The myth of maintenance free Japanese cars (...that go to 200k with just gas, tires, and oil)


Good for you Triedaq,take care of Her like the precious jewel she is.Sometimes a little psychology goes a long ways,we have to realize our limitations especially when its time to heal,best to the Missus hope she gets 100% recovery-Kevin


My experience with Toyota’s and Hondas as opposed to the GM and Fords I have owned have been similar to “same” and “mike”. We have had problems with every car we have owned, but Hondas and Toyota’s were not repeat offenders. The same problem didn’t occurr over and over because of design. The biggest improvement I have seen in American cars, is from the previous feeling that ergonomics just didn’t matter much and cars like the Tempo, which I had a chance to live with, just felt like they were thrown together from a parts bin.

Being a referee for twenty five years I had a chance to “test drive/ride” a variety of sedan type cars. The only American cars that appealed to me during this time, we’re Crown Victoria’s, Caddys and Buicks. Accords drove very well but Toyota cornered the bland market, which in my mind was all that mattered, driving home after midnight after games, 50 to 100 miles, several days a week and wanting no surprises in handing and reliability. That’s really all I cared and care about now.


The problem with relying on your personal experience with cars is that it is only updated with the vehicle you have at the time. In a family, there might be one or two cars; typically the 3rd is a hand-me-down and is still the same old car in the driveway. This means that your information is stale concerning the vehicles you had and under-performed in the 80s and 90s. I have the same problem. I am skeptical of Fords because of our experience with a 1987 Taurus and a 1997 Windstar. I understand that Ford quality is a lot better than it used to be, but my experience holds me back when I consider Fords for a new car. I have always had good luck with GM cars, so when I hear that GMs quality is much improved, I think how great it must be because my 98 Regal and 03 Silhouette have worked well for us.


I have had my 1984 Mazda GLC since 1985. Indeed a great little car ! Low maintenance, long on miles ! Great on gas and loves 5th gear ! Your right driving without cold air, power steering, and now plastic parts falling off and dying. But It still starts every day ! I would say it has been very good to me ! Kept up on plugs and oil and it passes smog for 33 years. Will hate to see it go someday.


I bought a 5-speed manual Toyota Yaris in 2008. I’ve got 190,000 miles on it and in addition to gas, tires, and oil, I have had to replace the battery, two headlights, and a tail light, filters rear struts, and a set of spark plugs. Someday in the future, I’m sure I’ll need new brake pads.
The seat track and the airbag was replaced at no cost due to a recall.
Even though the official EPA gas mileage rating was 28/35, I almost never get less than 40 mpg, usually around 42 or 43 mpg. I did get 36 mpg once driving from Wichita Falls Texas to Fredericksburg TX on rural highways with 75 mph speed limits.
The most expensive item by far is the gas. At 40 mpg, I’ve run about 4750 gallons of gas through the engine. It’s hard to estimate fuel costs because gas has been as high as $4.20/gallon and as low as $1.90/gallon while I had this car but at today’s price that car has used about $13,000 of fuel.

I’m still on my original brakes AND my car beats the EPA gas mileage. A coincidence? I think not!


Good point. I sometimes drive behind someone who his the brakes on every turn, every slowdown due to traffic. Me, I stay well back and let the engine do the braking.


If I have to slow down because the car ahead of me slowed down to make a right hand turn, I was following too closely. That’s my following distance guideline.


You’ve had a Yaris for ten years ? I’m on my tenth Toyota and yet, I’d rather be waterboarded weekly for ten years then drive a Yaris. I commend you for your constitution. :wink:


Obviously that’s a hyperbolic statement. I’d rather drive a Yaris for the rest of my life than be waterboarded even once and it beats walking or an Amish horsebuggy.
My only real gripe is the road noise. When I transition from hot mix asphalt to chip seal asphalt, I have to turn up the radio to hear what’s playing. I have even considered getting a set of those fancy noise cancelling headphones to wear while driving, or just wear earplugs like I do on my motorcycle.


Good one…Of course I’m just saying that in jest. The Yaris has a lot of benefits I’m sure as a city car and I applaud you for you for seeing those benefits. I’m just being a shallow Hedonist.
We’ve rented a Yaris several times. I find it’s a solid car till I get to 40 mph. :wink:
As far as driving a Yaris a lifetime vs being waterboarded once…hmmm. Let me think that one.


Mr. Dagosa , while I can appreciate humor not wanting to start an argument but let me make a statement.

Having recently read the accounts of two US Airforce pilots who were water boarded as part of their SEER training I just don’t think the practice belongs in the joking category.


I hear you and respect your opinion. I served during the Vietnam war as a medic and treated many. I’m not insulated from the practice where it was done for real and not just as a drill. I may not have been sensitive to your feelings.


The Yaris is actually a luxury car, I don’t have to work like a slave to make the payments, in fact I bought it on the 100% down, zero monthly payments plan. Also it serves to reset my perspective. I ride my Kawasaki Ninja 300 motorcycle when I can and drive the Yaris when I have to and after a few days of bad weather commuting in the Yaris, my Ninja 300 feels like a rocket ship again. This bike will do a 6 second zero to 60 realistically although it is supposed to be able to do it in 5.6 seconds, probably with somebody like Bill Shoemaker riding it.


Humor aside, the Yaris happens to be the world’s most reliable small car!!. My niece has one as has my son’s wife. The ride is so-so but they really are bullet-proof. My son’s wife uses hers in any weather and takes it into the mountains on a regular basis.

My niece wanted to buy one of those “cute little Fiat 500s”. She uses the car (Yaris) to commute 40 round trip miles to work and we dissuaded her form buying a Fiat.


The Yaris has an excellent reputation. It’s al “appliance” car, nothing fancy and no luxury but a solid means of transport. It’s exactly what the “people’s car” (original VW Beetle) was, and they sold millions of them.

The original Fiat 500 had a similar reputation in Europe, but I don’t know how the new ones are faring.


I believe the current Fiat 500 has a reputation for being horribly UNreliable


I’m sorry to hear that. We need more “appliance” cars. There are millions of people, young people, pensioners, people in depressed areas like Detroit, that could really use a dirt-cheap reliable appliance car.


The Fiat 500 misses out on being an appliance vehicle . Not cheap enough and requires premium fuel .
Now the Chevy Spark might fill that category. I drove one recently and I liked it.


You have to wear out a '91 Geo Metro in order to really appreciate how good the Yaris is. The Metro had a decent and reliable engine and powertrain, but the rest of the car fell apart around it. Windows quit rolling up, the radio was intermittent on one speaker, the driver’s door quit locking/unlocking with the key, I had to lock it from the inside and use the key to open the passenger side. Headlight switch knobs broke off. The hood started not latching right. The hatchback door quit staying open and I had to prop it up with a stick.
On my Yaris, the windows still roll up and down, the doors still lock, the radio still plays, the AC still works, the hatchback door still stays up on its own. Everything still works.


Yes, the Fiat 500 is at the very bottom of the reliability list according to Consumer Reports. If the Russian Lada was still selling here it would be tied with the Fiat.

Fiat has the unenviable nickname in America as standing for “Fix It Again Tony!!!”