27th Oct 2017, 10:31

Reviews on this site are great, because if one is pretty good at sifting through information, you'll find problems that are "common" either in cars sold for a particular region (possibly locally-made with locally-sourced parts vs. the standard export model, or unique operating conditions), or all cars of a certain variant regardless of region. Proper maintenance can't prevent everything, but cannot do harm, especially to vehicles that need exacting maintenance to stay dependable (Subarus, for example). While there are vehicles which do have known debilitating (rather than just niggling) design faults with a fairly high inevitability of failure, the rest fall into a bucket of averages. Those who have had a bad and expensive experience will be very partial against that brand, those who have had a reasonably good run (perhaps with several vehicles) with the same make may think otherwise.

As pointed out earlier, people buy cars for different reasons, or get drawn to cars with particular characteristics. There are cars which are legendary for rarely ever breaking down even with poor maintenance, but if such cars don't suit the person's driving conditions or preferences (say, poorly-cambered narrow, winding roads at high speed, or coarse pavement that creates an unbearable drone inside the car), then it isn't always the most sensible option. We just have to weigh things up, but it is good to know what we might be up against.

27th Oct 2017, 12:09

The biggest point you missed actually is how much money do you realistically spend to keep a car on the road? Same with boats. Sure the odometer has a very high read. But financially was it feasible? You keep perpetually dropping money on what you feel will be its very last repair needed. And then more spent, even more often yet another high bill. And then you think it’s all over and you are good for a while. To the extent that you kick yourself for not just buying new. Then you have a ton of money in a worn car, often with ripped seats and bad body or paint. And a drivetrain with a lot dropped in it. So it may be wiser with a 12 year old car to get its book value often. And either buy new or find a lower mileage example with records. Especially if the body is banged up or getting worn.

If it’s a real sentimental piece or the classic of your dreams, it’s priceless so don’t fret over spending.

Some may opt to do all their own repairs, but newer ones are quite complex. My family owned an auto repair facility. Many used credit cards, but a lot paid cash that perhaps had credit issues. Besides other costs and overhead, it requires specialized equipment and tools for much of it. Parts can be high and you lose use of your car. Often the business would have people promising for end of the week weekend. So that involved staying late Fridays to see when people got paid. Many were fine, but it was a broad cross section of people. Often the cars weren’t picked up on the week as promised. In some cases the repairs are a owner's trap with hoping you won’t see another repair for a while. Maybe a small payment on something newer or more reliable would be better. But you cannot judge people and their motivations. It’s a roll of the dice.

Personally the 10-12 year comment of people keeping their cars longer is mostly financial in my opinion. Everyone would like a brand new car - who wouldn’t? But why doesn’t everyone? More so than simply durability. Cars are better today, but I have seen some come in that really shouldn’t be on the road. Not maintained well and neglect. Just put gas in and go. They attend to it though when the inspection is due. And put the rest of us in peril on the road in the interim. Not everyone does this of course, but it happened often. They may need money for family, tuitions, fuel, oil etc and logic is keep their cars another year. Take the chance. I’ve seen this first hand and heard stories of it often enough. So maybe look at that aspect of keeping cars longer as more of a reality as the true reason. My son has a 2004 Silverado with only 34,000 miles. That’s a case where keeping it is wiser than buying new.