By on December 31, 2012

It’s time to make a confession to the good folks at TTAC.

The mileage game is rigged.

How so? Well, approximately two-thirds of the vehicles that reach the 300k+ mark  at an auction I attend will usually belong in one of four categories.

Ford truck or SUV.  Chevy truck or SUV. Honda car. Toyota everything.

There you have it. Nearly two thirds of the vehicles that I see with serious high mileage credentials will belong in one of those four categories.

Yes I do see the occasional V8, rear-wheel-drive Ford car. Nissan seems to do well with their mostly -90′s Altimas, 10+ year old Maximas,  and their wonderful small trucks. A few Jeeps and Cummins diesel trucks also fly into the high mileage radar.

But everyone else? Just little glimpses every now and then.

The old school German machinery will sometimes score a 300k+ model with a level of maintenance receipts that could do damage to your next door neighbor’s window.

VW does well with the TDI, the too slow 2.0, and nothing else. Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, SAAB, and Volvo have become a big fuhgeddaboudit for our weekly mileage contest. Volvo would probably field a few 300k vehicles if the odometers on all their 1990′s models didn’t break with a near 100% level of consistency.

In my experiences, Subarus can get close to 300k, But they will often  have massive oil leaks and repair records that will rival the Germans.

Mitsubishi makes some decent cars as does Mazda. But the former are almost always eventually skirted away to the abuse oriented rental fleets and buy-here pay-here lots. While Mazda suffers from a nasty long era where many of their automatic transmissions simply did not hold up.

Then we have Chrysler. The 2.7 Liter engines rarely makes it past 120k miles and are virtually non-existent at the auto recycling centers. Even though they made millions of them, you may as well be asking the guy at the junkyard counter for a 20 year old Peugeot with a dancing unicorn on top of it.

The 3.7 Liter and 4.7 Liter engines are also becoming increasingly expensive due to sludge issues and the fact that they’re difficult to rebuild. Chrysler transmissions for their minivans are also becoming a rarer sight. Although they are far easier to rebuild.

Finally, it seems that Chrysler could never design certain basic parts that were worth a flip throughout the last two decades.

For a while at the auctions, I began to think that Chrysler engineered a whining noise into all the power steering pumps in their minivans and differentials in their luxury Jeeps. Chrysler wouldn’t even arbitrate certain Jeeps for differential noise back in the mid-2000′s.

However, a Dodge truck with a Cummins diesel remains a recipe for success, and the Hemi engine seems to be long lasting along with the old 5.2 Liter 318 engine and the 4.0 Liter inline-six.

Finally we are back at GM and Ford, again. I will give special kudos to the GM 3.8 Liter V6 and the Ford Vulcan V6. The former was a marvel for the time. While the later represents the ultimate in amortization costs and continuous improvement. Everything else ranges from above average (GM 2.2 Liter engines and early non-plastic intake 3.1 Liter engines), to problematic (Ford 3.8 Liter engines, GM 3.4 Liter V6 models, Northstar V8′s.)

Sometimes these issues had to do with the overuse of cheap plastic in the engine bay and coolants that gel up. While other times it has more to do with basic bad design (Saturn and Freestar CVT transmissions) and planned obsolescence (Aveos, Neons, PT Cruisers, last-gen Festivas, last-gen Metros).

I expect that the Koreans will likely join the fray of 300k+ in the coming years. But a lot of just plain bad Hyundais and Kias were made until recent times. I can’t recall a single model from either brand with a notably high mileage at the auctions.

As for the Honda Accord with 403,817 miles? It was followed by a Toyota Tacoma, an Acura TL, and a Ford Explorer. All with over 390,000 miles. The durability quartet took 8 of the top 10 spots and 22 of the first 30.

Not bad… and not unusual at all.

 

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133 Comments on “Monday Mileage Champion: The Year In Review...”


  • avatar
    Spartan

    For what it’s worth, the gauge clusters in those Accords, and most Hondas/Acuras from that era, are extremely easy to take apart and change the mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Are you suggesting that people roll forward their mileage for some reason?

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Well, I added the sixth digit to my old Reliant to show off the durability that it richly earned. An extended shaft and digit wheel from newer Mopars made it easy to do, plus a Dremel tool to enlarge the opening in the speedo head. Why all the effort? To silence the narrow minded folk that insisted that only Honda and Toyota could manage such an accomplishment. I still have this photo on the board in my office. Breaking a quarter million miles was pretty impressive back then, especially for kinda crappy cars like this. I’d post it here if TTAC allowed for photos…

      • 0 avatar
        audipardner

        i rearranged the letters on my reliant to spell entrail. much more appropriate.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    SAAB’s was doing 500+ miles a decade ago. Some of those are turbo charged and will run rings around VTEC and VVT-i engines.

    http://www.saabnet.com/tsn/faq/miles/all.html

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      “SAAB’s was doing 500+ miles a decade ago”.

      Guessing that even the three-wheeled Benz Patent Motor Car, model no. 1. could pull that feat of longevity off in…1886.

    • 0 avatar
      sfay3

      Yeah, I know a guy with over 500,000 miles on his SAAB whatever and it still manages to get 45 mpg while towing the USS Nimitz up a mountain, both ways.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Also, it has more cargo capacity than a Suburban. Don’t forget:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/in-the-land-of-wagons-the-compact-crossover-is-king/#comment-1977035

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      You can mock him as much as you want, but the old school 900 I see on the classifieds usually are past the 300K+ kms mark.

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        but how much has it taken to reach 300k+? I mean, if I say I’ve had this axe for 30 years, but 15 years ago I replaced the handle and 10 years ago I replaced the blade, do I really have a 30 year old axe?

      • 0 avatar
        agent534

        Good point jz78817.
        My gf has had 3 or 4 Classic Saab 900′s and I can’t say anything good about them. Blown head gasket on her current 2.0 turbo at far under 200k miles.
        Now I have a 2000 Saturn SL1 with 225k miles on it. Of course I replaced the engine in it at 180k. The cost of a junk yard engine is $250, so with the 38 mpg, even if I have to replace the engine again, the Saturn might see 300k

    • 0 avatar

      Ladas routinely make 300K+ km. No big deal. Engine is easily disassemble and parts are very cheap. Only thing is rust protection but body part also not expensive and easy to find.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    That Honda looks like the one my old Political Science professor had in the mid 90s. Right colors and all, I remember that I was impressed at the time that he the manual trans model.

  • avatar
    ajla

    So Steven, maybe you can help settle some American six-cylinder “bar debates” for me:

    Buick 3800 versus Chevy 4.3L V6?
    ’88-’91 LN3 3800 versus ’95-’05 L36 3800?
    AMC I6 versus Chrysler 90-degree OHV V6 versus Chrysler 60-degree OHV V6?
    Buick 3300 versus Chevy 3.1L V6?

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ajla…I know you asked Steven, however let me add my 2 cents. I got lots of experience with GM engines. The 3800 Buick is one of the best GM engines ever. I once bought a Firebird because I wanted the Gen 11 3800. The engine was great. The rest of the car,not so much.

      I had an 89 S15 with the 4.3.. It shook, burned oil, nasty piston slap and was NFG at about 90k miles. I had a 97 full size W/T, other than being gutless the 4.3 was Problem free. Next one was a 2003 Jimmy,problem free,if you over looked it insatible thirst.

      I had 3.1 and a 3.4. IF you caught the head gasket/intake gasket,BEFORE you cooked it,or it leaked into the crankcase, they were a good engine.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I’ve had the opportunity to own every version of the transverse Buick V6 expect for the Series III supercharged. I especially have a major soft spot for the LN3 and 3300.

        However, I also know that I’m swimming in the BOP Kool-Aid, generally have an anti-Chevy slant to my feelings, and my personal experiences with my 3100s were quite poor. There are certainly biases at work in my thinking, which is why I’d be interested to know how someone like Steven feels about the comparisons.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m a 4.3 fan but I also know what to look for. The early W motors have fuel spider self-destruct issues, the 96-up W’s eat their factory intake gaskets and while you’re down there might as well make sure that spider – though updated from the early W spider – is in sound condition.

        The W 4.3s had balance shafts so they were much smoother than the Z and N engines like the ’89 you describe Mikey.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        I had an ’88 S10 Blazer that I sold to a friend at about 50K miles. Even thought it was stolen twice, and trashed once, it went on and on and on, with a timing chain at 200K, a transmission (probably due to the trashing it got when it was stolen the second time) a couple of water pumps, valves and rebuilt heads at about 300K, until it was way over 400K, it might have been 500K, since the speedo died at about 385K, which it hit in 2008. Two of his three kids learned to drive in it. Finally, in early 2011, the rot got to the point he got soaked driving it in the rain, and it went to the scrapyard. His other “drive it forever” is one of the first GMC Envoys and it just passed 300K and has to be called a winner even though it ate a motor due to his wife ignoring the oil light for…months. He just shrugged his shoulders and paid for a replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      The Buick 3800 is one of the best engines you could get in any vehicle for that time. The 4.3 Liter is durable… and that’s about it.

      I have always found the L36 to be trickier to repair than the LN3. Oil leaks, the intake manifold gasket issues. The L36 is more robust and I have seen several of them with over 300k at the auctions. But you have to be a bit more vigilant with minor issues.

      The later versions of the inline-six were excellent. The other two are fine. The 3.3 Liter V6 is as common as kudzu and the 3.9 Liter is nothing more than a sawed off 5.2 Liter. I see nearly all of them outlasting the vehicles that were built around them.

      The last one is easy, Buick 3300. The only good thing about the 3.1 Liter V6 is that it happened to be as common as kudzu back in the 1990′s. I see very few of them with high mileage at the auctions.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Steven, we have a 3.1 litre (our lone GM car in our extended family) with 125K on it. We did the intake gasket and dumped the DexDeath. Are we running on borrow time? It has a bit of clatter on cold start but quiets right down and still runs and pulls well. Should we dump the car? The drive train feels fine…

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        I have the local concocted version of the LN3. My friends have told me that if I look after it, it will easily get to 500K kms. It groans when pushed, but at everyday speeds is a kitten, gets the job done and its freeway efficiency would put some new cars to shame. And that torque…

      • 0 avatar
        zbnutcase

        The Chevy 4.3L is very durable, and later ones with the balance shaft very smooth, not to mention one of the most popular marine engines in the 17-22ft runabouts. Killer engine, and better than the 3800!

    • 0 avatar
      Omnifan

      Buick 3800 over everything! AMC I6 over everything! Buick 3300 over 3.1L (what junk).

    • 0 avatar
      Geekcarlover

      Of those listed most of my experience is with the AMC I6. They personified bulletproof. Or maybe zombie. Even when they ran poorly, they ran, and ran, and ran. Without actually trying, I just couldn’t kill any of the ones I’ve had.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I guess I can count myself blessed that I’ve never had to drive a car even 100,000 miles. I don’t live my life behind the wheel, and of all the cars I’ve had, I’ve been ready to move on well before the sixth digit on the OD. I used to be in the majority, but statistically, it looks like I’m falling into the minority.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I find that if I like a car when it was new, driving it at 100,000 miles isn’t that much different. An average car with 100,000 miles is only about 7 or 8 years old with intact seats, paint that still shines with a fresh coat of wax, and an engine that uses almost no oil between oil changes. If bought early in the life of a body style, a 7 or 8 year old car is only 1 generation older than new. I worry about scratches and door dings in the new car, but don’t sweat the small stuff after the odometer shows 6 digits.

      The body of Honda Accord with 403,817 miles looks really good for a 20 year old car. No major dents or rust visible. Unusual to see a 2 door Honda that’s survived that long without being customized to death.

    • 0 avatar
      modelt1918

      Must be nice conslaw, I generally don’t er….can’t afford to buy a car unless it has more than 100,000. But,then again I buy Honda and Toyota almost exclusively. By the way Steven, once again you have written a very insightful and educational piece. Thank you for all the knowledge you have shared with us this year.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      I’m kind of in the same boat, I’ve always like the IDEA of keeping one car for a really long time and running it into the ground with 100s of thousands of miles, but I just get bored with them too quickly and want to move on to something else after a few years. That, and the couple of cars I’ve had with over 100k on them were total basket cases that needed constant attention to keep going and just weren’t worth keeping.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      You feel blessed that you’ve never owned a vehicle you liked enough to drive for a long time? That would make me sad.

  • avatar
    michaelfrankie

    12 Valve Cummins and 1uz-fe for me please.

  • avatar
    NewLookFan

    GM 2.2 liter above average?

    Are we talking about the head gasket eating pushrod neanderthal that was in Cavaliers and S-10 pickups? I hope it’s above average, I have one.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    Continue to love this column and your insight – particularly as my Chevy Tahoe just topped 220,000 miles. I’ve had it so long now that it’s like a trusted, old friend. Hoping to get to 350,000 miles before we say goodbye.

    As for AJLA’s question: I’d offer that the Buick 3.8 liter was infinitely better than the Chevy 4.3. I’ve had both and the drivability of the Buick was great. The Chevy simply got louder when you pressed the accelerator (but didn’t go anywhere)- it needed a torque infusion.

  • avatar
    vwgolf420

    Anecdotally, I’ll offer up that I know of more >300k miles late 80s-1990s Sentras and Altimas than any other models. Knew a girl that had an 1987 Sentra that she bought at 260k for $500 drove it to 300k until the engine seized because she’d never changed or added oil.

    • 0 avatar
      sfay3

      My Altima must have been one of the early ones as it was manufactured in December 1992. Despite 300,000 somewhat brutal miles it’s still on the original engine, transmission, clutch, struts, etc. I used the poor thing to tow a heavy trailer dozens of times when I moved a few years ago and the car made the 500-mile round trip journey without complaint. Nissan really overbuilt these things.

  • avatar
    Littlecarrot

    You’re right about the Subarus. Our 2000 Legacy has 215k, but the file of repair receipts is about three inches thick. We’re on our second set of head gaskets and is now needing a third replacement of the master/slave cylinders. No oil leaks or oil burning though.

    The 2.2 liter engine on my ’93 Toyota pickup seems pretty durable. It does have a perpetual rear main seal leak because the mechanic who changed the rear main seal when replacing the clutch, used a Honda civic gasket by mistake.

  • avatar

    What about Dodge Neons? I’ve seen quite a few second Gens (ones that don’t eat head gaskets )on Craigslist with over 150k some pushing 200k…

    I’m assuming most go to the crusher because the second timing belt change at 200k costs almost as much as the car is now worth.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      They’re scrapped due to depreciation and their often “young and enthusiastic” drivers, at least I think.

      I still see the SRT4 variants here and there though.

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        I have 158,000 on my SRT-4. it hasn’t been completely painless (likes to eat control arm bushings and axle seals,) but it hasn’t cost me that much to keep on the road. It’d still be on the original clutch if it weren’t for the stupid release fork wearing out.

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      Even here in Northern IL, where Neons were once popular new, [near Belvedere IL], they’re nearly gone. Working class have moved on to old Corollas and Civics for econo-beaters. Some have Cobalts which just graduated to dirt cheap, but J cars are dying out.

    • 0 avatar

      200k for a Neon is fairly normal. I sold mine with 176k. But to reach 400k you need special maintenance. Get those hydraulic lifters replaced on cylinder #2, new CVs, possibly O2 sensors, maybe clutch… Things like that. Keeping the paint from peeling was a never-ending battle, too.

      BTW, I had the head gasket done at 46k miles, and the rest 100+ it covered on the replacement.

  • avatar
    koctail

    I had this car, 93 Accord LX, green with tan interior. I bought it from my mother in law. Actually on 2nd look the one in the pic is an EX….dual tailpipes. First week I had it brake master cylinder failed. Terrible feeling when the brake pedal goes straight to the floor and car is not stopping. Then transmission failed, A/C. I sold it around 140K miles I believe. After replacing all those parts it probably could run for another 150K but I was done throwing money at it. Now I drive 07 Civic Hybrid and about to turn 100K. The maintenance on the Civic has been minimal but now my A/C is intermittent at best and I just had the Hybrid battery replaced, under warranty thankfully, otherwise its a $3k expense.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Pickups and Camry’s I’m bored just thinking about them. To keep them for 300,000 miles which for me is about 18 years is not going to happen.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Cars usually have multiple owners!

      You drive it for a year, then someone in the next town owns it for 5 years. Then a frugal family drives it, then a college student or someone who isn’t well off…

      It might pass through one of these auctions every time it changes hands, burn if it’s a popular model in good shape, it probably won’t….

  • avatar
    MattMan

    “Ford truck or SUV. Chevy truck or SUV. Honda car. Toyota everything.”

    What percentage of the cars on the road fall into the same categories as the high mileage cars?

    Per figures published by TTAC on 12/09, those categories cover 8 of the 10 best selling vehicles in America.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      That’s a good point. This really is a list of the best selling vehicles 10 to 20 years ago, though it’s a valid point that Honda and Toyota cars are probably outliving the domestic cars that were produced then.

      To really get statistical significance we’d need to follow the cars like Truedelta does and find the average age and mileage at end of life.

      It would appear part of the SUV craze was from people expecting, correctly, that domestic SUVs would be more durable than domestic cars. If you were committed to buying a domestic brand the SUVs from the 90s certainly appear to have been the more durable choice.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    “However, a Dodge truck with a Cummins diesel remains a recipe for success, and the Hemi engine seems to be long lasting along with the old 5.2 Liter 318 engine and the 4.0 Liter inline-six.”

    In all fairness, the 4.0 litre engine is actually an AMC product. Chrysler improved it but AMC gets the node for the design and original production.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      I’m not sure what changes Chrysler made between taking over AMC production of the 4.0 and 1999, but most Jeep people I’ve known warn heavily against buying the 1999+ MY 4.0 in favor of an older model. Mid-90s seem to be the most bulletproof.

      I’ve known quite a few Jeep people, and none would ever touch a Liberty with a 20 foot pole.

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        When Chrysler took over production of the AMC 6 they first gave it better gaskets and seals that didn’t leak. In 1991 they dumped the marginal RENIX fuel injection system and added their own. The same year they redesigned the intake and exhaust manifolds for better flow, and revised the ports in the head for better airfow, and revised cam lift and timing. The new fuel injection system allowed the elimination of the EGR valve and knock sensor.
        In late 95 they added a stud girdle to the block to cut down on NVH, in 2000 they added distributorless coil on plug ignition, no other significant changes were made from that time until production ceased at the end of 2006.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Heard the same thing about 4.0 I6, IIRC I heard Chrysler did something to cheapen the head casting and they tend to crack prematurely.

        Odd thing about Liberty is I have seen some good come out of their ownership. My mother has a dealer serviced ’03 she bought used in ’05, at now with 84K she hasn’t had any serious issues, just typical Chrysler kwality. I think the biggest thing that’s gone wrong was the radiator was leaking and was subsequently replaced… also to note, this car has been in two rear impact accidents one of which was around 45mph. They put it back together twice for her and it soldiers on. My gf’s parents, good old southern PA “hill people” that they are beat the tar out of an 07, I think its got 206K on the clock now and it still runs/shifts reasonable well. Typical stuff breaks, two windows don’t work, some rust around wheel wells etc. but the fact its still running impresses me.

  • avatar
    Littlecarrot

    We’re kinda considering the new Mazda6 to replace our Subaru. Are the Mazda trannys that bad?

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I’ve heard more issues regarding cheap trim and poor rust protection, mostly on the Mazda 3s.

    • 0 avatar

      The Mazda3 was so great to me, bought it new in 2006, 3S hatchback, 3 drivers on the car in NYC, salt in the winter, high temp in the summer, extremely bad roads and valet parking 5 days a week in Manhattan (very bad for the A/T, lots of back and forward, lots of engine starts).
      5 years, 70k miles and it looked like new when I trade it in for a 2011 model.
      Try that with a BMW.
      To be honest, the 2011, also hatchback 2.5 liter, makes much more noise from any given part, as if it was assembled in a different place, still, the most fun to drive of any car of that price point, also, for $205 a month, 15k a year 36 month lease, it was the best deal I could find.

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      Mazda – negative, by all means. Rust-prone tinfoil steel panels, short-lived automatics,.. Not a good substitute for a Subie, especially post-2005 ones.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    All the high-mileage Saabs and Volvos seem to migrate from the South to the Northeast. Here in Portland, Maine there are at least three used car dealerships that make a living shipping those clean Southern Swedes North by the truckload. One of the best cars I ever owned was a ’91 Volvo 245 with 91K on it that came from Atlanta, bought from one of these places in ’96. Last I heard it was still around town with upwards of 350K on it.

    At this point it is unusual to see a RWD Volvo with less than 200K on it up here. I assume Steve doesn’t see many of those because they are not likely to get traded in on anything, and thus don’t end up at auctions very often – plus so many of them migrate. 200K+ Saabs are also a dime a dozen up here. 200K+ anything Japanese? Not so much, the tinworm eats them before they get that old unless the owner had a heck of a commute or was a salesman. No idea on American cars, don’t pay any attention to them, but 10-15 year old ones are pretty thin on the ground here so probably not. Trucks seem to have the same problems as Japanese cars, they rust out long before they hit the big mileages. My buddies ’06 Ford F250 looks like it was sitting in Casco Bay underneath – the dipstick tube rotted off!? It has 70K on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I’d like to see if Panthers are so tough up there in the North.

      Here in the Mid-West theres a number of 200k Japanese cars, typically with “minor issues” and up for sale on craigslist. What few Volvos on there typically have more than 200k miles.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @krhodes1: Agreed. Rust has to be taken into consideration when discussing durability, as well as terrain. Here in the Pittsburgh area, the countless hills ruin transmissions, and the love of road salt eats cars quickly.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      I just saw a 5th Gen Camry(02-06) bleeding red from it’s rear door handle as I headed north out of Cincy yesterday. I’ve seen the previous generation rust around the rear trunk lid and fender areas but that was the first less decade old one with the tin worm underneath the paint.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Norm, your “camrys rust” broken record posting is almost as bad as your magical 43mpg Saab.

        Camries starting from the 1992-1996 generation definitely have above average rust proofing, not quite up to German standards, but easily head and shoulders above Tauruses, Luminas, Malibus, and Accords of similar vintage. I have NEVER seen a rusty 2002-2006 gen Camry, and I live in salt central, Central NY, in close proximity to a salt mine no less. The 1997-2001 cars are holding up great, with only a few starting to show signs of rear fender rust.

        As an aside, I had the privilege of helping my brother work on a ’96 Audi A4 (CV boot and a couple of rear bushings), and I was floored: not only was the body completely rust-free, even where there were serious dents and scratches right through the paint, but every single bolt and metal surface on the underside of the car looked like BRAND NEW!! All the bolts came out now sweat. We’re used to taking a torch to suspension bits to get them apart. This car spent its whole life in Central PA, and was not particularly pampered, in fact it was somewhat neglected I’d say.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I would hardly say heads and shoulders above Taurus/Sable; mine is now (ok tomorrow) 21 years old and has just rust perforated below the gas filler.

        If you live in Central NY, and are in your late 40′s or more, you certainly remember what USED to happen to cars. I went to school in Oswego, and was blown away by what the salt did to cars. I learned quickly why owning a “winter rat” was so common. Japanese cars were Swiss cheese by 4 years, typical American became Swiss by 7. I did not recall seeing too many European cars back then (early 80s) but they seemed to rust about the same as the typical US cars. I’d imagine that modern cars have to double these numbers, but I have not been back there in years….

      • 0 avatar

        Golden, I have family in Syracuse and it’s still the same as you describe.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        The Tauruses I see most of the time have completely rotted rear quarters, rocker panels, and the ubiquitous sag in the rear due to broken (rusted through!) coil springs. These are the ‘ovoid’ 3rd and 4th gen cars. Now that I think about it, 2nd gen Taurses are fairly resilient but still not quite up to the 92-96 Camry IMO. 1st gens were VERY bad though, I remember seeing plenty with completely perforated door skins. My family owned a succession of rusty 80s Hondas when we moved to the US, as well as a ’78 Corolla that started bending in half when put on a lift for its annual inspection, it failed the inspection.

        I’m slowly losing the battle against rust with my Mazda, I’ve sanded and painted a number of times, I’ve even welded in patch panels to the bottoms of the front fenders and rocker panels. There are some nasty holes hidden by the macho fender flares and body cladding. I bought a gallon of “Fluid Film” and went to town this fall, but that’s too little too late. From 10 feet away it looks much better than just about any other 1998 up here in CNY, but a careful inspection underneath is pretty horrifying :(

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        The Camry platform cars from ’92 and up are some of the only older cars I don’t see rusting in my neck of the woods. My ’95 Avalon has seen 209,500+ miles mostly less than 20 miles south of the Mason-Dixon (and a few north of it, too), and has zero rust on factory rust-proofing.

        It’s still on the original exhaust and auto trans.

        My 1MZ-FE has no sludge (thank God). Just a very minor rear valve cover leak that creates a smell more than anything. I’ve never had to add oil between 3500 mile oil changes.

        The GM/Delco radiator (I’m assuing a replacement; surely the Avalon came new with a Denso rad…) has a small leak. Funny that the only part on my Toyota that’s currently broken is a GM.

        I can prove this with pictures.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @gtemnykh

        Pittsburgh PA here and I have personally seen rust forming on a 2002 Camry’s door edges/doorjamb that belonged to my now former QA, and in 2010 had a coworker at the time find a spot forming in the rear door jamb of his 2006 Civic. My 2008 Pontiac in 2011 had rust removed from both rear wheelwells which was forming and pissing me off. Tinworm doesn’t care about brands.

  • avatar
    zeg

    I was trying to find out what year the Honda was and came across this nice review by Steve.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/capsule-review-1990-1993-honda-accord/

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    As an owner of a ’92 Volvo 240 I can concur that the mileage gears were pretty cheap in materials, they’re a cheap and easy fix though, I dunno why no one would fix them.

    I’m curious to know what distinguishes a car thats genuinely “planned obsolence” and one that was just cheaply built all around.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      Cars are engineered to break down at certain time periods (e.g. 12 to 15 years given regular driving) unless some type of early intervention is made by the owner.

      Transmissions give out. Seals, gaskets and internal parts need to replaced either due to age or substandard build quality. Then there are the four horsemen of the automotive apocalypse: neglect, abuse, rust and crap.

      I fondly recall an article in Automotive News in the late 1990′s. It was buried deep beneath the news of the day and the usual headlines. The article highlighted the fact that supposedly certain manufacturers were now designing their vehicles so that repair issues would spike during a narrow period of time. Thereby encouraging the owner to look for a new model at a point where they would still be satisfied with the brand, but not the car.

      If I remember correctly (and it’s been a long time), they were looking at designing the average life of certain essential components in vehicles to break down or fail at around the 13 to 15 year old mark.

      As for ye olde Volvos, one thing a lot folks miss about the old bricks,is that they were terribly expensive back in the day. A Volvo 240 in 1992 cost as much as a loaded up Camry V6 with leather and with that, you got a powertrain and interior that were light years behind the Toyota.

      Still I have nothing but love for a model that was designed to last 17 Nordic winters on average. The 240/740/940 represented the first golden age of durability for mainstream vehicles. Honda and Toyota were just hitting their stride by the late 1980′s, and by the early 90′s, the quality gap was so vast between these three automakers and everyone else that I simply couldn’t see the domestics holding on for another 10 years.

      Then Chrysler started to design truly beautiful vehicles. Ford created the Explorer. GM played more accounting games, and VW/Audi went from becoming a marginal player to Yuppie car incarnate.

      The 90′s were a pretty interesting time for cars. The Accord you see above is a 1990 EX coupe with an automatic transmission.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        “Cars are engineered to break down at certain time periods (e.g. 12 to 15 years given regular driving) unless some type of early intervention is made by the owner.”

        As a mechanical design engineer (not in the auto industry), I can confirm this. Nobody wants to pay for the added expense and ugliness that accompany an indestructible car, airplane, or product of any kind. Most products are designed to last a finite number of cycles, and many variables govern the actual lifetime of a given part. Getting extremely long life out of a product without preventative maintenance is miraculous, but even with PM it’s often not worth it. Does anyone really want to hypermile and change their transmission fluid every month just to make their car go a million miles?

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        A million miles? No, but there is a certain bond you get with a car after many years and a couple hundred thousand miles. A person either gets it or they don’t. I have never regretted running my fleet for vastly longer than most. If nothing else, I have justification for talking durability…I chuckle when a habitual leaser talks durability…how could they possibly know….

      • 0 avatar
        JD-Shifty

        Cars are certainly not “engineered to break down”. that’s moronic.

      • 0 avatar

        JD, do some research into Mercedes’ early ’90s decision to cheapen their cars. Respectfully I think you’ll change your mind.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Budda, didn’t Mercedes choose to build their cars to a price point, instead of charging whatever was necessary to cover the then-legendary durability? I did not think they designed the parts to fail but just made them cheaper, sometimes much cheaper. As I recall, they did not do very well and cheapening was in both material and design. I just found out that my brother’s M-B (CLK) needed transmission work at 66K. All fixed for near $4K!! If that was a GM product there would be hell to pay. Somehow M-B gets a pass.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Hm, that explains why my Mom and Dads Fords are having hic-ups at 100k, especially the Explorer.

        I never knew that cars were built to last a shorter lifetime specifically, I wish I could read that magazine article.

        This does explain why some cars have identical issues at identical miles, like Nissans CVT transmissions, power accesories that generally break at 90k, and some Ford transmissions.

      • 0 avatar
        ZekeToronto

        Until the mid-90s I was a franchised Volvo dealer, so the demise of the brand’s longevity saddens me. Before I sold the dealership (perhaps at an opportune time) we were still seeing bricks with over 300,000 miles on a daily basis.

        My last few years in that business coincided with the first few years of the 850 platform, and while the early signs were encouraging, I think down deep we all knew they weren’t destined to hang around forever like their ancestors. Then again, it sure was nice to finally have a modern product to sell again (even one that was fwd and vastly more complex).

        Incidentally, the record at my store belonged to an early 242 model that had racked up 770,000 miles when I last saw it … and was still intact, mobile and not even terribly shabby at that point.

      • 0 avatar
        css28

        “If I remember correctly (and it’s been a long time), they were looking at designing the average life of certain essential components in vehicles to break down or fail at around the 13 to 15 year old mark.”

        I think that’s disingenuous (and nearly impossible). The reality is that decisions are made on a cost/benefit basis and at mainstream price points the selling price is extremely critical. It’s a tough balancing act. The variables in environment, duty cycle, negligence and (relative) abuse will overwhelm any such efforts at precision obsolescence.

        In this part of the country 13-15 years is about all you’ll get before body corrosion gets the better of the car. It’s *much* better than it was in decades past.

        - Chris

      • 0 avatar
        Polar Bear

        I was a Volvo loyalist. My first was an Amazon. The last I drove was a 940. When the 850 came the writing was on the wall. Time to move on. Goodbye Volvo. Hello Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        @css28, you are correct. It would be impossible to design automobile components to wear out after a certain amount of years. It’s plain common sense, individual vehicles live under countless different conditions from one to the other.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      I ran across a sweet 780 Bertone coupe with 5-spoke turbo wheels and perfect, glossy black paint recently. I’m seriously thinking about it… It’s a long time personal dream car and is listed for $4000. Looks to have been garaged…

  • avatar
    dabradler

    Have you seen any 4.0L SOHC V6′s that is in my Mustang? They were in the explorer for a time and the Ford Ranger 4×4.

    As much as people rag on that drive train I have high hopes for the longevity of an engine Ford was making for decades. It only revs to 5800rpm has a massive amount of displacement for the power it puts out, I’m truly hoping it gets at least 300,000km.

    • 0 avatar

      But you also have to worry about all of the rubber bits in the Mustang’s complicated suspension. Oh, wait…

    • 0 avatar

      I have a 4.0L SOHC V6 too so your question prompted me to research it. Looking outside True Delta I went to Mustang forums. It seems quite a few folks claim 150-200k, all stating that they had been strict on the maintenance. None claimed over $200k, so one has to assume that is probably the expected upper limit.

      • 0 avatar
        zbnutcase

        Always look outside TrueDelta if you want the TRUTH

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The later model SOHC 4.0Ls in the Explorers and Mustangs weren’t terrible engines. They would occasionally lose a timing chain guide causing an awful rattle sound.

        This would sometimes be the demise of the car if it was the rear chain guide as the motor has to come out to service it. There are 3 timing chains in the engine as the SOHC design was adapted from a pushrod design, and Ford didn’t want to spring for a left and a right cylinder head casting. A jack shaft sits where an in-block cam would be then one cam runs off a chain in the back, one off the front.

        Keep it well oiled for best results.

  • avatar

    In TrueDelta’s survey, Subarus tend to get much more expensive right around the 100k mark.

    One thing to note about high readings: 300k accumulated over eight or fewer years is a lot different than 300k accumulated over 15+. Long highway commutes put little wear on a car.

    Two cars consistently have ultra-high average odometer readings in our survey, meaning they tend to be bought by people who live in their cars:

    1. Golf / Jetta TDI
    2. Toyota Prius (a distant second)

    This said, I’ve noticed that people who drive over 3,000 miles a month (about one percent of our members) also easily go 300+ with Cavaliers as well as Corollas. Just about any cheap, simple car will do the trick when properly maintained.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      “In TrueDelta’s survey, Subarus tend to get much more expensive right around the 100k mark.”

      My limited observations of others’ experiences confirm this. To me, Subaru longevity and durability is a myth perpetuated by TV ads and their ownership cult.

      • 0 avatar

        Like most other cars, depends on the year.

        My mother gave my son a ’92 Legacy FWD Wagon with the 2.0/automatic and 115,000 miles. Big issue was leaking fluids. But as long as the fluids were kept up, it was a strong runner that didn’t break. Tranny slip due to repeatedly running it out of fluid finally killed it at about 185,000. Co-worker of my wife’s got 300,000 plus from his similar era Subie.

        The 2.5′s have a head gasket fetish. Period.

        Thing is my wife was bitten HARD driving our son’s Legacy, which resulted in her buying a ’98 Outback 2.5 and after a couple years with it, trading to her current ’05 Outback, which has the same 2.5. She adores it…it rides and handles well for what it is but at 150,000 miles she’s replaced head gaskets, an axle (maybe both, I don’t remember), a couple wheel bearings and some other miscellaneous stuff that I’d consider over and above the norm for what’s perceived as a durable car, especially compared to running two other earlier Subarus to similar mileage and not having to perform all those repairs.

        And I’m not even getting into the maintenance stuff. Struts, tires, brakes…oh and the 90,000 mile timing belt change at $600.

        It all seems VERY FREAKING expensive compared to, say, a GM W-body.

        One lower ball joint…$400. Really? I put 4 Moogs on my ’97 Blazer (including the $$ I paid a friend to put them on) for that.

        Most of the miles put on the car are highway miles from a 37-mile commute each way to work. It’s not driven hard and she keeps it on the road.

        Oh and one other thing…do NOT EVER EVER replace just two tires. “Symmetrical AWD” in English means “Replace all four tires”. You could hear and feel the drivetrain protestations last time we tried replacing just two tires.

        Subaru’s “LOVE” campaign is dead on the mark. I know several people who wouldn’t drive anything else, and I sleep with one of them every night.

        Happy New Year everybody!

    • 0 avatar
      mypoint02

      I drive about 2k per month in the rust belt and use a car that many say is completely unreliable: a 2001 Audi A4 Quattro with the 2.8 V6. It’s not the most fuel efficient, but I have to say that I’ve had very few problems using it for this purpose. At 162k the suspension needs to be overhauled and I’m getting a code for a bad O2 sensor, but otherwise it has been solid. I had a 2000 A4 Q with the 1.8T before this one and sold it at 232k. It liked to eat wheel bearings, but was otherwise reliable. I agree that as long as a car is maintained properly and the oil changed on schedule (with synthetic preferably), you can get many miles out of almost any car. Especially when you’re racking up highway miles…

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Michael you are absolutely correct. Cycles are just as important as miles, maybe more so. Most any car that drives 100 miles each way in steady driving will last for many miles….

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Cycles are more important than EVERYTHING else. When I was in college, I worked for a bank courier company summers. This was the late 80′s early 90′s. They used Ford Escorts, which were about as crappy a car as you will ever find. Yet they usually got 500K+ out of them – the secret was that 500K happened in about 3 years. The cars were driven literally around the clock, some of them only ever really cooled off when they were in for an oil or tire change. They even managed to get 300K or so out of a bunch of early Hyundai Excels that Hyundai GAVE them to try out. They actually used Escort diesels until they could not get them anymore – those would go 750K, and of course used 1/2 as much fuel, and diesel was cheaper than gas back then.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      “…also easily go 300+ with Cavaliers as well as Corollas. Just about any cheap, simple car will do the trick when properly maintained.”

      I was having a similar argument with another poster at another site the other evening about this very issue. My contention was that most cars WILL go the distance if you have an owner who is willing to put the money and time into keeping the car going.

      When I worked at a Toyota dealership, they (the dealer) had a very intensive maintenance schedule that was recommended to each customer. After having worked at a Ford dealership some years prior, I was amazed at how many people actually kept up the maintenance on their Toyotas. The Ford owners would generally only show up when there was a problem. And then they wanted everything fixed for free and a loaner car, and etc., etc…

      I have driven some cars for as long as 10+ years, but because I liked the car, I was willing to put the money and time into maintenance and repairs. If I truly didn’t like the car, I would find a way to be rid of it soon. And, I wasn’t too diligent about maintenance and repairs, on those cars, either.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    I had a 90 Accord EX manual that I sold with 250XXX. I absolutely abused that car for 7 years and the engine was still great. I’m on my second ’87 740 wagon now, both bought with over 160xxx. The first one require tires once. This second one with a turbo and manual has its issues, but the engine and transmission are good. My parents had 4 Buicks with 3800s. Mom’s had this last LeSabre since ’98, and as far as I recall, only one needed anything which was a coil pack.

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      Luck has a lot to do with it as well, my cousin bought this pampered 99 Accord from this old man, looked new even though it was already 12 yrs old and only 50k miles, well he’s had all kinds of problems from tranny to non-working a/c rack and pinion failure, bad alternator and on and on.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    my 98 Corolla, soon to have 350k miles, needs a few things fixed like cv joints, oil seals and motor mounts but as long as it runs, I hesitate to put more money into it and then have a catastrophic engine failure.

    • 0 avatar
      tubacity

      Corolla? Good to know. Have one now. Hope it lasts. Note, Honda trucks are not one of the top four categories. My Honda truck transmission was certainly not engineered to last. It did not. All maintenance done and much more than the severe service schedule. No towing. No racing. I am not alone. I am just another victim.

      • 0 avatar
        zbnutcase

        Thats what happen when you take a tranny designed for a 2800lb car and put it in a 4000lb truck because as an automaker you are too cheap to design a correct one…

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Of course one problem is that there are a lot more issues involved than just the engine . I inherited a 1985 Park Avenue with the 3.8 . It ran smoothly , never used any oil, got decent mileage , had a ( for Gm of that era ) well thought out interior , nice leather . However the car had constant electrical issues requiring continual repairs due to many ridiculous ” luxury ” features like an automatic trunk pulldown – always thought this was about the stupidest option in history – that had a badly done ground wire , which killed the battery and / or alternator several times before it finally was correctly diagnosed . Other problems were the automatic climate control , catalytic converter that failed at 50k miles, and the usual lousy GM power window switches/motors . Engine transmission , fuel injection, though always performed flawlessly .In all fairness , my uncle had driven the car into high water in one of our Houston floods early on and the insurance nearly totalled the car out, didn’t only because it was almost new at the time . The earlier 3.8s weren’t that great . Remember Daddy’s 1977 and 1980 LeMans that idled extremely roughly and all sorts of electrical / peeling paint issues on friends’/ friends’ parents Pontiacs and Buicks of that era . But by 1983 or so it seems like they at least idled quietly . But the other issues due to crappy assembly or design resulted in headaches and frequent repairs that made ownership of these cars unpleasant .

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    A TL with almost 400k? What vintage?

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      I’d venture to guess a J series with the 4AT not 5AT. I believe that may have only been 99. Of course it could have been any other year with the trans replaced/repaired under the recall.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        Supposedly factory rebuilds for the 5AT post mid 2005 have some redesigned components will last past 80K miles. I think the parts upgrades have hit the aftermarket, but not positive.

        That 5AT is the Achilles heel of an otherwise great car.

  • avatar
    Hoser

    No love for US 4-pots?
    I’ve known the GM 2.5L Iron Duke, Chrysler 2.2L, and Ford 2.3L Lima to all be capable of big miles. The Iron Dukes seemed the most hit or miss, they would either explode between 70-100k, or run 250k+ with little problem.

    With as much time as I’ve spent under the hoods of GM 4.3L vehicles, I don’t even know how it makes any durability list, must be all the ones before gasket munching DethCool, But I’ve replaced head gaskets on a low mile ’88 as well.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I’ll give a thumbs up for 2.2/2.5 Mopars after 1984…piston slap be damned.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I’ve hated every 4cyl I’ve owned.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        Dan, you’ve never had a Honda 4. They really are something else! Even the 2.4 in our Accord, nice little growl and you only get that slight 4 “roughness” off idle first time you accelerate… Not a silky smooth 6 or 8 take off. Haven’t regretted not getting a 6 yet.

        The last American 4 my family had was the Lima (well, it was a 2.3) in a Taurus MT5. Great car that was passed from my dad to my uncle than to one of his in laws. Car stayed in TX and CA and saw 300k with just a new alternator or starter here and there.

        The previous gen Fusions had a nice 4 but a transmission to eager to shift in the highest gear.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        In fairness the 4cyl I’ve owned were a 1982 Iron Duke 92 hp (so bad it put my father off 4cyl cars for life – litterally he purchased a 1982 Chevy Celebrity in 1985 and has not owned another 4 cyl vehicle since.) The car could not get out of its own way above 60 mph.

        A 1997 Ford Escort wagon with the 2.0 SOHC engine – 110 mighty hp but gutless at interstate speeds if there was the slightest incline. I might as well have left it out of overdrive living in the mountain west.

        Now my wife has a 2005 Pontiac Vibe base model with 5 speed manual and the 1.8ltr Toyota 4cyl with roughly 120hp. Responsive enough, and yes you have to row your gears frequently to keep it in its powerband.

        Here’s the biggest problem I have with 4cyl cars. Revy, thrashy, have to be pushed hard to maintain the 85 to 90 mph that I expect on open highway. Roughly every 4cyl I’ve owned needed 200 lbs more sound deadening to not tire me driving it more than 30 min at a time. Give me a QUIET car unless it has two doors and fits into the sports or muscle/pony car category. I’d love to try the new 4cyl mainstream family sedans but if they cruise around 70 or more decibels, forget it.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Most of the diesely noises in the higher mileage Mopar 2.2/2.5 engines is acutally caused by play in the piston wrist pins. Not detriimental to the longevity of the engine, such a familiar sound.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      Is that the ford 4 cylinder based of the 200ci inline 6 with two cylinder chopped off, and i the bore or stroke increased.

      I have much love for ford inline 6′s. Mostly the 300 6 in pickups.

      I believe they still make the ancestor of the 200ci in Australia and it makes big power with a turbo charger. They also made a crossflow cylinder head for it.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @Onus, I was always under the impression that the 2.0 SOHC was a Mazda design. The Lima 2.3 may have been a modified I6, given that GM made the Iron Duke simply by carving one bank of cylinders off a V8, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Ford 2.3 was a shortened I6.

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        Dan, the Lima engine was a clean sheet design, and had nothing in common with the ford inline 6. I don’t live too far from the plant where they were built.
        The 4 banger that was made by chopping a V8 in half was made in the early 60′s from the pontiac V8, and was only used in pontiac cars. To say that it was a piece of junk would be putting it kindly. It shook so badly that it used extremely thick rubber in the mounts in an attempt to cut down transmission into the chassis and body. It literally shook parts loose, made a 70′s harley shovelhead look smooth in comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        AnsonYu

        The Ford I-6 is currently still being made in Australia and there are turbocharged versions avaliable.

  • avatar

    Great, great article Steven. Guess it explains some of the preconceptions we have in Brazil. Like the unbeatable VW realiability or Chevy engines, that while gruff, thirsty and unpleasent, go on forever. Chrysler developed a reputation back in the day (70s) for 5.2. The engine was so indestructible they did variations on it cause because of it, no one ever bought new Chryslers…

    Would be very interested to see a 500 make the list. Do you thing it ever will? Or smaller Ford engines (less than 2.0s). Do they even exist in America?

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      The 1.6 inline 4 is in the fiesta. Other than that we have had bad experiences with ford inline 4 here until the last few years.

      Mainly the cvh that would drop valves.

  • avatar
    chris724

    Re: The whining Chrysler power steering pumps – my ’06 T&C takes ATF. They whine horribly if you put in even an ounce of power steering fluid. Especially after a long highway road trip. I had to siphon all the fluid out of the reservoir and refill with ATF 3 times before the problem stopped. Then my wife got an oil change, and the guy “helpfully” topped it off with PSF again. Doh! Still, a couple quarts of ATF is a lot cheaper than a new PS pump.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I’ve got the 4.7l V8 in my Dakota and so far so good (knock on wood!). Its got 92K currently but over 85% of that mileage is towing my boat on the highway in FL. Granted the engine has been on steady diet of Mobil 1 since its first oil change. Given its aluminum heads I figured that was the safe thing to do. Did the same thing to my B5 VW Passat 1.8T, another infamous sludge monster, and it went to over 100K. Granted this a far cry from 300K but judging by the interwebs this car should have sludged up before its brake pads wore out. I wonder how many other “bad” engines would survive if people just spent more then $20 on an oil change twice a year.

    • 0 avatar
      zbnutcase

      Exactly. There is no such thing as a bad engine in this day and age, just bad owners

    • 0 avatar
      Moparman426W

      JMII, if you’ll notice most of the posts about the sludge problem with the 3.7 and 4.7 engines are several years old. The fatory fixed the problem in 07, and issued a TSB for the 02-06 engines. It was a very simple fix, it just consisted of rerouting the PCV valve. Dealers charged people $200.00 on average to do the fix, but one could get the stuff at auto zone for just a few dollars and do it themselves in about 15 minutes. The problem mainly involved some vehicles in colder climates that weren’t operated long enough to reach normal operating temperature. My wife drove an 02 Durango with the 4.7 and traded it in last year with just over 120k on it and it never had a problem with sludge and we live in Northeast Ohio. My 07 Ram has the 4.7 and it has been just fine so far, but I like the old 318 and 360 much better. I would have gotten a Hemi, and I probably will next time, but I got a great deal on this truck during a year end clearance sale.

  • avatar
    needsdecaf

    As the owner of a 1999 Grand Cherokee, certain points ring true. I had that thing 135k miles and when I traded it, it was needing it’s second set of rear differential bearings. Whine, whine, whine.

    Also, I noticed the whining / grinding power steering pump on most 2000′s Chrysler products, as well as almost all of their FWD cars to grind / creak when moved from P to D and back.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      Try some Valvoline max life transmission fluid in your pump. Should quiet it up. It’s loaded with tons of good additives. My f250 ended up puking out fluid when i drove it under no power. I drove it too the store ( under power ) and all over the place of low fluid. My pump was noisy. The infamous noisy ford pump. Topped it off with the Valvoline and after a few miles it was quiet again.

  • avatar
    wsn

    The author’s insight isn’t that insightful after all. We know that GM/Ford trucks and Toyota/Honda cars essentially dominated top 5 of the sales chart. No wonder they also top the chart for samples over 300k. It’s does not imply they last longer, only that they sold more back then.

    For instance, if I claim that Ferrari Enzo is more durable than Toyota Camry (unlikely) and the the Enzo doesn’t make your list because it’s rare. How can you refute me?

    It makes more sense to use total # over 300k DIVIDED by total # of sales.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      The top five vehicles usually only represent 10% to 13% of the total vehicles sold in a given year.

      You assume that everything that hits the top five in sales is going to be at least average for long-term durability. I wish that were true.

      The data I have observed shows that the Camry and Accord from the 1990′s are in far greater supply than the Ford Taurus once you get over the 200k mark. We’re talking about a 10 to 1 ratio.

      In fact, each of these models usually offer more 200k vehicles than all of the European makes combined. Even though the number of European vehicles are on average three times greater than the number of Camrys or Accords.

      In a world of perfect information, every state database would have a record of mileage through a registration and/or inspection and that knowledge could be shared in a private manner. But that’s not the case.

      My solution is to use the largest database I have available which lists hundreds of thousands of vehicles over the course of the year. If I get access to a greater data sample, or refine the methodology, I will definitely share it with everyone here.

      All the best.

      • 0 avatar
        SaulTigh

        I wonder how much of that is that those Honda’s and Toyota’s from the early 90′s lived long lives with enthusiastic original owners, and were frequently passed down to family members who had grown up with them?

        Not to put too fine a point on it, but the 90′s Tauruses I see around (especially the ovid ones) are in the hands of trashy people and look like they haven’t had any appreciable maintenance in their entire lives.

        I come from both perspectives. My family had a 1992 Accord that was bullet proof for nearly 15 years until it was totaled in an accident. I drove a 1990 and a 1993 Taurus to 190,000 miles each with thoughtful maintenance. I sold both of them in good running order to people I knew.

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        It’s pretty much pointless to list vehicles seen on an auction block with high mileage showing on the odometer as mileage champions without even checking the VIN on the engine to see if it’s the original. I’m sure alot of the cars still have their original engines, but many of them could have had one or more engine transplants during their lifetime.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        ….The data I have observed shows that the Camry and Accord from the 1990′s are in far greater supply than the Ford Taurus once you get over the 200k mark. We’re talking about a 10 to 1 ratio….

        One main reason for that is the depreciation kills the financial incentive to pour any real money into an older Taurus when it needs a trans rebuild, whereas the Camry will almost certainly get the repair. Also, the manual versions of the Camcord will not have to face a trans repair either. Yes they were better built, but they still can go the distance. A quick look online for high mileage bulls show plenty for sale….

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      In defense of Steven. I’d say there is cause and effect of these vehicles being top sellers because of their proven and perceived to go 300k ability. They’re vehicles people say “you can’t go wrong with one”. I go to public auto auctions and watch people pay stupid money for Toyotas and Hondas with over 200k and/or heavily (but not finished) modifications. Steven, I listen to your advice; just looking for a Miata/Fox Mustang. But damn that Jaguar looked sweet. What could possibly go wrong?

  • avatar
    peteo

    Our family owned a 2000 Chevy Astro Lt AWD and it took us all over the country for 300,000 miles. It was almost trouble free not even transmission trouble like my 1986 and 1991 Astro’s did. The only major mechanical repairs were a new radiator,water pump and alternator,never even put a new starter motor on it. The AWD system was trouble free. Now that said we had plenty of interior plastic fall off the rear heat failed, power window switches fell into the arm rest,the air conditioning blower would only go medium or low not high ect. Maybe after 15 years of making the Astro many of the early problems got worked out. GM seemed to have the mechanical parts engineered good enough.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    i have a 91 s-10 with the 4.3 and 700r4. Have no idea if this is the original engine and trannie but I do know that it has run fine for about 2 years. I hope it is better than many of you described because it is very strong. Heavy springs and does the work of a full size truck.

    I think I would be ok if it cratered. I would just put the 57 back on the road. I drive few enough miles now that I don’t think I care.

  • avatar
    Onus

    Add my ford truck to the ford truck with 300,000 list. My 1990 f250 has 348,000 on it currently. Well i guess you’ll have to take my word on that seeing it only has a 5 digit odometer. I have maintenance records going back over a decade so i know the mileage is correct plus the original bill of sale when the last owner acquired it in 2001. By my knowledge i am only the third owner.

    Original engine transmission has been rebuilt atleast once.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Not that it makes a huge difference to the statement, the Freestar was never available with a CVT. You’re thinking of the Freestyle, before it was a Taurus X or 5th gen Explorer.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    My mileage champion is a 1987 Dodge Lancer ES Turbo with Trenton 2.2 and 5 speed. Ran it 10+ years and 160+K miles before trading on a Dodge Dakota. If the rear main seal hadn’t started to leak, I probably would have driven the car a few more years. Loved the turbo motor, to the very end.

    My wife’s car, a 2009 Pontiac G6 with Ecotec 2.4 and 6 speed autobox is at 63+K miles at 3.5 years of ownership, it looks like we’ll be driving this one well into the 100K miles, probably 200K or more. When I buy a car new, I like to try and keep it 10 years. OTOH, since my mother and her father (last ones) have passed away in the last year, maybe we won’t be taking as many long distance trips as we once did.


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