List of ways in which cars are made cheaply or to wear after so much time or use

How about certain engine and transmissions? The Chrysler 2.7 and Ford SPI come to mind. Also, some of the newer CVT and DDCT models of transmissions haven’t shown to be all that reliable either. Cars are overall longer lasting but there are some real duds from time to time or new tech that isn’t ready for prime time. One of my friends had a 2014 Focus. The transmission seemed to be a 30,000 mile part and he sold it just after the 3rd one was replaced and the warranty about to run out. Some of the Nissan CVTs have not been so great either.

Even Toyota seems to share in the love with dud models. One of my buddies had one of these and the main issue was that his wife would only add oil once the light came on. He tried to at least check it once a week but even that was getting to be not enough by the end. I am sure her not keeping it topped off didn’t help the situation.

I have talked to folks who indicate this is actually a great engine once the factory defects are fixed. Here is a pretty objective video about this engine.

Here’s older data on average car age. Sure seems a lot better now than in the '90s:

Thanks for posting that. I’m looking for more detailed statistics. That graph telling us that the average age of vehicles 12.5 doesn’t do much good since it doesn’t tell us what portion of the vehicles are younger than 12.5 year old. 40% of the fleet could be <12.5 and 60% >12.5. Cars often stay on the road for 20 years, so the statistics for today are heavily influenced by how cars were built 20 years ago.

It is also influenced by the economy and interest rates. Many people don’t wait until their old car breaks down to get a new one.

I think the lack of increase in the age of light trucks is mostly due to new vehicles sales of trucks increasing significantly versus cars. It doesn’t mean that the longevity of cars is increasing versus trucks.

Right around cash for clunkers car quality seemed to go down. That was 13 years ago, so we’re not done with seeing the effects of that yet. If cars from that time were made to last 15 years / 180,000 miles, then the effects of that won’t peak until 2025.

Also, if a vehicle has the faults that I mentioned, it doesn’t always mean that it will have a shorter life on the road. It can just mean that the total cost of ownership will increase. If a 6 year old car needs a $4000 transmission replacement, people are going to pay it. If the vehicle is in an accident and the cost of repair is much higher than in the past, insurance will cover it and the car will stay on the road, or they won’t fix it and keep driving it.

Source: Average Age of Cars & Trucks by Household Income and Vehicle Type over Time | Wolf Street

That graph has some good information in it. It says that in 2017 4% of households had 15 year old car from 2002. In 2009, 3% of households had a 15 year old car from 1995. So we can conclude that the 2002 model year was better for car longevity than the 1995 model year. This isn’t just due to how long a car lasts and how much it costs to repair. It has to do with the economy and the cost a never vehicle as well. If the cost of buying a new vehicle in 2017 is higher than in 2009, that will push people toward keeping an older vehicle. The consumer perceved difference in quality from 1995 and 2002 was probably minimal, so that wouldn’t cause people to hang on to older cars. But I think the difference in quality, price, and available features on new cars from 2002 to 2009 saw a much larger change than 1992 to 2002, so this could have caused consumers to hang on to older cars.

edit: The 2009 graph shows that there was a boom of newer cars from 2001 to 2008. Looking at the 2017 graph, we can see that the 2001 to 2008 boom shifted right 8 years, creating a bubble of older cars of model years 2001 to 2008 in 2017.

Nope, your plot shows that the vast majority of cars are less than 20 years old.

You stated that car longevity peaked in the 90s. Was that just an opinion, unsupported by anything? My plots show that’s incorrect. Where’s your data?


Some manufacturers were using captive rotors for a while, meaning replacing a worn brake rotor involved dealing with the wheel bearing, making a worn rotor replacement considerably more expensive. I recall some complaints here about that configuration. I haven’t heard much about that recently though. Just curious, are there manufacturers still equipping their new cars with captive rotors?

Hard to say if that’s b/c of the cars or the care you give them. Probably the most common problem folks ask about here is the engine won’t crank. Haven’t you ever had that problem with any of those cars?

Only no-crank I have ever had was when the batteries went bad. All 3 have had that at least once. I carry my jump pack in the car that has a suspect battery. And my batteries typically last quite a while.

I suspect the lack of bad starters and alternators is the result of properly maintained engines. No long cranks because may cars start right up. No smoked alternators because I don’t let them totally recharge my batteries.

Now I DID fail an alternator in my 84 Corvette… locked up solid and burned the pulley right off of it. But that car had been run hard by myself and the 2 previous owners so that could explain it.

Every car has it weak points. I have replaced all 4 power window regulators plus a 5th in my truck over nearly 20 years. They all do it. But that never left me stranded!

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Heh heh. A buddy and I drove to summer camp in North Carolina from Mn one year. He was concerned about taking my two year old olds with 70,000 miles. Still going strong at 240,000. People have no idea what these machines are. Capable of.

You might want to change your user name . . .

Your list applies to MANY cars from the wonderful 90s :laughing:


It shows that in 2017 there were about 5 times as many 1 year old vehicles in service compared to 20 year old (1997) ones. That’s a bigger difference than I thought it would be! My point is that 20+ year old vehicles are still a significant factor when calculating the average age of vehicles on the road today.

There are economic factors to consider affecting total care sales per year. Cash for clunkers boosted car sales and removed old cares from service in 2009.

Also, if the total number of cars owned per person is increasing, wouldn’t that tend to sway the average toward the average age being older? I’m just saying there is a lot to consider. This link shows the number of vehicles owned per person: Fact #962: January 30, 2017 Vehicles per Capita: Other Regions/Countries Compared to the United States | Department of Energy

It was my opinion influenced from an article I read talking about how cars from today aren’t lasting as long as they did in the 90s. Their data might have been based on a few models, such as Toyotas from that period where a vehicle with equivalent longevity can no longer be purchased today at the same price point. The Camrys and Volvo 240s would would last well over 400,000 miles with normal maintenance. What car from today does that?

I don’t really have any hard data. I just hear people talking about how the more advanced vehicles from the last decade are costing more to repair. We didn’t have CVT replacements at 100k miles or $2000 display modules in need of replacement in the 1990s. Even if a car from 2020 can last as long as one from 2000, there are so many more electronic systems that can break and need costly repairs.

People will often junk a car for major rust or something that requires an engine or transmission removal. They usually won’t for something like suspension or a climate control system issue. A lot of newer cars have more small things to fail so it just costs more to keep on the road but it still stays on the road. Today’s car engines usually last a very long time. Transmission life varies more today than the 90s with all the CVT stuff 6+ speed automatics that can be more sensitive to negleted maintenace. I know someone with a 2014 that has had 2 ZF8 transmission replacements before 80k miles.

When looking at how many vehicles of a certain year are on the road today, it really should be compared with the number of that model year originally sold. I mean if 2001 had 1.13x as many car sales compared to 1995, it would be expected that there would be 1.13x as many 2001 cars on the road in 2021 compared to 1995 cars in 2015.
Source: Having Dropped for Years, US Auto Sales Plunged to 1970s Level in 2020 | naked capitalism

But no CVTs, no infotainment, no 10 different CAN bus connected modules, no variable valve timing, no 8 year design life tires, no completely plastic front ends …

Nonsense. I’ve been tracking cars for 40 years, that’s simply not true.


700k miles. Probably mostly highway miles though. There are a lot of 500k to 1000k Hondas from that time too.

I bet you can find a few of most any car that did this. Camrys are certainly reliable, no evidence that they’re worse now.

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Maybe you need to stop wearing these :thinking:

The 90s were just another era, not the best, but also not the worst

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I missed this. HAHAHAHA. This is simply wrong. I didn’t find any over 400k.

I meant on youtube search results. You’ll have to decide how true they are. I know the Camrys from the 90s go past 400k miles without the help of the Internet.

you keep changing the “rules” as you go along, so that you always “win” :rofl:


Kind of hard for a 2020 anything to reach high miles. Wait a decade or two.


I do not know about your original topic, but here is a Topic where @Mustangman addressed many if not all of your issues…

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Co-worker bought her 2007 Camry 2nd hand with less than 100,000mi and Toyota rebuilt the engine with the improved pistons for free, car has over 300,000mi now, don’t know how well the previous owner took care of the car but my co-worker drives a lot of miles but takes meticulous care of her cars. Her previous civic also went over 300,000mi before it went to a relative.