Used Car Expectations

civic
honda

#1

Is it my imagination or do other readers notice that people’s questions indicate they expect used cars sometimes 10+ years old to be like new cars? Meaning that they are “reliable”, don’t break down, and have low maintenance costs.



As a car ages; any car, any brand, it must require more repairs and maintenance. Therefore how much would it costs to maintain a new car, say a Toyota Camry vs a 10 year old Toyota Camry? Is there a formula, that gives some guidelines on how much maintenance and repair costs increase per year as a vehicle ages?



Is it a reasonable expectation to buy a 10 year old car and get a “reliable” vehicle?


#2

Yes and no! As has been pointed out many times here, the maintenance records and the way the car was driven mostly determines how reliable it will be.

Having said that, there are cars that are unreliable from the first year you own them.

A couple of years ago I sold a 1988 Chevy Caprice, an average car with 141,000 m iles on it. I showed the buyer all the maintenance records, and what items had been replaced. He still drives the car and it has been very reliable for him.

I also know a person who is selling a Subaru that’s 6 years old and has not had regular maintenance. This car will be a financial time bomb!

But to answer your question, many posters think that because a car is well designed and has a good reliability record, that at age 10 it will be reliable regardless of how it has been driven and maintained.

Your question with respect to new vs 10, year depends on what maintenance is scheduled the first year. If we take the first two years, vs years 9 and 10, the maintenance is the same as per the manual. What will be added are repairs and replacements, such as brakes,batteries, radiators, CV joints, etc.

Over its design life a normal car needs its original purchase price in maintenance repairs and tires. A $50,000 Lexus will last 25 years and will consume that much in upkeep. A $50,000 Audi will last maybe 15 years and will consume $50,000 in upkeep. A $13,000 Aveo will last 10 years and will consume $13,000 in upkeep.

The maintenance and repair curve gets steeper as the car ages. Old cars peaked at 7-10 years, and then levelled off until major items like the transmission gave out.

Good modern cars like Toyotas and Hondas can have no major repairs till year 15-18.

I teach fleet management course and the decision to trade is made when the “incremental annual cost starts exceeding the average annual cost to date”. In other words, the total ownership cost curve starts going up.


#3

"Over its design life a normal car needs its original purchase price in maintenance repairs and tires. A $50,000 Lexus will last 25 years and will consume that much in upkeep. A $50,000 Audi will last maybe 15 years and will consume $50,000 in upkeep. A $13,000 Aveo will last 10 years and will consume $13,000 in upkeep. "

You and I clearly have different expectations on upkeep costs, Docnick. My Taurus, at 14 years old (about what an average vehicle hits before it goes to the junkyard) has cost me NOWHERE near its purchase price in maintenance and repairs. If it had cost that much, or even anywhere near as much as 50% of its purchase price, I would be absolutely livid.

But your concept on when to trade is pretty much spot-on.


#4

For your Taurus to reach its final life expectancy (about 20 years), you will indeed be spending its purchase price. However, most used car owners don’t go that far; they start neglecting the vehicle well before that (through choice or necessity) and of course it will not reach its ultimate design life.

Your Taurus will last 20 years before it becomes unsafe, and will absorb the balance of the repair costs between now and then. I think we are both right.

P.S. The cheapest car ownership, of course is to buy a good, partially depreciated car about 3-4 years old and keep it till the big repair bills start exceeding the market value of the car. That’s a financial decision, not a technical one.


#5

Take car of your car like Rachel does and it will last quite a long time.

Click on the link below:

http://growingbolder.com/media/technology/vehicles/romancing-the-road-259598.html#content_tabs

Twotone


#6

Eraser; Rachel paid $3289 for her 1964 Comest Caliente, and she maintained it by the book. Thirty years later in 1994, she will have easily spent $3289 on maintenance, repairs and TIRES! That’s only $110 per year!

The problem with car ownership in the US is the 3-4 owners who have the vehicle; the first owner skimps on maintenance because he “trades early”, the second owner may not have the owner’s manual, and does less than necessary. The third owner is likely even less knowledgeable and likely finacially strapped, so he only does the absolute minimum. The fourth owner, if there is one, drives the car into the ground.

Please note that the 1964 Comes Caliente was not particularly good car; the Valiant and Dart were much better!


#7

I can’t really see an Aveo lasting 10 years.
Speaking of which, I wonder whatever happened to our resident Yaris lady :stuck_out_tongue:


#8

That was quite awhile back. She hated the Yaris, that was clear.