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#4331736 - 02/17/17 07:57 AM Japanese vs American cars
skip029 Offline


Registered: 07/14/11
Posts: 69
Loc: Western Wisconsin
I'm an asian male, 33 years old and growing up, ALL my family members always had Honda's or Toyota's. Famous youtube mechanics like Scotty Kilmer loves Toyotas and Eric The Car Guy loves his Honda's. Yes, I've seen Eric's video of Domestic vs Imports, and I do agree that for the most part vehicles are made from all over now. But I guess when I think of the badge Toyota I think Japanese (Japan), I see Chevy I think GM (America).

I wanted to get a feel for how people felt on this forum today. Does that mindset or theory or FACT, still prove correct today?

GF's lease is up soon and I'm looking at buying an older vehicle/SUV that doesn't require car payments. I see Honda and Toyota with 200k+ miles and I don't really bat an eye at looking at them but the GF (Caucasian) FREAKS OUT. Even my friend Justin (caucasian) who loves japanese motorcycles, when we looked at a 2003 Honda Element didn't want to buy it due to it having 223K miles and his exact words were "HOLY SH*T, it's got a quarter of a million miles man!" I replied, 'dude, it's a Honda.'

Am I crazy? I mean, I'm not going to believe that every Japanese car is built equal and treated the same by every owner. But are they just still better or has the playing field evened out since 2000+?

Thanks guys/girls!
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#4331750 - 02/17/17 08:13 AM Re: Japanese vs American cars [Re: skip029]
Cbst09 Offline


Registered: 04/19/16
Posts: 27
Loc: North Carolina
I just recently went through the search process looking for a reliable "beater" and imho the used car market still perceives japanese cars more reliable than their american counterparts. Take two cars that are of similar starting value when new with one being a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry and the other being a Ford or Chevy sedan of similar size such as the Ford Fusion. My opinion is that people vote with their wallet and when both cars have 150k + miles on them the Accord or Camry will sell for quite a bit more.

Yes, I know resale value does not a perfect marker of whether the mindset that japanese cars are more reliable but generally speaking the two are related. Right or wrong, used cars that scare people with 150k + miles include BMW, Mini, Range Rover etc. not only because of their expensive repair costs but their reliability is also perceived to be worse than their japanese competitors. I'm not suggesting that American cars are junk, I'm just stating that the perception out there as reflected in the public's confidence when buying a high mileage used car is that Japanese cars are a better bet.

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#4331754 - 02/17/17 08:21 AM Re: Japanese vs American cars [Re: skip029]
Olas Offline


Registered: 12/11/13
Posts: 3767
Loc: Manchester, England
The history of the individual car is so variable that the country of origin is practically irrelevant. Look at service history and vehicle condition, and pay accordingly.
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#4331757 - 02/17/17 08:29 AM Re: Japanese vs American cars [Re: skip029]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 6100
Loc: MI
I agree with both of the answers above. The perception that Japanese vehicles are better still exists. But, if you ended up with a Subaru with the recent oil consumption issue or a Honda with Variable Cylinder Management problem, what good does that perception serve you?

Buying any vehicle over 200,000 miles is going to require a lot of investigation and be priced appropriately.

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#4331758 - 02/17/17 08:29 AM Re: Japanese vs American cars [Re: skip029]
Virtus_Probi Offline


Registered: 06/25/15
Posts: 3241
Loc: New England
I got rid of my three previous Japanese vehicles between 150k and 200kmiles and they all felt pretty tired to me, the Subaru and Toyota were also showing some rust even though I am fairly good about washing my cars. My Toyota "RAV6" was not particularly reliable, probably because it was AWD and that is not something that they are known for and have been refining for mass market usage for decades...my wife's FWD Avalon from the same year has been doing a lot better, although it also does not get driven as hard as my vehicles. Never had any real engine trouble in my previous Honda, Toyota, and Subaru, but we'll see how the DIT Subie engine I have now holds up.
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#4331760 - 02/17/17 08:30 AM Re: Japanese vs American cars [Re: skip029]
tig1 Online   content


Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 13317
Loc: Illinois
My grandson's 2002 Toyota Camry was the worst car my family has ever had. My son had a 1996 Accord(bought it in 1998) when he went to college and it was likewise a lemon. My grandson now drives a Ford Focus and my son, for years drives American. At present he has a 2016 GMC Tahoe. I have driven Fords for 30 years and have never had a bad one.
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#4331762 - 02/17/17 08:31 AM Re: Japanese vs American cars [Re: skip029]
4WD Online   confused


Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 5341
Loc: Texas/International
I watched the videos - the GM basher spoke of the worst period - but I drove US trucks & SUV's and missed the bad cars - one of the first to respond to his video said I was a Honda mechanic during said period and they had me on transmission repair full time. No secret that Toyota makes reliable cars - but the miles you speak of are common for hard working GM trucks - BIL has 400k with wheel bearings being only repair.
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#4331763 - 02/17/17 08:31 AM Re: Japanese vs American cars [Re: Cbst09]
khittner Offline


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 220
Loc: Michigan
Yeah, buying anything with 225K on it probably isn't a great idea unless you're really wanting a sub-$1.5K beater. Buying one with 100K-150K may turn out fine, though---I bought my mother-in-law's '02 Camry 8 years ago with 114K miles on it, and my son is still driving it daily with 250K on it.

In Wisconsin, though, you need to be concerned about rust. I wouldn't buy a local car there with high mileage and years---the salt cancer is in it. Get on AutoTrader, find an example of whatever you want down at a dealership or private sale down south, out of the Salt Belt, and run a CarFax check on its prior ownership, registration, inspection, and accident records. Find a couple of candidates within a reasonable road trip radius, take your wad of cash with you, and go find a bargain.

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#4331764 - 02/17/17 08:32 AM Re: Japanese vs American cars [Re: skip029]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 4696
Loc: Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: skip029
...when we looked at a 2003 Honda Element didn't want to buy it due to it having 223K miles and his exact words were "HOLY SH*T, it's got a quarter of a million miles man!" I replied, 'dude, it's a Honda.'


I think it mare to do with how well the vehicle is taken care of anymore. I know a divorced single mom with a 2003 Ford Focus with 227,000 miles on it.

Automobiles are becoming a "commodity", like any other item traded on a global scale. Almost anything made is good for 150,000 EASILY (except I still hate expensive European cars). I plan on driving my 2008 F150 to 300,000 miles.
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#4331767 - 02/17/17 08:34 AM Re: Japanese vs American cars [Re: skip029]
2civics Offline


Registered: 07/12/15
Posts: 360
Loc: Indiana
My father is as stubborn as can be. Has owned Fords all of his life and they've given him nothing but trouble. I'll never own a Ford as a result. Maybe I'm just as stubborn.


Edited by 2civics (02/17/17 08:37 AM)

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#4331768 - 02/17/17 08:35 AM Re: Japanese vs American cars [Re: skip029]
barkingspider Online   content


Registered: 12/22/13
Posts: 1891
Loc: socal
I think it all depends on how the specific vehicle is treated. I would not buy any vehicle w 220K miles on it because there are many that can be had w 150K miles on them. I suggest do ur research on the SUV u want, it's competitors, common issues, price, etc and see what's fits ur needs and budget. Some people can get really good bargains as they are able wrench on the cars to save money. Some have to pay a shop which can get pricey. FYI, I'm Asian and my wife is white, lol
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#4331769 - 02/17/17 08:36 AM Re: Japanese vs American cars [Re: 2civics]
4WD Online   confused


Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 5341
Loc: Texas/International
Tell that to taxi drivers and law enforcement - what vehicles ?
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2014 Fusion Hybrid
2013 Cruze RS 1.4T
2010 Canyon 5.3L 4WD

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#4331773 - 02/17/17 08:42 AM Re: Japanese vs American cars [Re: skip029]
KrisZ Offline


Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 7040
Loc: Toronto, Canada
"Dude, it's a Honda!". Sorry, the badge has no meaning when looking at anything north of 200k miles. It has little meaning when buying new as well.
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2015 Dodge Grand Caravan-15k miles.
2006 Mazda 3-145k miles

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#4331779 - 02/17/17 08:50 AM Re: Japanese vs American cars [Re: 2civics]
HerrStig Offline


Registered: 08/24/11
Posts: 9560
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: 2civics
My father is as stubborn as can be. Has owned Fords all of his life and they've given him nothing but trouble. I'll never own a Ford as a result. Maybe I'm just as stubborn.
Why did he buy so many of them, then?

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#4331784 - 02/17/17 08:59 AM Re: Japanese vs American cars [Re: HerrStig]
2civics Offline


Registered: 07/12/15
Posts: 360
Loc: Indiana
Originally Posted By: HerrStig
Originally Posted By: 2civics
My father is as stubborn as can be. Has owned Fords all of his life and they've given him nothing but trouble. I'll never own a Ford as a result. Maybe I'm just as stubborn.
Why did he buy so many of them, then?

He's very loyal to the local dealership, for one. He dosn't get much social interaction at all. They treat him very well. Sad to admit that. He's also stated that he feels his problems are about what you'd expect out of any make. He's old school. Born in the 40's and stuck in his ways. I apologize for my original post.

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