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Ages ago, it seemed like 100k miles was the 'aging point' of a car, either some type of milestone or a warning to start searching for something new.

As engineering gets better though, it seems like that's not the case. 100k miles nowadays seems like nothing for a car, I have a 2001 Buick Regal that's more than likely got 200k+ on it (dead digital odometer), and runs fine other than some minor quirks that seem to build up when driving a great running car (powertrain-wise) for years on end.

As I would like to get these 'quirks' taken care of, it got me thinking about how long I should expect my car to actually last.

I wanted to ask a question that wasn't too broad, but wasn't too specific to just my car, because that's impossible to answer. Well maintained cars manufactured during the 2000s could probably be grouped together in terms of life expectancy. And to define 'death', I'm referring to either the engine or transmission needing complete rebuild or replacement. driveshafts and rear wheel differentials seem like moderately priced components in comparison, but I could be wrong.

I also mentioned that this is a 4 season climate, in case that makes a difference. I purchased it from a southern state, but it's been up here for almost 8 years now. A little rust has appeared but nothing that appears to be too intense.

I see a related question, but I don't think it's a duplicate, but I could be wrong.

Not looking for Guinness World Records or anything, I've seen stories of Ford 1/2/350s topping a million miles, but I've also worked at Ford and seen what goes into those specific models.

So, to bring it home, should one even consider an 'aging point' of a car anymore, when determining whether to repair or replace, or just celebrate a milestone?

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This isn't answerable - it will depend on so many factors. –  Rory Alsop Dec 24 '13 at 13:19
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I don't believe there is a magic number of miles or years on a car anymore. The 100k miles you mentioned is about as hard of a number as you will find, though it is far softer than it ever was before. Cars today are far too diverse, unlike what we used to see in the '60s & '70s. There are too many cars with too many variables. Manufacturers have too many models which are made for different purposes and longevity. Also consider the global economy where just about every industrialized nation is making some sort of vehicle to sell. There aren't a set of rules which dictates what/how a manufacturer makes their cars (quality control, part longevity, etc). Yes, there are laws here in the US which govern what a car should have safety wise, but nothing for what I just mentioned.

While I agree this does not appear to be a duplicate of the other question you linked, I think what is posted there is valid. Two other points I can think of which were not mentioned there (and there may be more points as well):

  • How much money/time/effort is spent fixing the aging car? If the amount of money spent fixing a car exceeds the cost of monthly payments buying a new(er) car, you should consider replacing it. For instance, if it costs $500 a month in maintenance, is it worth it to keep hanging on to it? Also, if you are putting more money into it than the car is worth, this is a sign you need to look elsewhere (if you put a new engine into a car, is it worth dumping the $3-4k into it, even though the car may only be worth $1k?). Take for instance, if you are talking about an '99 Hyundai Accent 3-door. When sold new, this vehicle would sell for just under $10k (US). This is considered a throw away car. When it's dead it's dead (though it will probably last well beyond the 100k miles with proper maintenance). You don't want to throw money at it because it just isn't worth it.
  • Sentimental value. Does the vehicle mean something to you? Did your father own it and pass it down to you? This intrinsic value someone places on an object may make it more than worthy to continue dumping money into it. At a point where you are throwing good money after bad, you may want to place the vehicle into a "mothball" state, where it is not your daily driver.

To me (and this is opinion based), as long as you can afford the money and possibility of down time with the vehicle, run it until it's dead. A used car will almost always be worth more to you than it will to the next guy. If you own the car outright, make it pay you (by carting your arse around while you aren't making payments on it). When you once again are making payments on it through repairs, then you need to check your options. As was stated in the other thread, maintenance is the key. Don't forget, there will always be lemons from any make or model, so this must also be factored in to the equation.

Hope this helps.

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The first time you turn the ignition on a car and drive along the road you will have a degree of wear, infinitesimal admittedly but wear all the same. Over time this wear will add up to a replacement part. The replacement will be a cost. How much you are prepared to pay to maintain and own a vehicle is a personal choice.

Newer vehicles benefit from advances in technology. Will have improved appointment and be more comfortable. Have modern styling and appeal. They will be safer for the driver, passengers, and any third parties in the event of an accident. All together they will be a better proposition to own and drive.

All of the above though ignores the romance, passion, and attachment to an older vehicle that people have for them. This can be priceless just as well as inexplicable.

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Most main dealers in the UK are reluctant to accept a vehicle over 5 years old in part exchange for a new vehicle. –  Allan Osborne Dec 24 '13 at 11:23
    
Is there not a we buy any car in the UK? –  abhi yesterday
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