Which car will last longer?

Hello all you mechanics and car people out there!

We have two vehicles: a 1986 Toyota PU standard 2 wheel drive with 127,000 miles and a rough body, dents and rust, but runs like a champ; and a 1996 Honda Civic automatic with 199,000 miles with the body in pretty good shape, some paint peeling on the hood, that also runs awesome. Both vehicles have been well maintained.

The question is, which vehicle will last longer? We are considering selling one to save on insurance and because we don’t really need two cars, but we don’t want to have to get a new car and take on car payments any time soon. I commute 60 miles a day and will be driving whichever car we keep.

Should we sell one, and if so, which one? Your expertise and opinions are greatly appreciated!

Either could have a major problem tomorrow, leaving you stranded if you have only one. How about this: you put a big dose of fuel stabilizer in one, park it, cancel the insurance on it, and keep it as a backup? You won’t get much money for either one, so this way if the one you’re driving coughs up its tranny, you’re set to go.

100% agree with texases

Maintenance is the key to longevity.
Although you state that. “both vehicles have been well maintained”, your definition of “well-maintained” and my definition of that term may be very different.

Please post specifics regarding vehicle maintenance, including the date and odometer mileage of the all-important timing belt replacement on the Civic. Without specific information regarding maintenance, this is a great unknown.

Park the truck. Drive the car.

Kitty, It’s Not Just About The Body ! These Cars (Especially The One With The “Rough Body”) Need To Be Safety-Checked Underneath.

One vehicle is 24-25 years old and the other is 14-15 years old, a “geriatric truck” and “senior citizen car”.

I don’t know if these vehicles have lived in the salt / rust belt area or not. Sometimes a rusty body can be an indication of a pick-up truck frame that is dangerously rusty.

Also, be concerned about the condition of steering and suspension components. You don’t want the thing falling apart while cruising down the road. That could ruin your whole day.

Forget about looks. Keep the one that doesn’t have to have the termites holding hands to keep it together.


Thanks guys. The truck came from Montana (thus the rust) but it lives in Oregon (no salt) now. It recently got a new clutch and new shocks and I asked the mechanic to check it for safety for a trip-he recommended the shocks but said the rest looks good. The car I’m not too sure if or when it had the timing belt replaced - the car was my man’s before we got together. Both cars have had oil changes every 3 months and whatever maintenance was recommended by the manufacturer. I think Oregon requires insurance for cars even if they are parked but I did check into the difference and it’s only about 300 a year extra for the extra car, so maybe we should just keep them both and have a backup… Your thoughts are very helpful as we’ve been around and around discussing this and neither of us are “car people” so we don’t have a lot of knowledge to draw on for making decisions!

Hi VDC driver,
He said the timing belt was replaced on the civic in 2005 at around 170,000 miles. Is that good?

Both of these cars will run forever with good maintanence. I have seen a couple of those '80s Toyota trucks still running great with NO body left on them.

The best way to avoid a payment in the near future is to keep both cars. As soon as you choose and sell one, the other will break. It’s not your fault, it’s a law of nature. In all sincerity, both cars have a good amount of wear on them and will need periodic repair. I always like to have a back-up plan.

You may be able save money on the insurance by reducing the coverage on the parked one to “storage” insurance.

Common sense is not so common any more. But it seems more plentifull here than elsewhere. If keeping them both is not financially prohibitive it’s a great idea. I recall someone long ago saying “better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.”

The tranny in the Civic is at the end of it’s service life. When it fails, the car is totaled. You could REBUILD the P/U for the cost of the Civic tranny…The 22R engine in the truck will run forever…The truck is a better bet for reliability and cost per mile to operate…

Yes, that is good. If you decide to keep the Civic, remember that the timing belt will need to be replaced again in about 2 years.

However, as Caddyman pointed out, the automatic transmission of the Civic is not going to last much longer, and overhauling it will exceed the book value of the car. As a result, I think that his advice–to sell the Civic and keep the truck–is valid.

True, but not much is lost driving the Civic till something fails, it could go 10k or 100k.