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How long should we expect a vehicle to last?

Discussion in 'Exploring everything under the sun!!' started by koda2000, January 1, 2018.

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    1. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      When I was a kid a vehicle with 100,000 miles on it (or more) was rare and no one in their right mind would purchase one expecting it go last another 100k. In those days odometers only went to 99,999 before rolling over to zero. Today it's not unheard of for well maintained vehicles to go 300,000 miles or more.

      As I'm now retired and living on a fixed income, I don't see myself purchasing a vehicle with less than 100,000 miles on it in the future and I'd expect that vehicle to require some repairs to make it reliable.

      As of late, our members average age seems to be going down to, from what I can determine to the 16-18 year old range, and they're buying very early Gen II's (95-96). As these vehicles are now 23 years old, most now have high mileage on them and many of them are V6 models (with multiple previous owners, unknown repair and maintenance histories) it is not surprising to me that these vehicles are encountering major failures (head gaskets, cracked heads, transmission failures and SOHC timing chain failures beginning with the '97's).

      What is surprising to me is the irate opinions being expressed that Ford designed these vehicles poorly. It's pretty well known that I'm not a fan of the 4.0L SOHC engine and that I believe the transmissions used on the V6's are weak compared to the V8 transmissions, but even these vehicles typically go well over 200,000 before giving up the ghost.

      I grew up in the northeast (aka the salt-belt) and even today most salt-belt vehicles rust away long before they have major mechanical issues, this coupled with the fact that many owners stop preforming maintenance and non-critical repairs as their vehicles rust and age. For the past 25+ years I've in the south, where vehicles don't rust. Other than major mechanical problems, used vehicles tend to begin their downward slide as their paint jobs, rubber parts and interiors degrade. All of the Gen II's I currently still own (a 2000 and two 2001's) now have 200,000+ miles on them. The two V8's are in very good mechanical condition and I keep my '01 Eddie Bauer garaged and in near pristine shape. My '01 Sport Trac still looks very good, but has issues with it's engine and transmission (which I can't justify fixing, because I can't justify putting $4,000, or more, into a vehicle that's only worth around $4000 and I'm getting too old to do major repairs). I took a chance on the ST three years ago because the price was right and I really liked the utility of the vehicle (and still do, using it as my daily driver around town). It remains to be seen what will become of the ST once it dies.

      Lately it seems I'm reading more and more rants on the forum from buyers of well used (what a friend of mine once referred to as "used-up") Gen II Explorers, mostly older V6 models, with people complaining about engine and transmission problems, but also about more mundane electrical and drive-ability issues. What do they expect? Has anyone owned a 20+ year old vehicle that hasn't required repairs? If you want a vehicle that has the expectation of not needing repairs during its first 50,000 or so, buy new and get rid of it when it gets to that mileage. When I was working that is exactly what I did, flipping vehicles every 3 years. Auto makers aren't going to produce vehicles that last 500K. If they did they'd put themselves out of business. As new vehicles become more complicated, due to all the crap people think they just can't live w/out (automatic parking, electric steering, electric parking brakes, nav systems, satellite radio, blue tooth, WiFi, more performance out of smaller more fuel efficient engines, diver-less vehicles) they get more expensive and more complex. What will these used vehicles be like in 25 years? I shutter to think.

      W/in the next 12 months I plan to replace our 2000 V8 with something newer, though it currently has no issues and there's no telling how much longer my 2001 ST will limp along. I have no plans to replace my '01 V8 Eddie Bauer at this time and I'd be willing to invest several thousand dollars in it, should it become necessary, because it's everything I need and more. If you've owned your vehicle for a while and love it, putting in more money than it's current market value may justify to keep it on the road doesn't seem like a bad investment to me, but at some point you just gotta let go.

      JMHO.
       
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    3. MONMIX

      MONMIX I fix dents Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      It really is a roll of the dice. Doing what I do for a living I am in and out of cars all day that are at various levels of age and maintenance. Without exception the Japanese stuff seems to have longevity down pat, but again not 100% and not exclusively but very significantly. I have seen more than a few 250k 300k still purr like a kitten. I have seen some 75k run like a 90 year old smoker with COPD. Some vehicles are just built better than others and that could easily include same cars on same assembly line.

      Right now my wifes Accord is 225k and my Ridgeline is 115k both run like champs.
       
    4. toypaseo

      toypaseo Flunked daycare Elite Explorer

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      My 1992 Toyota Paseo has over 200K. Yes, the motor is pry worn out. Yes, it smells like it runs rich. No, it does not smoke. Yes, I rodded the *##$%^ out of it.

      I have a friend with a VW something, with over 300K, who lives in CA.

      My brother has/had a 91(?) Audi 200 20V with over 200K. Still meets/met emissions in CO.
       
    5. Dan Whitaker

      Dan Whitaker One fast putty tat Elite Explorer

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      it takes a brave man to admit to owning a Honda Ridgeline :D
       
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    6. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Buying any used car is a risky deal, the older and higher mileage ones being the worst. As said, people do not take care of vehicles very well. I think most of that is the new era of people thinking a car is untouchable by anyone but a pro. So most maintenance is done by either shops(who don't care about the car), or not the best DIY'rs trying to learn.

      I learned a lot in my teens rebuilding a lawn mower that had no engine or brakes. I spent easily $400 on the $50 investment, just to "make money" around the neighborhood. It kept me out of trouble, and then I got to drive, my parent's 72 Gran Torino. I learned lots of car stuff then, the normal things, then the C4 trans went out, and then a neighbor friend(Ford hot rod guy) taught me how to build an engine. I built a Cleveland twice for that car, the first time with the friend doing most of it. The crank bolt evidently backed out somehow, and ate the oil slinger behind it, making it smart to tear it back down to be sure it was all okay.

      I've just worked on my own Fords, and learn as I went. Now it's time to learn how to actually weld, and do one last serious build or two, and then quit doing major car stuff.
       
    7. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      When I asked about "our vehicles" I was asking about our Explorers, not rice burners.
       
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    8. Rick

      Rick Pumpkin Pilot Staff Member Admin Elite Explorer

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      After replacing everything from the engine to the rear axle, my 1960 Dodge Dart is once again a very reliable car :D As long as it doesn't get in a wreck it will outlive me. The Pumpkin will probably outlive me as well. Right now my Explorer is 25 years old with just 150,000.
       
    9. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      Yeah, my 1954 Ford F100 will definitely still be on the road long after I'm gone too (for the same reason).
       
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    10. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      These days you have to drive a car often enough to keep the alcohol gas from jelling. I hate the changes that keep being pushed on us, it doesn't usually make things better. My old 73 Ranchero hasn't been driven for 25+ years, but I bet the gas tank is fine inside. My old 91 Explorer has had the tank out twice from not driving it enough, at least those are plastic.

      The newer cars probably won't last as long as older models, just from the aging electrical systems which will become unworkable by mechanics in the future.

      The Lincolns(85-92's) that I've owned are already avoided by mechanics, they can't diagnose the air ride systems without reading up on them(and then suggesting $1000-$2500 repairs). I just bought a "new" 92 Mark VII and it just needs TLC(original plug wires and hoses etc). I can handle the car, but would never take it to a mechanic, who would have to look up what to do with it.

      Those were complicated vehicles in their day, but newer cars are way past them in complexity now. 25 years from now, today's new cars will be not wanted because of the complications of care.
       
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    11. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      Not only because of the complexity, but also because all the technology in today's new vehicles will be obsolete in just a few years. Just look at how quickly computers and smart phones become obsolete.
       
    12. Rick

      Rick Pumpkin Pilot Staff Member Admin Elite Explorer

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      I completely agree. Unless the aftermarket comes in to support all of the computer systems, today's cars will drop off the market pretty quickly as the manufacturer only has to make parts available for 10 years.
       
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    13. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      That's funny Rick. I've been collecting parts for my Ranchero since 1988, my Mark VII since 1997, and the Explorers since about 2005. I have about all I need to restore these, if I get to before I can't do it.
       
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    14. Rick

      Rick Pumpkin Pilot Staff Member Admin Elite Explorer

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      I remember trying to replace a seatbelt assembly in my Explorer when it was well under 10 years old. I was told that they only have to carry a replacement part that will work, not every color the part was available in:banghead: Wound up having to go with a used seat belt assembly since I didn't want to replace my tan strap with blue, which is all they had.

      On a brighter note, shortly after purchasing what would become the Pumpkin I found a special deal on Mazda 5 speed transmissions where you gave them a specific part number and you wound up with a brand new in the crate tranny for $1000 :eek: I wish I could have bought a dozen :D I think an employee must have messed with their system because that was about half of what it should have cost. Of course I got the part # off the Internet..., but that was prior to '96 and Explorer Forum. I was using an Explorer News Group back then!
       

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    15. MONMIX

      MONMIX I fix dents Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      MAN !!!!!!!! I LOVE this truck. I would buy another in a heartbeat.

      My Ridgeline is mostly American made. I think like 92 %
      Much of the domestic stuff nowadays is Mexico and Canada.
       
    16. MONMIX

      MONMIX I fix dents Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      I will COMPLETELY disagree.

      I would much rather work on a new car over an old one. Mechanical or autobody, it doesn't matter. It is not even close.
       
    17. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Uh, you did notice my comment was about a 90's car, my 91 and 92 Lincoln? Those are old, yes, but not a 40+year old car.
       
    18. Dan Whitaker

      Dan Whitaker One fast putty tat Elite Explorer

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      I consider a Ridgline as much of a truck as a Chevy Avalanche.
      Most men I see driving a Ridgeline, look like they bat for the other team.:p

      The ridgeline maybe built in the USA, but where does the majority of the profit go to?
       
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    19. Turdle

      Turdle I bake stuff Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Same place as the money for your caddy, "in someone else's pocket"

      Like keeping money in the greedy U'S. pockets is going to keep them from investing it in India. Japan is investing more into the US than the US is these days.

      Also,
      If Japanese vehicles had not made it to the U.S. market, the mid 70's U.S. vehicles would have been considered reliable. It was the crappy quality level that let the imports walk in the door, and earned them a place at the dinner table.


      Even now, U.S. auto makers are playing quality catch up.
       
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    20. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      I bought Hondas from '76-'86, due to the horrible quality of U.S. made vehicles at that time. I switched back to U.S. vehicles once the quality improved and I've never looked back. Over the years I've owned about every U.S. brand of vehicle made (Chevy, GMC, Olds, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac, Corvette, Chrysler, Jeep, Ford, Mercury). I've had the best luck with Fords and the worst luck with Chrysler products including Jeeps (the worst) but never kept any of them more than a few years. The town I live in now has a GM, a Chrysler, and a Ford dealership. There are no Japanese dealerships anywhere near my town and I find most of their vehicles too be too small and boring, so I'll be sticking with my Fords.
       
    21. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      It’s every bit of truck as a Sport Trac. Plus they didn’t have a crap anemic transmission and a piss poor flawed engine design.

      I couldn’t care less where the profits go. I care much more about the tons of GREAT American jobs they create.
       
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    22. Tech By Trade

      Tech By Trade Well-Known Member

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      In reality a vehicle should last as long as you can get parts for it, if you can swing a wrench. My old man still has farm trucks on the road from the late 40's, The oldest being a Fargo 1 ton he uses to haul coal for his stove in the shop. Good old foot starter in that pig. Old 60s merc unibody, I will be taking off his hands some day and rodding. No cracks in the box, all the chrome, and a hell of a history on it. he did just put his john deere 830 he used for the snow plow down, because he cant get parts for it anymore. Vehicles hate his yard, its where they go when they are never to be put to rest. Lots of bailer twine and bubblegum.
       
    23. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      You do have to be able to work on them, and the parts are critical. My best friend had the 65 Mercury Marauder his dad left him, until he discovered how unobtainable the parts were. He even bought another similar body Merc, and then found it needed both the roof, and the floor. He needed at least the floor to fix his. He finally let them go last year.
       
    24. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      Around here nothing lasts forever. The rust kills them.
       
    25. Tech By Trade

      Tech By Trade Well-Known Member

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      Should have looked to the great white north, Merc's were plentiful up here, Trucks anyway. Probably could have found one in a rock pile. Something to do with brands and pre autopac trade with the US, but before my time.
       
    26. 429CJ-3X2

      429CJ-3X2 Elite Explorer

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      My grandpa bought a new Chevy farm truck in 1948. The dealer offered a free oil change for as long as you owned the truck. Grandpa drove it about 30 miles each way for his oil change until about 1970 or '71. A complete lube job must have been included or it wouldn't have been worth the drive, except to claim what was promised. He was getting his free oil change years after all other buyers had given it up. I drove it at least once sometime between '72 & 75, but it was no longer road worthy and was only used to haul water about 1/2 a mile.
       

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