January 29, 2006
NOTHING COSTS MORE THAN IT USED TO:
Report: Cars, Trucks Racking Up More Miles (KEN THOMAS , 01.28.2006, AP)
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.
Posted by Orrin Judd at January 29, 2006 8:44 AM
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.
Report from the field: Our 1987 Dodge Caravan is approaching 200,000 miles. It's been remarkably reliable and low maintenance. The interior is pretty trashed, but the paint job still looks very good, not a bit of rust. It's about the most comfortable vehicle we've ever driven, especially on long trips.
1993 Chevy Silverado pickup - 205k miles and still in excellent shape with lots of urban/suburban miles.
1998 Escort ZX2, 138,000. Still looks good, runs well. Great for what is essentially a throw-away car.
1992 Chevy S10 - 240k miles
1990 Nissan Stanza - 160k miles
1987 Nissan 300zx - 140k miles
The truck blows a fuse if you honk the horn while the radio is on, but otherwise all three run great and the Z is in near-cherry condition. I paid $9k for all three and repairs average $1k per year. Who buys new cars anymore?
I usually run my cars for about six years and between 150,000 and 170,000 miles, which is about the point where the cost of repairs begin to outweigh the value of the car (the only exception was a '91 Mercury Cougar, which I had to dump with less than 135,000 miles because the AC system compressor locked on the car, and instead of repairing it, I was told it would have to be replaced completely due to the government's mandated changeover from Freon to HC-34 as the coolant).
I've got a '75 Dodge crewcab that I just transplanted a '93 Cummins diesel motor into. The diesel has 200k miles on it and should be good for another 175k miles before it needs to be rebuilt.
Patrick H is right about the repairs. I have three cars, an '86 full-size SUV, a '90 sub-compact and a '91 sports car. Together, they cost me $4500 and repairs are about $1500 a year.
Zero interest on car payments, zero depreciation, low-mileage and multi-car discounts on insurance without collision--I pay less for insurance than most people pay for a single car.
Good regular maintenance and sensible use keep 'em flying. If one did go, I would simply replace it. I even skate on emissions inspections on two or the cars because of low use.
If a new car costing as much as we used to pay for a house floats your boat, by all means, go for it. My two boats are floated after being towed behind my Bronco.
1992 BMW 325 -- 182,000
1980 Porsche 911 -- 191,000
And the baby of the family, 1997 F-150, 71,000
Zero interest on no car payments is great.
Some talent at car repair means my cars are reliable, and rarely cost more than parts to maintain.
There is no doubt corrosion protection has made incredible advances. The BMW has been through 8 salted winters, and has no corrosion anywhere.