When to "bury"the car?

I have a friend who routinely gets 250K to 350K out of his Japanese cars, the last one had a catastrophic overheat on the freeway and he had to be towed. It was a very rare 1985 Celica Convertible and the water pump shaft broke and the A/C clutch was laying against the radiator. He had purchased it used and probably the coolant hadn’t been changed nor the water pump lubed as older engines required. The engine was toast and warped the head too much to repair. He has an identical (but auto) 1985 Celica convertible, the other was a rarer manual, and only 45K on it. I have recommended he keep the other as a parts car as many parts will not be available if he should need one. At my recommendation, I suggested replacement of the brake hoses with braided stainless, as they deteriorate internally and sometimes fail to allow fluid to return and they give spongy braking. This is not an expensive improvement, but he is going to drive this one over 300K. He once had a Mazda and put on 400K and several Cressidas with one going over a MILLION before he replaced the engine with used and yes he can afford new cars, but loves these little ones you just can’t kill. Fix and maintain it and you will be satisfied and have a lot of left over money.

Good post. The better Japanese brands practice Six-Sigma quality control, it allows 1 part in 344,000 to be defective! Since there many parts in a car, that still does not make a car perfect! But there is a very high probability that the car will be free of random breakdowns for a long time! They also test parts to last mcuh longer than others (US,European) before the WEAR out.

However, the poorer European models have a 40-50% failure rate in certain key components, hence all the black marks in the April issue of Consumer Reports. Please read it.

Furthermore many parts on European cars, even if they do not fail randomly, wear out far too soon; Vokswagen Passats had timing belts that did not last till the change interval.

French, British and Italian economy cars bombed mainly because they broke down too often (random failure) and when they did not, everything wore out too quickly (wear out failure).

Your own data and whatever opinion you could glean from Consumer
Reports? You can’t possibly have access to what auto mfrs see regarding repair parts flow, warranty work and dealer feedback. I think that you have an agenda here which is to badmouth European vehicles and to attempt to include the present vehicles that our home country produces based on what they were in the past.

The Europeans may be more problematic when older but I recall seeing here in previous posts that they have requirements and incentives to drive newer vehicles. Besides, who cares if a BMW is problematic later in it’s life. If I can afford a new BMW, then I can afford another; don’t need to milk the old one to death. My guess is that there is a market for their castoffs in less fortunate countries.

The discussion was not about what you may enjoy driving or the cost, it dealt with long term quality and reliability. Some of my best friends drive European cars and freely admit the cost of keeping them running and the less than perfect reliability. BMW has made enormous strides in reliability improvement, not necssarily in long life. The Mini is quite a good car.

Your observation about later life problems is correct, and since Europeans don’t keep their cars very long, the mechanic in Nigeria or other developing country will do the repairs.

With respect to durability testing, when GM brought out the Lumina, they announced that every part was tested twice as long as they did for previous cars. It was still not much of an improvement.

Old European cars are exported in large quantities to third world countries where labor is very cheap, and many parts are locally reverse-engineered. There is a whole industry in Asia making Mercedes parts and refurbishing old BMWs and old Volvos.

Nigeria forbids private individuals from importing cars, so 10 year old Mercedes, BMW and other cars are the way to go, since only Peugeot assembles cars there.

Your best experience would be to talk to a US parts manufacturer who makes things for the Detroit 3, and ask them about making parts for Honda, Toyota or Mazda. They’ll be happy to explain the different standards.

I do not have an agenda to badmouth European vehicles; the original VW bug was a very good car for its time, as were the older Volvos. The VW Rabbit is a fun car to drive and it looks like it is going to be much more reliable than previous ones.I also happen to have dual citizenship with European the other one.

Docnick -

The Ford Ranger is by no stretch of the imagination a Mazda design. On the contrary, the Mazda B-series is nothing but a rebadged Ford Ranger - designed and engineered by Ford and built in a Ford factory.

Years ago the timing chain (not belt) on my 200,000 mile Toyota pickup started making a racket. Many said “you’re crazy to bother…it has 200,000 miles on it”.

I changed the chain (and associated hardware) anyway. I liked my truck.

95,000 miles later I passed it down to my daughter. 43,000 after that it got totalled in an accident.

If you have a car you love that’s long since paid off and it’s running well you’re crazy not to do the scheduled maintenance, especially the timing belt…with water pump. Unless, of course, hubby wants to replace it with a new Nissan 370Z.

yeah, you need to also get the cooling system looked at. It could need a new T-stat, perhaps even a new radiator. Neither is a big deal. And yeah, pump impellars can erode, but you’ll be changing that anyway. Just don’t assume that will fix it. Let the shop look into the cooling problem.

Mazda was building small pickup trucks long before they joined up with Ford. They joined forces in engineering design on cars and trucks with some very happy results. The Ford Escort and Mercury Tracer weres redesigned by Mazda to be a reasonably good car, compared to the dismal design that preceded it.

Today, the Mazda 3, Ford Focus and the small Volvo use the same platform, but the Focus seems to have turned out less well than the Mazda 3. All of Ford’s recent safety development and testing has been done by Volvo.

Mazda sells small trucks all over the world; the Ranger and the Mazda version have a common ancestry. Trying to figure out which part of the Mazda B and Ranger are American or Japanese is like unscrambling an egg.