Cars, Trucks Lasting Longer, Report Says

Messages
6,786
Location
Huntington Beach, CA
Keeps Going and Going Cars, Trucks Lasting Longer, Report Says By KEN THOMAS, AP WASHINGTON (Jan. 28) - Back in the 1970s when Pat Goss was working in automotive repair, 100,000 miles was considered the benchmark of a car's longevity. Well-maintained Dodge Darts with more than 300,000 miles were a rarity. Now, with advanced technology, improved engines and synthetic oils, crossing the 100,000-mark on the odometer is not much cause for celebration. "We consistently, on any given day, usually have multiple cars with 150,000 to 250,000 miles and quite frequently cars well over that," said Goss, owner of Goss' Garage in Seabrook, Md., and host of radio and TV car-talk shows. A report released this week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said passenger cars and light trucks are racking up more miles than ever. Typical passenger cars are now surpassing 150,000 miles, while most pickups, sport utility vehicles and vans are crossing the 180,000-mile barrier. A report in 1995 said most passenger cars broke 125,000 miles and light trucks typically reached the 150,000-mile mark. Auto industry officials say it underscores the strides made in engineering and quality control in recent years with a focus on longterm durability. Today's vehicles have more advanced engines, improved spark plugs, higher-performance synthetic oils and better exhaust systems. David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, said one contributing factor is corrosion protection. Three decades ago, the steel used in the body and frame had little protection, but now external parts have corrosion-resistant, electrogalvanized steel. "You might have a powertrain that is reasonably durable, but if the structure it's in is falling apart, it's not that valuable," Cole said. Now, he said, "resistance to corrosion is dramatically higher." The report found that, in terms of years, passenger cars are lasting longer, while SUVs and other light trucks are not running as long as before. Transportation officials said the survival rate for light trucks may have dropped because the vehicles are used more for day-to-day transportation needs than hauling cargo. For passenger cars, the report said nearly 79 percent of 10-year-old vehicles are still on the road, up 7 percentage points for comparable vehicles in the 1995 data. Among SUVs, pickups and vans, it found that 69 percent of all 10-year-old light trucks are still being driven. The 1995 study found that 81 percent of all 10-year-old light trucks were still in use. The data, compiled by R.L. Polk & Co., an automotive data firm, is used by government regulators to figure out how fuel economy rules will affect the vehicle fleet and estimate how new safety equipment should be implemented into vehicles. Auto experts stress that maintenance is key to making a vehicle last for many years. Goss advises motorists to consider oil as "the lifeblood of the engine" and change it according to the owner's manual. He also advises checking the levels of the coolant system monthly and having the condition of the coolant reviewed twice a year. Cole said that with the improvements, "maintenance is dramatically less, but maintenance is absolutely necessary. It's not something you can forget about." 2006-02-17 16:57:35
 
Messages
855
Location
Arizona
I have a car that is 13 years old. It was made by GM and I just did the intake gaskets last month....... I think the weak link on this car that retires it will be something other then the drivetrain.
 
Messages
10,836
Location
Nokesville, VA
quote:
For passenger cars, the report said nearly 79 percent of 10-year-old vehicles are still on the road, up 7 percentage points for comparable vehicles in the 1995 data.
My 1996 Contour is, at 10 years old, in much better condition than was my 1986 Dodge Omni when I got it in 1996.
 
Messages
1,627
Location
Timberline
Have an '85 Toyota that's now reaching 21yrs old, has rust, but not as bad as you'd think. Also have a going on 10yr old vehicle, Isuzu Rodeo, that just rolled over 154k - some odd ball parts started going, i.e O2 sensors (4), and waterpump, along with needing a tune-up and new fluids (which I do every 2yrs anyway). We put some thought into this, as to doing what the truck needed or trading it in, as the tune-up (spark plugs, O2 sensors) with all new fluids, filters, belts, hoses cost us $700. Then a week later, the waterpump blew (did have 95k on that one) - so, being that it's behind the timing belt, we figured might as well change out the timing belt, tensioner, tensioner adjuster, idler pulley, crank & camshaft seals, all for the pretty price of $900. So we threw roughly $1,800 dollars at that truck this week, BUT, that's the most I've ever had to put in it, and it's in immaculant condition physically as well as mechanically, despite it's mild offroading, boat hauling, highway touring life. That's a lot cheaper then making new car payments, anymore $1,800 isn't even enough for a down-payment. Have a Dodge diesel, 2001, body already has some rust, so I don't know what it'll look like when it's 9-10yrs old.
 

ALS

Messages
1,862
Location
Pittsburgh
I've been told by my dealer that my 1987 Volvo 740 Station Wagon (334K miles) is in better shape than most of the 5 yr old Volvo's getting serviced there. Same can be said of my 1997 960 Volvo with 72K miles. It is all about keeping up on the cars body and mechanical maintenance. Those of us who care about their cars and trucks will see the 200K plus mark easily on everyone of their vehicles.
 
Messages
1,908
Location
Fort Worth, TX
187,000 on a 1976 Cadiilac, original engine/trans (tow vehicle for 8,000-lb trailer); still in use several years later by second owner (towing) at over 240,000 (sold 1988) 240,000 on 1977 Chev Impala wagon, original engine/rebuilt trans (sold 1995). 135,000 on 1971 Chrysler 383 original engine/rebuilt trans, sold 2004. Plenty more, including a 1959 Dodge, a 1960 Dodge, etc; all with over 100,000 in less than ten years, but driven much longer. It was just more time-consuming back when . . . as maintenance was needed more frequently, and items like tires only lasted 15-20,000 miles.
 
Messages
961
Location
Tacoma ,WA
Well , I consider two of the biggest differaces between cars of the 70s and the cars of the 90s+ is the use of fuel injection and unleaded gas! In the summer of '81 I worked at a machine shop( grinding valves) back then most American cars lasted 70-80000 miles before needing a valve job..and a complete rebuild was usually done at the 120-150,000 mile mark ...but at the same time the foriegn cars didn'nt even need a valve job before 130,-150,000 miles ..that was in 1981..now well I don't do that for a living anymore ( I was 18 ...you do the math how old I am now [Frown] ) but I can say I own an '87 Honda accord with 180,000 on it an a '95 nissan Altima with 215,000 on it...niether car has had the head off of it...both run very strong ! I can easily see 300,000 for the Altima .
 
Messages
13,233
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
I have an '88 Accord with 340,000+ miles with no major repairs. Yes! All vehicles are lasting a long time now! Before it was rare. The Asian cars in the 70's - 90's had the greatest longevity with "some" of the European cars doing well also. And only once in a while we would see a demestic car exceeding our expectations. I use to love those old Toyotas or Hondas of the late 70's early 80's that were stripped down models with the larger optional engine and a standard tranny. The bodies would desinigrate, but the drive trains were almost indestructable. You could beat the $#!+ out of them all day long and still get 250,000-300,000 miles with little fuss. Now all vehicles are capable of reaching the quarter million mile mark with the bare minimum of maintenance and good driving habits. Better electronics, fuel injection, oils, tires, build quality, comfort, etc. I can remember when cars were hard to start,(pumping the excelerator peddle 6-8 times before the car would start). Stall out if you ran through a puddle of water that was too large, and had to pull over to the side of the road and wait a while before the engine would restart. Tires that would blow out if you even hit a sharp stone, batteries that we had to add water to at every oil change and I could go on and on! Today, press a button on a fob and the engine starts. We drive through just about anything just shy of Hurricane Katrina and run over glass and nails and there is still no flat tire when we go to work in the morning. Is this great or what!!!
 
Messages
7,775
Location
Oklahoma
That and new cars are simply expensive and most of us take better care of our current cars which equals longer miles. I just sold my '90 Cutlass with 201K. Like Ramblin Fever, "other" things were going besides the engine and that monetary total would not be worth it to take the chance on the car lasting a couple of years. I got stranded twice with it and that my friends, is not a very assuring feeling, so off it went. Plus, we had the "itch" to get another Accord.
 
Messages
1,357
Location
California, USA
While engines and bodies are lasting longer, automatic transmissions are not, and cost many times what they used to for repairs. BIg car and minivan transaxles are going out at well under 100,000 miles and the new CVT's are even worse. What amazes me is that so many change engine oil (even synthetic) at watefully short intervals, and ignore the $4,000 transmission. I think the main reason cars are kept in service longer is that new ones cost so much. A new Ford Falcon cost about $2,000. There was no big incentive to keep it on the road instead of replacing it. A $16,000 Civic is simply a bigger investment in entry-level transportation, even counting for inflation. It had better last longer.
 
Messages
1,904
Location
Bay Area, CA
I found this site because I was trying to figure out why my '95 Montero was not dieing. (160k miles). Now I find out that it is common for a vehicle to last so long. From this I have learned that I must be very careful on my next vehicle selection because I will be stuck with it so long:)
 
Messages
2,698
Location
Silicon Valley
"The report found that, in terms of years, passenger cars are lasting longer, while SUVs and other light trucks are not running as long as before." Then the title of the article should be "Cars Lasting Longer, Trucks Lasting Shorter." Hello, Editor? PS. Does anyone else think Pat Goss is a goober?
 
Messages
36,414
Location
ME
I want to know where the other 31 percent of unregistered light trucks made in the last ten years are. That's a huge number. I had a hard time finding 14 year old dodge dakota parts in the junkyard. Maybe I live in the only practical corner of the country. Or maybe trucks have so much metal they're worth crushing immediately. [I dont know]
 
Messages
4,378
Location
Camas, WA
"Among SUVs, pickups and vans, it found that 69 percent of all 10-year-old light trucks are still being driven. The 1995 study found that 81 percent of all 10-year-old light trucks were still in use." I'll guess that SUVs are dragging the average down.
 

Kestas

Staff member
Messages
13,945
Location
The Motor City
quote:
Or maybe trucks have so much metal they're worth crushing immediately.
There's some truth to that. Ever since China has come on board and raised the price of scrap four-fold, there's been a lot of wholesale clearing of salvage yards here in America for the metal. I've heard anecdotes where some salvage yards have been completely cleaned of all metal.
 
Messages
2,837
Location
MO
Over yonder 'cross the holler if ye looks real close you will see the trusty rusty 1978 Toyota pick-em-uo I sold to Ezekial a couple years ago. Critter still operates. Rust? Yeah, but, not bad enuff for safety issues and Ezekial, being the handy chap he is, took steps to keep that rust from causing any safety issues. I'm surprised the overalls-wearing lad hasn't used that Toyota to plow the lower-40. Mighty fine truck that will likely outlast me.
 
Top