Is my car too old?



My 2001 car has 215,000 mi. on it. I,ve had no unusual problems with it and keep it lubed regularly.

Other than tires, brakes and a rusted through break cable, i’ve had no repairs. Drives beautifully and always starts.

Everyone tells me my car is too old and I should replace it soon. Should I?

I’m a 72 yr.old woman and I do quite a bit of driving.


Generally I don’t advocate trading a car that’s operating well, but since you’re a senior citizen who does quite a bit of driving, you may want to consider something new. I suspect they’re worried about you breaking down in the “middle of nowhere” and resultant safety issues. If you were my mom I’d feel the same way. The fact is that after 200,000 miles a vehicle can expect something to break every now and then.

Pick up a consumer reports New Car Preview at the local bookstore. That’ll give you a good overview of what’s available.


Dragon; the Buick Regal was, at the time, the best car General Motors built. If well maintained, it has a lot of life left in it. The intake manifold gaskets were the only significant problem these cars had.

I would just keep driving it and looking after it by the book. Since you drive a lot, it won’t get “bunged up” like so many seniors’ cars that are only driven on short trips.

Elswhere we have a post of a lady who still has her original Ford from the 60s with over 500,000 miles on it.

As my wife says, “Age only matters if you’re wine or cheese”!

Many more miles of Happy Motoring!


You’re still in the sweet spot for a car. The fatigue on a chassis starts showing up around 13-15 years for major components. From that point on it’s a gamble on if you will have a junkyard worthy fender bender. The odds start to work against further investment in repairs.


Keep it, as long as a breakdown won’t be dangerous. I would have a trusted mechanic go over it top to bottom, there’s more to keeping it roadworthy than oil changes and new tires. I assume you have AAA and a cell phone. And be ready ($$ in the bank) to get a new car if something major breaks.


It would probably be prudent to make sure you have a AAA membership and a cell phone instead of getting a new car. I think this solution would be a good compromise.


EXCELLENT suggestion…whether she keeps the car or trades it.


A major issue that is extremely important is your economic situation, which is most decidedly not our business, just to be aware of the issue. If you can easily afford a new car, then buying a new car is your decision and you need not apologize to anyone.

On the other hand, old habits die hard, and people have trouble changing as good, well maintained cars last much longer. I can remember when people used to boast when a motor lasted 100,000 miles. Today that motor is still fairly new if properly maintained.

If like most of us a new car is a major economic decision, then it sounds like this car can last you a long time. On the other hand, you may also last a long time. My wife’s best friend is 92 and her 1992, I think, Buick, also may be a Regal I am not sure, runs out fine. Nice car, in great shape.

Some importance must be directed at exactly what sort of driving you do. It is different if you drive across the country, or just around town. 20,000+ miles a year sounds like it must include a lot of highway driving, right?

The usual advice is to have a cell phone to call for help if you do get stranded. If you don’t have a great personal mechanic, find our Mechanic Files page, and locate a good mechanic in your area, for a complete examination of that car. The three most important things are belts hose and tires. You will want to keep the cooling system and transmission well maintained, among other issues he may point out.

If you drive any distance out of town in cold or very hot weather, take the time to pop survival equipment in the trunk. Cold weather gear, I take my two -30 degree sleeping bags when I go north into the snow belt in below freezing weather. It is possible to die if you get trapped in cold weather, rare in the days of cell phones, but last month one midwestern state prohibited tow trucks from going out for a couple days, and up to 100 people were trapped in their cars on the Interstate for quite a few hours. My kids always took peanut butter when they commuted 70 miles a day to the State University on the Interstate, P’nut butter has plenty of energy to keep your core temps up, and they had a military sleeping bag in the trunk.

In the summer, be sure to take a couple gallon jugs of water along.

This is my normal advice for any age of car. People die because they assume their car will always run perfectly, and will never get stuck in a blizzard.

Several years ago, on our way back to the States, we spent the night at Matehuala. The next morning, we talked to a couple going back to Minnesota from one of the beaches. She had suffered in the night from cold, because most buildings are not centrally heated. Turns out in February they had driven from Minnesota to Mexico, and all she had was a light sweater, no coat. If their vehicle stalled or got trapped in a blizzard, she is going to die.


You will not turn 300,000 miles for about 4 years. You will be 76 by then. Will you still be driving? I hope that your eyes, reflexes, and clear mind will continue well past 76, but it is something to think about, too. I’d keep the Regal. Or I could sell you my low mileage 1998 Regal (128,000 miles)! It runs well, too.


The Buick Regal is not the car for you–you are far too young to be in a Buick. You should be driving a Mazda Miata. You might even consider getting a motorcycle and using the Buick only for transportation in inclement weather. I’m only 4 years younger than you are.
Seriously though, what kind of driving do you do? If you take long trips, you may want to either consider a new car or save the money and rent a car for vacation travel. Rental companies often have good vacation rates with unlimited mileage. A used car with fewer miles is a gamble unless you really know the car–better the devil you know (your present Buick Regal) than the devil you don’t know.
When my Dad was your age, he bought himself a sporty Oldsmobile Cutlass S colonnade hard top with sporty wheels and a vinyl roof.
Most importantly, think young. If you have the means, buy yourself a new car. However, don’t let sales people steer you toward “geezer cars”.