Longevity


#1

To what do you attribute unusual longevity to any vehicle you’ve owned? Maintenance? Driving habits? Make of car? Where you live? Examples? Rocketman


#2

With human beings, longevity is a matter of GENES, diet, lifestyle and attitude.

With cars, we have a much similar situation:

  1. Good design (genes)for long life using quality materials, low failure rates and ease of maintenance (maintainability)

  2. Good maintenance practices by the owner; when in doubt, over-maintain. Manufacturers know low maintenance sells cars, and they focus on the first owner or 100,000 miles maximum. To get reliable performance for the next 200,000 miles you need to do extra things.

  3. Driving style greatly influences vehicle life. Ask any fleet owner.

  4. A steady supply of affordable parts for 20 years or more. The manufacturer has to make that commitment. If the car sells in high volume, there will also be a good aftermarket for spares.

When we take all the above factors into account, the leading Japanese manufacturers, Toyota, Honda, Mazda as well as now Hyundai come to mind. US manufacturers have a long history of cutting corners in important areas, and degrading some potentially good models into mediocre ones.

US pickup trucks received good engineerinmg attention, sold in good quantity with few model changes, and therefore have good potential life.

European manufacturers suffer from design deficiencies, expensive parts, low volume sales resulting in few independent shops to service their vehicles. Italian cars had poor genes, expensive parts, sparse service facilities, and as such never could get a permanent foothold.

One reason the VW beetle was so successful was basically good design, good dealer network with 1 year’s parts supply and trained mechanics.

With unlimited cash and determination, you could make any car last long. This thread is about ECONOMICAL long term car ownership.


#3

EXCELLENT post…Couldn’t agree more.


#4

Aside from the car design (something we’re stuck with, once we buy the car) and keeping up with maintenance, I think a lot has to do with driving habits. I’m still on the original front brake pads at 120k by thinking ahead for red lights, etc., and I didn’t have the typical transmission problems with my Suburban because (I think) I never towed anything. I also think it has a lot to do with awareness, being able to hear when something just isn’t right, checking it out, and getting it fixed. The opposite of this was the recent poster who added oil when their ‘check engine’ light went on. OUCH!


#5

My wife, who trained as a nurse and health care provdier, would agree with you the Tender Loving Care (TLC) goes a long way to making even an average car last along time.


#6

I can’t add a thing to that.


#7

The longevity has to do with how much I actually like the vehicle. This goes beyond factors such as reliability but more on other aspects if the vehicle itself satisfies the driver in needs, wants and desires.

Reliability is third tier to me. I have yet to own an unreliable vehicle with Jeep, VW, Pontiac, Subaru and Honda. In reality I don’t think any of them were much better except the Subaru WRX. However this was the most modern.


#8

Reliability is third tier to me. I have yet to own an unreliable vehicle with Jeep, VW, Pontiac, Subaru and Honda. In reality I don’t think any of them were much better except the Subaru WRX. However this was the most modern

Unfortunately I HAVE owned unreliable vehicles. When I was working as a consultant my S-15 cost me THOUSANDS of lost revenue because it was so unreliable. I buy the MOST reliable vehicle that fits my needs. Obviously buying a very reliable vehicle that DOESN’T meet your needs is kinda foolish.


#9

Rocketman’s post asked for LONGEVITY, that is, long life of cars we’ve owned. Agree with Andrew that if you hate the car, you are not going to keep it very long. On the other hand, if you like the car, and it’s unreliable, you won’t have it very long either.

In my own case, the longest we have economically owned a car was a 1984 Chevrolet Impala V8. This car started out as a company car, then a wife’s car, then my son drove it in college till it had over 300,000 miles and finally got rid of it in 2004. The engine was never opened up, and the repairs were of a routine nature, shocks, alternator, rad, starter, blower fan. No transmission work or engine work.


#10

Very good posts are listed here and I agree with them. In my instance I had a 98 Taurus that had 288,000 when I let it go. I drove between 400-700 miles a week with my job, mostly highway. I never drove like the dukes of hazzard but not like great grandpa either. The Taurus in general are good cars and I changed the oil every 6,000 miles along with a big squeeze of Lucas Oil treatment every time. I installed 1 starter and 1 alternator along with several sets of brakes and a few tires also. The trans and engine were never opened.
Thats my example.


#11

Yep totally agree.