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Realistic life of cars

I love my 2001 Mustang GT. It has about 182,000 miles, runs great, and looks good. Am I stupid to think I can continue to drive it until I stop driving (I’m 68)? I figure whatever needs fixing would be less than buying a new car. I’m retired and don’t drive a lot, just around town and maybe a couple of 300-mile trips a year. I am not really concerned about new safety features in new cars.

not stupid at all. If the car has been taken care of, and you continue to do so (as long as it doesn’t rust away from you) all should be good for several more years.

Beyond that, we don’t know your maintenance history, your car’s general condition, or where you live- so it’s hard to tell you for sure. Ask your mechanic their opinion on the matter.

And while i get the incentive of not having a car payment, the newer car safety features are very nice, and can be very helpful for older drivers.

A guy I know from work would keep his cars for around 16 yrs. So when at age 72 he bought a brand new car, he said this is my last car. Well, he crashed it a month later and had to buy another one :slight_smile:

Not sure how long yours will last, but seems for now you don’t need a new car. Just maintain it and drive carefully (see above!) and then let us know how long it lasted.

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The question is half how long the car will last, and half how long you will last. I had an aunt who finally gave up her keys at 97 - not because she needed to - she still drove fine, but because she never really liked it all that much.

It’s entirely possible you have another 20+ years worth of driving in you, and if that’s the case the car probably isn’t going to make it. On the other hand, if you give up driving 5 years from now it’s pretty likely the car’s still going to be there when you do, assuming you take care of it.

Cars are much better than they used to be. A 1965 Mustang would not last very long because of its poor rust protection. We have a military veteran here who still drives his big 1976 Chevrolet Impala and it still looks good.

If your car has no rust and it has been maintained, just keep driving it.

P.S. And Mustangs never go out of style!!!

As an owner of a 1999 car that runs well, there seems to be no reason for you to change cars. You’ve indicated no interest or motivation, and no problems with your Mustang, so stay the course.
New (and newer used cars) cars will always be available in case your Mustang ever gets serious trouble.

(Full disclosure: I’m a big believer in pragmatically keeping cars going.)

When I got rid of my last work car it had 530,000 on it. Money wise I should have dumped it at 350,000 though. No such thing as the life span of a car unless its rust. Of course that was a Buick and not a Ford so results may vary.

The average life span of a car is about 17-18 years. If you still enjoy your car, it can last indefinitely with repairs and parts replacements.

At some point, the repair costs or time may exceed your personal threshold.

For myself, if there had to be multiple issues with a car before I gave it up. Example 1: multiple misfires due to burnt valve, 2 broken window regulators, leaky trunk, broken sunroof mechanism, broken a/c, rust, oil and coolant consumption.

Example 2: excessive oil consumption (1 quart/200 mile), bad valve guide seals or piston rings, multiple bad coils, body damage and rust.

In my experience, engines normally just last and last. Outside of my diesel, none of them ever had to be opened up for work except for timing chains and gears. And that’s with 200, 300, 500K miles. Transmissions though are another matter that would go anywhere from 200 to 400K before overhaul. Problems that side-line a car are generally rust or those dang sensors and electronics and wire harnesses etc. that make it undependable and expensive. Plus when they get that old it’s hard to get parts.

Well, since you have the venerable SOHC 4.6 liter V8 engine, the engine should easily go 350,000 miles. It is the same one used in Crown Victoria police cars of the same era and it is darn near bulletproof. The transmission may need a rebuild before then but if the car isn’t rusty, it should last as long as you wish to drive. Ford is pretty good with keeping stock on their older cars so those little things like a door lock or interior trim should sill be available for a while yet.

Enjoy your Mustang!

This is one of those things that you may wonder why you did not want after you have them. I would not do with out parking sensors and backup camera after having them.

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Nope. Time to get rid of it. Place the keys and signed title under the floor mat and PM me your address.:smiling_imp:

Well, it was worth a shot.

I agree with the others. Keep on driving. But your driving habits qualify for the severe service maintenance schedule. SO keep up to date on it.

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I bet more 66 mustangs are in better shape than most 2001 mustangs. They are certainly worth more.

Lots of good old Mustangs, but most rusted out years ago. So on a percent basis, there are more 2001s still on the road, I bet.

A lot depends on your definition of “worn out” Some people get new cars when their old car loses that new car smell.
Then there is this guy.

The upholstery on the driver’s side is mostly duct tape.
Actually, this truck was sitting in some farmer’s field for the last 17 years and this guy finally talked him into letting him take it. Found new glass for the windshield, freed up the motor by pouring oil in the spark plug holes, got it to run. Luckily, this vehicle escaped being riddled with bullet holes from teens who think everything they see is a target. The door on the range shed in front of the truck was not so lucky.

Should be no problem , provided you aren’t intending to use your car for long out of town trips, like cross country driving. Rent a car when you need to do that. I own two vehicles, one is 25 years old, and the other is 45. With regular scheduled routine maintenance, and fixing what other problems comes up now and again, still purring like kittens. It’s almost always less expensive from a total ownership cost point of view to keep the car you currently own rather than buying a new one.

Edit: I like the little ledge you can stand on to get things out of the pickup bed in that truck design @B.L.E … good photo. and that paint job is not a sign of age, it is patina!! :wink:

Neither am I. I’ll never understand people who trade a car for a newer model with safety as their only/primary reason. Your Mustang is no less safe today then when you bought it. Remember, if you break your neck in a rollover, it’s not because your car doesn’t have curtain airbags, it’s because you went into the ditch in the first place.

If you like your car, it’s well-maintained and reliable, and does what you need it to do, keep it.


Thanks for all the replies! My GT has always been garage and fed Mobil1. I live in Texas, several hundred miles from the coast. I’m probably paranoid, but I’m also not interested in cars that can be hacked or tracked. I just got new tires, albeit not the Comp T/As that I used to buy, but I’m off for an alignment next. Should I schedule a transmission exam? My old mechanic said I should just repeat the scheduled maintenance book all over again.

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And he was correct.

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If you keep fixing and replacing stuff as it wears out, your car will likely never reach that point of disrepair where “it isn’t worth fixing”.
Look at any local airport and the hangars are filled with 40+ year old airplanes that are still flying and in great shape, largely because the annuals required in keeping the planes certified keep the planes in excellent shape.