a few. But other than that, not too many.

Makes you feel good doesn’t it. I had a similar experience with my one owner 81 Olds diesel. Put 480K on it but on my second engine and head gaskets going again. It looked great. Clean, new tires, etc. but I had had it and sold it to the guy that put the last engine in for $200 and never regretted it. I did keep the hood ornament though.

Does it count if a car stays in the same family but is passed down through several drivers. My dad bought a brand new 86 Toyota Tercel 4WD wagon. When he passed away, my sister took it until 2000 when at 188k miles, she gave it to my son. He and I shared it, him driving, me fixing, until a couple years ago at 330k miles, he hit a sharp object on the road, in a curve, that sliced a rear tire open and the car hit a big oak tree. The oak tree didn’t get a dent.

Congratulations; you’ve got your money out of that Plymouth no doubt about it.

As to one owner percentages, that would be impossible to figure out. The oldest one I personally know of at the moment is an elderly man (late 80s) who has a 1971 Buick Skylark that he bought brand new back in the day. The last time I saw it a couple of years ago he had a whopping 31k miles on it and other than a couple of tiny rust flecks on the rear bumper it looked clean enough to put on the showroom floor.

Cars may be inanimate but they sometimes bring back lots of good memories. I think taking it to the junk yard is toughest of all. A friend past away several years back. His intent was to leave one of his cars, a late 70s Olds with fewer then 80 k miles. It was in very good overall condition and I would have loved to own it. But, when he was alive, we could bearly drive it in and out of my road even in the summer and would have to be stored in the winter which meant tarping another boat outside. Luckily, we found away to transfer it to someone in need, which seemed the best idea. Otherwise, it would have been junked out too.

Congrats. I hope u got a better car. But than almost anything is. I assume u park in garage to hide wreck from neighbors?

Speaking of long term one-ownership…

The lost car registry (which is also interesting, http://www.the-lost-car-registry.com/ ) came up with this story: http://growingbolder.com/media/technology/vehicles/romancing-the-road-259598.html about a Mercury Comet. I saw the same clip on the TV news a while back so I searched for it.

There is also this Rolls Royce that made the news in 2005 http://www.examiner.com/article/world-s-longest-car-owner-relationship-from-new

I’ll never own a new car, and I’m too old to set a one-ownership record, but I can claim ownership of my '61 MGA for 44 years next month.

Wow, 44 Years !
I’ve Owned My Oldest Fiero For 28 Years. I Thought That Was Something.
CSA

You are right Stoveguyy, just about everything is better than a '96 Breeze with significant body damage and a suspect engine. I got a 2013 Prius. Has to last a long time to get the depreciation down to $75/ month.

Congradulations! That’s the type of ownership we recommend, and my sister, a retired accountant, advocates!

Personally, I’ve done this to a 1965 Dodge Dart in 1978 and a 1977 Dodge Colt in 1996. End of the road.

I teach a course in “Asset Life Cycle Management” and you have to take into account safety, environmental compliance, day to day reliability, and of course upkeep cost compared to finacing a new vehicle. My wife would add “appearance”!

The longest I’ve ever owned any car was right around 13 years and that was a Subaru.
Veering off into motorcycles though, I’ve owned my '44 Harley U flathead since 1974 and my '50 Harley FL panhead since 1976. There is zero chance of ever getting rid of either one of those so the possession clock is still ticking.

My brother-in-law has had the same Honda Goldwing motorbike for the last 30 years. During that time he has also gone through a Fird T Bird, Crown Victoria, Buick Le Sabre and now has a 2012 loaded Buick.

I don’t think that record for the Rolls Royce can be topped, but I think it CBS Sunday Morning that had a segment about a guy the graduated from high school in the 30’s, went to work for Ford, married his sweetheart and bought a new Ford, all in the same year. He kept the job until he retired and kept the car, wife and house for the rest of his life. He was pretty old at the time of that segment, I think is shown right after he passed, but he wasn’t 102. This was some time ago so I am really fuzzy on the details.

Speaking of driving a vehicle to the scrap yard…I bought one a few years ago before the crusher got it. My uncle was taking a 94 Ford Ranger to the scrap yard for his step-son. I volunteered to help load it on the trailer for him but he said “No need…it runs.” I immediately asked how much the scrap yard was giving for the little truck and my uncle told me “$200.”

I bought the Ranger and took it home to use for trash and brush hauling. The only problem that it had was a bad inertia switch that had left the step son stranded one too many times. I just wired the switch out of the circuit and the problem was solved. I drove that little truck for almost 2 years without a problem. I finally sold it for parts when I bought a bigger truck. The price? $200. Sometimes…another man’s trash is another man’s (dented) treasure.

If you “drove” it to the scrap yard, it probably had at least $500 value to someone. Time to move on.

People are keeping their cars longer and longer, partly due to the economy being on the fritz, and partly because the cars are just lasting longer than they used to. Good on you for keeping the old girl on the road for all these years in good running condition, and best of luck in finding a new car with just as good or better reliability results.

Driving a ugly/ crappy car is like eating at a restaurant that serves bad food and than complaining about the small portion sizes

Thinking back on my own history, I’d guess that it;s a small percentage. Most of my vehicles got traded because my needs changed. I’d guess that’s normal as people move through life.
How many single working people had the same cars they had in college?
How may families with kids have the same cars they had when they were single working people?
How many elderly people had the same cars they had when they had kids at home?

@mountainbike The longest ownerships I encounter are corporate employees who get a new car every 2-3 years and before retirement and then are allowed to buy the car upon retirement at depreciated value, meaning very little. They enter retirement with a low mileage, loaded car and their driving drops to 10,000 miles per year, usually less. And 25 years later they often still drive the same car.

There is a veteran who visits the local Legion Hall regularly, and still drives a 60s Ford Crown Victoria, with all the side trim and “opera lamps” on the side. He will probably never wear out the car, but is very attached to it and with those big windows it has excellent visibility, important for seniors. He probably bought the car shortly before retirement.

We live in a dry climate and corrosion is usuallly not a reason to get rid of a car now.

A friend who has worked all over the US says that San Antonio, TX is a good place to buy low mileage old cars. It has a lot of retired veterans, not a heavy salt area, and when these vets can’t drive any longer, the family usually sells the car. Your only serious competition for these vehicles would be Mexican workers.