How Many Miles Can a Car Last - article

gearheadgrrrl

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2002
Location
Buffalo Ridge (southwest Minnesota)
TDI
'15 Golf DSG, '13 JSW DSG surrendered to VW, '03 Golf 2 door manual
I have 3 TDI's , 2 over 300K miles. It is not the engine that is the problem...it is the fiddly electronic gee-gaws that eventually kill the car.
My 1978 E-150 Van (with a stick shift) is on 317K+ and doing fine. Gotta take care of the rust spots tho and have the upholstery replaced when it is tattered. I attribute the long life to the manual tranny and the engine ( 300 ci-6) NOT having any weird EPA plumbing as I ordered it with the heavy-duty GVW package which put it off the list for that stuff. On the highway, it does nicely at 65mph and makes an honest 21mpg.
NO. It's not for sale.
Good example of the effect of rust on vehicle longevity- I used to work for Continental Baking which had thousands of those 3rd generation Econolines, both full bodies and stripped chassis with aluminum step van bodies. The Ford 300 six was utterly reliable and got decent MPG for a gasser, in fact a lot of the mechanics wondered why they even bothered with diesels in such a small truck. But the full bodied E150s in the rust belt were lucky to survive 10 years, even after Ford gave them new body panels when they were only a few years old. Under their aluminum bodies many of the step vans survived until the company's 2012 bankruptcy liquidation, especially the ones engine repowered with Cummins 4BT diesels. I've done the numbers and suspect that the economy and efficiency of those aluminum bodied Ford chassis and Ford or Cummins engines kept Continental Baking alive for several years.
 

kjclow

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Location
Charlotte, NC
TDI
2010 JSW TDI silver and black. 2017 Ram Ecodiesel dark red with brown and beige interior.
From Edmunds: More than 15% of consumers who financed a car in Q4 2022 committed to auto loan payments of more than $1,000 a month.

And I've read that currently the average car loan term is 72 months. 84 and 96 month loans are available, and some lenders have just started offering 10 year loans.

I've also heard that the rule of thumb is that most lenders will write loans for between 120-140% of the MSRP of a vehicle. So if you buy a $50K vehicle, and put no money down, you may be able to get a loan for $60 or $70K. I can't imagine.
I borrow money for my cars if it makes more sense to use their funds than mine but over $400 is too much for my blood. Can't imagine paying as much for my car as I do for my house.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
I've leased and then bought out several cars over the years. My daughter just did this, too. If the money factor on the lease is low (at least once it was negative) and the residual value is realistic this can be a reasonable way to go. And you get the perfect used car: one that you used.

But these days I'm less interested in doing even that. Picking something I can afford to buy with cash is more appealing. However, I haven't bought a car since the leftover '15 GSW I bought in '17, nearly 6 years ago. I just keep repairing and driving what I have.
 

atc98002

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2006
Location
Auburn WA
TDI
2014 Passat TDI SEL Premium (sold back), 2009 Jetta (sold back), 80 Rabbit diesel (long gone)
My Bolt is being bought back from me in the next few days, so I'm looking for a replacement. Can't find any reasonable deals on a diesel car, but I have no intention of paying more than a few hundred as a monthly payment. With any luck, I'll find something I can pay cash for.
 

atc98002

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2006
Location
Auburn WA
TDI
2014 Passat TDI SEL Premium (sold back), 2009 Jetta (sold back), 80 Rabbit diesel (long gone)
I requested some sort of compensation for two reasons. One, the battery recall happened the day after I took delivery, so I've been under a charging and parking restriction of some sort the entire time I've owned it. Second, they dropped the MSRP on the car by over $6000, which made an immediate drop of the trade in value of mine by the same amount. They gave people who bought in 2022 a cash rebate for the same amount, but because I got mine in late 2022 I didn't get a dime. I wasn't expecting a full price buyback, but that's what they ended up offering. So I will end up driving a Bolt EUV for free for 18 months, while gas/diesel prices were sky high. I've saved a ton of money driving an EV during this time.

I'd love to pick up a used diesel X3 or smaller Mercedes, but they simply don't exist for less than $50k, and I'm not going to spend that kind of money. I haven't decided if I am going to get a used Mercedes GLC plug in hybrid or a new Ford Escape PHEV. I'm leaning towards the GLC 350e, because the initial loss of value is gone, and it appears overall a nice comfortable car. Planning on a long road trip this summer, so comfort will be important. Also why I'm not looking at another EV, since range and charging is still less than stellar.
 

atc98002

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2006
Location
Auburn WA
TDI
2014 Passat TDI SEL Premium (sold back), 2009 Jetta (sold back), 80 Rabbit diesel (long gone)
I don't want to buy something that old. I'm limiting myself to no older than 2019. But those are nice looking, and a few not too far away.
 

tikal

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2001
Location
Southeast Texas
TDI
2004 Passat Wagon (chainless + 5 MT + GDE tune)
I remember seeing an article a few months back that the average owner was now hanging onto their new cars for at least 12 years. Don't think they looked at life of used cars. I know we have conversations about replacing the JSW but it's only 13 years old and just 165k miles on it. With my wife being retired and me joining her soon, we're having to do annual oil changes instead of mileage. So at only 5-6000 miles a year, that car should be in our drive way for many more years.
In North America? It seems very generous average to me.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
In North America? It seems very generous average to me.
Generous in what direction? Seems reasonable to me. I think what you see for ages of cars largely depends on where you live. Around here I don't often see cars that are older than what I drive. Even my 335d, which I still think of as a "new" car, is 12 years old.
 

Mcgink

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Location
South of Boston MA
TDI
I-Red,"The Passat formerly known as Harlequin" 97 B4, a non VW GTDI too
Generous in what direction? Seems reasonable to me. I think what you see for ages of cars largely depends on where you live. Around here I don't often see cars that are older than what I drive. Even my 335d, which I still think of as a "new" car, is 12 years old.
Thanks to the rust belt, it's tough to avoid the corrosion. Hasn't IBW had "a little work done" to keep her looks up? Last time I saw it, it still looked great.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
Yes. I'm on my third pair of front fenders, and I've had both rockers repaired. But honestly it's hung together pretty well. I drive it all winter, and it still looks really clean underneath. With modern rustproofing living in the salt belt shouldn't limit vehicle life. And if you can find a body shop that will do rust repair you can keep ahead of the parts that do rust.

My B4 is pretty rust free, too, although I think the rockers are deteriorating some. And it wasn't garaged before I bought it.
 
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