Author Topic: How long will our cars last?  (Read 2169 times)

baloncesto

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How long will our cars last?
« on: January 29, 2018, 11:45:08 AM »
We have a 2000 Nissan Altima with 180,000 miles and a 2000 Toyota Avalon with 220,000 miles. We are fresh out of college with very minimal savings. I would like to drive these cars as long as we can before we buy a "new" used car. How much longer do you think we could drive these? How do you decide that it is time to buy a new car? What is the most amount of miles that can be put on these cars before they are toast?

RWD

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Re: How long will our cars last?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2018, 12:20:27 PM »
I see a 2000 Altima on Autotrader with 254k miles and a 2000 Avalon with 272k miles. If you maintain them they can go for a long time. It's hard to say for your cars specifically, but usually you can keep cars until something breaks that seems too expensive to be worth repairing.

ketchup

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Re: How long will our cars last?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2018, 01:00:54 PM »
My two most recent automotive deaths were a 2009 Hyundai at 262k and a 1992 Buick at 200k.  Both were engine failure and had been well-maintained to that point.

Based on my own vague intuition and risk tolerance, I'd say have the resources available to replace one by the time the Nissan hits 200k, and to replace both by the time one hits 250k.  I'd pencil out them both lasting to 250k, and then just drive them both and maintain them properly until something major (major meaning engine or transmission failure) finally fails.  I would not dump them before reaching that point.

Overall longevity is really a wild card at this point; they could both die tomorrow, or they could both see 300k.  Just do all the maintenance, pay attention to any odd noises/etc, repair small problems before they become big problems, and keep on driving.

Brother Esau

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Re: How long will our cars last?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2018, 04:49:45 PM »
If you haven't already started, set aside a separate savings account for the next car(s). I did this when my car was at 150,000 miles. At 225,000 miles, the tranny gave out on a Friday coming home from work. Next day I picked my next (used) car. Paid cash for it and brought it home on Sunday. Next week donated the old car to charity and received a nice deduction.

nexus

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Re: How long will our cars last?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2018, 05:06:05 PM »
Awesome story, Brother Esau! Seriously the coolest and smoothest planning success story I've heard in a while. What a beautiful, stress free situation!

My $0.02 says Google search "Life Expectancy of <Year> <Your car>" and read the posts in the car forums that'll show up. Once you read enough of them you'll begin to see some trends, hear horror stories, and stories of unicorn freaks.

My general rule:
V8 - 250-275k mi
V6 - 225-250k mi
4 cylinder - 200-225k mi

Keep in mind V8's don't have to work as hard as V6's or 4 cylinders do, however they're awful on gas and not Mustachian at all. I assume you fit in the V6 and/or 4 cylinder category. 250k miles is as close as I'd cut it without something major failing, depending on their repair history so far... If stuff's already leaking/knocking/squealing/sputtering then you're playing roulette.

Blackeagle

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Re: How long will our cars last?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2018, 05:32:27 PM »
If you haven't already started, set aside a separate savings account for the next car(s). I did this when my car was at 150,000 miles.

I started this as soon as I got my current car.  Yeah, I might not need that first dollar for a long time, but stretching the saving out lets me save a relatively modest sum each month.

HipGnosis

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Re: How long will our cars last?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2018, 07:19:54 PM »
At 225,000 miles, the tranny gave out on a Friday coming home from work. ... Next week donated the old car to charity and received a nice deduction.
I didn't know they would give much of a deduction for a car w/ high miles and a blown tranny.  Good to know, even though I hope to never need/use it.
 

Brother Esau

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Re: How long will our cars last?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2018, 05:04:26 AM »
At 225,000 miles, the tranny gave out on a Friday coming home from work. ... Next week donated the old car to charity and received a nice deduction.
I didn't know they would give much of a deduction for a car w/ high miles and a blown tranny.  Good to know, even though I hope to never need/use it.

That was back when you could deduct the blue book value of the car regardless of the condition ;-). My understanding now is that you can only deduct what the car sells for at auction.

Brother Esau

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Re: How long will our cars last?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2018, 05:10:50 AM »
Also, I believe using synthetic oil will help with engine longevity. Worth the additional cost for the oil.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: How long will our cars last?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2018, 05:18:32 AM »
I tend to assume that a car is good for 250,000km-300,000km (so 155K-186K mi). That seems to match my own experiences and those of family members.

At that point (especially with them now being 18 years old), I'd be putting together an emergency fund very soon that could be used in the event of one of these cars dying.

You might be lucky and get another five years from each, or one of them could go pop tomorrow. Depends on all sorts of different variables.

Schaefer Light

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Re: How long will our cars last?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2018, 09:59:46 AM »
I'd pencil out them both lasting to 250k, and then just drive them both and maintain them properly until something major (major meaning engine or transmission failure) finally fails.  I would not dump them before reaching that point.

There are some people who would recommend keeping the car and replacing the engine or transmission at that point.  I'm on the fence about this.  Financially, it seems to make sense as long as the car isn't showing any signs of rust.

ketchup

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Re: How long will our cars last?
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2018, 10:31:57 AM »
I'd pencil out them both lasting to 250k, and then just drive them both and maintain them properly until something major (major meaning engine or transmission failure) finally fails.  I would not dump them before reaching that point.

There are some people who would recommend keeping the car and replacing the engine or transmission at that point.  I'm on the fence about this.  Financially, it seems to make sense as long as the car isn't showing any signs of rust.
I guess my stance here is that (using my last car as an example) if I'm replacing an engine with 262k miles on it... I'd still be mating the new engine to an automatic transmission with 262k, so the expected increased life would not be worth the $3000 new engine (total guess on that price).  I elected not to do that.  The car was not rusty.

Just Joe

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Re: How long will our cars last?
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2018, 10:52:13 AM »
We've gotten huge miles out of our cars over the years. 300K a CRV, 350K+ on old Accord. 200K+ out of other brands.

There are too many variables to predict exactly how long a car will last.

You might live in a salty place. You might live in a very hot place. You might live where every start is a hard cold start 6 months out of the year. And then the quality of your repair parts, the quality of the repair work, and the ways that you drive a car after the equation too. Some people might get 75K miles out a clutch while others get 300K out of a clutch. Same with automatic transmissions. I've seen vehicles that were neglected and would be off to the crusher in 100K miles, and people who could trash a nice vehicle in a couple of years.

Hopefully your cars were purchased new enough or from the right people to not suffer from neglect. When we bought a car last year - two vehicles, same year, side by side. One was showroom perfect and the other had a worn interior that looked like they might have hauled a gaggle of kids regularly. We bought the first one.

As others have said - establish a budget line for replacing/repairing your cars. Hopefully you'll have enough money to address any unexpected failures. We had a failed oil pump on an otherwise good engine suddenly one day. Oil light came on and we switched off the engine. Fortunately we had the funds to deal with it painlessly.

I think a well cared for modern car which is maintained properly and not driven hard ought to last 250K miles minimum. However you are closer to expensive repairs than ever before. You can also wind up with a car that nobody will touch b/c they realize that anything could break without warning due to age or mileage. Mostly your potential buyer base will be low income customers and mechanics.

My suggestion: take care of it (keep it clean) and sell it before it gets ugly. I expect the driveline will last beyond that.

Fishindude

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Re: How long will our cars last?
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2018, 01:17:58 PM »
We have a 2000 Nissan Altima with 180,000 miles and a 2000 Toyota Avalon with 220,000 miles. We are fresh out of college with very minimal savings. I would like to drive these cars as long as we can before we buy a "new" used car. How much longer do you think we could drive these? How do you decide that it is time to buy a new car? What is the most amount of miles that can be put on these cars before they are toast?

I think you are nearing the end of these automobiles practical lives.   At some point they will become unreliable and start nickle and diming you to the point where it just isn't worth the hassle.
I would be planning for an upgrade to something newer, low miles withing the next year or two.   Let the highest mileage driver of you two take that one, the lowest mileage driver take the better of two old cars, then put the proceeds from sold car towards new or in emergency fund in the event of car repairs.

In my business we always ran our vehicles to 180-250,000 miles and replaced them for reasons stated above.