By on December 17, 2019

Yesterday, the awe-inspiringly tall Matthew Guy asked about examples of daily drivers that achieved stratospheric odometer readings, which immediately catapulted this writer back to the middle of the previous decade — a better era for most things, save vehicle design.

Back then, your author’s beloved Camry Coupe was still running like a dream at 261,000 miles. Nary a drop of oil lost between changes. Repairs? Nonexistent. Bliss can truly exist outside of heaven. It was a happy coincidence that Guy’s post occured on the same morning that Murilee showed us an indestructible five-cylinder Benz diesel; truly a paragon of longevity.

Yet for every high-mileage champion, there’s a vehicle that gives up well before its time — wheezing to a stop before the finish line is in sight. Perhaps you’ve owned one?

We all hope and pray that our current ride goes the distance but, like your childhood vision of owning an ice cream factory, such dreams are often unrealistic. While I had hoped that my previous vehicle would soldier on well past its paid-off date, that was not to be. With coolant consumption reaching alarming levels, I hastily traded in Cruze 1.0 in order to recoup any measure of my initial investment. Blame might lie on a full-loss wintertime coolant dump that occured years earlier, and for an unknown period of time. There was a cold snap, a hose came loose following a dodgy repair, it’s a long story.

So, off it went to the auction at 129,000 miles. Not happy, this owner was. Now, before you place the blame solely on the decision to purchase a GM throwaway, the previous three low-rent GM sedans I’d owned were still running fine at 150,000+ miles. (Fingers crossed on Round Five…)

Honda

Despite its name being a stand-in for cheap reliability, my sister’s long-gone 2003 Honda Civic developed fatal engine and transmission issues at a ridiculously (for the model) low miles. It was a 1.7-liter/five-speed combo, if you’re curious. I don’t think the Civic made it to 125k before she ditched it in favor of something that wasn’t a grenade-in-waiting.

When a looming repair (or repairs) stand to cost the owner more than the car is worth, dropping the thing like a hot potato is the only acceptable course of action.

Comb those memory banks, B&B. We’ve talked indestructible hand-me-downs, now let’s talk turds. Did one of your vehicles give up the ghost long before its supposed best-before date? What was the odometer reading?

[Images: Chrysler, Honda]

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73 Comments on “QOTD: Willing Spirit, Weak Flesh?...”


  • avatar
    jack4x

    The legendary Ford/International 7.3L treated me poorly. I ended up selling my 01 F250 at a steep loss because I was sick and tired of spending hundreds a month to keep it on the road. Probably about 120K on it at this time, a far cry from the supposed 500K durability of the engine. Turned me off from diesel trucks forever.

    Shame too because when it ran the truck was a blast to drive in regular cab form with the ZF6.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Someday I’d appreciate hearing the story on this 01 7.3.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        I can’t remember all the details.

        I know the biggest issue was with oil, both leaking and burning at a fast (and increasing) pace, and eventually not building enough pressure to start (the injectors are oil pressure driven). I was adding a quart every couple hundred miles to stay ahead of it.

        I had it to a couple diesel shops who either diagnosed the wrong thing or didn’t fix what was wrong and I eventually gave up. If I remember right, I replaced an oil pan gasket, HPOP, injectors, glow plug relay, and some other little stuff. I also replaced both batteries, alternator and the starter before I understood the problem was oil related.

        When I sold the truck it was still going through oil.

        • 0 avatar
          bullnuke

          Wow, man. Thanks for telling the story. What a damned nightmare!

        • 0 avatar
          R Henry

          As with any mechanical contraption, there are variances.

          My neighbor drives a ’99 F350 with 7.3T and manual. It has been a work truck, worked hard but well cared for, from day one and has gone 420k miles. Other than two clutches, a set of injectors and igniters, it has been rock solid.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          It was probably just a simple fix, but most diesel mechanics/shops didn’t have a clue. They only knew mechanical injection diesels than any dummy could diagnose/fix.

          The diesel repair shop that I normally went to took one look under the hood of my ’99 7.3 truck and slammed hood, didn’t want to touch it. He normally worked on Peterbilts and stuff, nothing complicated. Well it was complicated for it’s day, but there’s no way it needed injectors at that young an age. Or HPOP.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        from the anecdotes I’ve heard over the years, the 7.3PS/T444e was in general a really good engine, but if you got a rare bad one, holy s**t it could be unfixable.

        the other thing is that (as mentioned) the HEUI fuel injectors were actuated by engine oil boosted to ~3,000 PSI by the HPOP, and was very sensitive to oil quality. Lots of warnings out there not to use junk like Lucas oil treatment ‘cos it could reduce the oil’s anti-foaming properties and cause an inability to reach sufficient pressure.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The 7.3 may have been good in private owners’ hands, but when the transit agency I worked for tried to put some 7.3-equipped cutaway buses in full-time service, they broke left and right. Neither engines nor transmissions could handle the stop-start, 8- to 14-hour daily duty cycle.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    1999 Subaru Outback Lemon: Purchased in pristine condition 3 years old at 80k miles, total lemon, money-sucking, fear-inducing, POS only 30k later. Worst purchase EVER, most disappointing purchase EVER.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Never really had an issue like this. The closest we’ve ever come to his is that the CVT in my daughter’s Patriot started making noise four year in, but the fine folks at FCA replaced it under the powertrain warranty.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    One vehicle? No, I have a list a mile long of my dogs that never saw a 100K , each and every one possessed the happiest days of my life when I unloaded them

    1966 Dodge Polara (man, did I get suckered into that) I was 16
    1971 Corvette Stingray 454 big block (had to take a year off college to bail myself out of that mess)
    1984 Plymouth Turismo (ran great until you turned the A/C on then vaporlock)
    1985 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible (NOT John Voight’s)
    1986 Buick Riviera (had a standing weekly appointment with Buick service to address it’s many issues)

    Ah, the 80s were so wonderful in my automotive history

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      > 1984 Plymouth Turismo (ran great until you turned the A/C on then vaporlock)

      Wait, what?
      Can you explain the chain of events linking the A/C to vaporlock? I’m not saying I doubt you, it just seems so odd.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        It was a long time ago, but as I remember it when I would turn on the A/C the car would spit and sputter then shut down. I would then have to jam pencils into the carburetor to open it up, wait 20 minutes and it would start again, but you could not use the A/C. I was told it was a vapor lock problem by Chrysler service. This was a brand new car and they never could correct the issue, so I got rid of the car. No A/C in Georgia is not good. If you think it was something else, fine, I got rid of the car 35 years ago and no longer care

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        the A/C condenser sits in front of the radiator, heating up the air some before it passes through. The additional heat load coming into the engine compartment probably pushed it over the edge.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          That makes sense and I have talked to other Turismo owners over the years who had the same problem, so it was common. Perhaps Chrysler service was BSing me, gee, that never happened to anyone before

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            It was carbureted, right? I owned a ’68 Bonneville for a few years. The first summer (1982), I had no problems – I could idle in traffic with temps in the 90s, the a/c going, and never had a driveability problem.

            The next year (1983), as soon as it started getting really warm out (late spring) and I had to turn on the a/c, I started having vapor lock issues. A friend told me it was related to some change refiners made that year, to the vapor pressure (volatility).

            I tried lots of fixes – I replaced the fuel pump (twice), rebuilt the carb, sealed the secondary metering well plugs in the QuadraJet with JB Weld (these days you can replacement plugs with o-rings), added a 1/4″ spacer under the carb, had the fuel tank removed and the sock on the pickup replaced (in case it was a fuel starvation issue), and other fixes I can’t remember anymore.

            I endured the vapor lock for a summer and a half, and getting stranded for up to an hour, countless times. Finally, I bought the ’76 Vega GT 5-speed I was talking about yesterday, and sold the Bonneville to the friend that had told me about the change made by refiners. He installed a Holley electric fuel pump and pressure regulator, and solved the vapor lock problem (pushing fuel from the tank at about 6psi, instead of drawing it by vacuum at 3-4psi).

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “It was carbureted, right?”

            all non-turbo L-bodies were carbed until 1988, when the 4-dr Omni/Horizon got TBI. The 2-door cars were canceled after 1987.

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      I’m curious about the Corvette.
      It was a fairly simple car mechanically speaking and I don’t recall any bad stories related to the big block.
      What happened?

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I broke the timing chain in the Corvette and you know what that means. As a college kid of 19 I had no business driving such a car. I truly learned a valuable lesson about driving cars within your means

  • avatar
    Mnemic

    92 Eagle Talon tsi. Didn’t even make it to 150,000 miles without completely falling apart and having everything replaced at least once, sometimes 7 times. Junk.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The Honda five speed transaxle is garbage as I recall, but Honda used a 1.7L?

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    I’m going to throw the RX-8 into this category.

    As a sports car is was very comfortable, practical, and easy to live with. As a comfortable, practical, and easy to live with car it handled very well.

    The problem was in the development of the motor. Mazda’s in-house rotary enthusiasts did much of the R&D work for the Renesis in their spare time and it showed. The engines performed very well. For a little while (mine made it to 50k miles before needing a rebuild).

    It was an excellent platform (that was the starting point for the NC Miata) that was completely let down by the motor. Had they put the 2.5L MZR or SkyActiv motor in it as the base and the 2.3L DISI (or 3.7L Cyclone V6) as the top spec and called it the MX-8, it would have been a segment winner.

    Alas.

  • avatar
    TimsWheels

    ’95 Ford Contour, only hit about 100k with multiple transmission problems, leaking AC evaporator that rusted out the passenger side floor pan…I traded it in before the tin-worm ate the rockers and arches and before the transmission totally blew up. I bought a ’01 Focus ZX3 that is still going at 130k…

  • avatar
    Darkdowgow

    Once owned a new Ford Focus with powershift. Didn’t make it to 50k miles. 3rd year of ownership was spent entirely at the dealer. Anytime they thought it was fixed enough to return to me the transmission would fail when they tried to drive it around the dealer from service to the front for pick up. I sold it with 2 weeks left under warranty. Dealer worked hard to make that car right. Ford will never get my business again. I loved being told that total loss of 3 forward gears was normal and I didn’t know how to drive. Loss of reverse was also considered “normal” per Ford’’s service hotline. No escalation to ford helped. Zero Fs given by Ford. After 6 clutch packs 4 or 5 transmission control units and 2 full transmission replacement without fixing any of the problems I gave up. 27k on the car. What likely killed it. First 20k was done in cold climates on flat land. Last 7k was in Florida heat. Heavy traffic. And horror a 2 ft rise on my driveway leading to the garage. That combined with the larger wheels of the titanium’s package was just too much for that car. Ford lost my business on that one The dealer has not. The replacement car was from the same dealer just buying another brand. Ford is dead to me

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “They all do that”, is Ford’s standard response. My response to them is, “Well, they’re all broken then”

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      @darkdowgow

      My nightmare was a leased Chevy Astro. That vehicle was flawed from day one and could never be sufficiently repaired. Happiest day of my life to that point was the day the lease expired. I haven’t considered a GM product since.

      • 0 avatar
        Jon

        huh.

        My FIL has owned two astros over the last 20+ years for his mobile detailing business. The first went 250k before any major repairs. He sold it after the fuel pump went out. The second died at 290k from a trans that wont shift out of first. Now it keeps his sideyard from floating away.

        • 0 avatar
          R Henry

          I have heard of such reliable Astros. Sadly, mine was not one of them.

          My problems were many and varied. Driveline vibration at 65 mph that was never resolved–balanced driveshaft, replaced driveshaft, balance tires many times. Front tires were shot in 10k miles. Tape deck ate tapes for lunch. Engine was assembled without an intake gasket..stalled and wheezed on way home from dealer on day one! A/C control knobs fell off in my hand. Backrests rattled incessantly. The central locking switch on driver’s door was placed exactly where my left knee rested while driving. A bump in the road would cause my knee to activate the central locking system…constantly…. Such a headache!…Never Again!

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I’ve had a couple of friends who had issues with Mazda sedans, notably one who bought a Mazda6 (v6/MT) new in 2004. By 105K it had electrical issues and an engine problem leading to intermittent loss of power that neither a dealer nor an independent shop could sort out. It was traded in 2015.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      A good friend of mine purchased a CX-9 new. Just outside of the warranty, the engine failed. He was religious about maintenance as well. Mazda offered no help at all. Ultimately he had to make a deal with the dealer themselves to trade it in on a new one and the dealer ate 1/2 of the cost of the engine repair on the trade in. I wouldnt call a Mazda reliable either.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        ” I wouldnt call a Mazda reliable either.”

        The problem is you don’t know what the original owner did to it. If he bought it new – you’d have a point. The farther away it gets from the OEM and the less you know about how it was treated…

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        CX-9 (gen 1) uses Ford 3.5/3.7 V6 engines. Save the internally mounted water pump (chain driven behind the sealed timing chain cover , they are well designed and well proven. That is NOT to say I don’t believe you. Heck even the engines with greatest reliability records (slant six, sbc, etc) have some exceptions!

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    To the author- I also had a super reliable and comfy Camry coupe, I had purchased it for my stepdaughter’s first car but took it back and drove it myself after she moved on to something newer. Even today I have a newer Camry XLE and love it, choosing to drive it often over more “exciting” options in the fleet. Just curious why you switched to GM stuff?

  • avatar
    mikey

    An 89 GMC S15 4×4 regular cab long box. My dream vehicle !!! I’d saved the money up and paid cash.

    Nine long years at just over 100,000 KLM’s (62000) miles ..A 4.3 that wouldn’t idle, and ate head gaskets. Paint delamination !! Control arms, ball joints, axle seals, just one transmission replaced under warranty, and that one was showing symptoms . I’d could fill pages with the problems I experienced .

    I never really liked the POS from day one By 1991 I’d grew to hate it. With two kids in university dumping the S (I would add 3 more letters in front of the S ) wasn’t an option.

    Were it not for the GM logo on my Pay cheque, I would have never darkened the door step at a GM dealer again..

    I did eventually trade it in on a new 97 Chevy regular cab , WT 8ft box 2 WD.. I ran the 97 well over 100, 000 with nothing but regular maintenance .. Go figure ?

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      That paint delamination/loss of adhesion was endemic on many lower-end GM products and a few models from other manufacturers in the late ’80s to early ’90s. IIRC it was a problem with PPG coating (paint) products where, first the clear and then the color coat would sheet off within the first year or so thus leaving the nice dark gray base coat/primer which fortunately adhered pretty well.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        My dad bought a new 1991 S-10 Blazer Tahoe trim in white. After a couple of years the paint started to peel. Somehow he managed to wrangle a fresh paint job from a shamed GM regional service representative.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I associate the sheets of missing color coat with Chrysler products of that era. My university had a bunch of aging Dynastys and Caravans that had giant primer spots.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    PS- I absolutely love that Chrysler tank in the first pic. 10 year old me thought it was the classiest thing on wheels, but I never owned one. I came close with a couple Town Cars in my younger days.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Imagine if the R-body had been given the same attention and effort as the Panther platform over a decade or two?

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        One might argue that the R-body was really a B-body that had run its course over the previous two decades.

        • 0 avatar
          Mike Beranek

          This is correct. Gm redid their full-sizers in 1970, and sold enough to finance the successor which bowed in ’77. Ford did theirs in 1971 and sold enough to finance the Panther in ’79.
          Chrysler debuted brand-new full-sized cars in ’73, right before the Arab Oil Embargo. Nobody bought them, and they lost a lot of money. So the next full-sized Chrysler, the R-body, had to be a redress of the 20 year-old B-body midsizer.
          It also sold like ice cubes in Spitsbergen, so the next full-sizer, the M-body, was based on the Volare/Aspen compacts, which were based on a 1960 Valiant.
          It was a downward spiral for Chrysler, only stopped by the K’s and the Minivans.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            As much as I like it when people agree with me, the transverse-torsion-bar front suspension of the Volare/Aspen/M-body was not based on best Valiant practices.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Apparently Iacocca wanted to phase out the R-body due to his preference for the K-based cars and minivans and thought that full sizers were becoming passé.
        The M-body became the fleet taxi police special as well as the luxury 5th Avenue and Diplomat SE.

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Hamilton

      I always had a soft spot for those big Chryslers. I thought they looked great and the two Dodge Darts I had (first one with a six, second with the 318 V8) never let me down. A Dart with a V8 was one fast machine, at least to me.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Back when Chrysler advertising was built around their 5/50 warranty, my father ordered a 1985 Dodge Lancer ES Turbo. The first head gasket went at 17,000 miles. That’s when we learned about the deductible on the warranty. There was also no loaner car. There dealer had a backup on warranty work. They damaged the paint while they had the car. The repair worked for 7,000 miles. The car had alloy wheels with center caps that covered the lug nuts. The heat of the brakes made the tabs that held them on weak, so they were shed at a rate that reinforced what a POS the car was. After the second head gasket was replaced, the digital dash went black. Repairs of that were temporary too.

    Warranty or no warrant, the goal became getting head-gasket and dash to function long enough to trade the less-than-three-year-old car in on an import. A momentary lapse of reason caused my father to give the car to my sister instead, who drove it to New York where it soon needed another head gasket. She was living in the city and working long hours at Morgan Stanley, so the car wasn’t a priority. The 5/50 deductible for big repairs was something in the $500-$800 range, so the car went to a relative-by-marriage’s place for repair. It had no odometer once the digital dash croaked for good, so chances are that a New York Dodge dealer wouldn’t have honored the warranty anyway. The car never saw 35,000 miles, the relatives got divorced and eventually my parents were tracked down when NY found the car in the driveway of a foreclosed house and traced the VIN. The car with the 5/50 warranty came up well short of 40,000 miles before being scrapped.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      wow… what a nightmare.

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      40000 miles?
      Wow, what a POS. Domestic car makers really got away with some crap when they were in a more dominant position in the industry.
      Can you imagine how laughable it would be for a car being scrapped at 40000 miles from a Japanese auto maker? I don’t think Toyota could build a car that bad!

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Funny you should mention Toyota. The other day I was looking at an auction listing for a 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser. The window sticker was included. The Land Cruiser was only two grand more than we paid for the Dodge. It also had more miles than our Dodge ever saw and still brought $51K at auction.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      I had a similar vehicle, a 1984 Chrysler Laser Turbo, the only car I ever bought new. Fortunately, no digital dash. This was also my lowest mileage car when sold, though I did better than you. My manual transmission grenaded at around 70K miles, when the car was seven years old. Granted, I raced the car on the street a bit. I replaced it with a used transmission from a junkyard and got rid of it.
      The good news was that it died at my then girlfriend’s house, so I had to stay over for the first time. She has been my wife for 21 years now. (Yes, if you are doing the math, we were together for seven years before we officially tied the knot.)

      All of my other cars were acquired used, and they all lasted longer than this car purchased new.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        If that Dodge had lasted 70,000 miles, my mother would have bought a 1987 Lebaron Convertible as her next car and my parents would have never learned that cars can be reliable. As it was, when my Mom bought a new import in 1986, I sold her 1979 Horizon with less than 70K miles that needed a new water pump and brakes, having just had the suspension rebuilt a few thousand miles earlier. The funny thing is that my parents had Chrysler products because my father had already experienced the joys of Ford and Chevy ownership and my mother’s father had a Buick that was nowhere near as good as his two Chryslers.

  • avatar
    CobraJet

    2007 Impala LT with 3.9. Very reliable until 145,000 miles. Driving home about 45 mph when the engine locked up. Made a terrible noise. Mechanic said something turned loose in the engine and did lots of damage. Sold the car for scrap. This was the first year for cylinder deactivation and I believe that was the weak point.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    My grandfather, a life long Mopar fan left the family his early 80’s Dodge Diplomat. He kept it well maintained but by the time we got it with still low 40-50k miles some issues started to crop up.
    The Lean burn carb started to act up as well as electrical gremlins in the steering column. We kind of mitigated the issues before selling it to someone who needed a cheap commuter.

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Hamilton

      That Lean Burn setup was crap unfortunately. Most older Mopars that exist have that removed and use the Mopar Performance Ignition conversion. The kit includes an electronic distributor w/ vacuum advance, wiring, ignition module and ballast resistor. The Lean Burn computer on those old Chryslers would overheat and cause it to fail. I had a Dodge Diplomat purchased at a Police auction that ran well. I think the police setup was different with regards to the Lean Burn system.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Many owners also swapped out the Lean burn carb for a Carter or Holley. The ballast resistor was always an issue. My dad used to keep a spare one around for his Dart and Valiant.

  • avatar
    volvo

    Briefly
    1993 Volvo 945T. Money pit starting about 130K
    Takeaway
    Don’t put a turbo on the legendary volvo redblock engine. Might be the only way (other than sand in the oil) to destroy one.
    For better or worse it has soured me on turbo boosted small displacement engines ever since.

  • avatar
    JMII

    ’08 Volvo C30. So much for that legendary Volvo reliability… this car broke down and cost more to fix then anything else I’ve owned to date – which includes the dreaded B5 ’00 VW Passat 1.8T that made it to 100K (somehow). We got the C30 used at around 35K and it made it to only 75K before it became such a money pit we traded it in. This is the only car I’ve ever gotten rid of purely due to constant repair costs.

    Examples: it ate expensive xenon head bulbs for breakfast, burning out at least 2 per year. It required a $2000 clutch repair, during which the European specialist I took it to basically admitted nothing he replaced fixed the problem. There was a $800 steering column part required, because without it the car wouldn’t start! It went thru several CV seals on the front axles. A rear tie rod broke. How does that even happen on car driven on smooth FL roads? The handle for the glass hatchback snapped off in my hand once. The covers for the front head light washer nozzles flew off 3 times (that I can remember)! Each time I had order them from Sweden, wait two weeks then pay to have them painted so they matched the bumper. This car wasn’t very popular in the US and despite sharing parts with the S40 (and the Mazda 3) it seemed everything that broke on ours was some one-off special part. Oh and as a bonus it also got crappy mileage.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    1982 Chevy Celebrity – need to have the Iron Duke rebuilt before 100,000 miles (cylinders were “out of round” and cam lobes were worn down.) Went through a period of eating alternators but I know that was partially due to my Dads cheapskate nature and getting the cheapest ones he could get along with mechanics that couldn’t seem to get the alignment right in the pulley system.

    When dumped by the family at 150,000+ the transmission was starting to either refuse to unlock the torque converter or refusing to lock said converter depending on conditions.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      The alternator thing was a feature of Chevys of that era. My wife had Cavalier that went thru several. Drive thru a puddle = get a new alternator a few weeks later then repeat. It was like the internals were made from tissue paper.

      Funny bit: its the only car I’ve topped out in. Mainly because it would only do about 85 MPH max.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        My first alternator died on a trip home from my crappy after school restaurant job. 6 in of snow on the unplowed roads and more coming down. 8 mile cross country drive home and watching the headlights/dashboard lights slowly dim. But I made it home.

        When anyone calls those old A-bodys “Soviet Grade” I completely agree with them. Just as tractor-like in some respects as a Lada.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      My dad took an ’82 Celebrity with a 2.8 V6 up to 120,000 miles or so before the tranny went. Traded it in on their first Honda Accord (an ’87) and they’ve exclusively bought Hondas since.

      My clearest memories of that car involve my mother jamming a rolled up newspaper into the choke to get it to start. If a car required that today, a company would be shamed out of existence on social media.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    Gosh, so many non-longevity stories
    My dad’s 1970 Buick Le Sabre – Transmission died @ 50k miles. Was burning oil horribly by 80k. He got rid of it in 1980. Don’t exactly remember what was the final nail in the coffin but it didn’t make it to a 100k
    The replacement was 1977 Olds Delta 88 Royale – Brougham-tastic! Except we found out it was one of the cars that GM was bolting trannys made for 4-cylinders to V-8 engines. It died a premature death when I T-boned someone who ran a stop sign. However, it was already on its last legs – Said transmission was already starting to slip. The A/C would only blow cold air from the floor vents. The “real” wood vinyl trim was peeling at several places. The once silver paint was a dull grey. This is why I hate silver cars. Yes, this was the height of the malaise era. Did not make 100k miles.
    1989 Pontiac Grand Am – Power Steering hose blew @ 3k miles. Engine computer control unit lost its mind – twice. Catalytic converter failed. Head gasket failed around 80k. I won’t go into all of the fit/finish/trim issues. Barely made it passed 100k.
    2000 Grand Caravan – Ate brakes and rotors with great regularity. 18k miles on a set of front brakes was a miracle. Trans died around 80k. Rebuild was starting to slip when we traded it in. Did not make it to 100k.

  • avatar
    readallover

    1994 Mercury Sable wagon came standard with both the 3.8 V-6 and its` self destructing head gaskets AND the auto trans that did not like to shift on cold, wet days. Towards the end parts began falling off all over the interior. It did give me one good laugh: One time when I was at the dealer for one of its` numerous trips to the shop a salesman asked me if I wanted to look at a New Ford product. He was not encouraged by my response.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    1987 Taurus with the supposedly unkillable Vulcan V6, and somehow I was well on my way to killing the engine by the time I got rid of the car at ~150k, despite religious 3k oil changes. (The transmission was also on its last legs, but that’s expected.)

    1989 Taurus SHO lost a manual transmission at just 80k miles. (Yet I got 100k out of a supposedly delicate clutch.)

    2008 Lexus LS 460 suffered from bushing rot, because of poor choice of rubber compound by Toyota, and required replacement of all 8 front control arms with updated parts with different bushings at 44k miles. (The same car also had a water pump die prematurely.)

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    A friend’s 80-something Fuego with 60-ish K that just would not stay running.. Electrical problem on top of electrical problem.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Worst car I ever had was an 85 Mercury Lynx which was the first and only manual transmission that I ever had to replace along with the electronic carburetor, fuel gauge, and wiring harness. Finally the heads went and I traded it in.

  • avatar
    B-BodyBuick84

    Cousin’s 2003 Honda Accord V6 auto combo- very low mileage when he bought it in 2012 with only 65,000 km’s. Tranny died at roughly 93,000 km’s (57,000-ish miles?)and it was sold for parts. Next vehicle was a Toyota corolla manual. It always ran like crap and sometimes pinged under load until one day the engine just quit at 98,765 Km’s exactly (weird number, I know). No idea what went wrong, but it turns out it was probably his fault that it died. The guy who bought it (again, sold for parts)informed my cousin that it was an XRS Corolla, whose engine has an 11.5:1 compression ratio. My cousin had no idea. There may have been underlining existing issues before he bought it, but running regular killed the poor thing in less than a year of ownership.
    On the bright side of things, my cousin now researches vehicles before buying them. Who’da thunk?

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My dad’s 1984 (?) Oldsmobile 98 with the ill-fated diesel engine. It was a beautiful car with white leather, factory CB radio, power everything, and… slow as molasses. Diesel engine went at ~60k miles of mostly highway use.

    My dad had a gas engine put in – and the transmission promptly fragged while I was driving it to a job interview.

    After that experience he went right to the Nissan dealership and bought a Stanza. A drop down in size and Brougham-ness but the reliability difference – woah!

    Me? I’ve owned a few used cars that were cheap and overly abused so I won’t begrudge them too much. The Taurus wagon with the slipping transmission, the Saturn SL that burned oil like a sieve, the Volvo 850 with the ticking rockers, the Honda Accord coupe with the slipping transmission. Argh!

  • avatar
    formula m

    A Honda Civic your sister felt she needed to get rid of at 125,000 miles or = 200,000kms ???
    That’s about when a vehicle gets expensive to replace the many wear items or rust kills it in Canada

    My parents bought a new 2001 Pontiac Montana sport when I left for college. I came home 2 years later it had 68,000kms (42,000 miles)
    It had been pressure tested many times for water leaks under warranty with no fix. The interior was a rattle trap from the cottage roads.
    The leaking head gasket at 42,000mi was enough to trade it on a Nissan Maxima. Other than used 4×4 trucks no one in the Family bought another GM product. I even worked for GM during college co-op in 2004-2005 and in Sales for GM from 2007-2009 until the bankruptcy

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